It’s 7th grade, and your child is officially entering their teenage years. These years are met, for some, with questions about life and identity. Ultimately, students are beginning to come into their own. As with anything, as your 7th grader grows, so will their curiosity and capacity to take in more knowledge of the world. In this post, we’ll go over the best 7th grade reading list. The books you find in this list will provide a variety of messages and themes to keep your student continually evolving and growing. This list will also expose your child to issues they have yet to experience like race, class, and world events. Though it is ultimately your choice what you choose to make an option for them, these 7th-grade books are an avenue for keeping them knowledgeable, well rounded, and educated. What are you waiting for? Keep reading to see the numerous fiction and non-fiction books that your child will love, including some favorite literary classics.
What We Review
The Best Books to Read in 7th Grade
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Secret Life of Bees is set in South Carolina in the 1960s during a time where race issues and hatred still heavily exist. The story centers around Lily Owens, whose unclear memories of the afternoon her mother was killed has shaped her whole existence. Lily’s world is forever changed when she must flee her home with her “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen after she angers 3 of their community’s biggest racists. Lily’s world is further changed when she is introduced to bees, honey, and her mother’s past. The Secret Life of Bees has sold millions of copies and was even adapted into a movie starring Alicia Keys. It is a compelling story of racism, love, and the female community. The Secret Life of Bees is an excellent read for any gender; however, strikingly powerful for female students as they begin to grow within their womanhood.
Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
The Percy Jackson series is one filled with mystery intrigue and fantasy. It is a mythological series filled with the adventures of a young demi-God, Percy, as well as his friends Grover and Annabeth. The series consists of five books. These include
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1: The Lightning Thief – The Lightning Thief is the first part of this 5 part series. Here Percy begins to notice strange happenings, including not being able to focus and his teacher turning into a monster. His mother must reveal to him the secrets his past holds for his knowledge, yet ultimately his safety. Percy’s journeys begin to take shape as he sets off to prevent a war of the Gods.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians # 2 The Sea of Monsters – Percy finally thinks that his life has gone silent until an innocent game of dodgeball takes a turn for the worse. The borders of Camp Half-Blood have been threatened, and Percy and his friends must save them before it’s too late.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians # 3: The Titan’s Curse – One of Percy’s friends is missing, and he and five other half-blood heroes must do what it takes to restore order although the Oracle has predicted that someone will not survive.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians # 4: The Battle of the Labyrinth – The war between the Olympians and the Titan Lord is approaching and things at Percy’s school are quickly going from bad to worse. Percy and his friends must journey through the underground world of the Labyrinth.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians # 5: The Last Olympian – This is the final book of the series, and everything has been leading to this moment. It is time for Percy and the half-bloods to battle the Titans and allow the prophecies surrounding his 16th birthday to come to flourish.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hunger Games is a trilogy of dystopian fiction set in the Hunger Games universe. It consists of 3 works which include The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. The Capitol is the center and ruler of 12 surrounding districts. Each year the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games where each district must send two representatives, a boy and a girl ages 12 -18. They must then fight till the death on live TV. Each of the books centers around Katniss Everdeen who starts the games at the age of 16 and her dangerous quest for survival. The Hunger Games has also been adapted into four movies. This adoption began in 2012 and ended in 2015 with Mockingjay part 2. Though your 7th grader may have seen the movie, nothing compares to reading the detailed accounts in the book. Hunger Games is an excellent read for anyone who is a fan of dystopian fiction or science fiction.
