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TEMS and VFMS Summer Reading 2022-2023: 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade

Reading List

Read 2 books.  Choose one book from the PYRCA 2022-23 list (below) and at least one other free choice book.‚Äč 

  • Class Act by Jerry Craft 
  • Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee 
  • Unsettled by Reem Faruqi 
  • Starfish by Lisa Fipps  
  • Ground Zero by Alan Gratz 
  • Houdini and Me by Dan Gutman 
  • Wink by Rob Harrell 
  • Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker 
  • The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm 
  • BenBee and the Teacher Griefer by K.A. Holt 
  • Murder on the Baltimore Express: The Plot to Keep Abraham Lincoln from Becoming President by Suzanna Jurmain 
  • Linked by Gordon Korman 
  • Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca 
  • Allergic: A Graphic Novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd 
  • Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff 
  • Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save and Ecosystem by Kate Messner 
  • Bloom by Kenneth Oppel 
  • Wild River by Rodman Philbrick 
  • The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell by Jordan Sonnenblick 
  • Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
*****Choosing the right books for you can help make your summer reading experience a successful one. Please review the descriptions that follow (from Goodreads.com) and browse the titles that interest you either online or at the local bookstore and library. Consider your reading preferences, interests, and passions. Because the choices vary in genre, content, and difficulty, feel free to learn more at Common Sense Media, a non-profit which provides independent media reviews for parents and families.

Assignment to Complete After Reading

ASSIGNMENT:  Open the file below. Complete the assignment for one of the summer reading books you chose. Bring your work with you when you return to school.

Class Act by Jerry Craft

See the source image

In this companion book to New Kid this time it’s Jordan’s friend Drew who takes center stage in a story about being one of the few kids of color in a prestigious private school.

Eighth grader Drew Ellis is no stranger to the saying “You have to work twice as hard to be just as good.” His grandmother has reminded him his entire life. But what if he works ten times as hard and still isn’t afforded the same opportunities that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted?

To make matters worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend Liam might be one of those privileged kids. He wants to pretend like everything is fine, but it's hard not to withdraw, and even their mutual friend Jordan doesn't know how to keep the group together.

As the pressures mount, will Drew find a way to bridge the divide so he and his friends can truly accept each other? And most important, will he finally be able to accept himself?

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Maybe He Just Like You by Barbara Dee

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A 2020 ALA Notable Children’s Book
Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2019

Barbara Dee explores the subject of #MeToo for the middle grade audience in this heart-wrenching—and ultimately uplifting—novel about experiencing harassment and unwanted attention from classmates.

For seventh-grader Mila, it starts with some boys giving her an unwanted hug on the school blacktop. A few days later, at recess, one of the boys (and fellow trumpet player) Callum tells Mila it’s his birthday, and asks her for a “birthday hug.” He’s just being friendly, isn’t he? And how can she say no? But Callum’s hug lasts a few seconds too long, and feels…weird. According to her friend, Zara, Mila is being immature and overreacting. Doesn’t she know what flirting looks like?

But the boys don’t leave Mila alone. On the bus. In the halls. During band practice—the one place Mila could always escape.

It doesn’t feel like flirting—so what is it? Thanks to a chance meeting, Mila begins to find solace in a new place: karate class. Slowly, with the help of a fellow classmate, Mila learns how to stand her ground and how to respect others—and herself.

From the author of Everything I Know About YouHalfway Normal, and Star-Crossed comes this timely story of a middle school girl standing up and finding her voice.”

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Unsettled by Reem Faruqi

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A stirring, hopeful immigration story of Nurah and her family, who move from Karachi, Pakistan, to Peachtree City, Georgia, from Reem Faruqi, ALA Notable author of the award-winning picture book Lailah’s Lunchbox. Powerful and charming, Other Words for Home meets Front Desk in this debut middle grade novel in verse about finding your footing in a new world.

From Pakistan to Peachtree City—Nurah’s stirring story of finding your place.

When Nurah’s family moves from Karachi, Pakistan, to Peachtree City, Georgia, all she really wants is to blend in, but she stands out for all the wrong reasons. Nurah’s accent, floral-print kurtas, and tea-colored skin make her feel excluded, and she’s left to eat lunch alone under the stairwell, until she meets Stahr at swimming tryouts. Stahr covers her body when in the water, just like Nurah, but for very different reasons.

But in the water Nurah doesn’t want to blend in: She wants to stand out. She wants to win medals like her star athlete brother, Owais—who is going through struggles of his own in America—yet when sibling rivalry gets in the way, she makes a split-second decision of betrayal that changes their fates.

As Nurah slowly begins to sprout wings in the form of strong swimming arms, she gradually gains the courage to stand up to bullies, fight for what she believes in, and find her place.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Starfish by Lisa Fipps

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Ellie is tired of being fat-shamed and does something about it in this debut novel-in-verse.

