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Posts: 3
Registered: ‎03-18-2008
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Help improve school reading!

I am looking for books to assign to my 8th grade students for Independent Reading. They can be fiction or nonfiction, any genre (although I really need help with Sci-Fi/Fantasy), but they MUST be appropriate (nothing graphic).

A few that I am currently using:
-Life of Pi (Martel)
-My Sister's Keeper (Picoult)
-A Northern Light (Donnelly)
-Operation Red Jericho (Mowll)
-Peter and the Starcatchers (Barry)
-Uglies (Westerfield)
-Killing Mr. Griffin (Duncan)

-A Child Called "It" (Pelzer)
-Farewell to Manzanar (Wakatsu)
-The Pact (Davis)
-Into the Wild (Krakauer)

Any suggestions? Thanks for your help - my students will appreciate it!
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 405
Registered: ‎12-30-2007
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Re: Help improve school reading!

I can help. 
These are books from a more-advanced senior in high school (but read a while ago), so my reviews may not be the most accurate in reader recommendations in terms of reading level, but the content is very good and the books are worth looking into.
For all of these, I'd recommend pre-reading background experience telling (more for certain books than for others.)
Civil Rights theme
Invisible Man (complicated, but good for an advanced reader, because some of the story can be confusing for some.)
Cry, The Beloved Country (I've read part of it, and it's basically a South African To Kill A Mockingbird.  Good for an intermediate or advanced reader.)
The Watsons Go To Birmingham---1963 (very good and a tad funny, good for most readers, but I believe it ends sad.)
Japanese-American Experience
Kira-Kira (tells about Japanese-American sisters in Georgia in the 1950's, and be warned, it has a sad ending, good for intermediate or advanced readers.)
Bud, Not Buddy (a boy who searches for his father after his mom's death, good for most readers.)
Artemis Fowl (about a teen criminal mastermind, has a fairy element, good for intermediate or advanced readers.)
The Cure (was read the story in 7th grade, very good, might be a tad complicated in the beginning for some.)
The Last Book in the Universe (futuristic, books are gone, writing means death, and the character still has his memory, good for intermediate or advanced readers.)
Catherine, Called Birdy (funny, and good for most readers.)
I Am Mordred (a good retelling of a legend with sympathy, and good for most readers.)
Immigrant Experience
Dragonwings (good story-Chinese boy goes to San Francisco-might have some swear words that need to be blacked out, good for intermediate or advanced readers.)
The Egypt Game (good story, and good for most readers.)
The Summer of the Swans (very good, and good for most readers.)
Tangerine (very good and different, and good for intermediate or advanced readers.)
Walk Two Moons (very good with a sad ending, good fo most readers.)
Historical Fiction
Forgotten Fire (about the Armenian Holocaust, very good, good for intermediate or advanced readers.  Might give some background on the history first.)
The Great Gatsby (about the US in the 1920's, very good, might give student some background on the era first, however, good for intermediate or advanced readers.)
The House of Dies Drear (about a house on the Underground Railroad, a mystery story, good for intermediate or advanced readers.)
Number the Stars (about WWII and the Holocaust, good for most readers.)
The Upstairs Room (about the Holocaust and two Jewish girls in hiding, very good for intermediate or advanced readers.)
The Witch of Blackbird Pond (about the Witch Trials in the Puritan community, very good for itnermediate or advanced readers.)
Harris and Me (was read this in 7th grade, about a city boy staying on a farm with his cousin, might review it first, but good for most readers.)
Hoot (has an environmental bend, and is funny (Hiaasen's work is often very funny.) 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎03-16-2008
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Re: Help improve school reading!

I'm in 9th grade, and I have read To Kill a mockingbird, Kira-Kira, Artemis Fowl series, and The Last Book in the Universe. And I like them all. We had to read The Last Book in the Universe last year in my 8th grade class. We also read The Hobbit, which I was a huge fan of.
'U know u've read a good book when u turn the last page and feel a little as if u have lost a friend.'--'The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.'--'We shouldnt teach great books we should teach a love of reading.'--'Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.'--'Book lovers will understand me, and they will know 2 that part of the pleasure of a library lies in its very existence'
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎03-18-2008
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Re: Help improve school reading!

Thanks for the suggestions!
Distinguished Correspondent
Posts: 2,136
Registered: ‎11-30-2007
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Re: Help improve school reading!

I'm also in 9th grade and last year we read:
-Stealing Freedom
-The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
But i'm an avid reader and also enjoyed these books/novels:
-Peaches & The Secret of Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
-1-800-WHERE-R-YOU series by Meg Cabot
-Eragon & Eldest by Christopher Paolini
-Major Crush by Jennifer Echols
-Avalon High by Meg Cabot
-Firehorse by Diane Lee Wilson
-Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (But all of her books are good)
-Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
-Oh My Goth by Gene Showalter
-The Angels in Pink Series by Lurlene McDaniel
-Click Here by Denise Vega
-The Cry of the Icemark & The Blade of Fire by Sturt Hill
-Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
-The Twilight Series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse) by Stephenie Meyer

Sometimes people give up,
other times they move on,
and sometimes they just stay still.

I turned to the clarinets. They were a resourceful lot.~Jennifer Echols, Major Crush