Book List For 7th Graders
Updated: Apr 15
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1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Giver is an American young adult dystopian novel that centers on a young boy named Jonas. Jonas lives with his family in what seems like an ideal world, a world of contentment and conformity. When Jonas turns twelve, he is selected as the new Receiver of Memory--a person who carries the burden of memories from all of history, and who has access to books beyond schoolbooks. During the training, Jonas discovers new emotions and sensations that no ordinary member of the community is familiar with. The more he experiences these new things, the more he learns about the dark secrets of his community, and he realizes that not everything is as it seems...
2. A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park
Told in alternating sections, A Long Walk To Water is about two Sudanese children, a boy in 1985 and a girl in 2008. The boy, Salva, fights for survival and endures hunger, dangerous animals, and the sweltering heat as he tries to escape the Sudanese Civil War in 1985. The girl, Nya, begins her tale in 2008 when her family struggles to find clean, fresh water. Nya spends most of her days traveling on foot to collect water from a pond for her family. This book is a compelling tale of hope, perseverance, and courage that intertwines two remarkable stories in an emotional and powerful way.
3. An Elephant In The Garden by Michael Morpurgo
During WWII, Lizzie's mother works as a zookeeper in Dresden, Germany. In anticipation of Dresden's imminent bombing, the zoo animals will be put down as a precaution. However, Lizzie and her family have become attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene. Her mother had convinced the zoo director to keep Marlene to stay in the family's garden. As the bombs begin to fall, Lizzie's family is forced to flee from the city. But how can they walk to safety when they have an elephant in tow? Inspired by a true story, An Elephant In The Garden is a story of hope, courage, and faith despite the darkest of times.
4. Poppy Mayberry, The Monday by Jennie K. Brown
People in the quirky town of Nova have special abilities based on the day they were born. 11-year-old Poppy was born on a Monday, which has gifted her telekinesis. Her teacher, born on a Thursday, can read minds. The kid next to her in class could turn back the clock just because he is a "Wednesday." But Poppy's Monday telekinesis isn't quite working out, and to make matters worse, she has to endure the constant teasing from her classmates Ellie and Celia. Having little confidence and struggling in school, she is sent to Power Academy, a summer school for kids who need to work on their powers. Will Poppy be able to master her gift? Poppy Mayberry, The Monday is the first in the Nova Kids series which readers are sure to enjoy and will eagerly anticipate reading the rest of the book series.
5. Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Set in 1968, 14-year-old Doug Swieteck struggles to deal with a dysfunctional family and adjust to life in a new town and school, where he feels out of place and unwelcome. Taking refuge at the local library and making friends with the librarian, he takes an interest in a book about birds and drawing. Despite mistrust and unfair expectations about him, that he is what his abusive father and brother are, Doug perseveres and makes positive life changes as he discovers new sides of himself. Okay For Now is both a moving and hopeful coming-of-age story that reminds us that despite hardships, we can still learn to find our best selves.
6. A Snicker Of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Midnight Gulch was once a magical place where people could conjure thunderstorms, become invisible when sad, bake magic into pies, and even catch starlights in Mason jars--until a curse drove the magic away.
When Felicity Pickle, who has a gift of seeing words everywhere she goes, arrives in Midnight Gulch where her mother grew up, she finally feels at home. She even starts seeing words she has never seen before like, "home" and "friend." But her mother, cursed with a wandering heart, is getting ready to leave again. Felicity must return the magic to Midnight Gulch and free her family from the curse so they can finally have a place to call "home." This book is a delightful and charming tale about family, love, and home with a sprinkle of magic. This is a good book for readers who would like to improve their vocabulary as well.
7. Death On The River Of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Amazon Adventure by Samantha Seiple
In Death on The River of Doubt, readers follow Theodore Roosevelt, his son Kermit and renowned Brazilian explorer Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon and other companions as they embark on a perilous journey as they go deep into the Amazon jungle to lead an expedition and chart an unmapped river. With new dangers waiting around every corner, including raging rapids, harsh weather, bloodthirsty piranhas, cannibals, and traitors within their own ranks, it seems that not everyone will make it out alive. Amidst all of this, the indomitable spirit of Teddy Roosevelt proved unwavering through the expedition, determined to complete the mission. This fascinating narrative, non-fiction story is a fast-paced and engaging read that will surely captivate middle-grade readers, giving them an insight into the life of the former US president.
