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Great read alouds for 8th grade boys?

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I'm having a hard time finding books for my soon-to-be 8th grade boys. Young adult books are maybe too advanced and younger chapter books are too young. My boys are 13.


Over the last year, we've read aloud:


Maniac Magee

The War that Saved my Life
The Dust Bowl

Hero on a bicycle

Bud Not Buddy

The Mighty Miss Malone

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

The  Art of Keeping Cool

A Boy at War

Tom Sawyer

Huckleberry Finn


I'd love to hear recommendations for books you really loved versus "just okay" books. I'm open to classics and currents.


Thank you!!!




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We've read aloud (last year for 7th): James Baldwin's Fifty Famous Stories Retold as well as his Thirty More Famous Stories Retold; Darwin's What Darwin Saw: Based on Charles Darwin's Recollections of his Voyage Around the World in the Ship Beagle; Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers and Rebels; excerpts from 101 Changemakers; The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures; and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.


This year's 8th grade read alouds: The World of Augustus Caesar; The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature by David George Haskell; and I'm not sure what else. We generally do read alouds during lunch.

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I'm currently reading Kim by Rudyard Kipling, and it's very good. It's set in India late 1800s, and has some interesting cultural detail, but the best part is the boy, Kim, gets involved in some espionage, is the disciple of a Tibetan lama for a while, attends a couple different boarding schools, and has lots of other adventures. I think 13 year old boys would enjoy it, but you may want to find an audio recording as there are a lot of foreign words I'd have no idea how to pronounce, and you wouldn't want this to spoil the flow of the story for you and the boys.


Jungle Book by Kipling is also good. 

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Since you've read Huckleberry Finn, you all might enjoy The Day They Came to Arrest the Book -- we got a load of great discussion with that one. :)


Another vote for Lord of the Rings trilogy.


For non-fiction, we did Kon Tiki (Heyersdahl) and Escape From Colditz (Reid) at about that age.


All Creatures Great and Small was quite fun at that age.


Harry Potter, Artemis Fowle, and Percy Jackson series -- we had fun doing these as a read alouds, even though DSs were perfectly capable of reading them on their own, or had already read them solo.


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and sequel of Restaurant at the End of the Universe -- DSs loved those. (Note: there are just a few brief crudities/s*xual references.) Again, these were very readable on their own, but enjoyed altogether as a family.


Similar in light, slightly irreverent tone, and in humor, but nothing PG-13 is Terry Prachett's Bromeliad Trilogy: Truckers, Diggers, and Wings.


What about some Sherlock Holmes short stories, or Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express or Then There Were None?


Edited by Lori D.
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