Name: Reading Reflection/Summer Reading Contract

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Name: _________________________
Reading Reflection/Summer Reading Contract
What do you know about yourself as a reader?

  1. Describe your favorite types of books and why you enjoy them? (genre)

  1. What did you learn about yourself as a reader this year? (look back through your reading logs and notebooks to help you reflect)

Books that I would like to read this summer are:

Title Author
_____________________ ____________________________

_____________________ ____________________________
_____________________ ____________________________
Dear Sixth Grade Parents,
Studies reveal that students can drop up to two to three reading levels when they do not read over the summer months. Summer is a great time for reading! Most people have extra time to read, talk to friends about books, and discover new books. In an effort to maintain or surpass their current reading levels when they enter 7th grade, we are asking that students

  • Read at least two books

  • Write 1 open-ended response for each book. You will be expected to turn these two open-ended responses on the first day of your 7th grade year.

This summer I will choose at least two books to read. I understand the expectations and guidelines. I will bring my summer open-ended responses (summer reading assignment) to school on the first day of 7th grade. I understand I can read as many books as I wish, but I only need to complete this assignment for two books.

Sign, cut, and return this bottom slip of the contract


Name: ____________________________
Student’s Signature ___________________________________________

Parent’s/Guardian’s Signature ________________________________________

My Fiction Lexile Lexile from SRI (LA): __________________
My Non-fiction Lexile Level from Achieve 3,000 (Sci/SS) ___________________


Summer Reading Assignment for Incoming 7th Graders

To show understanding and comprehension of literature by writing about different aspects you notice in what you’ve read

One of the primary ways we showed understanding and comprehension in grade 6 was writing about ideas we found in our reading, and including text support to prove these ideas. Often, we started by utilizing post-its to record ideas as we read, and then used these post-its as ideas or as text evidence to help us construct open-ended responses. The following is a list of some of the things we have jotted about as we read in language arts this year:

    • Characters (their traits, if they change, their relationships, etc)

    • Social issues

    • Themes/main ideas

    • Types of conflicts

    • What’s really important in the text (or what the text is really about)?

    • inferences, reactions, predictions, questions, connections (especially to other books, articles, texts we have read)

    • Determining the most important/significant events and relationships in the book and why they are significant

    • Determining how our personal experiences influence how we interpret a text, character, etc.

    • And many, many more. See your RNB for a more thorough list of skills & strategies we have used throughout the year.

Assignment: Continue to use the strategies you have used all year long to track your thinking & ideas as you read. Then use those ideas to help you construct an open-ended response.

  • For 2 of the books you read this summer, you should complete one open-ended response per book. Therefore, you will turn in two typed, double spaced responses.

  • Your notebook is a great resource for models in both identifying worthy topics to write about, and to see as a reminder of structuring a well-written open-ended response.


  • Introduction should include the title, author, and restate the question. (Underline the title!)

    • Should be at least 3 paragraphs in length.

    • Follow open-ended response format as taught throughout the year. (REEL Close)

    • You can of course read as many books/articles as you wish, and we encourage you to do so, but you only need to complete this assignment for 2 books that you read.

Open-ended Response Questions
Directions: You may choose by genre or general questions. Answer one question per book. You must complete two total open-ended responses as your summer assignment.
Fantasy OER Questions

  1. How do ideas and themes in this book connect to other fantasy books you have read?

  2. What special powers does the hero (protagonist) possess? For what purposes does he or she use these powers?

  3. Is there a struggle between forces of light and dark? Who wins? Use text examples and explanations to explain why that “side” was the winner.

Science Fiction OER Questions

  1. Compare and contrast problems the characters face in the story to those that people face today. Explain with examples.

  2. Would you like to live in this society? Are there advantages and disadvantages? Offer reasons from the text for your decisions.

  3. Does the author deal with present-day issues such as population, food supplies, ecology, technological advances, or social issues? Compare the author’s views of those issues to your own views.

