Reading List

































































































































































































































































































































SFUSD Recommended Reading List
(7th Grade)

According to SFUSD:

"Seventh Graders are expected to read eleven or more full-length works in and out of class."

Title Author Description


Robert Nye

Not a literal translation, but a retelling of the old epic that captures the spirit of the original in language accessible to young readers.

Catherine, Called Birdy

Karen Cushman

Medieval England is the background for this story of a spirited girl. Narrated in diary form.

Charles and Emma

Deborah Heiligman

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. Nearly 150 years later, the theory of evolution continues to create tension between the scientific and religious communities. Challenges about teaching the theory of evolution in schools occur annually all over the country. This same debate raged within Darwin himself, and played an important part in his marriage: his wife, Emma, was quite religious, and her faith gave Charles a lot to think about as he worked on a theory that continues to spark intense debates.

Children of the River

Linda Crew

Sundara fled Cambodia with her aunt's family to escape the Khmer Rouge army when she was thirteen, leaving behind her parents, her brother and sister, and the boy she had loved since she was a child. Now, four years later, she struggles to fit in at her Oregon high school and to be "a good Cambodian girl" at home.

First Crossing

Donald Gallo Ed.

This collection of biographies sheds light on the experience of teenage immigrants in America. Each shares their story with unflinching honesty and gives real insight into the experience from a teenager's point of view

Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes

Charlie Gordon is chosen by a team of scientists to undergo an experimental surgery designed to boost his intelligence. Alice Kinnian, Charlie’s teacher at the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults, has recommended Charlie for the experiment because of his exceptional eagerness to learn. The directors of the experiment, Dr. Strauss and Professor Nemur, ask Charlie to keep a journal. The entire narrative of Flowers for Algernon is composed of the “progress reports” that Charlie writes.

Girl Named Disaster

Nancy Farmer

Eleven-year-old Nhamo lives in a traditional village in Mozambique, where she doesn't quite fit in. When her family tries to force her into marrying a cruel man, she runs away to Zimbabwe, hoping to find the father she's never met. But what should have been a short boat trip across the border turns into a dangerous year-long adventure, and Nhamo must summon her innermost courage to ensure her survival.

The Giver

Lois Lowry

The Elders of the Committee choose Jonas to be the person responsible for receiving and keeping all the memories of the past—a huge task for this exceptional boy

The House on Mango Street

Sandra Cisneros

A series of descriptive vignettes about the author’s Mexican-American childhood.

Journey to Jo’burg, A South African Story

Beverly Naidoo

Separated from their mother by the harsh social and economic conditions prevalent among blacks in South Africa, 13-year-old Naledi and her younger brother make a journey over 300 kilometers to find her in Johannesburg.


Monica Furlong

A fantasy story about young Princess Juniper, whose training in the arts of herbal lore and magic is challenged in a life and death struggle for power.

Land I Lost

Huynh Quang Nhuong

Fifteen true stories of the author’s childhood in Vietnam.

The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen

Lloyd Alexander

Chinese-inspired tale of a young prince whose quest to deliver six objects to a mystical king leads him out of boyhood and into triumph.


Walter Dean Myers

Two friends, a young African-American and a young Puerto Rican, face the horrors of a New York ghetto gang

So Far From the Bamboo Grove

Yoko Kawashima Watkins

A fictionalized autobiography in which eight-year-old Yoko escapes from Korea to Japan with her mother and sister at the end of the Second World War


Suzanne Fischer Staples

When eleven-year-old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father’s wishes

The Sign of the Chrysanthemum

Katherine Paterson

An adventure story about a boy’s search for his father in the Japan of the Samurai era.

The Storyteller's Beads

Jane Kurtz

This harrowing story set in Ethiopia during the 1980s features an unexpected friendship between two girls of different religious backgrounds. Threatened by war, famine, and drought, Sahay and her uncle set out from their small Kemant village to find safety in the Sudan. Rahel, a blind Jewish girl, and her brother also flee the country as part of a group of Beta-Israel planning to make an aliyah to Jerusalem. As part of the same band of refugees, the girls make a long, difficult trek across the mountains. When the men are turned back at the border, Rahel and Sahay are left on their own to finish the journey.

Touching Spirit Bear

Ben Mikaelsen

At the beginning of the novel, Cole Matthews, a fifteen-year-old juvenile delinquent from Minneapolis, Minnesota, arrives on a barren island near the city of Drake in Southeastern Alaska in handcuffs. He is accompanied by two men of Tlingit Indian origin, named Edwin and Garvey, who are instructing him on the terms of his banishment to the island. In the first few chapters, we learn through flashbacks about why Cole has been sent to the island. After years of violence and trouble with the law, Cole took his criminal streak a step too far


Extended Literature/ Nonfiction Texts




African Folktales

Roger Abrahams

Nearly one hundred African folktales dealing with universal concerns.

