Incoming 8th Grade Summer Readin

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					Nathanael Greene Middle School, Incoming 8 th Grade Summer Reading List, 2010

No More Dead Dogs, Gordon Korman
Nobody understands Wallace. This reluctant school football hero has been suspended from the team for writing an
unfavorable book report of Old Shep, My Pal. But Wallace won’t tell a lie-he hated every minute of the book! Why
does the dog in every classic novel have to croak at the end? After refusing to do a rewrite, his English teacher,
who happens to be directing the school play Old Shep, My Pal, forces him go to the rehearsals as punishment.
Although Wallace doesn’t change his mind, he does end up changing the play into a rock -and-roll rendition,
complete with Rollerblades and a moped!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy , Douglas Adams
Join Douglas Adams's hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting
into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic
construction team obliterates the planet to build a freeway. You'll never read funnier science fiction.

The Body of Christopher Creed , Carol Plum-Ucci
The often-tortured class weirdo has disappeared, leaving an enigmatic note on the school library computer. Is he a
runaway, a suicide, a murder victim? Sixteen-year-old Torey Adams and his friends remember beating up Chris
Creed when his gentle but obnoxious ways exasperated them. Now that he is gone, they joke uneasily about him
to ease their guilt. The town is full of ugly rumors, as Torey's lawyer mother tells them "See, guys, this is what
happens when a kid suffers a personal tragedy. Nobody wants to take responsibility. Nobody wants to admit they
had a part in it. So, they spend a lot of time pointing the finger, and things just get worse and worse."

What’s in a name? Ellen Wittlinger
Everyone in Scrub Harbor is caught up in a war over the town's name. The wealthy population, the "Follys," wants
to change it to the mor e elegant Folly Bay, hoping to add value to their real estate; the poorer families, the
"Scrubs," want to maintain their traditions. What starts out as a quest to change a small town's name turns into
personal journeys of self-discovery for 10 teens. The ongoing debate about which name is best for the town, Scrub
Harbor or Folly Bay, lightly overlays the main story line, while the characters struggle to hold their lives together
and figure out who they r eally are.

Penny from Heaven, Jennifer Holm
Penny's father is long dead, and no one will tell her what happened to him. She lives with her mother and
grandparents, who live a rather dull and straitlaced life. But nearby live her father's family -- grandparents, uncles,
aunts, and cousins, and they are anything but straitlaced. Her cousin, and best friend, Frankie wan ts to be a
criminal -- just like his jailed dad. Her Uncle Dominic lives in his car by choice, and harbors a sad secret. Her Aunt
Gina and her grandmother, Nonny, live in the same house but can't stand each other, so they have separate
kitchens. And now, much to Penny's chagrin, her mother is dating the milkman.

Historical Fiction

Stealing Freedom, Elisa Lynn Carbone
Based on the true story of Ann Maria Weems, a young teenage slave in Maryland who escaped on the
Underground Railroad to Canada in the 1850s , this historical novel combines the appeal of exciting escape
adventure with authentic details of the time and place.

I thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Fr eed Slave , “Dear America” Series
In this latest addition to the Dear Ameri ca series, Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author Joyce Hansen presents
the inspiring story of Patsy, a freed girl who becomes a great teacher.
The Art of Keeping Cool, Janet Taylor Lisle
Robert and his mother have come to live with his grandparents on the Rhode Island coast in 1942, soon after his
father has gone off to fight in the war. The coastal residents are getting ready for war and a German painter, living
like a hermit on the outskirts of town, has raised suspicions of being a spy. To complicate matters, Robert's cousin
Elliott, also an artist, is at odds with their grandfather, an imposing patriarch prone to anger. As the summer
unfolds, the tension mounts. Robert and his mother wait anxiously for word from the front; Elliott grows
unhappier at home as he befriends the painter; the town turns against the outsider with tragic consequences; and
Robert finally learns why his father has been estranged from his family.