Realistic Fiction OER Questions

  1. What problems do you and the main character or a minor character have in common? Compare the way you deal with those problems to the way the character dealt with them.

  2. What are the realistic themes and issues in the book? Do they have to do with growing up, peer pressure, friendships, family relationships, survival, divorce, stereotyping? Discuss three themes the book explored.

  3. In real life, events and people can change a character. How did an important event or person change the character at the end of the book?

  4. Describe how the main character changed from the beginning to the end of the book?

  5. Compare and contrast the main character in your book to another book or short story you have read. How are they similar and different?

Mystery OER Questions

  1. What is the mystery that must be solved? How does the setting affect the mystery?

  2. What traits does the main character possess that enables him or her to solve the mystery? Provide text examples that prove the main character possesses those traits.

  3. What part did you consider most suspenseful? Share it and explain why.

Historical Fiction OER Questions

  1. What does this book teach you about the role of men and women during these times?

  2. What does this book teach you about family life and relationships between family members during this time period?

  3. What kinds of struggles and problems did the main character face? List three and explain how the main character dealt with and solved each one. If there was no solution, explain why you think the problems couldn’t be solved.

  4. What issues did you see in the book? Are these issues still problems in today’s society? Explain why or why not or give examples from real life.

Biography, Autobiography, Memoir OER Questions

  1. Discuss three to four personality traits that helped make this person achieve his or her goal. Provide examples that prove the person possesses those traits.

  2. Were there people and/or events that helped this person realize his or her dreams? Select two and show how each influenced the person.

  3. What do you admire or dislike about this person? Explain your position.

Nonfiction OER Questions

  1. Why did you select this book? What new information did you learn?

  2. Did this book change your thinking on this topic? How?

  3. Did the author weave opinions into facts? Can you find examples of each?

  4. What did you learn from photographs? from charts and diagrams? from illustrations?

  5. Describe a cause & effect relationship about your topic that you have read about.

  6. What is the main idea of the book? Use supporting details to explain why that is the main idea.

  7. What are the most important events/information/ideas? What are the impact/effect of these events on the topic?

General OER Questions

  1. Discuss similarities between other books you have read or that have been read aloud to you and connect it to the current book you have finished: similar themes, similar relationships, similar problems, similar characters, etc.

  2. Comments on why one part of the book was important to the story. Explain.

  3. Think of three decisions a character made and explain what the decisions taught you about the character. Explain. Did the character’s beliefs and words always match his/her actions? Explain.

  4. What is one major message/theme the author is trying to convey, or reveal, to the reader? Use effective text information to justify your interpretation.

  5. Within a novel, characters react to story events in different ways. Choose a major event in the novel when the main character reacted in a way you either believe is justified or unjustified. Use effective text information to justify your interpretation. Also, what does this reaction make you infer about the character (or their relationships).

CDMS Incoming 7th Graders Summer Reading Book list
A lexile measures a student's ability to read sentence structure/complexity (from short, simple sentences to complex, long sentence structures) and knowledge of vocabulary. It does not assess reading comprehension directly. As well, it is only one measure of a student's reading ability; so to say your child is a "6th grade reader" would be a partial view of her/him as a reader. As well, lexiles do not take into account content, appropriateness, or interest level but the score can help match students to text that they may be able to tackle. When you receive a Lexile measure, try not to focus on the exact number. Instead, consider a reading range around the number. A person's Lexile range is from 100L below to 50L above his or her reported Lexile measure. When choosing high level lexile books, be aware that the content may NOT be appropriate for the child’s age, so you may want to help your child find appropriate books.

You are NOT required to read a book from this list. You may find and choose your own book within your lexile level by visiting (quick book search, top right corner) OR Happy Summer Reading!

Grade 6-8 Range of Lexile Levels: 955-1155
My Fiction Lexile Lexile from SRI (LA): __________________
My Non-fiction Lexile Level from Achieve 3,000 (Sci/SS) ___________________
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – 590L

Blume, Judy

Faced with the difficulties of growing up and choosing a religion, a twelve-year-old girl talks over her problems with her own private God.
It’s Not the End of the World – 530L

Blume, Judy

When her parents divorce, a sixth grader struggles to understand that sometimes people are unable to live together.
Gettysburg [graphic novel]

Butzer, C.M.