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Ground Zero by Alan Gratz

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It's September 11, 2001. Brandon, a 9-year-old boy, goes to work for the day with his dad . . . at the World Trade Center in New York City. When two planes hit the towers, Brandon and his father are trapped inside a fiery nightmare as terror and confusion swirl around them. Can they escape -- and what will the world be like when they do?
In present-day Afghanistan, Reshmina is an 11-year-old girl who is used to growing up in the shadow of war, but she has dreams of peace and unity. When she ends up harboring a wounded young American soldier, she and her entire family are put in mortal danger. But Reshmina also learns something surprising about the roots of this endless war.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Houdini and Me by Dan Gutman

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Harry has always admired the famous escape artist Houdini. And when Houdini asks for help in coming back to life, it seems like an amazing chance...or could it be Houdini's greatest trick of all?

Eleven-year-old Harry Mancini is NOT Harry Houdini--the famous escape artist who died in 1926. But Harry DOES live in Houdini's old New York City home, and he definitely knows everything there is to know about Houdini's life. What is he supposed to do, then, when someone starts texting him claiming that they're Houdini, communicating from beyond the grave? Respond, of course.

It's hard for Harry to believe that Houdini is really contacting him, but this Houdini texts the secrets to all of the escape tricks the dead Houdini used to do. What's more, Houdini's offering Harry a chance to go back in time and experience it for himself. Should Harry ignore what must be a hoax? Or should he give it a try and take Houdini up on this death-defying offer?

Dan Gutman is the award-winning author of series including My Weird SchoolThe Genius Files, and the baseball card series, including Honus & Me. He uses his writing powers for good once again in this exciting new middle grade novel.

Named a New York State Great Read by the Empire State Center for the Book!

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Wink by Rob Harrell

Book Cover A wrenching and hilarious story about embracing life's weirdness and surviving an unthinkable diagnosis, based on the author's own experience with a rare eye cancer.

Twelve-year-old Ross Maloy just wants to be normal. Not to have a rare eye cancer, not to lose his hair, not to have to wear a weird hat or have a goopy eye full of ointment. Just normal. But with a sudden and horrifying diagnosis, Ross can't help standing out. His new life is medical treatments that feel straight out of a video game, vision loss in one eye, disappearing friends who don't know what to say to "the cancer kid," cruel bullying, and ultimately, friendships new and old that rise above everything.

Just when Ross starts to feel like he's losing his footing, he discovers how music, art, and true friends can change everything. Filled with Rob Harrell's comic panels (Batpig for the win!) and spot art, this novel brings effortless humor and hope to an unforgettable, uplifting story of survival.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker

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The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe.

When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm

Book Cover A kid raised on Mars learns that he can't be held back by the fears of the grown-ups around him.

Bell has spent his whole life - all eleven years of it - on Mars. But he's still just a regular kid - he loves cats, any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don't have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. It's up to Bell - a regular kid in a very different world - to uncover the truth and save his family ... and possibly unite an entire planet.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

BenBee and the Teacher Griefer by K.A. Holt

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From the author of Rhyme SchemerHouse Arrest, and Knockout!

The Kids Under the Stairs: BenBee and the Teacher Griefer is a funny, clever novel-in-verse series about Ben Bellows—who failed the Language Arts section of the Florida State test—and three classmates who get stuck in a summer school class.

But these kids aren't dumb—they're divergent thinkers, as Ms. J tells them: they simply approach things in a different way than traditional school demands.

• Each chapter is told through the perspective of one of the four students, who each write in a different style (art, verse, stream of consciousness).
• Celebrates different types of intelligence
• A heartwarming, laugh-out-loud novel-in-verse

Soon, the kids win over Ms. J with their passion for Sandbox, a Minecraft-type game. The kids make a deal with Ms. J: every minute they spend reading aloud equals one minute they get to play Sandbox in class. But when the administration finds about this unorthodox method of teaching, Ben B. and his buds have to band together to save their teacher's job—and their own academic future.

The first in a series of complementary storylines, this is an honest, heartfelt book about friendship, videogames, and learning to love yourself.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Murder on the Baltimore Express: The Plot to Keep Abraham Lincoln from Becoming President by Suzanna Jurmain

Book Cover Find out how Detective Allan Pinkerton uncovered the plot to murder Lincoln and whisked him safely to Washington D.C. under the darkness of night!

While on his inauguration tour, Abraham Lincoln was to travel 2,000 miles by railroad to Washington. D.C. At this time, Confederates were desperate for Lincoln not to take office. Unhappy that Lincoln was against slavery, a group known as the Knights of the Golden Circle devised a plan. In Baltimore, Lincoln would be assassinated. But when Detective Allan Pinkerton learns of the plot, he and his detective agency come up with a plan of their very own.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Linked by Gordon Korman

Book Cover Link, Michael, and Dana live in a quiet town. But it's woken up very quickly when someone sneaks into school and vandalizes it with a swastika. Nobody can believe it. How could such a symbol of hate end up in the middle of their school? Who would do such a thing?

