Download the Middle School Summer Reading Packet
  2015-16 Summer Reading List for Grades 6-8

All students entering grades 6-8 are required to read 2 books of their choice over the summer, and complete a reading log that contains their thoughts about what they have read.  Parents and guardians are asked to sign the log before students turn them in on the date in the Fall when the school will hold a Book Tasting (TBA). Students will use their reading logs to help them share with classmates “a taste” of one of the books read. Students who turn in completed and signed logs will earn credit for them from their English Language Arts teacher.

Choosing a Book
A list of recommended book titles representing several genres has been compiled by school and city librarians.  Students looking for good books to read will find that it contains many excellent choices.  However, students are not required to choose from the list; they may select any two books they wish that are appropriate for their reading level and suit their interests.  Parents are encouraged to monitor their child’s selections.

In addition to the list of recommended titles, we encourage students to participate in the Peabody Public Libraries summer reading celebration highlighting the theme Every Hero Has a Story and Unmask.  Below are some hero themed titles that are sure to delight.

Keeping a Reading Log
While they read, students are asked to keep a record of their thoughts about what they are reading.  A separate log should be kept for each book read.  Students may print out as many Reading Logs as they need to hold their thoughts.  The Reading Log contains the following fields:


Pages Read 

My Thoughts



(see below for topic suggestions) 



Use as many lines as you need for a thoughtful reflection. 
Each entry should cover between 1-50 pages. 

Students should consider asking themselves a variety of questions, and record the answers in their logs.  Here are some suggestions:

Fiction: Who are the main characters and how are they connected to one another? What is happening in the story?  What do I think about those events?  What do I think about the characters?  Their words?  Their actions?  How does the author keep the story moving, and keep the reader interested?  What event did I just read about?  Why is it important to the story?

What are some key pieces of information I just learned?  What am I reading about that interests me?  Why? What connections am I making between this book and my world.

Feel free to ask and answer your own questions!  Have a fun and safe summer.  Read another book!

Download the Student Reading Log at or pick up a copy at the Higgins Main Office or the Peabody Institute Library.

Summer Reading Instructions Letter | Summer Reading Recommended Book List

Summer Reading Log

Read with the Peabody Institute: Books with a Hero Theme and Free Summer Programs

The Peabody Institute Library's 2015 UNMASK! Teen Summer Reading Program for teens entering grades 6-12 is fun and easy! Stop by the Main Library to pick up a BINGO sheet- for every 5 activities that you do (like reading books & magazines, watching movies, listening to music, writing book reviews, creating book trailers and coming to our awesome programs), you'll win a small prize or an entry into a gift card raffle!

Check out the Peabody Institute Library's online calendar at to learn about free weekly summer programs (including free lunch!) like anime, manga & fandom meetups, writing workshops and our Camp Create teen tech club where you'll learn how to use a 3D Printer, professional sound recording equipment, sewing machines, stop-motion animation software and more!

Rebound & Read - Books and basketball - what a combination!  
The Crossover   

The Peabody Institute Library’s summer program combines a basketball clinic and tournament with fun and educational reading time.  Experienced coaches from the Rec Department run the basketball drills and scrimmages and participants read an exciting book about basketball, hip hop, jazz and family called The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  Higgins Middle School students may read The Crossover to complete summer reading requirements.  Make sure you keep a reading log! Peabody Residents Only

Dates: August 17-20, 9:00 - 1:00 pm
Drop off at the Peabody Institute, 82 Main Street and Pick Up is at Pierpont Park.   FREE!
**Participants should wear sneakers and bring sunscreen and water.  Students will walk to the park after the morning session at the library.  Lunch is provided free at the Library.  Rebound and Read is sponsored by the Friends of Peabody Institute Libraries and facilitated by the Peabody Institute Library and Peabody Recreation, Parks & Forestry Department.
UNMASK Your Inner Superhero (or Supervillain!) Camp
Dates: July 27 - 30, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm,
Peabody Institute Library Teen Room, 82 Main Street
Create your own hero or villain, complete with alter ego, nemesis, superpower and catch-phrase.  Then use the Library’s Creativity Lab technology to create your hero/villain’s personal symbol and the costume that will set him or her apart from the rest.  We’ll end with the Ultimate Hero/Villain Showdown, where YOU will take on your new hero/villain’s character to really bring him or her to life.  This is your chance to create an entirely new addition to the world of superheroes and supervillains.  The Library will provide lunch each day and all the supplies and technology that you’ll need - and YOU just need to bring creativity and excitement! Open to teens entering grades 6-12.  Signing-up is required as space is limited.  For more information, go to

