As this is my first year teaching seventh grade, I am looking for a list of novels appropriate for whole class instruction. So far I have been using textbook selections and independent reading of novels to incorporate novels into my instruction. I am looking for engaging books with exciting characters, vivid settings, and language that brings the story to life through the use of literary elements. I would like the mood of the book to be upbeat and fun or a plot line that toys with the lives of adolescents in today's world. If you are familiar with a book that might do the trick, please send your recommendations my way. If there are any other books you have used with success in your classrooms, I would be open to those suggestions also.
I have taught seventh grade for years, and here are some books that fit what you ask for:
*The Giver by Lois Lowry: This book is a dystopia that explores adult themes from a teenager’s perspective. In the book, a boy named Jonas lives in the perfect world where there is no conflict. It turns out that in this world, everyone has to be the same and there are serious consequences for being different. The kids love it, it’s not too hard to read and most can follow the story independently. The best part is that characterization and foreshadowing are prevalent, so it’s an excellent teaching book.
*The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton: This book is a classic. It is a coming of age story that appeals to just about every kid. The book explores issues of class and morality. The Greasers and the Socs battle for supremacy, sometimes literally, until one evening Ponyboy kills one in a rumble. Forced to flee, Ponyboy has to confront what he has done and come to terms with himself.
*Animal Farm by George Orwell: This book explores the Russian Revolution in parable form, when a group of animals take over the farm. It is simple but holds a deep message, and students are drawn in right away.
*Lord of the Flies by William Golding: What would really happen if kid ruled themselves? This book answers the question in an interesting way, as a group of British schoolboys is marooned on an island during World War II and left to their own often violent devices.
Though I have not taught 7th grade, I can still remember it as the year I decided to become an English teacher. My top two suggestions are the two books that persuaded me into this decision, but might be considered too difficult for today's 7th graders. From my experience in teaching public school but attending private school, my best advice is to use your best judgment concerning your students' ability levels, but if you want to push them to more difficult texts, consider doing lots of teacher-reading-aloud and discussion as you go. That said:
- To Kill a Mockingbird (I know this is taught in 9th grade, but if you can get away with it, students will probably benefit from studying it twice).
- Les Miserables (the 2nd longest abridged version, not the very shortest--the one with the white cover).
If those are considered too difficult, others have had success with:
- Freak the Mighty
- I am the Cheese
- Go Ask Alice
- House on Mango Street
I would recommend Night by Elie Weisel as a wonderful nonfiction/novel about the Holocaust. It's an easy read and promotes great potential for discussion about the human condition. While I am not a fan of science fiction, I would highly recommend the books by Orson Scott Card. Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow are remarkable books. Some of my very favorite young adult fiction.
Our district generally does Where the Red Fern Grows with the seventh graders. We have talked about using Holes in the past also. Another good choice mentioned above would be The Hunger Games, I think it being a little more contemporary might really appeal to the students
Quite a bit of your choice of novels would depend on how conservative your school is or isn't.
Some more conservative choices would be appropriate for seventh graders:
Where The Red Fern Grows
My Brother Sam Is Dead
Year of the Hangman
The Alchemyst Series
The Queen Geek Social Club
Less conservative choices:
The Hunger Games
I tutor 7th grade and we will be reading the following Newbery Award winning books in the Spring:
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Number The Stars by Lois Lowry
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
Amos Fortune free man by Elizabeth Yates
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
I remember reading The Outsiders by S.E Hinton in 7th grade . It was definitely an interesting and class favorite book . The book wasn't hard to understand and it had really interesting / touching plot .
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau are great science fiction novels that middle schoolers as well as adults find engaging. The novels have many nuances and can be discussed in a plethora of ways. But even more than that, the novels are about young children doing great things which is always inspiring.
i am the cheese
vladimir tod chronicles: eighth grade bites