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Modern History Literature List for 6th/8th grades

August 23, 2014

We were quite successful with last year’s literature list.  I think it helped that I bought almost all of the books and just kept them in a pile on the bookcase.  When a child finished a book, I’d just hand him the next one.  Meaningful discussions about the literature were another matter, but I’ll pull out my (really getting old by now) excuse: we had a baby.  Books got read.  We had a few discussions.  Everybody’s happy.

The poetry was another matter entirely, probably because it wasn’t just sitting there on the shelf.  I think we read two poems off the list along with the poetry in Writing With Skill.  But that’s ok.  We had a baby.  We’ll try again this year.  Actually there are only two poems on the list and I don’t know enough about poetry to know whether to add any more.  So we’ll keep it at two!  This is already an ambitious list.

I started with the 8th grade modern history literature list from The Well-Trained Mind and after consulting a few other modern history reading lists, I deleted a few books, and added a few more.  And the first two books are the two we didn’t get to last year that I still want to read.  Some will be family read-alouds or audiobooks in the car and we’ll be reading other yet-to-be-decided books for our book club as well.

  1. “The Way to Wealth” by Benjamin Franklin
  2. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself
  3. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  4. Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
  5. The Man without a Country by Edward E. Hale (short story)
  6. Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
  7. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  8. Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles and others by Arthur Conan Doyle
  9. The Time Machine or The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  10. O. Henry short stories
  11. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  12. Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan
  13. The Red Fighter Pilot by Manfred von Richthofen
  14. The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss
  15. Bomb–The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (ok, not technically fiction)
  16. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (and others, I’m excited!  I love Dame Agatha!)
  17. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  18. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  19. Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang
  20. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  21. The House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJong
  22. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
  23. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (for A)


  1. “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  2. Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”


  1. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  2. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Any other fabulous reads from our time period (1850-2001) that I’m missing?

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