Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade

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Yes, reading aloud to middle school students in 7th and 8th grade benefits them just as much as in elementary school. Immeasurably.

Besides the enjoyment kids get when listening to a story (who among us doesn’t love a good audiobook?), you can introduce your 12- and 13-year-old readers to a new author or book series, expose them to an important topic or issue, study a component of writing and author’s craft, and share an underappreciated genre.

What will your purpose be for reading aloud to your middle school students?

See if these recommended books are a good fit for your purposes…

PRINTABLE LIST

Middle School Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade


House Arrest
by K.A. Holt
REALISTIC / VERSE
You’ll feel so many emotions reading this tender, heartwarming story that shows a brave boy who feels anger, fear, worry, and love over his challenging situation. Timothy is under house arrest for the next year. He lives with a brother who needs constant medical care and feels so much pain and confusion over his big life changes. Part of his year-long punishment is to meet with a probation officer, meet with a therapist, and write in a journal which is the book we’re reading. When his little brother gets assigned an abusive new nurse, Timothy feels like even if he gets thrown in juvie, he must do something drastic to help his brother. Written in poetic verse, this book speeds along and pulls your heart along with it.

Orbiting Jupiter Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
REALISTIC
Joseph is an abused boy with a violent father, a parent at age thirteen, and is now living as a foster kid with Jack’s family on their organic farm. As he learns to trust them, we slowly learn about Joseph’s deep love for a rich girl named Maddie, his daughter named Jupiter who he’s never seen, and his shattering heartbreak. This is an amazing story– painful yet filled with redemption and hope — beautifully written and one that will give middle school readers so much to ponder.

 


A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay
MAGICAL REALISM
Worth reading and rereading because there are layers upon layers of meaning, skillful writing, and a haunting truthtelling that resonates with us all. Ever since Conor’s mom got breast cancer, a wild, ancient tree monster has visited him in Conor’s nightmares. The monster demands that Conor admit the truth but Conor who refuses to give in to the monster’s demands, not really even understanding what those are. Meanwhile, in the awake world, Conor’s moved in with his cold, unfriendly grandmother. The metaphorical nightmare echos Conor’s real-world experiences as we journey with him into pain, loss, and eventually, healing. Astonishing and powerful, this is one of the best books I’ve EVER read.

 

Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade
Allies
by Alan Gratz
HISTORICAL FICTION / WWII
Written from many different voices about one day in history, readers easily can see the massive amount of cooperation, planning. and troops from different countries involved in D-Day (when the Allies invaded France at Normandy.) We hear from an American teenage soldier who was born in Germany, a French Algerian girl whose mom is a recently captured spy,  a Canadian paratrooper who lands in the wrong spot, and an American black medic. It’s violent and disheartening yet despite terrible losses, racism, and injuries, the fighters persist despite everything to accomplish their goal — to take back the area for the Allies. What an incredible retelling of this day!

Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
by Dusti Bowling
REALISTIC / PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES
Aven Green makes up creative stories for why she doesn’t have any arms. Especially now in Arizona where her parents are the new managers a rundown theme park. She befriends a boy at school who, like her, feels different and isolated from the other kids. His name is Connor and he has Tourette Syndrome. Together he, another new friend named Zion, and Aven investigate a storage shed at the theme park which leads them to Aven’s biological past. This story is about restorative friendship, facing your fears, and discovering your true potential. What’s more, the physical and mental diversity is shown with strength and compassion.

Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade
Restart
by Gordon Korman
REALISTIC
After a bad fall, Chase has no memory of who he is or was. But he soon realizes that he used to be a cruel troublemaker. Now that he has a second chance, he can decide who he’ll be with his fresh slate. Because he’s enjoying his new life in the film club and the new (“nerdy”) friends he’s made and doesn’t really want to go back to his old self. This thought-provoking novel shows that who we are is a choice. It’s also an easier read for 7th and 8th graders that will engage reluctant readers especially.


