READING LIST FOR EIGHTH GRADE STUDENTS:
a one-year survey of novels for eighth-grade students
who are competent readers
Once you are a competent reader, you should no longer focus on improving your skill level. Instead, you should focus on expanding your knowledge and appreciation of literature while still maintaining your skill level. One way to do this is to use a reading list that will expose you to many different genres, to many different authors and to some of the classics.
These novels will introduce you to a few Canadian writers:
- Banks, Lynne Reid. Broken Bridge. (AR 4.6)
Bell, William. The Blue Helmet. (AR 5.1)
Carter, Anne Laurel. The Shepherd’s Granddaughter. (AR 4.1)
de Vries, Maggie. Hunger Journeys. Toronto : HarperCollins Canada, 2012.
- Ellis, Deborah. Lunch with Lenin and Other Stories and No Safe Place.
Ellis, Deborah and Eric Walters. Bifocal. Brighton, Mass.: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2007.
- Holubitsky. Katherine. Tweaked.
Horvath, Polly. The Corps of the Bare-boned Plane.
Hughes, Monica. Blaine’s Way and Keeper of the Isis Light and Devil on My Back.
Lawrence, Iain Lawrence. Lord of the Nutcracker Men. New York : Dell Laurel-Leaf, , c2001.
- Matas, Carol. Lisa and Jesper.
McClintock, Norah. Dooley Takes the Fall. Calgary: Red Deer Press, 2008.
- McKay, Sharon E. War Brothers.
Mowat, Farley. Owls in the Family and Never Cry Wolf.
Olsen, Sylvia. Middle Row. Custer, WA: Orca Book Publishers, 2008.
- Pearson, Kit. And Nothing But the Truth and Perfect Gentle Knight.
- Sheppard, Mary C. One for Sorrow. Toronto: Puffin Canada, 2008.
- Stratton, Allan. Chanda’s Secrets. Toronto : Annick Press, 2005, c2004.
- Walters, Eric. Shattered and Black and White.
Wilson, John. And in the Morning.
These books will give you an overview of some great writers from other countries.
- Aiken, Joan. Black Hearts in Battersea. (British; AR 6.1)
Almond, David. Raven Summer. New York : Delacorte Press, 2008. (British)
- Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. (British; AR 8.4)
Bloor, Edward. Tangerine and A Plague Year. (American)
Bodeen, S.A. The Gardener. New York : Square Fish, 2011, c2010. (American)
- Bondoux, Anne-Laure. The Killer’s Tears. New York : Delacorte Press, 2006. (Chile)
- Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. (British; AR 7.9)
Bruchac, Joseph. Code Talker and Hidden Roots. (American)
- Budhos, Marina. Ask Me No Questions. (American; AR 4.8)
Cassidy, Anne. Looking for JJ. (British; AR 4.9)
Clarke, Judith. One Whole and Perfect Day. Asheville, N.C. : Front Street, 2007, c2006. (Australian)
- Cleaver, Vera. Where the Lilies Bloom. (American; AR 5.2)
Clements, Andrew. Things Not Seen. (American: AR 4.5)
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. (British; AR 9.2)
Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Ten Miles Past Normal. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011. (American)
- Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. (British; AR 8.8)
Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo. (French; AR 8.8)
Gallico, Paul. The Snow Goose. Mattituck, N.Y.: Amereon House, , c1940. (British)
- Garfield, Leon. Smith. (British; AR 6.1)
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. (British; AR 5.0)
Hartnett, Sonya. The Silver Donkey. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014. (Australian)
- Hesse, Karen. Aleutian Sparrow.New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2005, c2003. (American)
Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. (American; AR 4.7)
Holt, Kimberly Willis. The Water Seeker. New York: Henry Holt, 2009. (American)
- Hughes, Dean. Missing in Action. New York: Simon Pulse, 2010. (American)
- Hugo, Victor. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (French; AR 5.8)
Jones, Diana Wynne. Eight Days of Luke. (British; AR 5.4)
Khan, Rukhsana. Wanting Mor. (Pakistani; AR 3.7)
- Konigsburg, E.L. Silent to the Bone. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2002, c2000. (American)
- McCormick, Patricia. Purple Heart. New York : Balzer + Bray, c2009. (American)
- Mikaelsen, Ben. Touching Spirit Bear. (American; AR 5.3)
- Mourlevat, Jean-Claude. The Pull of the Ocean. New York : Laurel-Leaf Books, 2009, c2006. (French)
Napoli, Donna Jo. The Wager. New York : Henry Holt, 2010. (American)
- Orlev, Uri. Run, Boy, Run. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2003. (Israeli)
- Orwell, George. Animal Farm. (British; AR 7.3)
Paterson, Katherine. The Master Puppeteer and Jacob Have I Loved. (American)
Paulsen, Gary. The Crossing and The Car. (American)