Good Night, Mr . Tom, Michele Magorian
London is poised on the brink of World War 11. Timid, scrawny Willie Beech--the abused child of a single mother--
is evacuated to the English countryside. At first, he is terrified of everything, of the country sounds and sights, even
of Mr. Tom, the gruff, kindly old man who has taken him in. But gr adually Willie forgets the hate and despair of his
past. He learns to love a world he never knew existed, a world of friendship and affection in which harsh words
and daily beatings have no place. Then a telegram comes. Willie must return to his mother in London. When weeks
pass by with no word from Willie, Mr. Tom sets out for London to look for the young boy he has come to love as a

Numbering All the Bones, Ann Rinaldi
The Civil War is at an end, but for thirteen-year-old Eulinda, it is no time to rejoice. Her younger brother Zeke was
sold away, her older brother Neddy joined the Northern war effort, and her master will not acknowledge that
Eulinda is his daughter. Her mettle is additionally tested when she realizes her brother Neddy might be buried in
the now-closed Andersonville Prison where soldiers were kept in torturous conditions. With the help of Clara
Barton, the eventual founder of the Red Cross, Eulinda must find a way to let go of the skeletons from her past.

Newes from the Dead, Mary Hooper
WRONGED. HANGED. ALIVE? (AND TRUE!) Anne can't move a muscle, can't open her eyes, can't scream. She lies
immobile in the darkness, unsure if she'd dead, terrified she's buried alive, haunted by her final memory —of being
hanged. A maidservant falsely accused of infanticide in 1650 England and sent to the scaffold, Anne Green is
trapped with her racing thoughts, her burning need to revisit the events —and the man—that led her to the
gallows. Meanwhile, a shy 18-year-old medical student attends his first dissection and notices something strange
as the doctors prepare their tools . . . Did her eyelids just flutter? Could this corpse be alive? Beautifully written,
impossible to put down, and meticulously researched, Newes from the Dead is based on the true story of the r eal
Anne Green, a servant who survived a hanging to awaken on the dissection table. Newes fro m th e Dead concludes
with scans of the original 1651 document that r ecounts this chilling medical phenomenon.


The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (1 in a trilogy)
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the r emains
of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of
the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event
called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is
constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

The Dark Lord of Der kholkm, Diana Wynne Jones
Mr. Chesney operates Pilgrim Parties, a tour group that takes paying participants into an outer realm where the
inhabitants play frightening and foreboding roles. The time has come to end the staged madness . . . but can it
really be stopped? Master storyteller Diana Wynne Jones serves up twists and turns, introduces Querida, Derk,
Blade, and Shona and a remarkable cast of wizards, soldiers, kings, dragons, and griffins, and mixes in a lively dash
of humor. With all the ingredients of high fantasy, this unforgettable novel will delight fans old and new.
The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman (1st in a trilogy)
In the first of a planned trilogy, Pullman has created a wholly developed universe, which is, as he states, much like
our own but different in many ways --a world in which humans are paired with animal "daemons" that seem like
alter egos, only with personalities of their own. The story begins at Jordan College in Oxford, where young Lyra
Belacqua and her daemon, Pantalaimon, are being reared and educated by the Scholars. Although a lackluster
student, Lyra possesses an inordinate curiosity and sense of adventure, which lead her into forbidden terr itory on
the night her uncle, Lord Asriel, visits. A totally involving, intricately plotted fantasy that will leave readers
clamoring for the sequels.

The Thief, Megan Whelan Turner
"I can steal anything." After Gen's bragging lands him in the king's prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then
the king's scholar, the magus, needs the thief's skill for a seemingly impossible task -- to steal a hidden treasure
from another land. To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But Gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own.
From the believable characters to the well -realized setting, this fantasy offers a refreshing change of pace for
readers who enjoy adventure stories with a touch of magic.