Award Winning Popular Books for 7th Graders
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Bud is a motherless ten-year-old boy on the run-in search of his father. He has one clue about who he is, and he is determined to find him. Bud, Not Buddy takes place in Flint, Michigan in the late 1930s. Bud, Not Buddy is the winner of the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award. This book is a simple and great read as it highlights the factual atrocities of society as well as a young boy’s undeniable courage and perseverance. It also can be used to provide insight into the Great Depression.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a fictional story set in Protectorate. Every year the townspeople sacrifice a baby to a witch who lives in the forest. Unbeknownst to them, she is a nice witch who takes the children, feeds them starlight and places them with families that will love and care for them. However, upon mistakenly giving a child moonlight, she decides that she must raise this magical child herself. The girl is come to be known as Luna. However, as the girl grows the town and the earth becomes unsettled, resulting in dangerous consequences. The Girl Who Drank the Moon has won several awards including Winner of the 2017 Newbery Award, Entertainment Weekly Best Middle-Grade Book of 2016, Amazon Top 20 Best Book of 2016 and many more. Readers rave that this book is excellent for readers who love fantasy or books like Harry Potter.
Recommended 7th Grade Reading List Classics
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women follows the story of the March sisters, Jo, Meg, and Amy. Surprisingly much of the novel is based on Louisa May Alcott’s early life. Although many pass Little Women off as being a “girl book,” it is far from that. The four sisters are incredibly different, all with different talents and personalities. Though this is so, they lean on one another while their parents are away. While their father is away at war, and their mother is working to support their family, the girls’ independence and self-sufficiency begin to flourish. Little Women encompasses many themes and ideas which were pertinent to its era. These include the notion of a woman’s role as the housewife, the concept of war since the Civil War was a prominent fixture during this time, and education.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a semi-autobiographical novel of Betty Smith. It is an American classic and tells the story of Francie Nolan. The story takes place in the slums of Williamsburg, New York. Francie’s family isn’t exactly seen as the jewel of the block due to her father’s love for alcohol and other families “habits.” Her life boasts no shortness of drama. Though this is so, Smith captures the essence of Francie’s difficult life beautifully, including the togetherness of her family. This is an excellent read for 7th-grade students as they attempt to understand the people’s lives around them.
Recommended 7th Grade Reading List for Common Core
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book is the story of Nobody Owens, also known as Bod, a seemingly normal boy who lives in a graveyard and is being raised by ghosts. Nobody encounters numerous adventures in the graveyard but cannot leave or else he will meet danger. The danger comes in the form of a man named Jack. Jack has already killed his entire family, and only Nobody remains. The Graveyard Book is the only book win both the Carnegie and Newbery medals. Though living in a graveyard, Nobody is able to grasp the more profound truth about what it means to be human and pass this on to the readers.
Witness by Karen Hesse
Through a variety of characters, Karen Hesse tells her story of hatred and racism. At the center of everything are Leanora and Esther. When the Ku Klux Klan moves into their town, their lives are forever shaken. Witness is the story of two friends, one black and one Jewish learning first-hand the realities of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s in a small town in Vermont. Hesse uses real events to link her personal story with the story of the characters, which gets increasingly violent as time progresses. Through facing the harsh truths of society comes a beautiful tale of friendship, one that students can learn from and remember. The story is told poetically from several different characters, all of which are intertwined.
Recommended 7th Grade Historical Fiction Books
A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer
A Girl Named Disaster is the story of an African slave in the 1890s who flees to escape marriage to a cruel man. Nhamo must put her survival skills to the test to beat the odds stacked against her and to find her father. A Girl Named Disaster details her year-long journey and the escape she needed to be fearless to make. This is a tremendous 7th-grade fiction book for empowering your female students and showing them they can do anything.
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fever 1793 is based on the 1793 yellow fever in Philadelphia. During this time, there were more than 5000 register deaths attributed to yellow fever. This took place from August 1 to November 9. Fever 1793 centers around 14-year-old Mattie Cook. Although the fever means success for her family’s business, it soon hits closer to home with the loss of her childhood playmate. During this time of extreme fear, Mattie learns new lessons about life and family. She ultimately learns the necessity to persevere, no matter what is going on in life.
