This is the second of four lists of “Ten Books Loved by 7th Grade Readers.” We began the school year in mid-August with a quest to uncover all the books can do for our lives with daily choice reading. In mid-November, I asked students to tell me about the book they most loved, one book worthy of recommending to others.
The book-I-most-loved list is as diverse as the readers. Our readers love these books for a range of reasons because books offer us a range of experiences. Some want to escape. Some want to ponder the world. Some want to lean into a future self. Some want to go back to a younger, “easier” time in life. Some want to travel to another time or place. Some just want to learn. Books can do all of that.
Over the next few weeks, I will share my seventh-grade students’ favorites along with their reviews in the hopes that we can offer you some ideas for your classroom library, Christmas gifts, or ever-growing to-read list. (But you can still text, tweet, or message me for recommendations!) Here is List 2:
1.All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely: Rashad Butler African American (16) Is at a store just buying chips, when he trips over a white lady. Moments later the store clerk thinks that he is stealing and the cops get called. Paul Galuzzo is a local cop who sees this and immediately rushes to the scene where he brutally beats him up and arrests him. Quinn is a white kid who is watching this all go down. While watching this he doesn’t have a clue of what to do. The reason for this is because the cop (Paul), is his best friends older brother. He knows that what Paul did was wrong but how could he report his best friends brother? Meanwhile Rashad is hospitalized and all of his family is depressed except Spoony who is just mad. This book explores racism and police brutality. Read on to learn more. (Recommended by Preeth.) Rashad is a African Boy who lives an average life, but one day he goes to a store and trips over a white lady. It looks to be that he tried to steal something, but he’s not so a cop takes him and kicks him and throws him to the ground for a long amount of time.Topics in this book are racism and police brutality. This book is a good unique story. (Recommended by Phil.)2.Ghost: This story is about an African American kid, this boy lives only with his mom and they are poor. One thing that this boy loves to do is run, the track coach saw him running one day and asked him if he wanted to be on the team.This story keeps going through his life in sad and happy moments. I believe that this is an amazing story and I couldn’t put it down, some of the topics that it goes into is bullying, poverty, sports, and theft. It is at sometimes a very funny story and can be sad at times, all around this is an amazing book, and I think that everybody should read it. (Recommended by Alex.) 3.All in Pieces by Suzanne Young: All in Pieces is a great book to read because it doesn’t get boring. I don’t like having to go through multiple pages without anything happening, if this sounds like you this might be your book. This book explores Savannah a girl who is now in a special school after getting expelled for stabbing her old boyfriend with a pencil. But, she has a very good reason. Savvy is in high school, her Mom left her drunk Dad, and she has a little brother with disabilities she has to take care of. Then a boy named Cameron comes around and they end up falling in love. This book made me want to keep reading always, with many plot twists and cliffhangers. This is why I recommend All in Pieces. (Recommended by Brynn.)4.Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan: The Ship: You should read this book because it is a very funny book about Norse mythology but in the modern day. Magnus and his group of teen-aged einherjar have to try to stop Ragnarok, or the end of the world. Through the rough journey, Rick Riordan adds some great jokes along the way. It is a cleverly woven plot with some great variety between the different characters. Overall it is just a very funny, adventurous story that had me on my toes. Make sure to read the first two books in the series first: Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer, Magnus Chase: The Hammer of Thor. (Recommended by Scott.)5. Life of Pi by Yann Martel is about a boy named Pi that has lived his whole life in a zoo, until he is told that they need to move to Canada along with their few remaining animals. After a storm sinks the ship that his family is on, Pi, the only survivor, is left on a raft, with an impatient Tiger, a ravenous Hyena, a helpless Zebra, and a confused Orangutan. This is the miraculous story of survival, trust, and instinct. (Recommended by Joey.)6. Refugee by Alan Gratz:
Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are all fleeing their home because of what was left of their home. For Josef, he is involved with the Holocaust and is trying to escape Hitler and the Nazis, so he and his family sail on a boat that SHOULD take them to freedom. For Isabel, she is from Cuba, and the Soviet Union has fallen down, which was her families, and most of Cuba’s main source of getting food, water, and money. So, she travels with her family on a custom-made boat to try and find America. Finally, for Mahmoud, he lives in Syria during the war, and his house got bombed. So, his family decides that they need to get out of Syria, and find safety, and a country that would actually let refugees in. But the question was… would they? I think you should read this book because it is always full of suspense because there are so many big events that happen throughout this book, and it just had a great plot and even better ending. (Recommended by Mark.)
This book, Refugee, is about three different main characters, in three different time periods. One during World War 2, one during the 1990’s, and one in present-day time. Even though these three characters are separated by time and location, they all have one thing in common: they are all refugee’s. Josef, a Jewish boy in late-1930’s Nazi Germany, is being pushed out of his country due to the Holocaust. Isabel, a girl living in Cuba in the 90’s, is leaving Cuba for the U.S. to avoid prosecution for basic rights. And, Mahmoud, a Syrian boy who leaves Syria to escape growing violence. I recommend this book to young readers because while it contains some historical fiction, which can help readers learn more about the past, it is still relevant, with a present-day timeline. I found it very innovative, and very interesting. While parts may be sad, it eventually ends up with a happy ending, one that is not cliche, but full of unexpected outcomes, and intertwined storylines. (Recommended by Matthew.)
Refugee by Alan Gratz is about three characters that have to leave their homes and pause their life to get away from the violence that is happening at the country they live in. Isabel, her family, and her neighbors go on a boat and sail off to find safety in America. Josef, (his sister) Ruthie, and Josefs mom go onto a train and they meet up with their father on the ship so that they can sail out of Germany to Cuba to get away from the Nazis. Mahmoud and his family try to travel in a car from Syria to Germany to get away from the violence and destruction that had ruined their home. (Recommended by Magda.)
7.Last Shot by John Feinstein: In this book, the main character Stevie Thomas wanted to peacefully watch the final 4 basketball games (since he won a contest to get tickets to the game), but something very fishy happens, so Stevie and his friend Susan have to figure out the mystery. One reason I really liked this book because you really get to know the main character as a friend. For example, the book talks about what Stevie is thinking, so you really know who he is as a character, and that’s why I REALLY liked this book. (Recommended by Nathan).
8.More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer is a book about two teenagers Rev and Emma who are struggling with their life. Rev starts to get letters from his biological father who abused him and he hasn’t seen for 10 years since his foster parents took him in. Meanwhile, Emma’s parents are always arguing and can never seem to get along, much less tolerate each other. So when they both try to run from their problems, they meet and try to help each other and figure out their lives. (Recommended by Rachel.)
9. Girl, Stolen: A Novel by April Henry: Cheyenne, a 16 year old blind girl, gets kidnapped in her own car. She is driven far away and kept wherever her kidnapper drove her. Griffin, her kidnapper, isn’t too bad, she might actually like him. On the other hand, there’s his dad and his two employees…they are cruel. Cheyenne misses her family and knows she needs to escape, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. Even if she managed to get outside, there are miles of woods and a vicious, bloodthirsty bulldog. Will she ever get back home? You should read this book because its impossible to put down. It is an amazing story that will leave you shocked and curious. (Recommended by Maddy.)
10.The McDavid Effect: Connor McDavid and the New Hope for Hockey by Marty Klinkenberg: This story is about the path of debate-ably the best hockey player in the world. This book is so unique, for example, its has experiences never that have never been heard about. I personally was not able to put this book down, it was so intriguing and so educational. Me being a hockey player I try to do some similar things as Connor because I want to be as good as him one day. (Recommended by Lucas.)