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Incoming 8th Grade Summer Reading List - 2023

Summer 2023 Reading List

Incoming 8th Grade: SCAPA

At SCAPA, we require that the incoming 8th grade students read a total of two books over the summer. Please keep in mind that this requirement is an attempt to prevent students from losing their reading skills during the break. “Children who are readers add between 3,000 and 5,000 new words to their vocabulary every year through incidental exposure”. (Nagy, Anderson, and Herman 1987) Reading comprehension and speed also improve as students add vocabulary words. We encourage you to read with your children and discuss their books. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to teach them those invaluable critical thinking skills they will need to develop in order to be successful in both school and the workplace. No time to read with your child? No problem. Host a book club for your child and their peers. They can read and discuss their books together just like adults do. 

The books below may be located at the public libraries and at local or on-line bookstores. They were chosen because of their relationship to core content. However, only you know what is appropriate for your children, so we recommend you assist them in making selections which meet your expectations. In addition, we have listed the Lexile Reading Level next to each title along with the Lexile Reading Level Charts for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. This should help you assist your child in choosing the most appropriate books for his/her current reading level. Please keep in mind that Lexile levels are determined by sentence length as well as vocabulary so the more dialogue a book has, the shorter the sentences. This can lead to below level Lexile Level scores for books which are still appropriate for your child’s grade level.

6th Grade Lexile Level: 925-1070

7th Grade Lexile Level: 970-1120

8th Grade Lexile Level: 1010-1185

English Language Arts & Social Studies (Choose one book from the list below.)

These books were chosen because of their relationship to social studies content in the coming school year. 

Please email Mrs. Aldridge at or Mr. Spaeth with any questions about this list. NOTE: Students will be completing

project on their summer reading book for English and Social Studies.

Allen, Thomas B. 

  • Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent: How Daring Slaves and Free Blacks Spied for the Union During the Civil War (1120)

Anderson, Laurie Halse

  • Chains (811)

  • Fever 1793 (681)

  • Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution (931)

Aronson, Mark and Budhos, Barina

  • Sugar Changed the World (1121)


  • The Fighting Ground (650)

  • Sophia’s War (730)

Bolden, Tonya

  • Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty (1160)

Bowe, Andy Russell

  • The Back of Beyond:  A Story About Lewis and Clark (1009)

Collier, James Lincoln and Christopher Collier

  • Jump Ship to Freedom (829)

Cushman, Karen

  • The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (899)

Davis, Kenneth

  • In the Shadow of Liberty (1110)

Fast, Howard

  • April Morning (931)

Fleischman, Paul

  • Bull Run (829)

Fox, Paula

  • Slave Dancer (921)

Fritz, Jean

  • Brady (870)

  • Why Not, Lafayette? (999)

Kendall, Martha E.

  • Susan B. Anthony: Voice for Women’s Voting Rights (1109)

Krass, Peter

  • Sojourner Truth (1152)

Lester, Julius

  • To Be a Slave (1019)

McClafferty, Carla Killough

  • The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon  (1140)

Monfredo, Miriam Grace

  • North Star Conspiracy (931)

Myers, Walter Dean

  • The Glory Field (781)

Osborne, Linda Barrett

  • This Land is Our Land (1080)

Patterson, Katherine

  • Lyddie (870)

Peck, Richard

  • The River Between Us (769)

Petry, Ann

  • Harriett Tubman, Conductor on the Underground Railroad (989)

Reeder, Carolyn

  • Shades of Gray (829)

Rinaldi, Ann 

  • Mine Eyes Have Seen (631)

  • Numbering the Bones (650)

  • The Fifth of March (888)

Robinet, Harriett Gillem

  • Forty Acres and a Mule (669)

Schanzer, Rosalyn

  • Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem (1109)

Sheinkin, Steve

  • Lincoln’s Grave Robbers (930)

  • The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery (1061)

Speare, Elizabeth George

  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond (888)

Swanson, James L.

  • Chasing Lincoln’s Killer (1080)

Walker, Sally M.

  • Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland (1201)

Washington, Booker T.

  • Up From Slavery (1140)


Science (Choose one book from the list below.)

Please email Mrs. Arkwright at with any questions about this list.

NOTE: Students will be creating a project about the book they read for science. They will also be expected to take 

the AR test on this book.

Cooney, Caroline 

  • Code Orange (941)

DeFelice, Cynthia

  • The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker (811)

Goodall, Jane

  • In the Shadow of Man (1178)

Gratz, Alan

  • Two Degrees (770)

Haddix, Margaret Peterson

  • Double Identity (781)

Herriot, James

  • All Creatures Great and Small (1009)

  • All Things Bright and Beautiful (999)

  • All Things Wise and Wonderful (999)

  • The Lord God Made Them All (989)

Hickam, Homer

  • Rocket Boys (910)

Kelly, Jacqueline

  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (829)

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw

  • Charles Darwin: The Life of a Revolutionary Thinker (1211)

Pfeffer, Susan Beth

  • Life As We Knew It (731)

Preston, Richard

  • The Hot Zone (1061)

Werlin, Nancy

  • Double Helix (781)



If you are interested in joining SCAPA’s BATTLE OF THE BOOKS team, here is the reading list. 

