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Year 8: Wide Reading List 2

Reading2

History and War Genres

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne
When young German boy Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences. An unforgettable, powerful story.

The Way of the Warrior (Young Samurai series #1) - Chris Bradford
Jack Fletcher is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan, his beloved father and the crew lie slaughtered by ninja pirates. Rescued by a legendary master swordsman and brought under his wing, Jack begins the grueling physical and psychological training needed to become a samurai. Life at Samurai school is fraught with difficulty for Jack who is bullied and treated as an outcast. With his friend the remarkable, beautiful Akiko at his side and all the courage he can muster, Jack has to prove himself. Will he be able to face deadly rivals and challenges that will test him to his very limits?

Pagan's Crusade - Catherine Jinks
A colorful tale loaded with action, down-and-dirty details of medieval life, and a healthy helping of sarcasm. Down on his luck and kicked in the pants one too many times, sixteen-year-old Pagan Kidrouk arrives on the doorstep of the Templar Knights in medieval Jerusalem, looking for work as a squire. He'd likesome protection from the seedier aspects of life on the street and a few square meals. Instead, Pagan finds himself hard at work for Lord Roland de Bram - an exciting life of polishing Lord Roland's armor, laundering his garments, and even training to fight by his side. But as the Infidel Saladin leads his army to Jerusalem, it becomes more and more difficult for Pagan and Lord Roland to discern what action to take or whom to trust. Neither Saladin's army nor the Christian Crusaders offer easy answers. Is a bloody battle for control of the Holy City inevitable?

I Am David - Ann Holm
David's entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly prison camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. With his vengeful enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crusts of bread, his two aching feet, and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark. Is that enough to survive? David's extraordinary odyssey is dramatically chronicled in Anne Holm's classic about the meaning of freedom and the power of hope.
 

The Mark of the Plague (The Blackthorn Key #2) - Kevin Sands
The Black Death has returned to London, spreading disease and fear through town. A mysterious prophet predicts the city’s ultimate doom—until an unknown apothecary arrives with a cure that actually works. Christopher’s Blackthorn shop is chosen to prepare the remedy. But when an assassin threatens the apothecary’s life, Christopher and his faithful friend Tom are back to hunting down the truth, risking their lives to untangle the heart of a dark conspiracy. And as the sickness strikes close to home, the stakes are higher than ever before…

Nanberry - Jackie French
The amazing story of Australia's first surgeon and the boy he adopted. It's 1789, and as the new colony in Sydney Cove is established, Surgeon John White defies convention and adopts Nanberry, an Aboriginal boy, to raise as his son. Nanberry is clever and uses his unique gifts as an interpreter to bridge the two worlds he lives in. With his white brother, Andrew, he witnesses the struggles of the colonists to keep their precarious grip on a hostile wilderness. And yet he is haunted by the memories of the Cadigal warriors who will one day come to claim him as one of their own. This true story follows the brothers as they make their way in the world - one as a sailor, serving in the Royal Navy, the other a hero of the Battle of Waterloo. No less incredible is the enduring love between the gentleman surgeon and the convict girl who was saved from the death penalty and became a great lady in her own right. 
The Seeing Stone (Arthur Trilogy #1) - Kevin Crossley-Holland
Arthurian legend comes to life in this novel, set in 1199 in the Welsh Marches. Thirteen-year-old Arthur de Caldicot lives on a manor, in  desperately waiting for the moment he can become a knight. One day his father's friend Merlin gives him a shining black stone - a seeing stone - that shows him visions of his namesake, King Arthur. The legendary dragons, battles, and swordplay that young Arthur witnesses seem a world away from his own life. And yet there is something definitely joining the Arthurs together. It will be Arthur de Caldicot's destiny to discover how his path is intertwined with a king's . . . for the past is not the only thing the seeing stone can see.

Once - Morris Gleitzman
The story of Felix, a young Jewish boy who is determined to escape the orphanage he lives in to save his Jewish parents from the Nazis in the occupied Poland of the Second World War. He believes that everybody deserves to have something good in their life - at least once. He proves that Once he escaped from an orphanage to find his parents; Once he saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house, and Once he made a Nazi with a toothache laugh. 

