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Summer Books for Crusaders



orange booksWe wish all our middle school Crusaders lots of fun choosing and reading their summer books. Here are our recommendations for 7th and 8th graders. Pick at least two to get you through the hot months. There’s something here for everyone!


For Crusaders entering 7th grade in fall 2014:

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
It begins as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The Squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses(the squirrel) has been born anew, with new powers of strength , flight and misspelled poetry and that Flora will be changed too as she discovers the possibility of hope and resiliency.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, this book is a heartbreaking, funny tale of 3 girls who travel to Oakland, CA in 1968 in search of the mother who abandoned them. It’s an unforgettable story.

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia
This Coretta Scott King award winning novel is a sequel to “One Crazy Summer.” The Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn after a summer spent with their mother and the Black Panthers in Oakland, California. Delphine, Vonetta and Fern arrive home with a new found streak of independence. Although they thrive in the tumultuous era of the late 1960’s Delphine is worried about starting 6th grade, being the tallest in her class and dreading the upcoming school dance. The person she confides in through writing letters is her mother who gives her this advice: be eleven while she can.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down and out circus themed mall meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall he decided he must find her a better life.

How They Croaked By Georgia Bragg
This book shares the sometimes gruesome details of the deaths of nineteen famous historical figures including King Tut, Pocahontas, George Washington, Edgar Allan Poe and Marie Curie to name a few.

How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston
The ultimate mean girl gets some eyeglass and metal mouth justice.

Chomp by Carl Hiassen
The difficult star of the reality show “Expedition Survival” disappears on location in the Florida Everglades, where they were filming animals from the wildlife refuge run by Wahoo Crane’s family. Wahoo and classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find him but they must avoid Tuna’s gun happy father.

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan
From the time he was a young boy Neftali hears the call of a mysterious voice. He knows he must follow it even when the neighborhood kids make fun of him and when his harsh father ridicules him and when he doubts himself. The voice leads him under the canopy of the lush rainforest into the fearsome sea and through the persistent Chilean rain, until finally, he discover the source.

Ghetto Cowboy, by G. Neri
When Cole’s mom dumps him in Philadelphia to live with his dad, the last thing he expects to see is a horse–let alone a stable full of them. Inspired by the little-known urban riders of Philly and Brooklyn, this compelling tale of latter-day cowboy justice champions a world where your friends always have your back, especially when the chips are down.

For Boys Only: The Baddest Book Ever by Marc Aaronson and H.P. Newquist
Information about a variety of topics of interest to boys, such as how to fight off an alligator, make fake blood, escape from being tied up, land an airplane and much more.

Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
TargetIndieBound Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without his. When Rafe Kane enters middle school he teams up with his best friend “Leo the Silent” to create a game to make school more fun by trying to break every rule in the schools’ code of conduct.

Whisper in the Dark by Joseph Bruchac
An ancient and terrifying Narragansett Native American legend begins to come true for a teenage long distance runner whose recovery from the accident that killed her parents has stunned everyone including her guardian aunt in Providence, Rhode Island.

Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Jack’s plans for his summer vacation excitement are shot down by his mother when he is “grounded for life”. But plenty of excitement is coming his way when his Mom loans him out to help a feisty old neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting and countless bloody noses.

Inside and Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
For all of the 10 years of her life, HA has only known Saigon: the thrill of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by and the beauty of her very own papaya tree. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home and HA and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls and board a ship headed toward America.

Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman by Marc Taylor Nobleman
Part picture book, part graphic novel, this is the fascinating story of how two high school friends create a super hero that endures to this day.

Gregor The Overlander by Suzanne Collins
When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he is sent into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats and cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

The Color of My Words by Joseph Lynn
When life gets hard for Ana Rosa, living in a small village in the Dominican Republic, she can depend on her older brother to make her feel better until life changing events occur on her 13th birthday.

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
This is a powerful story of a unique friendship between a troubled, oversized boy and the tiny, physically challenged genius who proves that courage comes in all sizes.

Heat by Mike Lupica
Pitching prodigy Michael Aroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only 12 years old and he has no parents to offer them proof.

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
At age 12 Beah, fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By 13, he’d been picked up by the government army and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. Eventually released by the army and sent to a UNICEF rehab center, he struggled to regain his humanity and reenter the world of civilians who viewed him with fear and suspicion. This is, at last a story of redemption and hope.