Maybe He Just Likes You
by Barbara Dees
REALISTIC
Middle schooler Mila is feeling trapped— a group of basketball playing boys is getting too close, grabbing her, touching her, and then telling her that she’s imagining it. Ignoring doesn’t stop the behaviors, neither does telling an adult, telling her friends, or wearing baggier clothing. Now her toxic friend Zara is acting mad and jealous that Mila’s getting the boys’ attention. Unexpectedly, Mila finds her strength when she starts karate classes. That helps her find what works to put a stop to the harassment. I highly recommend this essential book; it should be shared widely with middle school boys and girls. 

Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade
Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds
REALISTIC / VERSE
Writen in verse, this powerful story takes place in 60 seconds. 15-year-old Will is about to get revenge for his brother’s murder. But so much can be revealed and can happen in 60 seconds…Will he murder someone or listen to the secrets he doesn’t know about his brother?

Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade
No Fixed Address
by Susin Nielsen
REALISTIC / POVERTY
Felix doesn’t want to tell anyone that he’s been living in a van. His mom, Astrid, is worried about social services taking him so he keeps quiet even though he really wants a bathroom. His hope is that he can win his favorite TV game show so they’ll finally have enough money to get an apartment. One of the things I loved about this story is how it shows a child’s love for a parent despite all the parent’s flaws–and his mom has many like lying and not holding down a job. It also depicts homelessness as circumstances beyond a child’s control — which is something most kids don’t know or think to consider. This well-written book is beautiful, important, and highly recommended for 7th and 8th graders.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
REALISTIC / VERSE
Because this is written in verse, this is a fast read but packs a big punch, especially for boys. Basketball player and twin Josh narrates his life in quarters, just like the game he plays. He writes about missing his twin when his twin, Jordan, gets a girlfriend; about getting in trouble when he hits Jordan in the face with a basketball; and about watching his father as his heart fails. This is a coming-of-age, gripping story about a boy who is just trying to figure out life like most boys at age 12.

 

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
REALISTIC / SOCIAL JUSTICE
This book is brilliantly written for so many reasons. First of all, because it addresses the very real issue of police violence against black children but it does not vilify or stereotype. Second of all, the author shows us the complexity of issues and the humanity of a police officer from the perspective of his daughter. After Jerome is unjustly shot, he becomes a ghost. Sarah, the police officer’s daughter, sees and talks to him but he can also see other ghost boys who were killed in racially motivated violence. It’s a well-written, fast-paced story about important current events and social justice.

 

Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade
The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1) 
by Richard Paul Evans
SCI-FI
Kids love this book series about a boy with electrical powers and an evil group who wants to control him and the others like him. I zipped through the series and loved every minute. This is a good read aloud choice if you’re wanting to get readers hooked on a new series.

 


I Am Number Four
by Pittacus Lore, et.al
SCI-FI
Because these books zip along with fast-paced adventure and action, you’ll be hard-pressed to stop reading! John isn’t a human teenager, he’s one of 9 Loric children who were sent to Earth when their planet was attacked by the evil Mogadorians. He moves around a lot with his guardian to escape these alien killers who can only kill the kids in numerical order…Now that he’s come of age, he develops his Legacies — powers that will help him survive. But one, two, and three have been killed already. John is next. Use this read aloud book to introduce middle schoolers to this series.

 


Scythe
by Neal Shusterman
DYSTOPIAN
I’ve started this book twice and just could not get into it. Neither could my daughter. BUT, so many teachers tell me that their students love it as a read-aloud so I wanted to include it on this list. It’s a dystopian story about kids who are chosen to train as Sythes, state killers who cull the population so it doesn’t get too large.

 

Read Aloud Books for 7th and 8th Grade
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6 Responses

  1. Thank you for this list. It is really hard to find lists of books that are truly appropriate for 8th grade. They are usually too young and lumped on a middle school list.

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