Presents a comic book style depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg; the national movement to create a memorial at the battle site; and the day of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in 1863, drawn from first-person letters, speeches, and other primary sources.
Princess Diaries [The first in a ten-book series] – 790L-1040L for the series

Cabot, Meg

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2001

Fourteen-year-old Mia, who is trying to lead a normal life as a teenage girl in New York City, is shocked to learn that her father is the Prince of Genovia, a small European principality, and that she is a princess and the heir to the throne.
Bud, Not Buddy – 950L

Curtis, Christopher Paul

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2000

Newbery Medal 2000

Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.
Elijah of Buxton – 1070L

Curtis, Christopher Paul

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2008

Coretta Scott King Author Award 2008

Newbery Honor 2008

Eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American South in 1859, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.
Matilda – 840L

Dahl, Roald

Matilda applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security.
Because of Winn-Dixie – 610L

DiCamillo, Kate

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2001

Newbery Honor 2001

Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.
The City of Ember [The first of a four-book series.] – 680L-790L for the series

Duprau, Jeanne

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2004

In the city of Ember, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions.
The Breadwinner [first book of a trilogy] – 630L

Ellis, Deborah

Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women's freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Parvana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father's arrest.
Inkheart [Inkheart trilogy] – 780-890L

Funke, Cornelia

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father Mo, a bookbinder, can "read" fictional characters to life when an evil ruler named Capricorn, freed from the novel "Inkheart" years earlier, tries to force Mo to release an immortal monster from the story.
Gone [First of a four-book series] – 550-620L

Grant, Michael

In a small town on the coast of California, everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappears, setting up a battle between the remaining town residents and the students from a local private school, as well as those who have "The Power" and are able to perform supernatural feats and those who do not.
Old Yeller – 910L

Gipson, Fred

Newbery Honor 1957

In the late 1860s in the Texas hill country, a big yellow dog and a fourteen-year-old boy form a close, loving relationship.
Found [First of the Missing series of five books] – 710L-790L for the series

Haddix, Margaret Peterson

When thirteen-year-olds Jonah and Chip, who are both adopted, learn they were discovered on a plane that appeared out of nowhere, full of babies with no adults on board, they realize that they have uncovered a mystery involving time travel and two opposing forces, each trying to repair the fabric of time.
Flush – 830L

Hiaasen, Carl

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2006

With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home.
Hoot – 760L

Hiaasen, Carl

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2003

Newbery Honor 2003

Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal [first book of the popular series] – 950L

Kinney, Jeff

Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship.
A Swiftly Tilting Planet – 850L

L’engle, Madeline

The youngest of the Murry children must travel through time and space in a battle against an evil dictator who would destroy the entire universe.
A Wrinkle in Time – 740L

L’engle, Madeline

Three extraterrestrial beings take Meg and her friends to another world.
Ella Enchanted – 670L

Levine, Gail Carson

In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her.
Number the Stars – 670L

Lowry, Lois

In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.

The Big Field – 970L

Lupica, Mike

When fourteen-year-old baseball player Hutch feels threatened by the arrival of a new teammate named Darryl, he tries to work through his insecurities about both Darryl and his remote and silent father, who was once a great ballplayer too.
Heat – 940L

Lupica, Mike

Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has no parents to offer them proof.
Game Changers – 870L

Lupica, Mike

When the coach's son, Shawn O'Brien, is chosen to play quarterback, eleven-year-old Ben McBain is not surprised--but when he tries to be a good teammate and help the inconsistent Shawn, he is startled to learn that his new friend does not really want the position.
Travel Team – 930L

Lupica, Mike

After he is cut from his travel basketball team--the very same team that his father once led to national prominence--twelve-year-old Danny Walker forms his own team of cast-offs that might have a shot at victory.
The Doll People [first book in a series] – 570L