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain - John Boyne
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 household at the top of the German mountains. 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. Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler's wing, and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, from which he may never be able to escape.
Goodnight Mr Tom - Michelle Magorian
London is poised on the brink of World War II. Timid, scrawny Willie Beech -- the abused child of a single mother -- is evacuated to the English countryside. At first, he is terrified of everything, of the country sounds and sights, even of Mr. Tom, the gruff, kindly old man who has taken him in. But gradually Willie forgets the hate and despair of his past. He learns to love a world he never knew existed, a world of friendship and affection in which harsh words and daily beatings have no place. Then a telegram comes. Willie must return to his mother in London. When weeks pass by with no word from Willie, Mr. Tom sets out for London to look for the young boy he has come to love as a son.
The Horses Didn't Come Home - Pamela Rushby
The last great cavalry charge in history took place at Beersheba in the Sinai Desert in 1917. It was Australian soldiers and horses that took part in, and won, this amazing, unexpected, unorthodox victory. The men proudly claimed it was their great-hearted horses that won the day. But in the end, the horses didn't come home...
Hitler's Daughter - Jackie French
It began on a rainy morning in Australia, as part of a game played by Mark and his friends. It was a storytelling game, and the four friends took turns weaving tales about fairies and mermaids and horses. But Anna's story was different this time: it was not a fairy tale or an adventure story. The story was about a young girl who lived during World War II. Her name was Heidi, and she was Hitler's daughter. As Anna's story unfolds, Mark is haunted by the image of Hitler's daughter. He wonders what he would have done in her place if he had known his father was an evil man leading the world into a war that was destroying millions of lives. And if Mark had known, would he have had the power and determination to stop him?
Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief - Catherine Jinks
12-year-old Theophilus Grey (Philo to his friends) heads a team of boys who guide Londoners home through the dank 18th-century alleys by the light of their torches. In the process, the boys pick up useful information for their master, Garnet Hooke, who runs a spy network from his sickbed. When thieves and rogues start dropping without a scratch, rumours spread of a dangerous faery demon on the loose, and Philo begins to fear the worst. Then a sudden wave of crime sweeps the neighbourhood, and he can't help but wonder if the two are connected. With help from his new friend, Mr Paxton, Philo finds himself battling a threat far more sinister than any he's faced before. He will need to use all his cunning to uncover the truth behind the demon thief in time to save his friends. This gripping tale of spies, spells and secrets plunges the reader into a dark and perilous world where superstition clashes with the Age of Enlightenment. A little like Oliver Twist.

Pharaoh - The Boy Who Conquered the Nile - Jackie French
The people call Prince Narmer 'the Golden One' - a boy with the brightest future ahead of him. Handsome and talented, he is destined to be King of Thinis, the greatest town in Egypt and, for Narmer, the centre of the world.Then his whole life changes overnight. A devastating incident with a crocodile disfigures him and forces him to give up his right to the throne. He then  journeys across the ancient Middle East with the mysterious Trader, the crippled Nitho and a tamed wildcat called Bast. And as he travels through the desert and visits the great cities of Punt and Sumer, he learns that Thinis is actually a very small place indeed. But can he ever truly forget his homeland? When he decides to pay one last visit to Thinis, he will discover what it really means to be a leader, and will find his destiny fulfilled beyond his wildest expectations.  

Soldier Dog - Sam Angus
Stanley is angry with his father and  runs away to enlist in the army to train as a messenger dog handler, and despite being far too young he's soon heading to the trenches of France in  World War I with a great Dane called Bones by his side. As the fighting escalates and Stanley experiences the horrors of war, he comes to realise that the loyalty of his dog is the one thing he can rely on. But his father hasn't given up on him, and extraordinary circumstances will bring them together once more. The bravery and  trusting relationship built up between a dog and their handler shines through this story.

Auslander - Paul Dowswell
When Peter's parents are killed, he is sent to an orphanage in Warsaw. Then German soldiers take him away to be measured and assessed. They decide that Peter is racially valuable. He is Volksdeutscher: of German blood. With his blond hair, blue eyes, and acceptably proportioned head, he looks just like the boy on the Hitler-Jugend poster. Someone important will want to adopt Peter. They do. Professor Kaltenbach is very pleased to welcome such a fine Aryan specimen to his household. People will be envious. But Peter is not quite the specimen they think. He is forming his own ideas about what he is seeing, what he is told. Peter doesn't want to be a Nazi, and so he is going to take a very dangerous risk -the most dangerous risk he could possibly choose to take in Berlin in 1942.

The Machine Gunners - Robert Westall
With Nazi planes raining bombs on England night after night, every boy in Garmouth has a collection of shrapnel and other war souvenirs. But nothing comes close to the shiny black working machine gun and 2000 rounds of live ammunition that Chas McGill pulls out of a German bomber crashed in the nearby woods. While the police search frantically for the missing gun, Chas and his friends build a secret fortress to fight the Germans themselves, with dangerous and unexpected results.