8. Bluefish by Pat Schmatz
13-year-old Travis has to move in with his alcoholic grandfather in a new town. Travis feels lonely as he misses his old home and his dog, Rosco, whom he left behind. At the new school, Travis makes friends with Velveeta, a spunky, kindhearted girl with secrets of her own. He also meets Mr. McQueen, a kind and helpful teacher who discovered Travis’ secret--he can’t read. Bluefish is beautifully written with strong and believable characters about a boy with a learning disability, a dedicated and caring teacher, and a true friend who helps him through life's ups and downs.
9. Home Of The Brave by Katherine Applegate
Kek is a young Sudanese refugee who comes to Minnesota to live with his aunt and cousin. Kek adjusts to his new life in a new land and experiences snow for the first time. An elderly woman who owns a farm, a girl in foster care, and a cow whose name means "family" in Kek's native language are among the people Kek meets along the way. As Kek anxiously awaits news about his missing mother while braving the Minnesota winter, he finds comfort in the warmth of his new friendships and faith in his new country. Home of the Brave features short, heartwarming chapters which are lighthearted and funny, beautifully written in free verse.
10. A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry
Swift, a young wolf cub, lives in the mountains with his pack, learning to hunt and compete with his siblings for hierarchy. When a rival pack attacks, Swift is separated from his family and finds himself alone and injured. As he travels through the Pacific Northwest, he endures hunger, hunters, and forest fires along the way. He's looking for a new home, but where? The story of OR-7 (or Journey), a real wolf from Oregon, has inspired this thrilling novel that will appeal to reluctant readers as well as lovers of wildlife.
11. Jeremy Fink And The Meaning Of Life by Wendy Mass
Jeremy's father died when he was eight. A month before Jeremy's 13th birthday, Jeremy received a package from his father containing a locked wooden box that requires special keys. The mysterious box is engraved with the words "The Meaning of Life: for Jeremy Fink to open on his 13th birthday." Jeremy is the kind of boy who never ventures more than four blocks from his apartment and who hates surprises. Lizzy, his best friend, is the opposite and gets into some kind of trouble every now and then. When Lizzy convinces Jeremy to look for the keys to the box, the two embark on an adventurous journey through the city with life lessons learned along the way. Lively characters, surprising twists, and thought-provoking ideas make this novel a must-read.
12. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
At the end of World War II, 13-year-old Jack Baker from Kansas was sent to a boy's boarding school in Maine after losing his mother to a brain aneurysm. At first, Jack had trouble adapting to his new environment until he met Early Auden, an orphan. Early reads the numbers in Pi as a story, collects clippings about the great black bear sightings in the nearby mountains, and believes in impossible things. Jack and Early soon form an unexpected friendship, and while they are on break from school, they set out on a quest for the great black bear on the Appalachian Trail. In the mountains, they will meet some strange and dangerous characters and discover some surprising truths about themselves and others. As the readers follow their incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail, Navigating Early is a tale about friendship, loss, and family that will draw readers into this beautiful and hopeful story.
13. Posted by John David Anderson
As a result of a ban on cellphones at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends devise a new way to communicate with each other by leaving sticky notes around the school. Soon, as the idea catches on, everyone in school starts to leave notes as well. Words are more than just words, especially in middle school. You can make friends with the right words or make enemies with the wrong ones, and sometimes they can change things forever. Posted, an award-winning young adult novel, explores themes of bullying, friendship, social media, and the inherent power of words.
14. Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
When the Nazis occupied Holland in 1942, Anne Frank and her family left their Amsterdam home and went into hiding. Throughout the next two years, Anne's diary vividly described living in confined quarters as they faced constant hunger, boredom, and the imminent threat of discovery. Anne Frank's remarkable diary has become a world classic that chronicles the horrors of war and reveals the spirit of humanity in powerful and moving ways.
15. Wink by Rob Harrell
Seventh-grader Ross Maloy just wants to be a normal middle schooler. But when you have a permanent wink from rare eye cancer, goopy eyes from ointments, and wear a funny hat, it's hard to blend in. Ross has to endure cruel bullying and disappearing friends. But just as he was about to give up, he found out how music, art, and real friends can bring life to his world and can make a big difference. Based on the author's real-life experiences, this poignant novel blends humor and hope into an uplifting and unforgettable tale of survival and embracing life's quirks.
