MR. COOK'S OUTSIDE READING BOOK LIST: GOOD, SHORTER BOOKS
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. Resettled in New Mexico with her mother and brother, Davey Wexler recovers from the shock of her father’s death during a holdup of his 7-Eleven store in Atlantic City.
Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy. In the bleak, forbidding house of her great-aunts, neglected twelve-year-old orphan Maggie hears ghostly voices and finds magic that awakens in her the capacity to love and be loved.
The Goats by Brock Cole. Stripped and marooned on a small island by their fellow campers, a boy and a girl from an uneasy bond that grows into a deep friendship when they decide to run away and disappear without a trace.
My Daniel by Pam Conrad. Ellen and Stevie learn about a family legacy when their grandmother tells them stories of her brother’s quest for dinosaur bones on their Nebraska farm.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos. To the constant disappointment of his mother and his teachers, Joey has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his prescription medications wear off and he starts getting worked up and acting wired.
Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff. During a summer spent at Rockaway Beach in 1944, Lily’s friendship with a young Hungarian refugee causes her to see the war and her own world differently.
Babe & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure by Dan Gutman. With their ability to travel through time using vintage baseball cards, Joe and his father have the opportunity to find out whether Babe Ruth really did call his shot when he hit that home run in the third game of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs.
Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse. Thirteen-year-old Nyle learns about relationships and death when fifteen-year-old Ezra, who was exposed to radiation leaked from a nearby nuclear plant, comes to stay at her grandmother’s Vermont farmhouse.
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt. 643-pound Zachary Beaver, the fattest boy in the world, comes to town and changes the lives of everyone in Texas during the summer of 1971, and especially that of 13-year-old Toby Wilson, whose life up until now had seemed rather ordinary.
Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith. The struggles and hardships faced by Jeff Bussey on his 300-mile escape route during the Civil War.
A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle. During the summer her grandfather is dying of leukemia and death seems all round, 15-year-old Vicky finds comfort with the pod of dolphins with which she has been doing research.
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson. Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, Angel and Maximum are six kids who amazingly have the ability to fly, and they will need their wings as five of them embark on a rescue mission that will change their lives forever.
The Boy Who Owned the School: A Comedy of Love by Gary Paulsen. Jacob Freisten, often in a fog, tries to ease through high school unnoticed, but a beautiful classmate takes notice of him and life begins to change.
Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered by Gary Paulsen. Sent to live with relatives on their farm because of his unhappy home life, an eleven-year-old city boy meets his distant cousin Harris and is given an introduction to a whole new world.
Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons: The Story of Phyllis Wheatley by Ann Rinaldi. A fictionalized biography of the eighteenth-century African woman, who, as a child, was brought to New England as a slave, and after publishing her first poem as a teenager, gained renown throughout the colonies as an important African-American poet.
After the Dancing Days by Margaret I. Rostkowski. A forbidden friendship with a badly disfigured soldier in the aftermath of World War I forces thirteen-year-old Annie to redefine the word “hero” and to question conventional ideas of patriotism.
Escape from Warsaw by Ian Serraillier. During 1942 in Warsaw, Edek shoots a Nazi Storm Trooper. Edek and his two sisters must escape from the secret police.
Interstellar Pig by William Sleator. Barney’s boring seaside vacation suddenly becomes more interesting when the cottage next door is occupied by three exotic neighbors who are addicted to a game they call “Interstellar Pig.”