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7th Grade Language Arts Approved Novels
Available for Classroom Use
Begging for Change by Sharon G. Flake
Publication Date: 2007-07-17
Is there greed in Raspberry Hill's genes? In this sequel to Coretta Scott King Honor Book MONEY HUNGRY, once-homeless Raspberry Hill vows never to end up on the streets again. It's been a year since Raspberry's mother threw her hard-earned money out the window like trash, so to Raspberry money equals security and balance. And she's determined to do anything to achieve it. But when a troubled neighborhood teenager attacks her mother and Raspberry's drug-addicted father returns, Raspberry becomes desperate for her life to change and ends up doing the unthinkable, potentially ruining her friendships and losing her self-respect along the way. Will Raspberry accept that nothing good comes of bad money? Or is she destined to follow in her father's footsteps?
Lexile Level: 1060
The Circuit by Francisco Jiménez
Publication Date: 1997-10-01
After dark in a Mexican border town, a father holds open a hole in a wire fence as his wife and two small boys crawl through. So begins life in the United States for many people every day. And so begins this collection of twelve autobiographical stories by Santa Clara University professor Francisco Jim#65533;nez, who at the age of four illegally crossed the border with his family in 1947. "The Circuit," the story of young Panchito and his trumpet, is one of the most widely anthologized stories in Chicano literature. At long last, Jim#65533;nez offers more about the wise, sensitive little boy who has grown into a role model for subsequent generations of immigrants. These independent but intertwined stories follow the family through their circuit, from picking cotton and strawberries to topping carrots--and back agai--over a number of years. As it moves from one labor camp to the next, the little family of four grows into ten. Impermanence and poverty define their lives. But with faith, hope, and back-breaking work, the family endures. "A jewel of a book"--Rolando Hinojosa-Smith "These stories are so realistic they choke the heart."--Rudolfo Anaya
Lexile Level: 880
Crash by Jerry Spinelli
Publication Date: 1997-03-18
A modern classic from Newbery medalist Jerry Spinelli. "Readers will devour this humorous glimpse of what jocks are made of." --School Library Journal, starred review Cocky seventh-grade super-jock Crash Coogan got his nickname the day he used his first football helmet to knock his cousin Bridget flat on her backside. And he has been running over people ever since, especially Penn Webb, the dweeby, vegetarian Quaker kid who lives down the block. Through the eyes of Crash, readers get a rare glimpse into the life of a bully in this unforgettable and beloved story about stereotypes and the surprises life can bring. "Without being preachy, Spinelli packs a powerful moral wallop, leaving it to the pitch-perfect narration to drive home his point" --Publishers Weekly "Spinelli's writing style is great for kids in this age-group, fast-paced and funny." --Booklist
Lexile Level: 560
Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs
Publication Date: 2007-04-10
In this riveting, action-packed novel from award-winning author Will Hobbs, a teenage boy hoping to help his loved ones must fight for his life as he makes the dangerous journey across the Mexican border into the United States. When falling crop prices threaten his family with starvation, fifteen-year-old Victor Flores heads north in an attempt to "cross the wire" from Mexico into America so he can find work and help ease the finances at home. But with no coyote money to pay the smugglers who sneak illegal workers across the border, Victor struggles to survive as he jumps trains, stows away on trucks, and hikes grueling miles through the Arizona desert. Victor's passage is fraught with freezing cold, scorching heat, hunger, and dead ends. It's a gauntlet run by many attempting to cross the border, but few make it. Through Victor's desperate perseverance, Will Hobbs brings to life a story that is true for many, polarizing for some, but life-changing for all who read it. Acclaim for Crossing the Wire includes the following: New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, Junior Library Guild Selection, Americas Awards Commended Title, Heartland Award, Southwest Book Award, and Notable Books for Global Society.