Science Fiction

Fantastic Voyage, Isaac Asimov
Four men and a woman are reduced to a microscopic fraction of their original size, sent in a miniaturized atomic
sub through a dying man's carotid artery to destroy a blood clot in his brain. If they fail, the entire world will be

Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child
geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant
parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and
Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin
drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, wher e children play at mock battles in
zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry
from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. The war with the
Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost
as long. Is Ender the general the Earth needs? Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in
very different ways. Between the thr ee of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clark
The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city--intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to
humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little
rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began. But at wha t cost? With the advent of peace, man ceases to
strive for creative greatness, and a malaise settles over the human race. To those who resist, it becomes evident
that the Overlords have an agenda of their own. As civilization approaches the crossroads, wil l the Overlords spell
the end for humankind . . . or the beginning?

Beasties, William Sleator
At first Doug doesn't believe the rumors about bloodthirsty creatures who are said to have left a trail of amputated
victims across the northern woods. Then, he and his younger sister find signs of a mysterious presence in the land
behind their home. They are about to meet the Beasties, a "family" of beings with war on their minds --war against
the human race! "This gleefully icky horror show may well leave readers with some soul-searching
questions...that resonate long after the cover is closed." --Publishers Weekly


The Long March: The Choctaw’s Gift to Irish Famine Relief, Maria Louise Fitzpatrick
Responding to a nationwide appeal during the Irish potato famine, the impoverished Choctaw nation collected
$170 (about $5,000 in modern ter ms) only 15 years after their forced relocation by whites to what is now
Oklahoma; with fine insight, this commemoration explains how and why the Choctaw wer e able to set their anger
aside. Choona, too young to know the details of his people's long march, hears the tale from his great-
grandmother and rebels at the thought of sending money to Europeans; he comes to understand that the gift will
help its givers as much, i f not more, than its receivers.

Forbidden Schoolhouse: the True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and her Students , Suzanne Jurmain
They threw rocks and rotten eggs at the school windows. Villagers refused to sell Miss Crandall groceries or let her
students attend the town church. Mysteriously, her schoolhouse was set on fire—by whom and how r emains a
mystery. The town authorities dragged her to jail and put her on trial for breaking the law. Her crime? Trying to
teach African American girls geography, history, reading, philosophy, and chemistry. Trying to open and maintain
one of the first African American schools in America. Exciting and eye-opening, this account of the heroine of
Canterbury, Connecticut, and her elegant white schoolhouse at the c enter of town will give readers a glimpse of
what it is like to try to change the world when few agree with you.

Snowbound: The Tragic Story of the Donner Party, David Lavender
A precise, dispassionate, horrifying account of the Donner party's disastrous trek to California that will have
readers counting their blessings. Inspired by a land speculator's highly misleading guidebook, the two large Donner
families and several associates set out from Independence, Missouri, in May 1846, were trapped in the High Sierra
by snowstorms in November, and after running out of food ate their dead (most of whom died of natural causes);
only 48 of the 88 survived to cross the mountains. The episode has been thoroughly documented by contemporary
reports and later research, but this book is the fullest treatment yet for younger readers.

Sacajawea: the Story of Bird Woman and the Lewis and Clark Expedition , Joseph Bruchac
Captured by her enemies, married to a foreigner, and a mother at age sixteen, Sacajawea lived a life of turmoil and
change. Then, in 1804, the mysterious young Shoshone woman met Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Acting as
interpreter, peacemaker, and guide, Sacajawea bravely embarked on an epic journey that altered history forever.
Hear her extraordinary story, in the voices of Sacajawea and William Clark in alternating chapters, with selections
from Clark’s original diaries.


Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt
"When I look back on my childhood I wonder ho w I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable
childhood: the happy childhood is hardly wo rth your while. Worse than the o rdinary miserable childhood is th e
miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."
So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and
raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's
father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy -- exasperating, irresponsible
and beguiling -- does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his
father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.
Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas
dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near -starvation and the casual
cruelty of relatives and neighbors -- yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable

First They Killed My Father, Luong Ung
One of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian
capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city,
forcing Ung's family to flee and, eventually, to disperse. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for
orphans, her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until
the Khmer Rouge was destroyed. Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung's powerful story is an unforgettable account of a
family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustai ned by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality.

