View the Windham Center School 2020 summer reading lists and Windham Middle School 2020 summer reading lists on their websites, or continue down this page for synopses of the lists and links to presentations about the assignments!
Nesmith Library is temporarily closed, with limited service and curbside borrowing. Visit our Updates page for details, and learn more about how to borrow these books by participating in Curbside Borrowing. Looking for more summer reading fun? Register for the Nesmith Library Teen Summer Reading Program!
5th Grade Reading List:
- This novel in verse based on true events tells the story of a boy's harrowing experience on a lifeboat after surviving a torpedo attack during World War II.
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, Dan Gemeinhart Ebook also available through Cloudlibrary
- Five years. That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation. It's also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.
- Seventh-grader Joseph Friedman is friendless and puny, with ADD to boot. He spends most of his time avoiding the class bully and hiding out in the Resource Room. But the Resource Room teacher encourages (i.e., practically forces) him to join the school cross country team, and he meets Heather, a new student who's tough and athletic and refuses to be pushed around by anybody.
- Toby and his friend, Lucas, made a list of things to do the summer before they entered middle school, but now Lucas is gone. So Toby sets out to fulfill the promise he made to his friend, to finish the list by hiking the Appalachian Trail from Velvet Rocks to Mt. Katahdin--an undertaking that he is poorly prepared for--and which will become not only a struggle for survival, but a rescue mission for the starving and abused dog who he finds along the way.
- Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves. It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.
- The frenzied anticipation of FunJungle's newest resident, a rare giant panda, turns into alarm when the truck transporting the panda goes missing, a situation that is complicated by a blackmailer who threatens Teddy's girlfriend if he fails to solve the crime. This book is part of the FunJungle mystery series.
- Seventh-grader Ben, a boy who has lived in foster care, is adopted by an older, loving woman. Ben feels he is always an outsider, but he ends up in a deep friendship with Halley, the daughter of the librarian from his public library. Ben has adopted a special dog he names Flip, and together Ben and Halley work to get the dog certified as a therapy dog. Unfortunately life gets in the way and Ben is faced with a number of losses which he learns how to cope with.
- Telling fibs in order to fit in better with her wealthier peers, 12-year-old Aru Shah spends her school break at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture where her mother works. When some girls from her school dare her to light a cursed lamp, she unwittingly releases an ancient demon who wants to awaken the Lord of Destruction to end the world. This plunges Aru into the world of Hindu mythology as she, her soul sister and their sidekick pigeon embark on a quest to stop the Sleeper.
- Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason's learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason's best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family's orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can't understand why Lieutenant Baird won't believe the story Mason has told about that day. Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He's desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny. But will anyone believe him?
- Ever since he was a dwarfling, Borlen (nicknamed "Grump") has dreamed of visiting The Surface, so when opportunity knocks, he leaves his cavern home behind. At first, life above ground is a dream come true. Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.) is the best friend Grump always wanted, feeding him all the rubies he can eat and allowing him to rule at her side in exchange for magic and information. But as time goes on, Grump starts to suspect that Queen E.V.I.L. may not be as nice as she seems.
6th Grade Reading List:
- Twelve-year-old Patryk knows little of the world beyond his tiny Polish village; the Russians have occupied the land for as long as anyone can remember, but otherwise life is unremarkable. Patryk and his friends entertain themselves by coming up with dares — some more harmful than others — until the Germans drop a bomb on the schoolhouse and the Great War comes crashing in.
- With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can't help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.
- To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette’s syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special—he has electric powers. Michael thinks he is unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric teens—and through them, the world.
- Take a trip to Newbery Honoree Carl Hiaasen's Florida, where adventure is always in the air! This New York Times bestseller is a wickedly funny, slightly subversive tale of the story of snakes, grizzlies, a missing dad, a menacing drone. Some facts about Billy Dickens: He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake; Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal; Billy isn't the type to let things go. Some facts about Billy's family: They've lived in six different Florida towns because Billy's mom insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest; Billy's dad left when he was four and is a total mystery; Billy has just found his dad's address—in Montana. This summer, Billy will fly across the country, hike a mountain, float a river, dodge a grizzly bear, shoot down a spy drone, save a neighbor's cat, save an endangered panther, and then try to save his own father.
- As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor's wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge -- and quarantine colony -- for the ill. The Scourge's victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn't know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She's been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on. But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so? The Scourge is an explosively thrilling tale of adventure and intrigue, courage and heart.
- Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of getting out and going to college, life there is made even worse by Bo Taylor, Nowhere’s biggest, baddest bully. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a dangerously spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, comes to his rescue—but in return she has to give Bo her prized dirt bike. Determined to buy it back, Gus agrees to go searching for gold in Dead Frenchman Mine, joined by his old friend Jessie, Rossi, and even Bo’s sidekick, Matthew. As they race against the clock hunting for treasure, narrowly surviving everything from cave-ins to mountain lions, they bond over shared stories of how hard life in Nowhere is—and they realize this adventure just may be their way out.
