Suggested Summer Reading for Incoming Sixth and Seventh Graders

Parents have been requesting a recommended summer reading list. Please note that this is not required reading but simply a list of books that kids might enjoy.

The Hobbit

by J. R. R. Tolkien
Whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in his hobbit-hole in Bag End by Gandalf the wizard and a company of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Although quite reluctant to take part in this quest, Bilbo surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and his skill as a burglar! Written for J.R.R. Tolkien's own children, The Hobbit met with instant success when published in 1937 and has remained a timeless classic.

Homecoming

by Cynthia Voigt
The Tillerman kids' mother just left them one day in a car in a mall parking lot. Their father had left them a long time ago. So, as usual, it was up to 13-year-old Dicey, the eldest of four, to take care of everything, make all the decisions, feed them, find places to sleep. But above all, Dicey would have to make sure to avoid the authorities who would split them up and place them in foster homes. Deep down, she hoped they could find an adult they could trust, someone who would take them in and love them. But she was afraid it was too much to hope for.

Night

by Elie Wiesel
A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family ... the death of his innocence...and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.

Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck
While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck's work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing Of Mice and Men, creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness. But though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal; a friendship and a shared dream that makes an individual's existence meaningful.

Out of the Dust

by Karen Hesse
In a series of free verse poems, 15-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Great Depression. Powerful and moving, this Newbery Medal winner effectively depicts both a bleak historical era and one family's healing.

Redwall

by Brian Jacques
When the peaceful life of ancient Redwall Abbey is shattered by the arrival of the evil rat Cluny and his villainous hordes, Matthias, a young mouse, determines to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior which, he is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy the enemy.

Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind

by Suzanne Fisher Staples
When 11-year-old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father's wishes.

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee
"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." That is a lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel -- a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

Where the Lilies Bloom

by Vera Cleaver, Bill Cleaver
Mary Call has true Appalachian grit. When her dying father makes her promise to keep her brother and sisters together forever on the mountain and take no help from strangers, she is determined to keep her word -- no matter what. At first Mary Call is sure she can run the family just fine on her own. Romey and Ima Dean help her gather herbs to sell in town, using the riches of the mountains to keep the family clothed and fed. But winter sets in all too quickly. As food runs low, and the tiny house begins to cave in under the weight of the snow, Mary Call learns that the land where the lilies bloom is also a cruel and unforgiving land that deems a price for her stubborn pride.

Other Titles

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine Engle
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
The Dark Is Rising-Susan Cooper/any in series
Let the Circle Be Unbroken-Mildred Taylor/any in series
The Man in the Brown Suit-Agatha Christie/any in series
A Single Shard - Linda Sue Park
Summer of My German Soldier-Bette Greene
Up a Road Slowly-Irene Hunt
Walk Two Moons-Sharon Creech
War of the Worlds-H.G. Wells
Watership Down-Richard Adams
The Year of Impossible Goodbyes-Sooknyul Choi