The Best 7th Grade Nonfiction Books
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Did you know that Hitler had a youth program? Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow is the story of how Hitler was able to gain the trust of and manipulate more than 3.5 million of Germany’s youths. It was one of the largest youth groups in history. Bartoletti was also able to interview surviving members of Hitler’s Youth Program for a first-hand account of how things happened. Although we are aware of the atrocities of the Holocaust, this is a side of history that many people cease to explore. This is a highly rated eye-opening work that many youths should read in order to gain insight into both sides of the Holocaust.
The Great Fire by Jim Murphy
The Great Fire recounts the happenings of the 1871 notorious Chicago Fire; this is still one of the most colossal disasters in American history. In The Great Fire, Jim Murphy pieces together numerous first-hand accounts and information to tell the story of the fire that left nearly 90,000 people homeless and 300 people dead. This would have debilitated most cities, but Chicago was able to rise again. Murphy recounts the tragic events in detail and paints a picture of the hopefulness that was still glimmering after the turmoil. This is a great historical read and details a moment that forever changed the city of Chicago.
The Best 7th Grade Fiction Books
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an international bestseller that takes shape in an Oregon psychiatric hospital. McMurphy is a new patient in the hospital ready to shake things up as his fun-loving trickster ways go against the strict and disciplined hospital ward’s normal behavior. Kesey’s novel looks to portray the boundaries between madness and sanity.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This novel is told from the perspective of Nick Carraway and is set in the roaring 20s, an error of extravagant parties, wealth, and the flapper culture. Nick is the neighbor to the main character, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby, who is considered “new money,” longs to win back the love of Daisy Buchanan. The novel describes the differences between “old money” families with generational wealth, and “new money” while depicting the decline of the American Dream.
Absolute Must Read 7th Grade Books Before 8th Grade
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is Maya Angelou’s story, her autobiography. The writer takes us into her world of abandonment and racism growing up in the south living with her grandmother after her, and her brother was sent away. She also recounts the assault that would stay with her for the rest of her life. She recounts her life’s events and soon comes to terms and finds power in the cards she was dealt with. This is an excellent read for any student struggling with self-acceptance and self-confidence.
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Invisible Man is a science fiction novel surrounding a scientist who creates a serum which will leave him completely invisible. He takes the serum though he is unable to make himself visible again. He uses his new-found power to terrorize a small town. The invisible man ultimately becomes his own worst enemy. The novel centers around the notion of greed and how it can be our downfall, a powerful message for students to heed.
Summary of the Best 7th Grade Reading List
Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following:
|Product||List Price||Number Of Pages|
|The Secret Life of Bees||$16.00||336|
|Percy Jackson and the Olympians 5 Book Paperback Boxed Set||$35.00||1840|
|The Hunger Games Box Set: Foil Edition||$38.97||N/A|
|Bud, Not Buddy||$8.99||288|
|The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal)||$17.95||400|
|A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)||$18.99||528|
|The Graveyard Book||N/A||368|
|A Girl Named Disaster||$7.99||336|
|Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow (Scholastic Focus)||$9.99||384|
|The Great Fire||$12.99||144|
|One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||$9.99||272|
|The Great Gatsby||$17.00||180|
|I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings||$7.99||304|
|The Invisible Man||$6.89||146|
Did you find something that you know your 7th grader will enjoy? The books in this list cover a variety of themes, genres, and topics. These include themes of individuality, survival, hope, and many more. All of which are areas and stories that will aid 7th graders into growing into well-rounded teenagers. There are even books for 7th-grade girls like The Secret Life of Bees, A Girl Named Disaster and Little Women which portray principles like independence, strength, and self-confidence. However, the boys are not left out. The Percy Jackson series is one of adventure and mystery that any young boy would be thrilled to read. Bud, Not Buddy is also a young man’s story of determination and perseverance despite the odds being stacked against him. Overall, the items in this list are highly recommended and perfect to grow your 7th graders love for reading and literature. They will also keep them on pace with what is to come in 8th grade.
Did you find this helpful? If so, check out our other middle school reading lists: