It can be a challenge to find engaging books for 7th and 8th-grade students that will keep their attention. The books listed below would be great for reluctant readers who do not want to read during English class. I have compiled a list of graphic novels, easy reads and high-interest chapter books.
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Easy Reads & Graphic Novels
The books in this category would be great to recommend to students who only want to read Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.
Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes – Box Set
The founder of Stately Academy designed the school to have secret challenges for the students. Hopper and Eni are determined to solve the challenge using their coding knowledge.
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
School is out for summer and Derek is disappointed to learn his parents are sending him to Learning Camp.
The story of the sinking of the Titanic told by a 10-year-old boy. The “I Survived” series are stories told by children who experienced and survived historical events.
Knights of the Lunch Table: No. 1 (The Dodgeball Chronicles) by Frank Cammuso
Arthur (Artie) King just wants to fit in at his new school. He opens his locker and is given powers which don’t sit well with the bullies at school.
A group of 11-year-old super-spies with unique traits that have been turned into superpowers try to save the world.
Jamie Grimm wants to be the world’s best standup comedian. He lives with his aunt and uncle and their bully son Stevie. Stevie doesn’t care that Jamie is in a wheelchair. Jamie enters a contest called The Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic.
Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
Max Einstein is recruited to help solve world problems using science all while dodging “The Corporation”.
Greg Heffle keeps a diary of life in middle school.
Dog Man is part dog and part man and a hero who fights crime.
Nate Wright is 11 years old and already holds the record for most detentions in his school. Follow Nate in his adventures as a sixth-grade student.
Max Crumbly has to deal with a bully who stuffs him into his locker and wants to be like his favourite comic hero.
A story about Raina who falls and injures her two front teeth this results in a long journey of braces, surgery, fake teeth and more.
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Callie loves drama but doesn’t sing. So she’s the set designer for the drama department. She is determined to produce a Broadway set on a school budget all while dealing with middle school drama.
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Raina wants to be a big sister until she is one. This is the story of her relationship with her sister.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Catrina’s younger sister, Maya, is sick so they move to an area that will help with her sickness. They find out their new town has ghosts, Maya wants to meet one and Cat does not.
Engaging Books for 7th and 8th-Grade Students: Chapter Books
The books in this category would be great to recommend to students who want to move beyond reading Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books but want highly engaging reads.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghost (real name Castle) is a young student who is discovered by Coach who sees he has a great deal of natural talent on the track. Coach thinks Ghost could possibly become a member of the Junior Olympic team if he can keep his life on the right track.
Schooled by Gordon Korman
Cap has been home schooled his entire life. He has lived on a commune his entire life with his grandmother. When his grandmother falls out of a tree and can no longer care for Cap, he must go and live with a new guardian and attend the local school. Things do not go as smoothly as Cap had hoped at his new school. This reality is much different than the one he shared with his grandmother.
Seven tribes of dragons have been at war for decades and 5 dragonets are supposed to put an end to the fighting.
Ungifted by Gordon Korman
Donovan has a knack for getting into trouble. After his latest prank he thinks he will be expelled but an error ends up sending him to a school for gifted students. Donovan needs to find a way to fit in so he can stay at this new school.
The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
A teacher who has given up on teaching is assigned to a class with a group of students with various issues and discovers he once again cares about teaching.
Peak by Roland Smith
Fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello is in major trouble for climbing a skyscraper in New York City. He is given two options: spend time in juvie or go live with his estranged father in Thailand. Given these options he chooses Thailand – but his selection comes with some conditions. His father wants his son to be the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. Peak must overcome obstacles if he is going to achieve this goal.
Percy Jackson is on a quest to save a dangerous weapon – Zeus’ bolt. On his journey he faces mythological creatures who pose a challenge for this 12-year-old boy. Students will love this story which is full of references to Greek mythology.
Three best friends get themselves into trouble wherever they go.
Restart by Gordon Korman
Chase Ambrose falls off a roof and loses consciousness. He wakes up and forgets everything, his name, his parents and even that he is one of the biggest bullies at his school. Chase is determined to not be the person he once was.
I hope your students enjoy reading these engaging books for 7th and 8th-grade students. My students really enjoyed reading these books.