Lexile Level: 670
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Publication Date: 2003-05-13
Celebrating 15 years of Flipped--a classic he-said-she-said romantic comedy! This updated anniversary edition offers story-behind-the-story revelations from author Wendelin Van Draanen. The first time she saw him, she flipped. The first time he saw her, he ran. That was the second grade, but not much has changed by the seventh. Juli says: "My Bryce. Still walking around with my first kiss." He says: "It's been six years of strategic avoidance and social discomfort." But in the eighth grade everything gets turned upside down: just as Bryce is thinking that there's maybe more to Juli than meets the eye, she's thinking that he's not quite all he seemed. This is a classic romantic comedy of errors told in alternating chapters by two fresh, funny voices. The updated anniversary edition contains 32 pages of extra backmatter: essays from Wendelin Van Draanen on her sources of inspiration, on the making of the movie of Flipped, on why she'll never write a sequel, and a selection of the amazing fan mail she's received. Awards and accolades for Flipped: SLJ Top 100 Children's Novels of all time IRA-CBC Children's Choice IRA Teacher's Choice Honor winner, Judy Lopez Memorial Award/WNBA Winner of the California Young Reader Medal "We flipped over this fantastic book, its gutsy girl Juli and its wise, wonderful ending." -- The Chicago Tribune "Van Draanen has another winner in this eighth-grade 'he-said, she-said' romance. A fast, funny, egg-cellent winner." -- SLJ, Starred review "With a charismatic leading lady kids will flip over, a compelling dynamic between the two narrators and a resonant ending, this novel is a great deal larger than the sum of its parts." --Publishers Weekly, Starred review
Lexile Level: 720
Flush by Carl Hiaasen
Publication Date: 2010-05-11
Take a romp in the swamp with this New York Times bestselling mystery adventure set in the Florida Keys from Newbery Honoree Carl Hiaasen! Noah's dad is sure that the owner of the Coral Queen casino boat is flushing raw sewage into the harbor--which has made taking a dip at the local beach like swimming in a toilet. He can't prove it though, and so he decides that sinking the boat will make an effective statement. Right. The boat is pumped out and back in business within days and Noah's dad is in the local lock-up. Now Noah is determined to succeed where his dad failed. He will prove that the Coral Queen is dumping illegally . . . somehow. "The writing is pitch perfect." --The New York Times "A royal flush." --Chicago Sun-Times "Classic Hiaasen--laugh-out-loud satire in a Florida setting." --Life From the Hardcover edition.
Lexile Level: 830
Green Boy by Susan Cooper
Publication Date: 2003-09-01
On their idyllic Bahamian island, Trey's little brother, Lou, is different -- he doesn't speak and he suffers frightening seizures. But when he and Trey find themselves mysteriously transported to Pangaia, an alternative universe where pollution and over-development have all but destroyed nature, a militant underground environmental group greets him as the prophesied hero who will save their world. But to realize this prophecy, Lou must take Trey on a terrifying and dangerous mission, with much more at stake than the fate of Pangaia. Does Lou have the power to save their own island home from a future as bleak as the world they've seen in Pangaia?
Lexile Level: 930
Hoop Queens by Charles R. Smith
Publication Date: 2007-09-11
"Young basketball fans will have a hard time keeping still. . . . A great choice to energize poetry units." -- BOOKLIST Margo Dydek, Ticha Penicheiro, Chamique Holdsclaw . . . these are just three of the twelve women profiled in a dynamic group of poems honoring some of the best female players in professional basketball. With action photographs and kinetic lyrics illustrating each player's style, HOOP QUEENS will grab the attention of any kid who loves basketball -- and score a slam-dunk with teachers of poetry. An International Reading Association Children's Choice A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age A Chicago Public Library Best Book Back matter includes notes on the poems and an author's note.
Lexile Level: NP
Iqbal by Francesco D'Adamo; Ann Leonori (Translator)
Publication Date: 2005-07-01
When young Iqbal is sold into slavery at a carpet factory, his arrival changes everything for the other overworked and abused chidren there. It is Iqbal who explains to them that despite their master's promises, he plans on keeping them as his slaves indefinetely. But it is also Iqbal who inspires the other children to look to a future free from toil...and is brave enough to show them how to get there. This moving fictionalized account of the real Iqbal Masih is told through the voice of Fatima, a young Pakistani girl whose life is changed by Iqbal's courage.
Lexile Level: 730
Journey to Jo'Burg by Beverley Naidoo; Eric Velasquez (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2002-12-24
If only Mma was here, Naledi wished over and over. . . Mma lives and works in Johannesburg, far from the village thirteen-year-old Naledi and her younger brother, Tiro, call home. When their baby sister suddenly becomes very sick, Naledi and Tiro know, deep down, that only one person can save her. Bravely, alone, they set off on a journey to find Mma and bring her back. It isn't until they reach the city that they come to understand the dangers of their country, and the painful struggle for freedom and dignity that is taking place all around them.