16. The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling
One year after a random restaurant shooting that changed their family forever, to escape from their grief and to find peace, Nora and her father are exploring a canyon deep in the Arizona desert. Nora wishes things could get back to normal like they did when her mother was alive. But an unthinkable happens: a flash flood separates Nora and her father. To stay alive, not only does Nora have to fight scorpions and poisonous snakes, but also the Beast, who terrorized her dreams for the past year. Readers won't be able to put this book down as they follow and root for Nora on her harrowing journey as she faces her fears, copes with grief and trauma, and finds the courage to save herself and her father.
17. The List Of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead
Bea keeps a journal to list the things that will always stay the same despite the many changes in her life. Included in this list is the fact that her Mom and Dad will always love her despite the divorce and her dad marrying his boyfriend, Jesse. Readers will get glimpses into Bea's life as she copes with changes in her family dynamics, with school, and with Jesse's daughter, who she hopes will be her sister. The List of Things That Will Not Change is a positive and uplifting tale that discusses the importance of family, support, and acceptance; it also addresses anxiety and mental health in children, making it an ideal read for kids and adults alike.
18. Tornado Brain by Cat Patrick
Tess and Frankie are twins but unlike Tess, Frankie is neurodivergent. She doesn't like loud noises, can't stand being touched, and is easily distracted. This also means that Frankie has trouble making friends and keeping them. Although she did have a friend named Colette, the two had a falling out and are now no longer friends. A few weeks before the end of seventh grade, Colette suddenly goes missing. Determined to find Colette, Frankie and Tess work together to gather clues that will help find her...before it’s too late.
19. Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein
For Will Levine, seventh grade isn't going well. Having a funny-looking chin makes him a target of bullying at school resulting in him being called Turtle Boy. Although his chin can be fixed by surgery, Will is terrified of hospitals ever since his father died during a routine surgery when he was little. As part of his bar mitzvah community service project, his mother and Rabbi make him visit RJ, a teenager with an incurable disease, to help him overcome his fear of hospitals. Will and RJ don't get along at first. Soon, Will learns that RJ has a bucket list and realizes that he must fulfill it as RJ's illness is worsening. The bucket list tasks are accomplished with RJ's guidance, as he helps Will come out of his shell and live his life.
20. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Sal is traveling cross-country with her grandparents to find her mother. To pass the time during the long car trip, Sal entertains her grandparents with a story about a friend named Phoebe Winterbottom whose mother also vanished and who received secret messages after her disappearance. Sal narrates the stories and seems unaware of just how parallel her story is to Phoebe's story. Sal and Phoebe's stories intertwine throughout the book, which explores themes such as friendship, love, and family. A beautiful and heartfelt road trip story you won't soon forget.
21. Eleven by Tom Rogers
Alex dreamed of becoming a hero, but nothing heroic ever happened to him. He is also turning 11 on the 11th, and all he wants for his birthday is a dog. His parents, however, think he isn't responsible enough to take care of a pet, and they want him to focus on his studies. On the morning of his birthday, however, things seemed a little out of the ordinary: the school let them out early, his mom told him not to turn on the TV when he got home, and he rescued a stray dog. It is September 11, 2001, and it is the one birthday he will never forget. In Eleven, we see how the events of that day affected the world, and its message is one of hope, bravery, compassion, and kindness. It's a great book for children and adults alike
22. Shipwreck At The Bottom Of The World: The Extraordinary True Story Of Shackleton And The Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong
Sir Ernest Shackleton and 27 men left England in August 1914, hoping to become the first explorers to trek across the continent of Antarctica. This book tells the story of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and his crew as they desperately fight for survival after their ship, Endurance, becomes trapped in ice and is eventually destroyed. After countless close calls, Shackleton and five others reached the remote and unvisited Elephant Island where they set off to get help. In the most extraordinary adventure story in history, readers will be captivated by Shackleton's leadership and courage amidst dire circumstances, as well as how he brought every one of his men back alive.
23. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
In a historical fiction set in the Gilded-Age Atlanta, 17-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid to a vicious mistress in a grand house. But by night, Jo writes an anonymous advice column called "Dear Miss Sweetie." Using the power of her pen, she addresses some of society's ills, and challenges fixed ideas about gender and race. Despite her column's popularity and becoming the talk of the town, her opponents insist on revealing Miss Sweetie's secret identity, leading Jo to question whether it is best to remain silent or speak up. This compelling story of a Chinese-American woman living in the South during the late 19th century will surely captivate readers with its poignant portrayal of her experiences.