A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child
soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there
has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived. In A Long Way Gone,
Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and
wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, 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. This is a rare and mesmerizing
account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.
(Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. He moved to the United States in 1998 and finished his last two
years of high school at the United Nations International School in New York an d then graduated from Oberlin
College in 2004.)


And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

In the world-famous mystery thriller, ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island
mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysteri ous U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of
an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is
found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. The tension escalates as the survivors realize the killer is not only
among them but is preparing to strike again! And again!

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour, Michael Beil
It all began with The Scream. And ended with . . . well, if we told you that, it wouldn’t be a my stery! But in between
The Scream and The Very Surprising Ending, three friends find themselves on a scavenger hunt set up for a girl they
never met, in search of a legendary ring reputed to grant wishes. Are these sleuths in school uniforms modern -day
equivalents of Nancy, Harriet, or Scooby? Not really, they’re just three nice girls who decide to help out a weird
lady, and end up hiding under tables, tackling word puzzles and geometry equations, and searching rather moldy
storage rooms for “the stuff that dreams are made of” (that’s from an old detective movie). Oh, and there’s A Boy,
who complicates things. As boys often do.
                     Summer Reading Assignments, Nathanael Greene Middle School, 2010
 Incom ing 8 Grade: Read 4 books from the list and turn the assignments in to your English teacher on the first
                                                day of school.

Complete one of the following for each of the books you read. Each book should have a different response choice.

    1.   Write a letter to the author. See attached assignment sheet.

    2.   This choice works if you read a novel, but not so much for the non-fiction selections.
         Write a description of the novel so others might learn a bit about it without giving away the ending. You
         should tell about:
               What the protagonist’s main problem or goal is
               Where and when the story is set
               Its use of dialogue or action
               Its use of description
               For which audience the book seems written (Whom does the author seem to have in mind?
                  Boys? Girls? Kids of a certain age? People interested in a certain thing? People from a certain
                  place? Etc. How can you tell?)
               The theme or author’s message (What does the author seem to want us to think about as we
                  read? How can you tell?)

         Be sure to mention the book title and the author’s name and write about the book in paragraph form—do
         not just answer the bullet points. You can use quotes or passages from the book to illustrate your ideas.
         You may type or write neatly in pen on loose leaf paper.

    3.   Complete a Reader Response Chart for the book you read by choosing form the list of reader response
         prompts. Do not use any of the prompts more than once. Use the attached sheets.

    4.   Complete a Summer Reading Recommendation Form. Use the attached form.
                                           Choice #1: Letter to the author

Write a one – two page letter to the author of the book you read.
In your letter -
      Tell the author what you liked about the book as well as what you didn’t like, if anything, and what
          emotions you felt as you read.
      Tell the author what you think was the best scene in the book and describe the scene with examples from
          the book.
      Describe your favorite character and what you especially liked about that character.
      If there is anything that you would change about the book, explain to the author what you wish had been
          different and why.

Use a standard letter format as seen below.

Dear _____________________,

Body of letter using paragraphs.


Your name

Student example:

Dear Ms. Taylor,

I really enjoyed your amazing book, Roll of Thunder, Hea r My Cry. It accurately informs people of the hardships
that blacks had to endure back when there was so much racism in America. The characters you created almost
seem real with their personalities and lives. When I read this book I felt as if I was living in the Great Depression,
witnessing everything that happened throughout the story. I felt as if I was looking through Cassie’s eyes, seeing
and thinking everything that she saw and felt. I now understand more than ever the struggle to survive for the
blacks when there was so much racism. I s ee how heartless and cruel people can be for reasons that are
completely unfair.

