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Homeschooling - Our recommended 7th Grade Reading List

At Jool, we believe in a challenge and our literature classes and homeschooling programme are no different. Every book list is, and should be, ever changing as different books become more relevant or apt for the time, or as BETTER books are written. Right now, here's our recommended 7th Grade Reading List. We hope you enjoy these books as much as enjoyed reading them to create our Jool workbooks our students use to study them:

1. How Many Miles to Babylon? by Jennifer Johnston

- Summary: Set in Ireland during World War I, this novel explores the friendship between two boys from different social backgrounds. Their bond is tested as they enlist in the war and face its harsh realities.

- Key Themes: The impact of war, class differences, friendship, and the loss of innocence.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0141046961

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0141046969

2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

- Summary: This book follows the story of George and Lennie, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California. It explores their dreams of owning their own land and the challenges they face.

- Key Themes: The American Dream, friendship, loneliness, and the struggle for personal independence.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0140177396

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0140177398

3. One by Sarah Crossan

- Summary: Told in verse, this novel is about conjoined twins Grace and Tippi, who must navigate the world together. As they attend school for the first time, they face challenges and unexpected turns.

- Key Themes: Identity, sisterhood, the challenges of adolescence, and the concept of normality.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9781408827215

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1408827215

4. An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

- Summary: This play set in 1912 revolves around the prosperous Birling family, who are visited by a mysterious Inspector Goole. His investigation into a young woman's death unravels the family’s secrets.

- Key Themes: Social responsibility, class, hypocrisy, and the effects of actions on others.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 014118535X

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0141185354

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

- Summary: A touching novel about Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager with cancer, who falls in love with Augustus Waters, a boy from her cancer support group. It's a story about love, life, and death.

- Key Themes: Coping with illness, the experience of first love, the meaning of life and death, and the impact of literature.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 014242417X

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0142424179

6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville - but NOT all the chapters because we just can't do that to young people! Chapters 1-20, 26-27, 40, 42, 78, 89, 90, 122-135

- Summary: This classic novel narrates the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaling ship Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the giant white sperm whale that on the ship's previous voyage bit off Ahab's leg at the knee.

- Key Themes: Obsession, revenge, the struggle between man and nature, and the limitations of knowledge.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1514649748

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1514649749

7. Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

- Summary: A unique blend of fiction and a primer in Western philosophy, this book follows Sophie Amundsen, a teenager who begins to receive mysterious letters that take her on a journey through philosophical history.

- Key Themes: The history of philosophy, the nature of reality, the challenges of adolescence, and the search for identity.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1858815304

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1858815305

8. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

- Summary: Set in a dystopian world, this novel follows the lives of Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth, who spend their childhood at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. As they grow older, they must come to terms with the harsh realities of their existence.

- Key Themes: The ethics of scientific progress, the nature of humanity, love, and friendship.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780571258093

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0571258093

9. Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong

- Summary: This novel is based on the author's experience during the Cultural Revolution, living among nomadic Mongols and observing their traditions, particularly their relationship with wolves.

- Key Themes: The clash between modernity and traditional ways of life, environmentalism, and the spiritual connection between humans and nature.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0141027878

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0141027876

10. The Martian by Andy Weir

- Summary: An astronaut, Mark Watney, finds himself stranded on Mars after his team assumes he is dead and leaves the planet. He must use his ingenuity and determination to survive.

- Key Themes: Survival, human resourcefulness, the spirit of exploration, and problem-solving under pressure.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0553418025

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0553418026

11. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

- Summary: In a dystopian future where books are banned and "firemen" burn any that are found, Guy Montag begins to question his role and the values of society.

- Key Themes: Censorship, the role of knowledge in society, individualism vs. conformity, and the power of literature.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9781451673319

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1451673319

12. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

- Summary: Charlie Gordon, a man with an IQ of 68, undergoes an experimental surgery designed to increase his intelligence. The novel chronicles the impacts of this change on his life.

- Key Themes: The treatment of the mentally disabled, the tension between intelligence and emotions.

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1399607766

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1399607766

Absolutely, I'll continue the list by adding summaries and key themes for "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens and "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe:

13. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

- Summary: This classic novel follows the life of Pip, an orphan who dreams of rising above his humble beginnings. After an anonymous benefactor provides him with the means to become a gentleman, Pip moves to London, where he learns about life, love, and the complexities of the social class system.

- Key Themes: Social class and mobility, the true nature of wealth and gentility, personal growth and development, and the consequences of ambition.

14. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

- Summary: Set in the Igbo village of Umuofia, this novel tells the story of Okonkwo, a respected warrior and leader. It chronicles his rise and fall within his community, as well as the impact of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on traditional Igbo society.

- Key Themes: The clash of cultures, the impact of colonialism, the struggle between tradition and change, and the complexities of leadership and masculinity.

This reading list, encompassing a diverse range of literature, provides an enriching and broad educational experience for 7th graders, catering to various interests and critical thinking skills. These selections are particularly beneficial for homeschooling parents or teachers looking to provide a comprehensive literary education.

Enjoy! James Jool Principal and Founder

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