24. The Darkdeep by Ally Condie
Nico and his friends go to Still Cove to have fun and test out his new drone. The remote Still Cove is covered by dense fog and is off-limits due to numerous creepy sightings. However, when the local bullies arrive, things get out of hand, causing their drone to crash into the icy waters of Still Cove. Nico falls down the cliff while trying to retrieve his expensive drone. As Nico's friends rush to his rescue, not only is he safe, but they also discover a mysterious houseboat hidden in the swirling mists in the middle of the cove. As the friends explore deeper into the unknown, something ancient has awakened, and it can fulfill all their wishes and even make their nightmares come true. This supernatural thriller is fast-paced with alternating bits of humor, and is sure to captivate horror fans and those who enjoy "Stranger Things" and "The Goonies."
25. When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin
A former foster kid, Ben Coffin has never felt like he fits in, and has never been good at making friends. While at school, he keeps his head down to avoid bullies and prefers to spend his free time reading his favorite sci-fi books. In the alley beside Coney Island Library, he discovers a scruffy, neglected dog named Flip. Little did he know it would lead him to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley--a girl with the brightest personality. Ben begins to feel as if he belongs in his own life for the first time, but then everything changes. This bittersweet book is a heartwarming tale of one boy's journey through life's ups and downs and a must-read for dog lovers as well.
26. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Francie lives in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn to Irish parents. Despite her tough and poverty-stricken life, she tries to find beauty in it. Neighbors often criticize her family's eccentric and erratic behavior, such as her father Johnny's hard drinking and her aunt Sissy's constant liaisons with men. The book provides a glimpse into Francie and her family's daily life and struggles in the early 1900s Brooklyn and how she eventually pulled herself out of poverty by working hard despite hardships, loneliness, and loss. This book is a timeless, beautiful work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place with an emotional, realistic, and honest voice.
27. Bloom by Kenneth Oppel
The invasion that happened wasn't where you expected it to begin. It all started with rain, which triggered a strange and life-threatening event. Thick, black vine-like plants began sprouting everywhere and releasing toxic pollens. They bloom everywhere, rapidly taking over lands and fields and swallowing animals and people. Meanwhile, three kids on a remote island didn't seem to be affected by the toxic plants. Anaya, Seth, and Petra all suffer from strange allergies--but not to these plants. Could they be the key to fighting back the invasion?
28. The Fountains Of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, a son of an oil tycoon arrives in Madrid in 1957 to connect to his mother's birth country through the lens of his camera. His love for photography introduce him to Ana--the hotel maid assigned to care for his family while staying at the luxurious Hotel Castellana Hilton. By getting to know Ana, Daniel begins to discover the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War and the deep secrets of a country where people live in fear and terror under General Franco's rule. Both gripping suspense and a well-crafted love story, this book will hold readers' attention from the first page to the last.
29. The Land (Logan Family Saga) by Mildred D. Taylor
Nine-year-old Paul-Edward Logan's life has been different from most freed slaves, as he is the son of a prosperous plantation owner. His white father acknowledged and raised him, and his white brothers treat him no differently. However, as he grows into a young man, he discovers that having a multiracial heritage is not easy, especially in post-Civil War Georgia. Black people distrust him because he looks white, and he is discriminated against when white people learn of his black heritage. So Paul, with his friend, Mitchell, leaves Georgia to fulfill his dreams of owning land. A powerful, thought-provoking story based on the author's own history, The Land will appeal to readers from 7th grade and up.
30. A Whale Of The Wild by Rosanne Parry
A gripping animal fiction story about a young orca whale named Vega who lives in the Salish Sea. Young Vega is learning how to find salmon for her group and preparing for when she becomes the matriarch of her family. As she and her brother Deneb find themselves out in the open ocean after a devastating earthquake and tsunami, the siblings must find a way to survive, as they encounter shark attacks, starvation, and polluted waters on their journey back to their family. Beautifully illustrated and powerful, this educational novel explores family bonds, survival, and the ever-present threat of climate change and its effects on marine life. Animal lovers will also enjoy the back pages, which offer additional information about orcas and their natural habitats.