My favorite character in your story is Cassie. She tells me about everything that happens around her through her
thoughts. I like Cassie because she brings the story to life. I felt like I was actually experiencing what Cassie
experienced when I read your amazing book.
My favorite part of the book was when the Logan kids had dug the hole that the white kids’ bus became stuck in. I
felt really happy for the Logans because they’d finally gotten their much deserved revenge on the bus’s driver and
passengers; the driver and passengers who toyed with the Logan kids, and laughed at them whenever the kids
tried to scurry away. I felt the same satisfaction that the Logan kids fel t when they got their amazing revenge.

My least favorite part of your book was when Mr. Simms pushed Cassie into the street. Just because Cassie didn’t
address his daughter “Miz” Lillian Jean, a grown man hurt a little girl. The moment I read what had h appened, I
really understood how wrong racism is and how horrible people could act because of it. I can’t believe how the
color of somebody’s skin could have been so important. I also didn’t really enjoy the end of the book because
nothing really worked out for that particular black community. However, I suppose every story cannot end in
happiness for everyone involved.

Overall, your book was awesome to read, and I would give it two thumbs up!

Choice #3: Reader Response Journal Prompts (for the Reader Response Chart)

DIRECTIONS: As you read, stop periodically and complete the r eader response chart by choosing from the
following prompts.

1. After reading, I wonder…
2. Are the characters realistic (do they seem like they could be real people)? Why or why not?
3. Create a timeline of events from what you have r ead so far.
4. Create a ‘WANTED’ poster for the antagonist.
5. Describe a character that you would like to meet (which doesn’t mean that you think you would like the
character, but that you think the character would be interesting). List 4 questions that you would ask.
6. Describe something you have read that is similar to this.
7. Describe the major conflict. What side are you on?
8. Importance of an Episode: Select what you consider the most important episode in the book. Explain (briefly)
what happens, why you think it is important to the section, your reaction to the episode, and why you react this
9. Setting: What effect does the setting (time, place, social and historical bac kground) have on the character’s
thoughts, actions, and choices? What would be your reaction to having to adapt to the character’s environment?
10. Describe the setting’s time and place. Create a new setting that you think would be better for the stor y and
describe it.
11. Describe what was either believable or unbelievable about your reading. Defend your opinion.
12. Describe the similarities and differences between the main character and you.
13. Theme: Explain an idea or theme –either stated outright or implied by events—which is meaningful to you.
Explain its importance to
the book and why you find it meaningful.
14. Character Comparison #1: Compare yourself to a main character. Point out your similarities and try to account
for differences
between you and him/her. Considering what you have discovered, what is your reaction to this character? Why?
How do you think the
character would feel about you?
15. Character Comparison #2: Compare a character from your book to a character from another work of fi ction
(novel, play, film,
short story). What are their similarities? What are their differences? Which character do you admire more? Why?
16. Judgment: Examine a character’s actions, values, behavior, etc. with which you disagree. What is happening?
Why is the character thinking/acting this way? What do you see wrong with it? Why? What would you suggest as a
preferable response/behavior/value?
17. A particularly interesting or important passage : Copy a passage that really jumps out at you for some reason.
Put the page # after it and then explain why you chose that particular passage.
                                Choice #3: Reader Response Chart

   Name: ____________________________________               Book Title:

Prompt #   Response
                            Choice #4: Summer Reading Recommendation Form

Name: _____________________________________     Book Title:
__________________________________________ ______

Answer in complete sentences.                  Author:

Who is the protagonist? (There may be more than one)


Who is the antagonist?

Where and when is the story set?
_______________________________________________________________________________ ___________
What is the major conflict or problem?
_________________________________________________________________________ _________________
What is the nature of this conflict/problem? Is it Person vs. person? Person vs. nature? Person vs. society?
Person vs. self?
Recommendation: What do you think of the book? What is good about it?/what did you like? What did you not
like so much? What kind of reader or person would enjoy this book? Why? Explain all of this in a well -organized
paragraph with a thesis statement and evidence from the book to support your opinion. (Use loose leaf paper or
type this if you need more space.)
______________________________________________________________________________________ _______