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TEMS and VFMS Summer Reading 2019-2020: 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade

Reading List

Read 2 books:

Choose 1 book from the PYRCA 2019-20 list (below) and at least one other free choice book.​ 

  • Float by Laura Martin
  • Greetings from Witness Protection by Jake Burt
  • Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
  • Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya
  • The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz
  • The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
  • The Red Bandanna, Young Readers Adaptation by Tom Rinaldi
  • Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen
  • Suspect Red by Laura Elliott
  • Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
  • Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs
  • To Pluto & Beyond: The Amazing Voyage of New Horizons by Elaine Scott
  • Unsinkable: From Russian Orphan to Paralympic Swimming World Champion by Jessica Long
*****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 for the summer reading book you chose from the PYRCA list. Complete the assignment, and bring your work with you when you return to school after the summer.

Float by Laura Martin

Image result for float by laura martin

Emerson can float…he just can’t do it very well.
His uncontrollable floating is his RISK factor, which means that he deals with Reoccurring Incidents of the Strange Kind. The last place Emerson wants to be is at a government-mandated summer camp for RISK kids like him, so he’s shocked when he actually starts having fun at camp—and he even makes some new friends.
But it’s not all canoeing and capture the flag at Camp Outlier. The summer of fun takes a serious turn when Emerson and his friends discover that one of their own is hiding a deadly secret that puts all of their lives in danger.
It’s up to the Red Maple boys to save themselves—and everyone like them.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Greetings from Witness Protection by Jake Burt

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A funny and poignant debut middle-grade novel about a foster-care girl who is placed with a family in the witness protection program, and finds that hiding in plain sight is complicated and dangerous.
Nicki Demere is an orphan and a pickpocket. She also happens to be the U.S. Marshals’ best bet to keep a family alive. . . .

The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.

Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

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Jacqueline Woodson's first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a group of students share their stories.

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for "A Room to Talk"), they discover it's safe to talk about what's bothering them—everything from Esteban's father's deportation and Haley's father's incarceration to Amari's fears of racial profiling and Ashton's adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

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Winner of the 2018 Newbery Medal 

In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud and boisterous family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister Gen is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just act normal so that he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends -- at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find the missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.
 

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Image result for insignificant events in the life of a cactus

Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.

Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.
 

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish

Marcus Vega is six feet tall, 180 pounds, and the owner of a premature mustache. When you look like this and you're only in the eighth grade, you're both a threat and a target. Marcus knows what classmates and teachers see when they look at him: a monster.

But appearances are deceiving. At home, Marcus is a devoted brother. And he finds ways to earn cash to contribute to his family’s rainy day fund. His mom works long hours and his dad walked out ten years ago—someone has to pick up the slack.

After a fight at school leaves him facing suspension, Marcus and his family decide to hit the reset button and regroup for a week in Puerto Rico. Marcus is more interested in finding his father, though, who is somewhere on the island. Through a series of misadventures that take Marcus all over Puerto Rico in search of the elusive Mr. Vega, Marcus meets a colorful cast of characters who show him the many faces of fatherhood. And he even learns a bit of Spanish along the way.

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish is a novel about discovering home and identity in uncharted landscapes.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz

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Everyone in Jaime’s small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that’s known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed—like Miguel. With Miguel gone, Jaime fears that he is next. There’s only one choice: accompanied by his cousin Ángela, Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico.

Inspired by true events, The Only Road is an individual story of a boy who feels that leaving his home and risking everything is his only chance for a better life.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

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The letter waits in a book, in a box, in an attic, in an old house in Lambert, South Carolina. It's waiting for Candice Miller. 

When Candice finds the letter, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, after all, who left Lambert in a cloud of shame. But the letter describes a young woman named Siobhan Washington. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle. Grandma tried and failed. But now Candice has another chance. 

So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues in the letter. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the summer ends?

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

The Red Bandanna, Young Readers Adaptation by Tom Rinaldi

36014723 The story of Welles Crowther, whose actions on 9/11 offer a lasting lesson on character, calling and courage

One Sunday morning before church, when Welles Crowther was a young boy, his father gave him a red handkerchief for his back pocket. Welles kept it with him that day, and just about every day to come; it became a fixture and his signature.

A standout athlete growing up in Upper Nyack, NY, Welles was also a volunteer at the local fire department, along with his father. He cherished the necessity and the camaraderie, the meaning of the role. Fresh from college, he took a Wall Street job on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, but the dream of becoming a firefighter with the FDNY remained.