Because Michael was the first person to see it, he's the first suspect. Because Link is one of the most popular guys in school, everyone's looking to him to figure it out. And because Dana's the only Jewish girl in the whole town, everyone's treating her more like an outsider than ever.

The mystery deepens as more swastikas begin to appear. Some students decide to fight back and start a project to bring people together instead of dividing them further. The closer Link, Michael, and Dana get to the truth, the more there is to face-not just the crimes of the present, but the crimes of the past.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca

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An #ownvoices novel in verse about an Indian American girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia.

Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted—they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked—Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”—but they are a universe apart.

Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick.

Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Allergic: A Graphic Novel by Megan Wagner Lloyd

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A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet!

At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy to call her own is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She's severely allergic to anything with fur!

Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet? With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd uses inspiration from her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.

In a compelling story rich with friendship, science, and summer fun, a girl finds her voice while navigating the joys and challenges of growing up.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff

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A haunting ghost story about navigating grief, growing up, and growing into a new gender identity

It's the summer before middle school and eleven-year-old Bug's best friend Moira has decided the two of them need to use the next few months to prepare. For Moira, this means figuring out the right clothes to wear, learning how to put on makeup, and deciding which boys are cuter in their yearbook photos than in real life. But none of this is all that appealing to Bug, who doesn't particularly want to spend more time trying to understand how to be a girl. Besides, there's something more important to worry about: A ghost is haunting Bug's eerie old house in rural Vermont...and maybe haunting Bug in particular. As Bug begins to untangle the mystery of who this ghost is and what they're trying to say, an altogether different truth comes to light--Bug is transgender.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

 

Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save and Ecosystem by Kate Messner

See the source image

Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia, so when one showed up dead along the side of a Florida highway in 1979, scientists wondered where it came from. No one knew the snakes had launched a full-scale invasion. Pet pythons that escaped or were released by their owners started breeding in the wild, and these enormous predators began eating every animal in their path. Today a group of scientists at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida is tracking Burmese pythons to find ways to stop their spread. Page Plus links lead to video clips and photos of the scientists working in the field. Delve into the science of pythons and their role as invasive predators.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Bloom by Kenneth Oppel

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The first book in a can't-put-it-down, can't-read-it-fast-enough action-thriller trilogy that's part Hatchet, part Little Shop of Horrors!

The invasion begins--but not as you'd expect. It begins with rain. Rain that carries seeds. Seeds that sprout--overnight, everywhere. These new plants take over crop fields, twine up houses, and burrow below streets. They bloom--and release toxic pollens. They bloom--and form Venus flytrap-like pods that swallow animals and people. They bloom--everywhere, unstoppable.

Or are they? Three kids on a remote island seem immune to the toxic plants. Anaya, Petra, Seth. They each have strange allergies--and yet not to these plants. What's their secret? Can they somehow be the key to beating back this invasion? They'd better figure it out fast, because it's starting to rain again....

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Wild River by Rodman Philbrick

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Daniel Redmayne is fast asleep on the first night of a white water rafting trip, when he's awoken by screams. The dam has failed. The river is surging, and their camp will be under water in a matter of moments.

As the shrieking roar of the river rushes closer, the kids scramble to higher ground. They make it; their counselors do not.

Now they're on their own, with barely any food or supplies, in the middle of the Montana wilderness. Do Daniel and his four classmates have what it takes to stay alive until they can get rescued? Alone in the wild, they forge powerful bonds -- but develop dangerous disagreements. If nature doesn't break them, they might just destroy each other.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell by Jordan Sonnenblick

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An unbelievably hilarious middle-grade true story from bestselling author Jordan Sonnenblick.
In a typical school year, every kid has one or two things go wrong. But for Jordan, there's A LOT going wrong ALL THE TIME.

Take this year. Here are some of the thing going wrong:

  • His teacher hates him. Like, really hates him. Like, is totally out to get him even when he's trying to be good, and is willing to fail him on the simplest things, like show and tell.
  • He has a slight breathing problem because of his asthma. And breathing is never really an optional activity.
  • His pet snake has given birth to way, way, way too many baby snakes, all who need a home.
  • He is finding that becoming The World's Best Drummer in no time whatsoever is maybe not the easiest goal.
  • There are bullies ready to stomp him when all he has to defend himself with is a lunchbox.

And all this doesn't even include the freak swing set accident, the fears inside his head, or the funniest class presentation ever.

By keeping his cool (some of the time), banging on the drums (a lot), and keeping his sense of humor (all the time), Jordan's going to try to make it through the year . . . and grow up to write a book about it!

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

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Jacqueline Woodson's novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when their glory days have passed and the cost of professional sports on Black bodies.

For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone's hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he's as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ's house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ's mom explains it's because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that--but it doesn't make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can't remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?

(summary from www.goodreads.com)