Martin, Ann

A family of porcelain dolls that has lived in the same house for one hundred years is taken aback when a new family of plastic dolls arrives and doesn't follow The Doll Code of Honor.
11 Birthdays – 650L

Mass, Wendy

After celebrating their first nine same-day birthdays together, Amanda and Leo, having fallen out on their tenth and not speaking to each other for the last year, prepare to celebrate their eleventh birthday separately but peculiar things begin to happen as the day of their birthday begins to repeat itself over and over again.
Every Soul a Star – 740L

Mass, Wendy

Ally, Bree, and Jack meet at Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, to watch a total eclipse of the sun; but soon they begin to learn a great deal about themselves, each other, and the universe.
The Lightning Thief [first book of the popular Percy Jackson and The Olympians series] – 740L

Riordan, Rick

After learning that he is the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea, twelve-year-old Percy is sent to a summer camp for demigods like himself, and joins his new friends on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.
Becoming Naomi Leon – 830L

Ryan, Pam Munoz

When Naomi's absent mother resurfaces to claim her, Naomi runs away to Mexico with her great-grandmother and younger brother in search of her father.
Esperanza Rising – 750L

Ryan, Pam Munoz

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

The Bad Beginning [First of the 14-book Series of Unfortunate Events series] – 1010L

Snicket, Lemony

Tales of three likable, resilient, and unfortunate Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, in search of a home--stories that are literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted.
Milkweed – 510L

Spinelli, Jerry

Follows a young Jewish orphan in the Warsaw ghetto during World War Two as he slowly understands the horrible reality that surrounds him and attempts to steal in order to help others survive.
Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception [12 book series] – 660L

Van Draanen, Wendelin

Exciting mysteries starring the feisty and funny, smart and spunky seventh-grade ace detective, Samantha Keyes.
Little House in the Big Woods [first book in a popular series] – 930L

Wilder, Laura Ingalls

A year in the life of two young girls growing up on the Wisconsin frontier, as they help their mother with the daily chores, enjoy their father's stories and singing, and share special occasions when they get together with relatives or neighbors.
Fever, 1793 – 580L

Anderson, Laurie Halse

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2001

Sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793.
Hope Was Here – 710L

Bauer, Joan

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2001

Newbery Honor 2001

When sixteen-year-old Hope and the aunt who has raised her move from Brooklyn to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, to work as waitress and cook in the Welcome Stairways diner, they become involved with the diner owner's political campaign to oust the town's corrupt mayor.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – 1080L

Boyne, John

Bored and lonely after his family moves from Berlin to a place called "Out-With" in 1942, Bruno, the son of a Nazi officer, befriends a boy in striped pajamas who lives behind a wire fence.
Ender’s Game [first book of a popular series] – 780L

Card, Orson

ALA Notable Children’s Books 1995

Young Ender Wiggin may prove to be the military genius Earth needs to fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race that will determine the future of the human race.
Graceling [first book of a popular trilogy] – 730L–870L for the series

Cashore, Kristin

In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace of killing and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.
Artemis Fowl [first of a popular 7 book series] – 600L

Colfer, Eoin

When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.

Uprising – 790L

Haddix, Margaret Peterson

In 1927, at the urging of twenty-one-year-old Harriet, Mrs. Livingston reluctantly recalls her experiences at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, including miserable working conditions that led to a strike, then the fire that took the lives of her two best friends, when Harriet, the boss's daughter, was only five years old. Includes historical notes.
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl – 820L

Hansen, Joyce

Twelve-year-old Patsy keeps a diary of the ripe but confusing time following the end of the Civil War and the granting of freedom to former slaves.
Wonderland [graphic novel]

Kovac, Tommy

Based on Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. A graphic novel based on Lewis Carroll's classic stories and follows the White Rabbit's housemaid, Mary Ann, on her nonsensical adventures in Wonderland.
Savvy – 1070L