Pratchett, Terry. Diggers. (British; AR 4.4)
Rosoff, Meg. Just in Case. New York: Plume, 2008. (American)
- Sheth, Kashmira. Keeping Corner. (American; AR 4.8)
Singer, Nicky. Gem X. (British; AR 5.5)
Smelcer, John. The Great Death and The Trap. (American)
- Steinbeck, John. The Red Pony. (American; AR 6.1)
- Sturtevant, Katherine. The Brothers Story. New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. (British)
- Sutcliff, Rosemary. The Eagle of the Ninth. (British)
Twain, Mark. The Prince and the Pauper. (American; AR 9.3)
Turnbull, Ann. No Shame, No Fear. (British; AR 5.1)
Voight, Cynthia. The Runner. (American; AR 5.0)
- Werlin, Nancy. The Rules of Survival. New York: Speak, 2008, c2006. (American)
- Williams, Michael. Now is the Time for Running. New York: Little, Brown, 2013, c2009. (South African)
- Yelchin, Eugene. Breaking Stalin’s Nose. New York: Henry Holt, 2011. (Russian American)
The Newbery Award was named after a British bookseller who lived in the 1700s: John Newbery. Every year, the American Library Association recognizes one author for making the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Note that this is an American award and so many outstanding books from other countries are not eligible. Therefore, it is important to also read great literature from other countries. Keeping that in mind, here are some Newbery novels especially suitable for eighth-grade students:
- Alexander, Lloyd. The High King. (1969 Medal Winner; AR 6.1)
Appel, Kathi. The Underneath. (2009 Honor Book)
- Armstrong, Alan. Whittington. (2006 Honor Book)
- Avi. Crispin: The Cross of Lead. (2003 Medal Winner ; AR 5.0)
Avi. Nothing But the Truth. (1992 Honor Book; AR 3.6)
Bauer, Joan. Hope Was Here. (2001 Honor Book; AR 5.1)
Curtis, Christopher Paul. Elijah of Buxton. (2008 Honor Book)
- Cushman, Karen. The Midwife’s Apprentice. (1996 Medal Winner; AR 6.0)
Kelly, Eric P. The Trumpeter of Krakow. (1929 Medal Winner; AR 7.1)
Law, Ingrid. Savvy. (2009 Honor Book)
- Lowry, Lois. The Giver. (1994 Medal Winner; AR 5.7)
Perkins, Lynne Rae. Criss Cross. (2006 Medal Winner; AR 5.5)
Philbrick, Rodman. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg. (2010 Honor Book)
- Rylant, Cynthia. A Fine White Dust. (1987 Honor Book; AR 4.2)
Schmidt, Gary D. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. (2005 Honor Book)
- Schmidt, Gary D. The Wednesday Wars. (2008 Honor Book)
- Speare, Elizabeth George. The Bronze Bow. (1962 Medal Winner; AR 5.0)
- Stead, Rebecca. When You Reach Me. (2010 Medal Winner)
- Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming. (2015 Honor Book)
[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2015 Sophie Rosen.]
The conflict in The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is about two opposite sides. One side is the Greasers and the other is the Socs. Socs are like all the west-side rich kids. The Greasers are poorer than middle class, and wilder, too, not like the Socs, who jump Greasers, wreck houses, throw beer blasts for kicks and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next day. Greasers are almost like hoods: they steal things and have a gang fight every once in a while. (by Jordan in grade eight)
Are you looking for a book full of mystery, fear and suspense? Then read Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos (Simon Pulse, 2007), a novel about a family living in New York City. The 14 year-old main character, Nadira, and her family are illegal aliens from Bangladesh. Their tourist visa has expired and now they are trying to seek asylum in Canada before American law enforcements find them. But Nadira’s father is arrested, and Nadira and her older sister Aisha have to hide with their uncle and aunt while their mother, who is staying in a shelter, anxiously waits for news about her husband. Everyone’s worried. What will happen to Father? And what will happen to Nadira and her sister? Read this story to discover how this intriguing tale ends!
Ask Me No Questions immensely impressed me. Before I read this book, I didn’t understand how people from different countries feel. Now when I watch the news and skim through the newspaper, I think twice about what I’m seeing. “Have these people lived a forlorn life? Have they been timorous for many years?” These are just some of the questions I ask myself when I see foreigners, although I know not all people from foreign countries go though this kind of life. After reading this book, I am more sensitive about how others might feel when coming to a new country. I feel like a new person. I hope other readers, too, will be so profoundly affected. (Rachel in grade 7)