Lexile Level: 760
Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse
Publication Date: 2009-01-06
From Newbery media winner Karen Hesse comes an unforgettable story of an immigrant family's journey to America. "America," the girl repeated. "What will you do there?" I was silent for a little time. "I will do everything there," I answered. Rifka knows nothing about America when she flees from Russia with her family in 1919. But she dreams that in the new country she will at last be safe from the Russian soldiers and their harsh treatment of the Jews. Throughout her journey, Rifka carries with her a cherished volume of poetry by Alexander Pushkin. In it, she records her observations and experiences in the form of letters to Tovah, the beloved cousin she has left behind. Strong-hearted and determined, Rifka must endure a great deal: humiliating examinations by doctors and soldiers, deadly typhus, separation from all she has ever known and loved, murderous storms at sea, detainment on Ellis Island--and is if this is not enough, the loss of her glorious golden hair. Based on a true story from the author's family,Letters from Rifka presents a real-life heroine with an uncommon courage and unsinkable spirit.
Lexile Level: 660
Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
Publication Date: 2006-10-10
A critically acclaimed historical novel "that roars" (Kliatt), from the author of the National Book Award-winning novel Homeless Bird. Africa is the only home Rachel Sheridan has ever known. But when her missionary parents are struck with influenza, she is left vulnerable to her family's malicious neighbors. Surrounded by greed and lies, Rachel is entangled in a criminal scheme and sent to England, where she's forced into a life of deception. Like the lion, she must be patient and strong, awaiting the moment when she can take control of her own fate--and find her way home again at last. Named one of New York Public Library's One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing, this tale of a strong young heroine "in the tradition of Frances Hodgson Burnett" (School Library Journal), by award-winning master of historical fiction Gloria Whelan, is a perfect read for schools and classrooms, as well as for fans of A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.
Lexile Level: 900
My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen; Ruth Wright Paulsen (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 1999-06-08
Gary Paulsen has owned dozens of unforgettable and amazing dogs. In each chapter he tells of one special dog, among them Cookie, the sled dog who saved his life; Snowball, the puppy he owned as a boy in the Philippines; Ike, his mysterious hunting companion; Dirk, the grim protector; and his true friend Josh, a brilliant border collie.
Lexile Level: 1050
On the Bike with... Lance Armstrong by Matt Christopher; Glenn Stout (Text by)
Publication Date: 2003-06-01
ance Armstrong has won the Tour de France, the world's most challenging race, four consecutive times. He's been the World Road Cycling Champion three times and claimed a medal at the Sydney Olympics. Yet before these accomplishments, when he was 25 years old, Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer. How he fought back against this life-threatening disease and went on to take the cycling world by storm is a story that continues to amaze and inspire fans worldwide.
Lexile Level: 920
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
Publication Date: 2006-04-20
50 years of an iconic classic! This international bestseller and inspiration for a beloved movie is a heroic story of friendship and belonging. No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he's got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends--true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on "greasers" like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect--until the night someone takes things too far. The Outsiders is a dramatic and enduring work of fiction that laid the groundwork for the YA genre. S. E. Hinton's classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was first published. "The Outsiders transformed young-adult fiction from a genre mostly about prom queens, football players and high school crushes to one that portrayed a darker, truer world." --The New York Times "Taut with tension, filled with drama." --The Chicago Tribune "[A] classic coming-of-age book." --Philadelphia Daily News A New York Herald Tribune Best Teenage Book A Chicago Tribune Book World Spring Book Festival Honor Book An ALA Best Book for Young Adults Winner of the Massachusetts Children's Book Award
Lexile Level: 750
Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes
Publication Date: 2008-01-10
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book Paris has just moved in with the Lincoln family, and she isn't thrilled to be in yet another foster home. She has a tough time trusting people, and she misses her brother, who's been sent to a boys' home. Over time, the Lincolns grow on Paris. But no matter how hard she tries to fit in, she can't ignore the feeling that she never will, especially in a town that's mostly white while she is half black. It isn't long before Paris has a big decision to make about where she truly belongs.
Lexile Level: 700
So B. It by Sarah Weeks; Weeks
Publication Date: 2005-10-04
Now a major motion picture starring Alfre Woodard, Jessica Collins, John Heard, Jacinda Barrett, Cloris Leachman, and Talitha Bateman--in theaters October 2017! From acclaimed author Sarah Weeks comes a touching coming-of-age story about a young girl who goes on a cross-country journey to discover the truth about her parents, which the New York Times called "a remarkable novel." Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me and Ali Benjamin's The Thing About Jellyfish. She doesn't know when her birthday is or who her father is. In fact, everything about Heidi and her mentally disabled mother's past is a mystery. When a strange word in her mother's vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi sets out on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past. Far away from home, pieces of her puzzling history come together. But it isn't until she learns to accept not knowing that Heidi truly arrives.
