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Intermediate School Suggested Reading

Page history last edited by Katherine Mulholland 10 years, 1 month ago

This list is compiled 2013 by Kathy Mulholland, Children's Librarian at Freehold Public Library, and Karen Krieger, School Media Specialist of Freehold Borough Schools.

For students intering or in 6th grade through entering or in 8th grade. 


Call Number (Freehold Public Library) Genre
Link to Amazon
Additional Notes
Cynthia Kadohata
Historical Fiction
Katie and Lynn are inseparable as sisters, even after their family makes an unhappy move to the Georgia.  Eventually, other friends claim Lynn's attention, but other changes are happening too, including one particularly heartbreaking loss. http://www.amazon.com/Kira-Kira-Cynthia-Kadohata/dp/0689856407/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322941870&sr=8-1 
This will resonate with readers who have had changes thrust upon them against their choice (such as a family move), have experienced prejudice and illness, but who  have come through able to see the good in loving relationships and the world. 
The Lightening Thief
Rick Riordan
j Riordan
Fantasy First in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, follow along with Percy as he learns his true heritage and finds strength and courage, and cleverness, to restore balance to the worlds of ancient gods and humans.   Popular mythology-based series (there are four more books) made into a major motion picture, with movie #2 in the works!
The Music of Dolphins
Karen Hesse
From the age of four, Mila has survived on an isolated plane crash, having been raised by dolphins.  After being "rescued" by humans as a teenager, Mila has some difficult lessons to learn and choices to make. 
This is an adventure not only in survival, but in what it means to be a human, and how humans relate to the natural world.  A very thought-provoking story, especially for students interested in nature.
The Giver
Lois Lowry 
Set in a future world where society is highly structured, and there's no crime or poverty, everything seems fine.  Or is it? Jonas is the one who has to know.
What kind of world would it be like if everyone obeyed the rules, and if maintaining order were more important than being an individual?  How much are you willing to sacrifice for security?  Read the book and think about it.
City of Ember
Jeanne DuPrau
In a post-apocalyptic society confined to a sole surviving underground city, Lina and Doon must figure out how to survive even as their city is dying.
What is there to hope for when the only world you know is dying?  How can you escape? What will become of everyone?  Readers will be amazed at the complex city and social order of this strange, and yet disturbingly familiar, world.
War Horse
Michael Morpurgo
Told from the viewpoint of the farm-horse-sent-to-war Joey, this story touches upon the heartbreak and horror that define war.  Can you ever go home again?  World War I saw extensive use of horses.  They had stories, too; here is one author's speculation.
How much can any one...or any horse...take?  What is it that keeps you moving and hoping?  How can people be so cruel...to animals...to each other?  Not easy subjects.  The author wants to convey that war shouldn't be an easy subject.
Esperanza Rising
Pam Munoz Ryan
Historical Fiction
Esperanza had a wonderful life on her family's ranch in Mexico.  One brutal night changed that forever, and now she is poor and having to live a very different way, in a different place, among people who do not care about her prior status as a wealthy rancher's daughter.  Can she handle it?  
Many people in the United States have come from other countries.  Esperanza had to start life over as the daughter of a poor migrant laborer in depression.  She didn't know English, and she didn't know how to fend for herself.  This story is about learning to be strong and resourceful, and bringing beauty out of heartbreak.
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
J. R. R. Tolkien
Adventure is not what it's cracked-up to be, or so goes the thinking of Hobbits of the Shire.  However, Bilbo finds himself thrust onto a journey of unimaginable peril during a mission to recover a hoard of gold from a flame-breathing dragon.
Now a classic, this adventure tale of Bilbo Baggins is the prelude to the darker, longer Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Suitable for more advanced readers.
The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
Katniss struggles to keep her mother and younger sister alive in District 12, going beyond the perimeter fence to hunt for small animals.  However, due to the Hunger Games, she is in the fight of her life.  All for the enjoyment of Citizens.  Can she win a fight to the death, saving herself and her family?
Graphic violence may make this a difficult read for the squeamish, but the psychological tension is even more intense.  How far do you go in the name of survival?  And what if all your choices are bad?  The Hunger Games will keep readers of this age and older turning the pages to see what happens next.
A Day No Pigs Would Die
Robert Newton Peck
It's a hard life, being the only son on a struggling family farm back in the 1920s.  It's even harder to be a man when you learn how painful the choices you make must be.
This book is a real wake-up call for adolescents who think they have it hard today.  Though not long, this heart-wrenching novel, which is undoubtedly part memoir, will resonate with readers for a long time.
A Million Shades of Gray
Cynthia Kadohata
Historical Fiction
Set in South Vietnam during the Vietnam war, this story about an eleven year-old elephant trainer survival and escape shows the war in a way most people never think about. 