Law, Ingrid

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2009

Newbery Honor 2009

Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her "savvy"--a magical power unique to each member of her family--just as her father is injured in a terrible accident.
Airborn – 760L

Oppel Kenneth

Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox – 570L

Pearson, Mary

In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl, recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, learns a startling secret about her existence.
Eyes of the Emperor – 630L

Salisbury, Graham

Following orders from the United States Army, several young Japanese American men train K-9 units to hunt Asians during World War II.
Under the Blood-Red Sun – 640L

Salisbury, Graham

Tomikazu Nakaji's biggest concerns are baseball, homework, and a local bully, until life with his Japanese family in Hawaii changes drastically after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy – 1000L

Schmidt, Gary

ALA Notable Children’s Book 2005

Michael L. Printz Honor 2005

Newbery Honor 2005

In 1911, Turner Buckminster hates his new home of Phippsburg, Maine, but things improve when he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from a poor, nearby island community founded by former slaves that the town fathers--and Turner's--want to change into a tourist spot.

Everlost [first book of the popular Skinjacker series] – 860L-910L for the series

Shusterman, Neal

When Nick and Allie are killed in a car crash, they end up in Everlost, or limbo for lost souls, where, although Nick is satisfied, Allie will stop at nothing--even skinjacking--to break free.
The Schwa was Here – 790L

Shusterman, Neal

A Brooklyn eighth-grader nicknamed Antsy befriends the Schwa, an "invisible-ish" boy who is tired of blending into his surroundings and going unnoticed by nearly everyone.
Heroes of the Valley – 770L

Stroud, Jonathan

Halli Sveinsson, a mischievous young man who does not fit in with his peers and siblings, plays a trick on Ragnor that goes too far, forcing him to embark on a hero's quest in which he will face highway robbers, monsters, an intriguing girl, and truths about his family and the legends he grew up with.
Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree – 830L

Tarshis, Lauren

A quirky and utterly logical seventh-grade girl named Emma-Jean Lazarus discovers some interesting results when she gets involved in the messy everyday problems of her peers.
The Hobbit – 1000L

Tolkien, J.R.R.

The adventures of the well-to-do hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who lived happily in his comfortable home until a wandering wizard granted his wish.
The Lord of the Rings – 810L-920L for the trilogy

Tolkien, J.R.R.

A trilogy, which tells of the quest undertaken by the hobbit Frodo and his companions to journey across Middle-earth and cast the evil One Ring, into the Cracks of Doom.
Uglies [first book of a series] – 770L- 880L for the series

Westerfeld, Scott

Tally is faced with a difficult choice when her new friend Shay decides to risk life on the outside rather than submit to the forced operation that turns sixteen year old girls into gorgeous beauties, and realizes that there is a whole new side to the pretty world that she doesn't like.
American Born Chinese [graphic novel] – 530L

Yang, Gene Leun

Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture.
Dragonwings – 870L

Yep, Laurence

In the early twentieth century a young Chinese boy joins his father in San Francisco and helps him realize his dream of making a flying machine.
Elsewhere – 720L

Zevin, Gabrielle

After fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that is both like and unlike Earth, where she must adjust to her new status and figure out how to "live."
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (740)

Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832.But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy . . . and is put on trial for murder!

The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Rhilbrick (740)

It's the story of an epileptic teenager nicknamed Spaz, who begins the heroic fight to bring human intelligence back to the planet. In a world where most people are plugged into brain-drain entertainment systems, Spaz is the rare human being who can see life as it really is. When he meets an old man called Ryter, he begins to learn about Earth and its past. With Ryter as his companion, Spaz sets off an unlikely quest to save his dying sister -- and in the process, perhaps the world.