** Indicates books that are KBA winners for 23-24. (Kentucky Bluegrass Award)

L– Lexile AR-- (Accelerated Reader) Book Level/Point Value

1. Ansari, Rebecca K.S.

**The In-Between (690L AR: 5.5/9.0)

Cooper and his sister, Jess, whose family is going through a difficult time, learn of an unsolved mystery and work together to solve it.

2. Comrie, Courtney

Rain Rising (Reading Age: 8-12yrs. Grade Level: 3-7 No AR available) An inspiring debut middle grade novel-in-verse about Rain, who must overcome sadness after her all-star brother is badly beaten up at a frat party.

3. Dee, Barbara

**Violets are Blue (630L 4.4/7.0)

Twelve-year-old Wren, who is learning special effects makeup, is thrilled to be makeup artist for her new school's production of Wicked, but her parents' divorce is seriously affecting her mother.

4. Freeman, Megan E.

**Alone (690L AR: 4.7/4.0)

When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her best friends, she wakes to a nightmare. She's left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.

5. Gratz, Alan

Two Degrees (770L AR: 5.2/11.0)

When three children endure separate climate change disasters, they emerge from their experiences committed to changing the world.

6. Gonzalez Diaz, Christina

**Invisible (260L 2.6/1/0) This book tells a story about five very different students who are forced together by their school to complete community service... and may just have more in common than they thought.

7. Korman, Gordon

**The Fort (740L AR: 5.0/9.0) The morning after Hurricane Leo rips through the town of Canaan, friends exploring the widespread destruction discover an underground bomb shelter.

8. Wagner Lloyd, Megan & Nutter Mee, Michelle

Squished: A Graphic Novel (520L 2.5/1.0) Avery Lee loves living in Hickory Valley, Maryland, but she's tired of feeling squished by her six siblings.

9. Lloyd, Natalie

Hummingbird (610L AR: 4.5/10.0) Eleven-year-old homeschooled Olive is tired of being seen as "fragile" just because she has osteogenesis imperfecta (otherwise known as brittle bone disease), so she's thrilled when she convinces her parents to let her attend Macklemore Middle School.

10. Lowry, Lois

The Windeby Puzzle (730L No AR available) Estrild is not like the other girls in her village; she wants to be a warrior. Varick, the orphan boy who helps her train in spite of his twisted back, also stands apart. In a world where differences are poorly tolerated, just how much danger are they in? Inspired by the true discovery of the 2,000-year-old Windeby bog body in Northern Germany, Newbery Medalist and master storyteller Lois Lowry transports readers to an Iron age world as she breathes life back into the Windeby child, left in the bog to drown with a woolen blindfold over its eyes.

11. Moses, Shelia P.

**We Were the Fire: Birmingham 1963 (No Lexile available. No AR available) Rufus Jackson Jones is from Birmingham, the place Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the most segregated place in the country. A place that in 1963 was full of civil rights activists including Dr. King. The adults are trying to get more attention to their cause--to show that separate is not equal. Rufus’s dad works at the local steel factory, and his mom is a cook at the mill. If they participate in marches, their bosses will fire them. So that’s where the kids decide they will come in. Nobody can fire them. So, on a bright May morning in 1963, Rufus and his buddies join thousands of other students to peacefully protest in a local park. There they are met with policemen and firemen who turn their powerful hoses on them, and that’s where Rufus realizes that they are the fire. And they will not be put out.

12. Paulsen, Gary

**Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood

(1030L AR: 5.9/11.0) Gary Paulsen was born during World War II, and his turbulent childhood provided plenty of subject matter for his bestselling novels, and librarians gave him inspiration to explore the world through books.

13. Riordan, Rick

**Daughter of the Deep (700L 5.0/9.0) Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a high school that graduates the best marine scientists and naval warriors in the world. She puts her leadership skills to the test against a rival school and makes some astounding discoveries.

14. Soontornvat, Christina

**The Last Mapmaker (740L 5.2/11.0)

As assistant to Mangkon's most celebrated mapmaker, Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady. In reality, her father is a commoner. When she joins a charting expedition, she isn't the only one aboard the ship with secrets.

15. Stevens, Court

**We Were Kings (No Lexile available No AR available) Twenty years ago, eighteen-year-old Francis Quick was convicted of murdering her best friend, Cora King, and sentenced to death. Now the highly debated Accelerated Death Penalty Act has passed giving Frankie thirty final days to live. Surprising everyone, one of the King family members sets out to challenge the woefully inadequate evidence and potential innocence of Frankie Quick. The at-first reluctant but soon-fiery Nyla and her unexpected ally—handsome country island boy Sam Stack—bring Frankie’s case to the international stage through her YouTube channel, Death Daze. They step into fame and a hometown battle that someone’s still willing to kill over. But who? The senator? The philanthropist? The pawn shop owner? Nyla’s own mother.

PLEASE NOTE— The FCPS Middle School Battle of the Books List has also been included with this Summer Reading List. Students are more than welcome to select books from the Battle of the Books list for summer reading, especially if they are interested in participating in Battle of the Books this school year. Please see below for information about Battle of the Books.

What is Battle of the Books?

Battle of the Books is a reading promotion program in Elementary and Middle Schools where students compete in a tournament style competition by answering questions about books on a designated book list. For Middle School, students read a total of 15 books in preparation for the BOB competition. Participation in Battle of the Books is voluntary. For more details, please reach out to Ms. Jeanene Jones, SCAPA Librarian,  OR 859-381-3332 Ext. 41623.