8th Grade Books

Bilbo Baggins. Elijah of Buxton. Anne with an ‘e’. Aram Garoghlanian. Johnny Tremain. These are just a few of the individuals whose lives your eighth grade students will explore as they read through these novels.

A Christmas Carol
  • Lexile 900L
  • ATOS Level 6.7
  • Word Count 28448
  • Page Count 68

A Christmas Carol

Since its publication in 1843, A Christmas Carol has become a cultural touchstone, imparting a message as relevant to our world today as it was in Dickens’ own Victorian age. As it tells the story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve, the book reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas. This timeless tale of transformation and redemption makes a perfect gift for anyone who loves great storytelling.

Anne of Green Gables
  • Lexile 1040L
  • ATOS Level 7.3
  • Word Count 97364
  • Page Count 308

Anne of Green Gables

“Eleven-year-old Anne Shirley has never known a real home. Since her parents’ deaths, she’s bounced around to foster homes and orphanages. When she is sent by mistake to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she wants to stay forever. But Anne is not the sturdy boy Matthew and Marilla were expecting.

She’s a mischievous, talkative redheaded girl with a fierce temper, who tumbles into one scrape after another. Anne is not like anybody else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special, a girl with an enormous imagination. All she’s ever wanted is to belong somewhere. And the longer she stays at Green Gables, the harder it is for anyone to imagine life without her.”

Banner in the Sky
  • Lexile 680L
  • ATOS Level 5.1
  • Word Count 69628
  • Page Count 285

Banner in the Sky

“Josef Matt, the only man to ever try to conquer this last summit of the Alps, met his end in the pursuit. Now his son, Rudi, dares to complete the same task in memory of his father. Setting off with his father’s red shirt, Rudi must courageously pass through the same chasm that took his father’s life and finish the challenging climb in order to plant the shirt at the peak.

This exciting mountain climbing adventure of a young dishwasher who dreams of being a mountain guide like his father features compelling themes about conquering fear, working toward a goal, and banding together in shared sacrifice.”

Chains
  • Lexile 780L
  • ATOS Level 5.2
  • Word Count 75475
  • Page Count 300

Chains

“If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.”

Dragonwings
  • Lexile 870L
  • ATOS Level 5.3
  • Word Count 68278
  • Page Count 314

Dragonwings

“Moon Shadow only knows two things about his father, Windrider: he lives in San Francisco and used to craft beautiful kites.

One day shortly after his eighth birthday, Cousin Hand Clap arrives with a letter from Windrider asking Moon Shadow to join him in San Francisco. When Moon Rider arrives in America he learns that his father makes a living doing laundry and dreams of building a flying machine just like the Wright Brothers. But making this fantastical dream a reality proves to be no easy task, as intolerance, poverty, and even an earthquake stand in their way.

Newbery Honor Book Dragonwings by Lawrence Yep takes readers on an adventure-filled journey across the world. Inspired by the story of a Chinese immigrant who created a flying machine in 1909, Dragonwings touches on the struggles and dreams of Chinese immigrants navigating opportunity and prejudice in San Francisco.”

Elijah of Buxton
  • Lexile 980L
  • ATOS Level 5.4
  • Word Count 77916
  • Page Count 341

Elijah of Buxton

“Eleven-year-old Elijah lives in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves near the American border. Elijah’s the first child in town to be born free, and he ought to be famous just for that — not to mention for being the best at chunking rocks and catching fish.

Unfortunately, all that most people see is a “”fra-gile”” boy who’s scared of snakes and tends to talk too much. But everything changes when a former slave steals money from Elijah’s friend, who has been saving to buy his family out of captivity in the South. Now it’s up to Elijah to track down the thief — and his dangerous journey just might make a hero out of him, if only he can find the courage to get back home.”

Ghost
  • Lexile 730L
  • ATOS Level 4.6
  • Word Count 39562
  • Page Count 181

Ghost

“Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this electrifying novel from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?”

Johnny Tremain
  • Lexile 840L
  • ATOS Level 5.9
  • Word Count 83124
  • Page Count 300

Johnny Tremain

“This Newbery Medal-winning novel about the Revolutionary War is a classic of children’s historical fiction.

Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper The Boston Observer and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events of the American Revolution, from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington. Powerful illustrations by artist Michael McCurdy bring this classic to life.”

Moccasin Trail
  • Lexile 960L
  • ATOS Level 5.8
  • Word Count 74814
  • Page Count 247

Moccasin Trail

Jim Keath has lived for many years as a Crow Indian when he learns that his two younger brothers and a sister are journeying west to take up land. Although Jim finds it difficult to fit in with the family he hasn’t seen since childhood, and though they are wary and distrustful of him, Jim feels his duty is at their side. But slowly, as they survive the dangerous trek west, the perils of frontier life, and the kidnapping of their younger brother, Jim and his family realize that the only way to survive is to accept each other and truly reunite the family.

My Name is Aram
  • Lexile 820L
  • ATOS Level
  • Word Count
  • Page Count 151

My Name is Aram

“Hailed by The New York Times as “”marvelously captivating,”” William Saroyan’s 1940 international bestseller recounts the exploits of an Armenian clan in northern California at the turn of the twentieth century. Based on the author’s loving and eccentric extended family, the characters in these 14 related short stories enact humorous and touching scenes from immigrant life.

Aram Garoghlanian narrates the tales, reflecting from an adult’s perspective on his boyhood adventures. Beginning with “”The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse,”” in which 9-year-old Aram and his cousin redeem themselves from wrongdoing, the stories conclude with “”A Word to Scoffers,”” which features an itinerant preacher’s sage advice to Aram as the young man departs from the San Joaquin Valley for the first time.”

Of Mice and Men
  • Lexile 630L
  • ATOS Level 4.5
  • Word Count 29572
  • Page Count 107

Of Mice and Men

“A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression.

They are an unlikely pair: George is “”small and quick and dark of face””; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “”family,”” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.”

The Call of the Wild
  • Lexile 1120L
  • ATOS Level 8.0
  • Word Count 37058
  • Page Count 62

The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild is Jack London’s story of a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living at a ranch in the Santa Clara valley of California as the story opens. Stolen from his home and sold into the brutal existence of an Alaskan sled dog, he reverts to atavistic traits. Buck is forced to adjust to, and survive, cruel treatments and fight to dominate other dogs in a harsh climate. Eventually he sheds the veneer of civilization, relying on primordial instincts and lessons he learns, to emerge as a leader in the wild.

The Hobbit
  • Lexile 1000L
  • ATOS Level 6.6
  • Word Count 95022
  • Page Count 365

The Hobbit

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

The Human Comedy
  • Lexile 760L
  • ATOS Level 5.8
  • Word Count 48446
  • Page Count 192

The Human Comedy

“The place is Ithaca, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The time is World War II. The family is the Macauley’s—a mother, sister, and three brothers whose struggles and dreams reflect those of America’s second-generation immigrants. . . . In particular, fourteen-year-old Homer, determined to become one of the fastest telegraph messengers in the West, finds himself caught between reality and illusion as delivering his messages of wartime death, love, and money brings him face-to-face with human emotion at its most naked and raw.

Gentle, poignant and richly autobiographical, this delightful novel shows us the boy becoming the man in a world that even in the midst of war, appears sweeter, safer and more livable than out own.”

The Land
  • Lexile 760L
  • ATOS Level 5.0
  • Word Count 118345
  • Page Count 369

The Land

The son of a prosperous landowner and a former slave, Paul-Edward Logan is unlike any other boy he knows. His white father has acknowledged him and raised him openly-something unusual in post-Civil War Georgia. But as he grows into a man he learns that life for someone like him is not easy. Black people distrust him because he looks white. White people discriminate against him when they learn of his black heritage. Even within his own family he faces betrayal and degradation. So at the age of fourteen, he sets out toward the only dream he has ever had: to find land every bit as good as his father’s, and make it his own.

Where the Red Fern Grows
  • Lexile 700L
  • ATOS Level 4.9
  • Word Count 75528
  • Page Count 249

Where the Red Fern Grows

Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks.

Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters—now friends—and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past.”

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