How did his family, his village, his beloved elephants come to be in the middle of this war?  It was nothing none of them wanted.  This story shows the ravages of war, and the hope that may persist in spite of everything.


Code Talker
Joseph Bruchac
Historical Fiction
This novel is based on the real-life Navajo World War II soldiers who, thanks to their unique Navajo language, could communicate on radios in what was to the Japanese a "secret code."
Though this is a work of fiction, the Navajo code talkers were real, and there are several additional resources for further reading about their important role in the Pacific Theater.
The Midwife's Apprentice
Karen Cushman
Historical Fiction
Imagine being (about) twelve years-old, nameless, homeless and helping to deliver babies.  Now imagine doing that in a primitive Medieval setting, with all kinds of dangers.  In this novel, Beetle doesn't have to imagine any of that.
Told with a gritty, realistic frankness, this story shows some of the hardships of life in Medieval Europe.  Though most women had no career options as we think of them today, the protagonist's role in her community eventually gave her some status.
Fever 1793
Laurie Halse Anderson
Historical Fiction
In 1793, Philadelphia experienced a terrible plague.  Yellow fever killed about 5,000 people in the city in three months.  Mattie is a 16 year-old girl dealing with this disaster the best she can.
Epidemics are not unheard-of today; the 2009 pandemic of H1N1 claimed about 3,500 U.S. lives.  Fever 1793 isn't just about the disease and its victims, but the breakdown of an entire city, told through one girl's eyes. 
When My Name was Keoka
Linda Sue Park
j PAR Historical Fiction
Just before World War II broke out, Japan was in occupation of Korea.  During this time, the Japanese forbade the Koreans from "being Korean."  They had to change their names to Japanese names, even.  How do you stay true to your heritage and yourself under such pressure?
Many Americans think only of the involvement of the United States military during World War II.  This story is set at a time before the United States is involved, offering a different perspective on the war and helping to set the stage for the broader conflict.
The Braid
Helen Frost
Historical Fiction, Verse
Jeannie and Sarah take turns telling their stories about the 1850s Scottish Clearances in verse.  Driven out of their homes and separated, the two sisters are bound by a relic or souvenir of their childhood: a braid of their intertwined hair.  
The verse structure of this novel may surprise readers at first, but the story moves quickly, with the poetic form adding power and emotion as the girls' stories are braided together.
Margaret Peterson Haddix
Historical Fiction
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 claimed the lives of 146 garment workers, most of them poor immigrant laborers who were locked into the factory with no good escape route.  Told from the point of view of several fictional characters, the outcry about disaster caused many work-site improvements to be required by law. 
Haddix is a popular novelist among middle- and high-school readers, and applies her storytelling-skills to the tragic story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in a way that facts, figures and even photographs cannot achieve.  Expect to be angered, saddened, consoled and inspired while reading this book.
Amelia Lost Candace Fleming j B EARHART Biography Alternating between Amelia Earhart's story and the search for an answer to her disappearance, this book will satisfy readers who think they don't like history! http://www.amazon.com/Amelia-Lost-Life-Disappearance-Earhart/dp/0375841989/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366829911&sr=1-1&keywords=amelia+lost 
Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 Sally M. Walker j 976.1 Non-Fiction You know about some disasters (such as Superstorm Sandy).  Reading about other events can give you a different perspective.  This book tells of a disaster that claimed 2,000 lives, but you've probably never even heard of it. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=blizzard%20of%20glass&sprefix=blizzard+of%2Cstripbooks&rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3Ablizzard%20of%20glass&ajr=2 
The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins Marc Aronson and Lee Berger j 569.9096 Non-Fiction You never know what finding a bit of fossil may lead to.  In this case, a boy found a fossil that caused a big stir and a new way of looking at the origins of the human species. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=skull+in+the+rock&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Askull+in+the+rock  Pictures and additional resources make this a terrific read for those interested in paleontology or archeology.
How They Croaked: the Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
Georgia Bragg & Kevin O'Malley
j 920 BRA Non-Fiction
Since time began people have been living and dying.  Dying, generally regarded as a bad thing, is sometimes messy or downright gross. This book tells all the gory details of how nineteen famous people died.
Not for the squeamish, How They Croaked is a good choice for readers who enjoy fiction horror works, television forensics-style shows, and stories with which to gross-out their friends and family. 


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