Great Books with a Hero Theme
Sidekicked by John David Anderson
Tags: Superheroes, Adventure, Identity, Self-Confidence, Ability, Middle School - Reading Level: 5.4
Andrew Bean might be part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds.  First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. Then there’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than fighting crime.  Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle School is a drag even with superpowers. Visit the author’s website. The Peabody Institute has 8 copies available. There is an Audio Audible version available from Amazon and it is available in Kindle and Nook.    

Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes 
Tags: Teenagers, Families, Italy, World War II - Reading Level: 6.0

In 1944 Florence, Italy was occupied by Nazi forces.  The Italian resistance movement has not given up hope, though – and neither have thirteen-year-old Pablo and his sister, Costanza.  As their mother is pressured into harboring escaping POWs, Paolo and Costanza each find a part to play in opposing German forces.  Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two siblings – with only a bicycle to help them – do against a whole army?  Middle-grade fans of history and adventure will be riveted by the action and the vividly evoked tension of World War II.  Accompanying website: . The Peabody Institute has 13 copies and 3 audiobooks available.  There is an Audio Audible, MP3 and CD version available from Amazon and it is available in Kindle and Nook.

One For The Murphys   
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Tags: Foster Home Care, Mothers and Daughters, Stepfathers - Reading Level: 3.5
In the wake of heart-breaking betrayal, Carley Connors is thrust into foster care and left on the steps of the Murphys, a happy, bustling family.  When Carley arrives, she finds that she must sleep under a sign that reads, “Be someone’s hero.” At first, she thinks it’s a bit of cruel irony. However, the more she learns about the Murphys—and herself—her idea of what being a hero actually is changes. Just about every character in the book can be considered a hero. Use these characters to discuss how ordinary people can do extraordinary things—not only on behalf of others but for themselves as well.  The Peabody Institute has 6 copies available.  It is available in Kindle and Nook.

2015 Summer Reading Recommended Book List

Follow the links below to learn more about the book.

Genre: Dystopian

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Matched by Allyson Condie

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

Legend by Marie Lu
Crewel by Jennifer Albin 

Genre: Romance

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Genre: Sports

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Double Play by Sara Cassidy

Travel Team by Mike Lupica

Double Dutch by Sharon Draper

Last Shot by John Feinstein

Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park

The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John Ritter

Athlete vs. Mathlete by W. C. Mack 

Genre: Fantasy & Science Fiction

Tesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman

Cinder by Marisa Meyer

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Found by Margaret Haddix

Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson

Circle of Magic: Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce

Genre: Realistic

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia"

by R. J. Palacio

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

Absolute Value of Mike by  Katherine Erskine

Mira in the Present Tense by Sita Brahmachari

Operation Oleander by Valerie Patterson

A Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin

Seeing Red by Katherine Erskine

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sona Manzano

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango

The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

Elephant Run by Roland Smith

Genre: Mystery & Adventure

The Case of Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison

"Who Could that Be at this Hour?" by Lemony Snicket

Nobody's Secret by Michaela Maccoli

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

The Danger Box by Blue Balliet

Trapped by Michael Northrop

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

P.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing Widows by Caroline Lawrence

Genre: Graphic Novels

Gandhi: a manga biography by Kazuki Ebine

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

The Good Neighbors by Holly Black

Yummy by G. Neri

Olympians (series) by George O'Connor

Astronaut Academy by Doug TenNapel

Genre: Non-fiction

Chew on This by Eric Schlosser

Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

How They Choked: Failures, Flags and Flaws of the Awfully Famous by Georgian Bragg

Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

I am Malala by Lalala Yousefzai

Eleven Seconds by Travis Roy

Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II by Martin W. Sandler