For Crusaders entering 8th grade in fall 2014:

Doll Bones by Holly Black
Three middle school friends who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures embark on a real life quest to bury a doll made of ashes from a dead girl, but nothing goes according to plan. As their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen.

Steve Jobs by Karen Blumenthal
Steve Jobs was given up for adoption at birth, dropped out of college after one semester and at the age of twenty, created Apple in his parents garage with his friend Steve Wozniack. Then came the core and hallmark of his genius—his exacting moderation for perfection and counterculture life approach. A devoted husband and father and Buddhist, he battled cancer for over a decade became the ultimate CEO, and made the world want every product he touched.

Girl Stolen by April Henry
Sixteen year old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of her car while her mom fills a prescription for antibiotics. Before Cheyenne realizes what’s happening their car is being stolen. Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, but once his dad finds out that Cheyenne’s dad is the president of Nike, everything changes… now there is a reason to keep her. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare? She is not only sick with pneumonia but she is also blind.

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Vince Vawter
Little Man throws the meanest fastball in town but talking is a whole different ballgame. He can barely say a word without stuttering—not even his own name. When takes over his friend’s paper route for a month he is not looking forward to interacting with the customers. But it’s the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, who stirs up real trouble in Little Man’s life.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Atticus Finch is a prominent lawyer in a racially divided town in Alabama in the 1930’s. He agrees to defend a young black man who is accused of raping a white woman. Many towns’ people try to get Atticus to pull out of the trial but he decides to go ahead and take a stand against racial intolerance.

Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know about Fast Food by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson
This book is a look at fast food: what’s in it, how it’s made and what it does to our bodies. Once you know what’s in the food you are eating you might never eat fast food again!

Trash by Andy Mulligan
A group of 14 year old boys who make a living picking garbage from the outskirts of a large city, find something special and mysterious that brings terrifying consequences.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now prevented him from going to public school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. The story begins from Auggie’s point of view but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend and others.

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
The story takes place in Texas in 1869. While his father is away on a cattle drive, 15 year old Tommy takes over managing the family farm. Tommy gets irritated when his younger brother adopts a dog that he names Yeller. Soon Tommy becomes as fond of the dog as everyone else in his family as Yeller is an excellent watchdog. While fighting off a mad wolf, Yeller becomes infected with rabies. At first Yeller seems unaffected but then he starts to behave viciously and Tommy has to shoot the dog.

The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey
In a faraway kingdom, a king has been betrayed by the woman he loved. Deeply hurt he vowed never to be deceived again so he makes a terrible resolution. He will take a bride for one night and in the morning she will face a horrible fate. Then he will choose another and another. Nothing can change his course until one brave woman steps forward. She is the daughter of legendary storyteller Shahrazard. On the night of her wedding to the King, Shahrazard begins to weave a tale. Fascinated, the King lets her live night after night. Just when Shahrazard dares to believe that she has found a way to keep her life and an unexpected love, a treacherous plot will disrupt her plan. Now she can only hope that love is strong enough to save her.

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
Lonely at her new school, Elizabeth takes a job at the New York Circulation Material Repository hoping to make new friends. The repository is no normal Library. It lends out objects rather than books.. ..Everything from tea sets to hockey sticks to Marie Antoinette’s everyday wig. It is also home to the Grimm collection, a secret room in the basement, where librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White’s step mother’s sinister mirror that talks in riddles and has a will of its own. When magical items start to disappear, Elizabeth and her new friends embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before they’re accused of the crime or the thief captures them!

Million Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica
Thirteen year old Nate Brodie is nicknamed “Brady”- not only for his throwing arm but because he is huge Tom Brady fan. When after saving his money, Nate goes to buy a Tom Brady autographed football, he wins the chance of a lifetime-to throw a pass through a target at a Patriots game on national TV. The prize? One million dollars!

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts but brave and desperate enough to try.

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period.

The Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
This is about about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

Miracles by Julia Alvarez
Milly Kaufman is an ordinary American teenager living in Vermont—until she meets Pablo, a new student at her high school. His exotic accent, strange fashion sense, and intense interest in Milly force her to confront her identity as an adopted child from Pablo’s native country. As their relationship grows, Milly decides to undertake a courageous journey to her homeland and along the way discovers the story of her birth is intertwined with the story of a country recovering from a brutal history.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Katniss Everdeen, having survived the Hunger Games twice, learns she and her family and friends are in danger because the Capitol holds her responsible for the unrest and races against time to protect those she cares about and the people of District 12.

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