Loyal Creatures - Morris Gleitzman
Like many of his mates from the bush, Frank Ballantyne is keen to join the grand adventure of World War I and do his bit, especially as a chest full of medals might impress the currently unimpressed parents of his childhood sweetheart. So Frank ups his age and volunteers with his horse Daisy ... and his dad. In the deserts of Egypt and Palestine he experiences all the adventure he ever wanted, and a few things he wasn't expecting. Heartbreak, love and the chance to make the most important choice of his life. From Gallipoli to the famous charge at Beersheba, through to the end of the war and its unforgettable aftermath, Frank's story grows out of some key moments in Australia's history. They were loyal creatures, the men and horses of the Australian Light Horse, but war doesn't always pay heed to loyalty. This is the powerful story of a young man's journey towards his own kind of bravery.
Zafir - Pru Mason
Six months after Zafir has moved to Homs from Dubai with his parents, the excitement of living in a new city has worn off. But then he sees a body thrown from a moving car, and when no one stops to help - and he's told to forget what he's seen - he realises there's a lot he doesn't understand about life in Syria. A lot that no one will tell him. Soon after, the campaign for revolution in Syria begins, and Zafir's parents argue about their country's future. Things get worse when his father is arrested and his mother must leave Homs. As the conflict in the city escalates, everyday life becomes dangerous for a boy alone. Will Zafir find a way to be reunited with his friends and family?

 

Humour, Sports, Animals and General Genres

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary. In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion.

WeirDo - Anh Do
Meet Weir Do. No, that’s not a typo, that’s his name! Weir Do’s the new kid in school. With an unforgettable name, a crazy family and some seriously weird habits, fitting in won’t be easy . . . but it will be funny!

 

Any David Walliams books
Walliams has become one of our best-loved children's authors, writing hilarious stories featuring some of the kookiest characters in print. Try any of his stand-alone books, such as The Demon Dentist, Gangsta Granny, Mr Stink, The Boy in the Dress, and many more.

 

 

Misery Guts - Morris Gleitzman (or any of his humorous books)
Keith's heart was pounding. Calm down, he thought. You're not robbing a bank. You're not kidnapping anybody. You're just painting a fish and chip shop orange. Keith is trying to cheer up his parents. But a pair of misery guts need more than a pot of Tropical Mango Hi-Gloss to make them happy. What they really need, Keith decides, is to live in Paradise. Trouble is, Paradise is halfway round the world. Even Keith Shipley is stumped by that one. 

 

Thai-Riffic - Oliver Phommavanh
Albert (Lengy) Lengviriyakul, is fed up with being Thai. His parents own a Thai restaurant with the cheesy name of Thai-riffic! and Lengy is sick of being his father's curry guinea pig, longing to just eat pizza! At school he is a bit of a troublemaker, going to any lengths to hide his background. But when his best friend decides to become Thai for a day for a school project, Lengy stubbornly comes to the realization that there may just be some pretty cool things about his culture.

Middle School - The Worst Years of My Life
Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he's got an ace plan for the best year ever, if only he can pull it off: With his best friend Leonardo the Silent awarding him points, Rafe tries to break every rule in his school's oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class-5,000 points! Running in the hallway-10,000 points! Pulling the fire alarm-50,000 points! But when Rafe's game starts to catch up with him, he'll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he's finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he's been avoiding. Blockbuster author James Patterson delivers a genuinely hilarious-and surprisingly poignant-story of a wildly imaginative, one-of-kind kid .
Nips XI - Ruth Starke
If white boys can't jump, can Asian kids play cricket? Lan's fed up with being called a Nip. He wants to be a true blue Aussie. What better way than by playing the greatest Anglo game of all? Lan gathers a team together and defiantly gives it a name: NIPS XI. Now all they have to do is get some equipment, find a coach, get themselves a sponsor and learn the rules of the game. Then it's time to challenge the best cricket team in the district. A funny, empowering story of cricket and curry, spinners and leggies, NIPS XI is about overcoming cultural barriers, in sport and in life.

Lockie Leonard: Human Torpedo - Tim Winton
Lockie Leonard is a 13 year-old who moves from the city to Angelus, Western Australia, "the most remote town on Earth". Lockie has to deal with starting high school in a new town with no friends and a house that is in danger of sinking into a swamp. However, he is a hot-shot surfer, and once he hooks up with the beautiful Vicki, he becomes famours and popular, though he still has a lot to learn about girls and relationships. 

