Type of Book
TL - Traditional Literature
RF - Realistic Fiction
HF - Historical Fiction
SF - Science Fiction
F - Fantasy
B - Biography
I - Information Book
S - Series or Sequel

Al Capone Does My Shirts

by Gennifer Choldenko - In 1935, notorious gangster Al Capone is one of three hundred convicts housed in the maximum-security penitentiary on Alcatraz Island. Twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan also lives on the island. His father has taken a position as an electrician and guard at the prison in hopes that Moose's sister, Natalie, will be accepted at a special school in nearby San Francisco. Not only has Moose been forced to leave friends behind and move with his family to a fortress island, but he also cannot play baseball or make new friends now because he is stuck taking care of his sister whenever he is not in school. Natalie is afflicted with the condition now known as autism, and even at age sixteen, she cannot be left unsupervised. Everyone in the family has been under a strain because of Natalie's special needs. Meanwhile Piper, the warden's pretty, spoiled daughter, makes life complicated for Moose. The island's residents have their laundry done by the convicts, and thrill-seeking Piper drags Moose into her wild stunt of marketing Al Capone's laundry services to their middle school classmates in San Francisco. - Voya. HF Newbery Honor Book

Aristotle Leads the Way

by Joy Hakim - The story of science is the story of some really interesting people who continuously question the world around them. In the first book of her three part Story of Science Joy Hakim invites readers of all ages to meet the forebearers of modern science—Thales, Pythagoras, Archimedes, Aristotle, Arab and Chinese thinkers, Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, and many others—and share in their exciting discoveries in astronomy, math, and physics. 300 color photographs, illustrations, and maps. I

Blizzard's Wake

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - Kate Sterling has lost four years of her life to grief and anger. Zeke Dexter has lost four years of his life as well -- in jail for the accident that killed Kate's mother. Just out of prison, Zeke wants to put the past behind him, but a freak blizzard makes him a prisoner once again -- he of Kate, and Kate of him. Kate fears she will never be able to overcome the anger that has consumed her since her mother's death. But is Zeke the only one Kate needs to forgive? RF

The Blue Sword

by Robin McKinley - Harry, bored with her sheltered life in the remote orange-growing colony of Daria, discovers magic in herself when she is kidnapped by a native king with mysterious powers. F Newbery Honor Book

Brian's Hunt

by Gary Paulsen - Two years after having survived a plane crash into the Canadian wilderness, a sixteen-year-old returns to the wild to befriend a wounded dog and hunt a rogue bear. RF

Bucking the Sarge

by Christopher Paul Curtis - Deeply involved in his cold and manipulative mother's shady business dealings in Flint, Michigan, fourteen-year-old Luther keeps a sense of humor while running the Happy Neighbor Group Home For Men, all the while dreaming of going to college and becoming a philosopher. RF

A Day No Pigs Would Die

Robert Newton Peck - To a thirteen-year-old Vermont farm boy whose father slaughters pigs for a living, maturity comes early as he learns "doing what's got to be done," especially regarding his pet pig who cannot produce a litter. TL

Eagle Strikes

Anthony Horowitz - After a chance encounter with assassin Yassen Gregorovich in the South of France, teenage spy Alex Rider investigates international pop star and philanthropist Damian Cray whose new video game venture hides sinister motives involving Air Force One, nuclear missiles, and the international drug trade. S


by Edith Pattou - A young woman journeys to a distant castle on the back of a great white bear who is the victim of a cruel enchantment. F 2006 SC Book Award Nominee

Flight 116 is Down

by Caroline Cooney - Teenager Heidi Landseth helps rescue people from a plane crash on her family's property, and the experience changes her life forever. RF

Freak the Mighty

by Rodman Philbrick - At the beginning of eighth grade, learning disabled Max and his new friend Freak, whose birth defect has affected his body but not his brilliant mind, find that when they combine forces they make a powerful team. RF

Gutsy Girls: Young Women Who Dared

Tina Schwager - Twenty-five young women share their adventures in such activities as skydiving, building homes, and mountain climbing, demonstrating the value of courage, commitment, and a positive attitude. B

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes up the story of Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at this point in the midst of the storm of this battle of good and evil. The author has already said that the Half-Blood Prince is neither Harry nor Voldemort. And most importantly, the opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been brewing in J.K. Rowling's mind for 13 years. F

