Recommend Me a Book for 7th Graders

I haven’t posted much about it, but I actually got a full-time teaching position about a month and a half ago. I’ll be teaching 7th Grade Language Arts, which is about the same as I taught in China.

Anyway, the job is here in the States and I’m looking for a novel. I’m not looking to teach the novel in-depth, however. The curriculum is pretty much set in that regard.

I’m looking for a novel that I can read 2-3 times as week, just to have one book that is enjoyable for the sudents to listen to. I’ll read it aloud either to start or end class a few times a week, so it needs to be a pretty good book.

  1. It needs to be interesting. I want students to want me to read it so they can find out what happens next.

  2. It’d be nice if it had short chapters, so I can read it just for a few minutes at a time, though this is not required.

  3. It needs to be a book that isn’t super common, like Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket. It can be famous, but I don’t want one they have all read.

Thanks for your reccomendations.

The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs.

Check out “Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment” by James Patterson.

I know, you are saying “the murder mystery guy?” Yes, that one.

There is no offensive language in it. The story is fast paced and very interesting. My 13 year old daughter dragged her feet all last year in literature class. I gave her this book and she finished it in days - and she asked me to order the next one in the series.

My vote: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. In my opinion, one of his best.

Ender’s Game buy Orson Scott Card. Read it yourself first to make sure the violence isn’t too much for your kids–I could teach it to 7th graders where I am now, but some places might find it problematic.

Or Of Mice and Men. It’s shorter and more “classic”, but kids always like it. And the movie version is really good: you can perhaps show that as a treat after you finish.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

I have read these over and over to my kids and they are wonderful. They both have lots of deeper meanings beneath exciting plots that you can explore.

My seventh grade English teacher read us Dickens’ “Great Expectations”, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did most of the class, even those who had never voluntarily picked up a book in their lives, so I will suggest it.

Watership Down? A classic. It has a long, impressive journey, blood, guts, suspense, modestly-sized chapters and maps. I am a sucker for novels with maps. I read it after I had left grade seven behind, but remember thinking that I would have just adored the book at that age.

In seventh grade, our teacher had us read Animal Farm. I think we would have enjoyed it more had we known more about its background, but I remember thinking it was pretty good.

Lionboy? I’ve raved about it before, but it’s fast paced & lots of fun with a lovely main character. Or Millions, about two boys who have two weeks to spend two hundred thousand pounds - not as easy as it seems when you’re 7 & 9.

There’s The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, which is fantastic but very upsetting. My cousin read it to her class as part of their WW2 studies, and aparently they loved it, dram and all. It’s about a boy, Bruno, whose father is in charge of Auschwitz. Bruno, aged nine, doesn’t know what that means, only that on one side of the fence is him, and on the other, another nine year old boy wearing striped pyjamas. 7th Graders are about 12/13 right? They should have enough contextual knowledge to make this a very powerful story.
For shorter, and I must admit, a little creepy, books, there’s always Coraline by Neil Gaiman, or Clockwork, by Phillip Pullman (of the His Dark Materials trilogy).

I could go on, but I’d be here all night.

The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher. The individual books are The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire.

I’m reading The Chronicles of Narnia to my fourth-grader right now; I think these will be next.

My 7th grade teacher read to us both The Giver and The Outsiders. I loved both of them, even though I had already read the The Giver several times. They might also like Holes and Maniac Mcgee.

When I was a kid, our teacher read us this book. I loved it and could hardly wait for the next installment.

You couldn’t go wrong with The Hobbit, either. That’s on the reading list at the school where my SO teaches.

Holes is an excellent choice. I also strongly recommend Walk Two Moons . The kids will relate to it because it’s about 7th grade girls. I would check out the Newbury Winners—a list of winners can be found at

Oh, and Carl Hiaasen’s book Hoot is also a good choice.

Also, Wee Free Men.

The Golden Goblet is a great read-aloud. It’s a remarkably historically accurate tale of an Ancient Egyptian boy who wants to become a goldsmith like his late father, but is effectively a slave to his older brother, who wants his work as a stonecutter. One day, Our Hero finds a golden goblet in his brother’s things…a golden goblet that could only have been stolen from the tomb of Thutmose the Conqueror!

“The Great Brain” and all its sequels.

Possibly the “Danny Dunn” books, unless you think they’d reject them on being technologically out of date.

The “The Dark is Rising” series by Susan Cooper. One won the Newberry Award.

“A Wrinkle in Time” and its sequels by Madeline L’Engle. AWiT won the Newberry Award.

Oh, “Johnny Tremain” was one we read in 7th grade GATE.

For your really advanced kids, maybe, just maybe, the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. If they haven’t already read them, the Chronicles of Narnia, by same.

A guide that seems to be aimed at middle schoolers:

For maybe your “a bit lower” readers:

Recommendations from the biggest bookstore in the western US:
Obligitory snarky/attacking SDMB question: did you use Google before you asked this? That’s all I did, for 5 minutes. I’m sure there’s more there.

Oh, and it’s “Newbery Award”, with one “r”, I’m informed by Google.

The Count of Monte Cristo. There are several different translations/abridgments to choose from depending on how long you need it to be. And nothing can be all that bad which has love, pirates, revenge, treasures, prison breaks, mysterious figures, and greek princesses.

And educational too!

The Wizard of Oz…

sorry I thouht you said 2nd graders.

In that case, try. * The Old Man and the Sea*