My Brother Sam is Dead by James Collier (770)

The Revolutionary War comes alive in this contemporary classic for young adults. The War had no clear-cut loyalties--it divided families, friends and towns. Young Tim Meeker's 16-year-old brother goes off to fight with the Patriots while his father remains a reluctant British Loyalist in the Tory town of Redding, CT. Tim’s always looked up to his brother, who’s smart and brave. With the war soon raging, Tim knows he'll have to make a choice -- between the Revolutionaries and the Redcoats . . . and between his brother and his father. Over the course of the war Tim learns that life teaches some bitter lessons and does not guarantee clear answers.

The Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyui Chou (840)

In 1945, 10-year-old Sookan's homeland of North Korea is occupied by the Japanese. Left behind while her resistance-fighter father hides in Manchuria and her older brothers toil in Japanese labor camps, Sookan and her remaining family members run a sock factory for the war effort, bolstered only by the dream that the fighting will soon cease. Sookan watches her people--forced to renounce their native ways--become increasingly angry and humiliated. When war's end brings only a new type of domination--from the Russian communists--Sookan and her younger brother must make a harrowing escape across the 38th parallel after their mother has been detained at a Russian checkpoint. Drawn partly from Choi's own experiences, her debut novel is a sensitive and honest portrayal of amazing courage.

Joey Pigza Swallowed a Key by Jack Gantos (970) Joey Pigza's got heart, he's got a mom who loves him, and he's got "dud meds," which is what he calls the Ritalin pills that are supposed to even out his wild mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn't stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors. Joey ends up bouncing around a lot - and eventually he bounces himself all the way downown, into the district special-ed program, which could be the end of the line. As Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (1000)

A story of a 12-year old girl who lives alone on a Pacific island after she leaps from a rescue ship. Isolated on the island for eighteen years, Karana forages for food, builds weapons to fight predators, clothes herself in a cormorant feathered skirt, and finds strength and peace in her seclusion.

Freak the Might by Rodman Philbrick (1000)

Maxwell Kane, a lumbering eighth grader who describes himself as a "butthead goon," has lived with grandparents Grim and Gram ever since his father was imprisoned for murdering his mother. Mean-spirited schoolmates and special ed (for an undetermined learning disability) haven't improved his self-image, so he is totally unprepared for a friendship with Kevin, aka Freak, a veritable genius with a serious birth defect that's left him in braces and using crutches. Max is uplifted by Freak's imagination and booming confidence, while Freak gets a literal boost--hoisted onto Max's shoulders, he shares Max's mobility. Together they become Freak the Mighty, an invincible duo.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (1020)

Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present—and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair—it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.

One Step at a Time: A Young Marine's Story of Courage, Hope and a New Life in the NFL – 820L

Bleill, Josh

Josh Bleill tells people he had "one bad day". On October 15, 2006, while on a combat patrol in Fallujah Iraq, an IED (improvised explosive device) struck Josh's Humvee. The explosion tore through the vehicle killing two of his fellow marines and severely injuring Bleill and his best friend. Josh awoke five days later with the news of the loss of his two friends and both of his legs.

America is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell. – 840L

Brown, Don

Provides a chronological account of September 11, 2001, and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the hijacking of a plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.
The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat – 930L

Chevat, Richie

Examines the origins of the different food chains that have sustained humans throughout history, discussing how certain foods and cuisines have become a popular part of people's daily diets.
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. – 930L

Fleming, Candace

Traces the life of female aviator Amelia Earhart from her childhood to her final flight, discusses the extensive search for her and her missing plane, and includes photographs, maps, handwritten notes by Amelia, and sidebars.
The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing – 1010L

Jurmain, Suzanne

Tells the story of the doctors and researchers who worked to track down the cause of yellow fever and find a way to eliminate the disease.
Hana’s Suitcase – 730L

Levine, Karen

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2004

A biography of a Czech girl who died in the Holocaust, told in alternating chapters with an account of how the curator of a Japanese Holocaust center learned about her life after Hana's suitcase was sent to her.
Pharaoh’s Boat – 1170L

Weitzman, David

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2010

Provides an illustrated account of the construction of Egyptian pharaoh Cheops' funeral boat, and discusses its discovery centuries later during an archaeological dig.

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