Jade Green

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - At first glance the large brown house at the end of Stone Street seems so forbidding that Judith Sparrow wants to turn back. But turn back to where? Recently orphaned, she has no alternative other than to be taken in by her stern uncle Geoffrey, who agreed to the arrangement with one peculiar provision: Judith could bring with her whatever belongings she liked except for anything green. The color green is strictly forbidden in his house. Ghost Story

Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson - Dr. Henry Jekyll has been obsessed since early manhood by the uneasy duality of good and evil that he senses in himself and others, and is driven, to the dismay of his peers, to tamper with the mysterious, transcendental side of science. The respected doctor becomes inexplicably silent and reclusive, while, at the same time, the terrifying Mr. Edward Hyde begins to stalk the streets of London. TL

The Giant Rat of Sumatra: or Pirates Galore

Sid Fleischman - A cabin boy on a pirate ship finds himself in San Diego in 1846 as war breaks out between the United States and Mexico. HF

Gulliver's Travels

Jonathan Swift - The voyages of an Englishman carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land of giants; an island of sorcerers; and a country ruled by horses.TL

House of the Scorpion

Nancy Farmer - In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patrâon, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States. SF 2006 SC Book Award Nominee

The House of Windjammer

by V.A. Richardson - In the autumn of 1636, tulip fever is sweeping Amsterdam, and Europe's fortunes rise and fall with the promise of the New World. That year, the great Dutch family of Windjammer suffers the loss of their entire trading fleet and they face certain ruin. The only person who can save the family's home, fortune, and reputation is Adam, the family's young heir. But he faces many enemies encouraged by the despicable banker Hugo van Helsen, and stirred up by the wicked preacher Abner Heems. Only one hope remains:a dark secret, a rare treasure called the Black Pearl. It is not the precious jewel that Adam imagines, but a flower:a tulip:one of the rarest and most valuable. In fact, it is worth enough money at the height of tulip fever to save the House of Windjammer. Adam is determined to find this hidden treasure, but he is not the only one on a mission to find the Black Pearl. HF


by Cynthia Kadohata - Katie's first word is "kira-kira," the Japanese word for "glittering," and she uses it to describe everything she likes. It was taught to her by her older sister, Lynn, whom Katie worships. Both girls have trouble adjusting when their parents move the family from Iowa to a small town in rural Georgia, where they are among only 31 Japanese-Americans. They seldom see their parents, who have grueling jobs in chicken-processing plants. Then Lynn becomes deathly ill, and Katie is often left to care for her, a difficult and emotionally devastating job. - School Library Journal. RF 2005 Newbery Award

The Messenger

by Lois Lowry - In this novel that unites characters from "The Giver" and "Gathering Blue," Matty, a young member of a utopian community that values honesty, conceals an emerging healing power that he cannot explain or understand. S

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman

by Eleanor Updale - When a petty thief falls through a glass roof while fleeing from the police, it should have been the death of him. Instead, it marks the beginning of a whole new life. Soon he has become the most successful -- and elusive -- burglar in Victorian London, plotting daring raids and using London's new sewer system to escape. He adopts a dual existence to fit his new lifestyle, taking on the roles of a respectable, wealthy gentleman named Montmorency and his corrupt servant, Scarper. Mystery


Celia Rees - In 1722, after arriving with her brother at the family's Jamaican plantation where she is to be married off, sixteen-year-old Nancy Kington escapes with her slave friend, Minerva Sharpe, and together they become pirates traveling the world in search of treasure. HF

The River Between Us

Richard Peck - During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois. HF Scott O'Dell Award

Touching Spirit Bear

by Ben Mikaelsen - Within Cole Matthews lie anger, rage, and hate. Cole has been stealing, fighting, and lying for years. His attack on a classmate has left the boy with permanent physical and deep psychological damage and Cole in the biggest trouble of his life. To most, Cole seems beyond hope. But when he's offered a chance at an alternative path called Circle Justice, based on Native American tradition, Cole finds himself banished to a remote Alaskan island, where his rage and isolation lead him to another brazen attack. This time, his intended victim is the Spirit Bear of Native American legend—and the clumsy assault ends with Cole mauled nearly to death, desperately clinging to the life he has tried so hard to waste. HF

Welcome to the Ark

by Stephanie Tolan - When four child prodigies transfer from a center for research and rehabilitation to an experimental group home, they face another way of connecting with their world. SF

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Back to Main Page - 2006 Summer Reading List - Middle School
Created By Mary M. Silgals, MLIS

June 1, 2006
Annotations by publishers except where noted.