Among the Volcanoes

Omar Castañeda

Can Isabel achieve her dream of becoming a teacher and weather the disapproval of her family in a small Guatemalan village?

At the Bottom of the River

Jamaica Kincaid

A prize-winning collection of stories about life in the Caribbean. Written by the author of Annie John.

The Clay Marble

Minfong Ho

In the late 1970s twelve-year-old Dara joins a refugee camp in war-torn Cambodia and becomes separated from her family.

The Contender

Robert Lipsyte

Alfred Brooks joins a boxing club in Harlem as an alternative to crime and drugs.

Cow-Tail Switch And Other West African Stories

Harold Courlander

Seventeen short stories gathered in the Ashanti region of Africa depicting the origins of folk sayings and customs, animal ingenuity and trickery, and clever, as well as not so clever people

Druids, Gods and Heroes from Celtic Mythology

Ann Ross

The myths, legends and stories of the Celts from the most ancient Irish tales to the Arthurian saga. Illustrated.

Fabled Cities, Princes and Jinn from Arab Myths and Legends

Khairat Al-Saleh

Forty myths, legends and fantasy tales from Arabia. Includes the stories from the Arabian Nights.

Gods and Heroes from Viking Mythology

Brian Branston

Twenty-eight stories first told hundreds of years ago by the Vikings. Included are an illustrated family tree of the major gods and goddesses, an index and a guide to the symbols in the illustrations.


Suzanne Fisher Staples

Shabanu falls in love in this story of a woman’s struggle against the tyranny of tradition in Pakistan. Sequel to Shabanu.

I, Juan de Pareja

Elizabeth Borton de Trevino

The story of Juan, a slave, willed to the great Spanish painter Velazquez, and how their relationship changed from master/slave to equal/friend. A Newbery Medal Winner and ALA Notable book.

Kings, Gods and Spirits from African Mythology

Jan Knappert

Myths from many African cultures retold and illustrated.

Master Puppeteer

Katherine Paterson

Set in feudal Japan, this is the story of a young boy who is drawn into the magical and mysterious world of the puppet-theater

Midwife’s Apprentice

Karen Cushman

A homeless girl is taken as an apprentice by a midwife in the Middle Ages.

Of Nightingales That Weep

Katherine Paterson

The young daughter of a samurai finds her comfortable life ripped apart when opposing warrior clans begin a struggle for imperial control of Japan.

The Pearl

John Steinbeck

A beautiful story about the disaster which a giant pearl brings to a poor man and his family.

The Ramsay Scallop

Frances Temple

In 1299, fourteen-year-old Elenor has been betrothed to eighteen-year-old Thomas, but they are strangers to each other. To help them get to know each other, their village priest sends them on a pilgrimage to Spain.

Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom

Katherine Paterson

Abducted by bandits, fifteen-year-old Wand Lee is rescued from slavery by a girl who introduces him to a secret society dedicated to overthrowing the Manchu government.

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

Barbara Cohen and Bahija

Lovejoy A tale about an Arabian girl who disguises herself as a boy to earn money for her family.


Jerry Spinelli

From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal.


Mark Goldblatt

Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.

Warriors, Gods and Spirits from Central and South American Mythology

Douglas Gifford

Major mythological tales from Mexico to South America.

Independent Literature/ Nonfiction Texts

Title Author Description

Annie John

Jamaica Kincaid

Annie John grows from a precocious, fearless, ten-year-old living in a Caribbean paradise into a young woman who realizes she must leave Antigua to escape her mother’s shadow.


Scott O’Dell

A young girl relates her feelings and experiences as a participant in the battle of San Pasqual during the last days of the war between the Californians and the North Americans.

Different Beat

Candy Dawson Boyd

An acting student faces a prejudicial teacher who could ruin her school career.

Flash Fire

Caroline B. Cooney

Young people must free themselves from a raging fire in a California canyon.

Girl Who Owned A City

O.T. Nelson

A survival novel about a ten-year-old girl who assumes leadership after a plague has destroyed all persons over twelve years of age.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe


Four children travel to Narnia through a wardrobe, and while there, they meet Aslan, a great lion, and help in his battle with an evil witch.

Maizon At Blue Hill

Jacqueline Woodson Maizon

gets a scholarship to a boarding school where she confronts questions about her friends, her family, racism and her African-American heritage.

My Name Is Not Angelica

Scott O’Dell

Relates the experiences of a young Senegalese girl brought as a slave to the Danish owned Caribbean island of St. John as she participates in the slave revolt of 1733-1734.

Where the Red Fern Grows

Wilson Rawls

A simply written, moving story of the love between a young boy and his two dogs.


Scott O’Dell

Poignant sequel to The Island Of The Blue Dolphins, in which Zia and her Aunt Karana are reunited, but not for long.