Lexile Level: NP
A Step from Heaven by An Na
Publication Date: 2016-07-26
From master storyteller An Na comes the Printz Award-winning novel about a Korean girl who tells her firsthand account of trying to find her place and identity in America from the day she leaves Korea as a child to her rocky journey through the teenage years. At age four, Young Ju moves with her parents from Korea to Southern California. She has always imagined America would be like heaven: easy, blissful, and full of riches. But when her family arrives, she finds it to be the opposite. With a stubborn language barrier and cultural dissimilarities, not only is it impossible to make friends, but even her family's internal bonds are wavering. Her parents' finances are strained, yet her father's stomach is full of booze. As Young Ju's once solid and reliable family starts tearing apart, her younger brother begins to gain more freedom and respect simply because of his gender. Young Ju begins to lose all hope in the dream she once held--the heaven she longs for. Even as she begins to finally fit in, a cataclysmic family event will change her idea of heaven forever. But it also helps her to recognize the strength she holds, and envision the future she desires, and deserves.
Lexile Level: 670
Tangerine by Edward Bloor; Danny De Vito (Introduction by)
Publication Date: 2006-09-01
Paul Fisher sees the world from behind glasses so thick he looks like a bug-eyed alien. But he's not so blind that he can't see there are somevery unusual things about his family's new home in Tangerine County, Florida. Where else does a sinkhole swallow the local school, fire burn underground for years, and lightning strike at the same time every day?The chaos is compounded by constant harassment from his football-star brother, and adjusting to life in Tangerine isn't easy for Paul--until he joins the soccer team at his middle school. With the help of his new teammates, Paul begins to discover what lies beneath the surface of his strange new hometown. And he also gains the courage to face up to some secrets his family has been keeping from him for far too long. In Tangerine, it seems,anything is possible.
Lexile Level: 680
What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau
Publication Date: 2008-04-08
An intimate, award winning story of immigrants and their families, the borders they cross, and the ties that bind us all together. Fourteen-year-old Clara Luna's name means "clear moon" in Spanish. But lately, her life has felt anything but clear. A letter has arrived from her grandparents in Mexico inviting her to stay with them for the summer. But Clara has never met her father's parents. All she knows is that he snuck over the border from Mexico as a teenager. When she arrives, she's stunned by how different her grandparents' life is from her own in the United States. They live in simple shacks in the mountains of southern Mexico, where most people speak not only Spanish, but an indigenous language, Mixteco. Their village of Yucuyoo holds other surprises, too--like the spirit waterfall, which is heard but never seen. And Pedro, a young goatherder who wants to help Clara find the waterfall. But as Clara discovers more about where she comes from, what will it mean for who she is now? What The Moon Saw is an enchanting story of family, home, and discovering your true self in the most unexpected place. "Filled with evocative language that is rich in imagery and nuance and speaks to the connections that bind us all. . . . a thrilling adventure . . ."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred "Readers . . . will find themselves swept up in this powerful, magical story, and they'll feel, along with Clara, 'the spiderweb's threads, connecting me to people miles and years away'."--Booklist, Starred
Lexile Level: 750
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman; Peter Sís (Illustrator)
Publication Date: 2003-04-15
Award-winning author Sid Fleischman blends the broadly comic with the deeply compassionate in this memorable novel, winner of the Newbery Medal. A Prince and a Pauper . . . Prince Brat and his whipping boy inadvertently trade places after becoming involved with dangerous outlaws. The two boys have nothing in common and even less reason to like each other. But when they find themselves taken hostage after running away, they are left with no choice but to trust each other. "A rollicking tale of adventure and mistaken identity . . . . Robust scenes and characters are vividly evoked."--Kirkus Reviews This briskly told tale of high adventure, taut with suspense and rich with colorful characters, was named an ALA Notable Book. Sid Fleischman's celebrated novel features brief, action-packed chapters and includes black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Honor artist Peter S#65533;s. "An 18th century tale about the escapades of a resourceful orphan and a spoiled young prince. . . . Full of adventure, suspense, humor, and lively characters."--The New York Times Supports the Common Core State Standards
Lexile Level: 570
The Young Man and the Sea by Rodman Philbrick
Publication Date: 2005-05-01
A story of determination and survival from the acclaimed author of FREAK THE MIGHTY. "This thrilling and elegant book ... will hold the interest of even the most stalwart landlubber." -- PW Twelve-year-old Skiff Beaman's mom just died, and his fisherman dad is too depressed to drag himself off the couch and go to work. So these days Skiff has to take care of everything himself. But when his dad's boat sinks, Skiff discovers it will cost thousands to buy a new engine. Skiff's lobster traps won't earn him enough, but there are bigger fish in the sea -- bluefin tuna. If he can catch one of those monster fish, Skiff just might save the boat -- and his family.
Lexile Level: 800
Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).
Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).