7th Grade Reading List:
- In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.
- A small group of teens has the ability to actually stop time and rewind it to review past events! Spinners are used by law enforcement to help solve crimes. The price? Living in compounds separated by society for protection… AND only being able to live until the age of 20.
- Check out this book talk by Kwame Alexander himself! When America is not so beautiful, or right, or just, it can be hard to know what to do. Best friends Walt and Noah decide to use their voices to grow more good in the world, but first they've got to find cool.
- Claire’s life is a joke.. But not in a funny way. Everyone is doing well and moving forward but her, it seems. The mean kids at school are only getting meaner. Things couldn’t be worse… Until Tragedy strikes for real. Claire’s father falls, having a major stroke right in front of her, and Claire’s world turns upside-down.
- After witnessing an act of domestic terrorism while training on his bike, Jake is found near death with a serious head injury, unable to remember the plane crash or the aftermath that landed him in the hospital. Now he’s on the run… from the killers for being a witness AND from law enforcement who think he’s involved!
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (historical fiction). Eaudiobook also available through OverDrive/Libby
- Think YOU have it rough?! Imagine living on the island Alcatraz: “a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turn and surrounded by water”... and criminals!
- Watch the book trailer! When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy Austrian household. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler. Pierrot is quickly taken under Hitler's wing and thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets, and betrayal from which he may never be able to escape.
- Three kids on harrowing journeys, facing unimaginable dangers-- from drownings, to bombings, to betryals… in search of -- refuge.
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (science fiction). Also available as an ebook through Cloudlibrary.
- Welcome to the world of hyper-advanced technology, cyber terrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams… and your worst nightmares.
8th Grade Reading List:
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (contemporary fiction) Available as an ebook from Cloudlibrary and eaudiobook on Overdrive/Libby.
- Rashad is a young black teen who should have a whole world of opportunities ahead of him. But being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he ends up being falsely accused of stealing and resisting arrest. He is badly beaten by a police officer. Quinn is a young white teen who not only sees Rashad being beaten, but the cop who does it is like a father to Quinn. This is a story of fiction, but it reads like it could have been ripped from today’s headlines. In a world filled with racism and prejudice, how you choose to act matters. The problem is figuring out where you really stand.
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (contemporary fiction). Also available as an ebook through Cloudlibrary and OverDrive/Libby.
- Hayley Kincaid and father move back to their hometown to try a normal life, but the horrors he saw during the war have given him a severe case of Post-traumatic stress disorder. Can Hayley convince him to get the help he needs before it is too late for both of them?
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (contemporary fiction). Also available as an ebook through Cloudlibrary.
- Two teens meet in a group for those struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Each group member takes on a superhero persona for session at the urging of their psychologist. Adam chooses Batman, and is floored when his crush Robyn chooses Robin in order to be his sidekick. Adam has a knack for helping others who are struggling with their own issues but is overwhelmed by his compulsions to realize his gifts. An interesting exploration of the trials and tribulations of OCD as well as everyday teen issues such as love, friendship, school, and divorce.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (psychological thriller). Also available as an ebook from Cloudlibrary.
- We are Sinclairs. Beautiful. Privileged. Damaged. Liars. We live, at least in the summertime, on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Perhaps that is all you need to know.
- Hanneke is a young woman who becomes an old soul in 1943 in Amsterdam. The Nazis have taken over the country and everything is bought in black markets. Hanneke is good at bargaining for her clients. But things change when she is tasked with finding a girl in the blue coast. A girl in the Jewish community. As Hanneke mourns the loss of her boyfriend, she also enters another world that is working to help the Jews escape a terrifying fate.
- Losing his battle to terminal cancer, sixteen-year-old Travis opts to have his head surgically removed, stored cryogenically, and restored to life at some point in the distant future when medical technology is able to attach it to a new body. That day comes sooner than anyone thinks, just five years later, so much has changed. Adjusting to his new body and his unwanted fame are the least of his worries. Travis’s best friend, Kyle, who had come out to him, has now gone back into the closet, his girlfriend, Cate, is now engaged to somebody else, and his parents’ relationship is not as healthy as it seems.
- In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ('gleaned') by professional reapers ('scythes'). Two teens must compete with each other to become a scythe--a position neither of them wants. The one who becomes a scythe must kill the one who doesn't.
- World War II on and island off Okinawa is our setting. The story is told in two voices. An American young soldier, barely 18, named Ray and an Okinawan boy, almost 14. They both are given grenades by their officers. They are on different sides. Read about survival against starvation, the enemy and the enemy within. Culture and beliefs are woven into the story to understand the world a little more.