Classical Childrens Books

8th Grade Reading List

The 8th grade reading list gives our top ten picks of classic literature for eighth graders.

See the bottom of this page for more book lists.


by Robert L. Stevenson

One of histories unsolved "who done it" mysteries is tackled by Robert Stevenson's masterpiece. The fictitous David Balfour becomes an unlikely companion to the historical Alan Breck Stuart as they flee from the scene of the murdered Red Fox.

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

by By Mark Twain

Considered the best book written BY Mark Twain and the best book written ABOUT Joan of Arc. An exciting 16th century tale of the French Heroine who defied the British in the Hundred Year War.

Carry on Mr. Bowditch

by Jean Latham

This biography of Nathaniel Bowditch recounts the accomplishments of a mathematician and navigator from Salem, Massachussetts in late 1700's and early 1800's. Demonstrates how perseverence overcomes personal hardships for an individual and a nation.

Streams to the River, River to the Sea

by Scott O'Dell

This is the story of Sacagawea, the Shoshone interpreter on the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804. This fictionalized account, narrated by Sacagawea, is based on records of her known life and recounts her childhood, kidnapping by another tribe, forced marriage to a white trapper, and inclusion in the expedition.

Fellowship of the Ring

by J.R. Tolkien

Don't let the movie keep you from reading the book. This is the first book in the trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings," weaving Tolkien's mythology and Biblical allegory. Hobbits, dwarves, elves and men collaborate to prevent the destruction of their beloved Middle Earth by the dark lord. Look for the phenomenal characters and marvelous scenery penned by a master story-teller.

The Golden Goblet

by Eloise J. McGraw

Historical fiction, this story takes place in Egypt about 1500 B.C. A young goldsmith apprentice discovers a theft from the tomb of the Valley of the Kings. The young apprentice needs to solve a mystery with danger and intrigue. The customs of ancient Egypt are described.

Rifles for Watie

by Harold Keith

Historical fiction from the American Civil War, the main character is sixteen year old Jeff, a Union soldier. As a spy, Jeff becomes involved with both the Union and Confederate armies, and develops close friendships with individuals on both sides. In addition, he uncovers an intriguing plot against the Union. Jeff is a fictitous character, but General Watie was Civil War leader.

In Freedom's Cause

by G.A. Henty

One of literature's first serial writers of historical fiction, G.A. Henty combines history and personal adventure. In this story of the desperate struggle for the Scots independence, the fictitous Archie Forbes join the movement of the famed William Wallace and Robert Bruce.

Cry, the Beloved Country

By Alan Paton

Described as the most important novel in South Africa's history, this is the story of the tragedy that befalls the family of a black pastor living under apartheid in the 1940's.

Call of the Wildt

By Jack London

A fictitious animal story, this is set in the era of the Yukon Gold Rush in the late 1800's. Buck is a domesticated dog who is stolen, becomes a sled dog in the Yukon, and is released into the wild. His survival threatened, Buck's relationship with mankind and nature is challenged.

Oliver Twist

By Charles Dickens

Follow the twists of young Oliver's life in one of Dickens most memorable novels. Born into poverty, he escapes an abusive orphanage only to get drawn into the criminal underworld of the streets of London. There, vicious villains are plotting the destruction of the innocent child, as one of the dark sides of Victorian England is illlustrated by Dickens.

Julius Caesar

By William Shakespeare

Follow the assassination of the world's most famous emperorer as told by the world's most famous playwright. Julius, Mark Antony, and Brutus act out the famous drama of the Ideas of March.

Tales of the Greek Heroes

By Roger Green

The Greek tales introduce us to some of our culture's earliest tales and characters. Consider whether Greek mythology should be considered the basis of classic literature or the basis of Marvel comics after encountering Green's readable version of the ancient stories.

8th Grade Reading List Book Club

You can earn a book club certificate for eighth graders by reading seven or more books from this 8th Grade Reading List. See the 8th Grade Book Club page for details.

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