When the Twin Towers fell, Welles's parents had no idea what happened to him. In the unbearable days that followed, they came to accept that he would never come home. But the mystery of his final hours persisted. Eight months after the attacks, however, Welles's mother read a news account from several survivors, badly hurt on the 78th floor of the South Tower, who said they and others had been led to safety by a stranger, carrying a woman on his back, down nearly twenty flights of stairs. After leading them down, the young man turned around. "I'm going back up," was all he said.

The survivors didn't know his name, but despite the smoke and panic, one of them remembered a single detail clearly: the man was wearing a red bandanna.

Tom Rinaldi's The Red Bandanna is about a fearless choice, about a crucible of terror and the indomitable spirit to answer it. Examining one decision in the gravest situation, it celebrates the difference one life can make.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen

34739995 Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people. 

Soon Chaya joins a resistance cell that runs raids on the Nazis' supplies. But after a mission goes terribly wrong, Chaya's network shatters. She is alone and unsure of where to go, until Esther, a member of her cell, finds her and delivers a message that chills Chaya to her core, and sends her on a journey toward an even larger uprising in the works — in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Though the Jewish resistance never had much of a chance against the Nazis, they were determined to save as many lives as possible, and to live — or die — with honor.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Suspect Red by Laura Elliott

33784946 It's 1953, and the United States has just executed an American couple convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Everyone is on edge as the Cold War standoff between communism and democracy leads to the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy and his zealous hunt for people he calls subversives or communist sympathizers. Suspicion, loyalty oaths, blacklists, political profiling, hostility to foreigners, and the assumption of guilt by association divide the nation. Richard and his family believe deeply in American values and love of country, especially since Richard's father works for the FBI. Yet when a family from Czechoslovakia moves in down the street with a son Richard's age named Vlad, their bold ideas about art and politics bring everything into question.

Richard is quickly drawn to Vlad's confidence, musical sensibilities, and passion for literature, which Richard shares. But as the nation's paranoia spirals out of control, Richard longs to prove himself a patriot, and blurred lines between friend and foe could lead to a betrayal that destroys lives.

Punctuated with photos, news headlines, ads, and quotes from the era, this suspenseful and relatable novel by award-winning New York Times best-selling author L.M. Elliott breathes new life into a troubling chapter of our history.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

37811512 For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on "climbing boys"--orphans owned by chimney sweeps--to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived--and a girl. With her wits and will, she's managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. 
But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature--a golem--made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire. 
Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a life together--saving one another in the process.
 

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs

29358487 Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales. 

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. The origins of the first ymbryne. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—known to hide information about the peculiar world—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories, as collected and annotated by Millard Nullings, ward of Miss Peregrine and scholar of all things peculiar.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

To Pluto & Beyond: The Amazing Voyage of New Horizons by Elaine Scott

Image result for to pluto and beyond book New Horizons was designed by NASA to study Pluto and the fringes of our solar system, farther away than any spacecraft has ever explored. Join science writer Elaine Scott as she tells the story of this mission.

For Stephen Hawking, New Horizons signifies that "We explore because we are human and we want to know." This remarkable ship, no bigger than a piano, and using no more energy than a lightbulb, has already traveled three billion miles out to Pluto, and is continuing on to the Kuiper Belt, the farthest reaches of our solar system. The book will feature the beautiful, amazingly sharp photographs it is sending back from its journey, which are letting scientists fill in the blanks in our knowledge of Pluto--and delivering a few surprises along the way.

Elaine Scott tells the exciting story of everyone's favorite planet, from Pluto's discovery through the frustrating attempts to study such a distant object, the creation of the New Horizons project, scientists' hopes and expectations for the mission, and what is being discovered. Her clear, engaging prose does more than narrate the events. By showing how scientists operate, their hypotheses, hopes, and disappointments, and how they make use of them, she gives readers an inspiring portrait of the scientific method itself.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)

Unsinkable: From Russian Orphan to Paralympic Swimming World Champion by Jessica Long

35721241 The top Paralympic swimmer in the world, Jessica Long delivers an inspirational photographic memoir.

Born in Siberia with fibular hemimelia, Jessica Long was adopted from a Russian orphanage at thirteen months old and has since become the second most decorated U.S. Paralympic athlete of all time. Now, Jessica shares all the moments in her life—big and small, heartbreaking and uplifting—that led to her domination in the Paralympic swimming world. This photographic memoir, filled with photographs, sidebars, quotes, and more, will thrill her fans and inspire those who are hearing her story for the first time.

(summary from www.goodreads.com)