Specky Magee - Felice Arena

Follows Specky through his love for Aussie Rules. In this book, Specky becomes curious about an old photo of him being dressed in AFL gear, even though his family hates AFL. Upon discovering an online friend, "CHRISkicks", who turns out to be a girl, he wonders whether he is adopted.

Megs and the Vootball Kids - Neil Montagnana
Truth was, he didn't know anything about Australia except that it was a long way away, it was sunny, there were kangaroos, his friends weren't there, and they called football "soccer". What was there to look forward to about that?Edward "Megs" Morrison is starting at a new school. That's hard enough, but to do it in a foreign land makes it even more uncomfortable. Luckily, football is an international password, and football just happens to be something Edward Morrison loves - but the school has no proper team, because no one is available to coach.Megs makes an unlikely friend of a quirky old Hungarian school cleaner, but will he ever make friends his own age? Will he ever feel at home on the other side of the planet? And with no school team, how will Megs quench his thirst for competitive football? Megs & The Vootball Kids is a story about persistence, dedication and overcoming obstacles. It's about making a difference whatever your background... And it's about football.

Red Dog - Louis de Bernieres
The author went to Karratha, a mining town in Western Australia, where the landscape is extraordinary, being composed of vast heaps of dark red earth and rock poking out of the never-ending bush. Here he discovered the bronze statue to Red Dog outside the town of Dampier. He then wrote a story about the dog's exploits, how he united a disparate local community while roaming the Australian outback in search of his long lost master. 

War Horse - Michael Morpurgo
In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?
Don't Call Me Ishmael - Gerard Michael Bauer

By the time ninth grade begins, Ishmael Leseur knows it won't be long before Barry Bagsley, the class bully, says, "Ishmael? What kind of wussy name is that?” Ishmael's perfected the art of making himself virtually invisible. But all that changes when James Scobie joins the class. Unlike Ishmael, James has no sense of fear—he claims it was removed during an operation. Now nothing will stop James and Ishmael from taking on bullies, bugs, and Moby Dick, in the toughest, weirdest, most embarrassingly awful...and the best year of their lives.

The Power of One (Younger Readers) - Bryce Courtenay
Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, little six-year-old Peekay learns that small can beat big. Armed with this knowledge, he resolves to take on the injustices of his country, and sets his heart on becoming the welterweight champion of the world. Peekay starts to take boxing lessons, makes new friends, collects cacti and plays the piano. Above all, he learns to think with his head and then with his heart. He discovers that nothing can defeat the determination to be true to yourself: that this is the power of one. 
Boy Overboard - Morris Gleitzman
A story of adventure, ball control and hope. Jamal loves playing football, which isn't easy if your goalie only has one leg and you keep having to dodge landmines to get your ball back. Jamal's stubborn little sister Bibi is even better at football than Jamal. But girls playing football is against the law in Afganistan. When it is discovered that Jamal's mother has been secretly running a school, the family must leave their home immediately and begin a long and dangerous journey to Australia. The children survive separation from their parents, hunger, and violent smugglers only to find that Australia isn't as welcoming as they had thought but, even though they face an uncertain future, Jamal, Bibi and their parents know that as long as they are together, that is all that matters.  
Mao's Last Dancer (Younger Readers) - Li Cunxin
One day, not so very many years ago, a small peasant boy was chosen to study ballet at the Beijing Dance Academy. His mother urged him to take this chance of a lifetime. But Li was only11 years old and he was scared and lonely, pushed away from all that he had ever known and loved. He hated the strict training routines and the strange place he had been brought to. All he wanted to do was go home – to his mother, father and six brothers, to his own small village. But soon Li realised that his mother was right. He had the chance to do something special with his life – and he never turned back . . .
Hatchet - Gary Paulsen
Brian is on his way to Canada to visit his estranged father when the pilot of his small prop plane suffers a heart attack. Brian is forced to crash-land the plane in a lake--and finds himself stranded in the remote Canadian wilderness with only his clothing and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present before his departure. Exhausted, terrified, and hungry, Brian struggles to find food and make a shelter for himself. He has no special knowledge of the woods, and he must find a new kind of awareness and patience as he meets each day's challenges. Is the water safe to drink? Are the berries he finds poisonous? Slowly, Brian learns to turn adversity to his advantage - most of all, Brian leaves behind the self-pity he has felt about his predicament as he summons the courage to stay alive.A story of survival and of transformation, this riveting book has sparked many a reader's interest in venturing into the wild.
Holes - Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten- pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.