Distance Learning offers a great opportunity for independent reading. Going on a journey to a distant land with fantastical creatures, or to a familiar world with characters that remind you of your friends, can improve your mood.
Far Hills Country Day School's Upper School has a strong community of readers. At school, these Grade 5–8 students often share book recommendations with each other, their classes and their teachers. Just like at school, reading can be a social experience.
This in mind, Far Hills English Teacher Natalie Young created a place online where Upper School students can share their book recommendations with each other.
But, there are just too many great recommendations to keep to ourselves! We're delighted to share with you reading recommendations from our Upper School Students.
Far Hills Country Day School's Upper School Can't-Miss Book List
(featuring explanations written by our Upper School students)
Forever Or A Long Long Time by Caela Carter
I loved this book because of the plot. It is about two kids who are with their foster mom. They have always had foster parents and never knew who their real mom was. They hope to find their real mother.
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
I enjoyed this book because it is a mystery set in a place you wouldn’t expect, the moon. The moon is a great place to set a murder mystery because there are only 20 people it could be. I also enjoyed the likable characters and details about the moon-base.
Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
I enjoyed this book. It takes you to a different world, and it is a series. I am now reading the second book. The grandmother gives the characters a storybook, and it takes them to a fantasy world.
A Tale of Magic by Chris Colfer
This is a wonderful read similar to The Land of Stories. It is a book about magic in a world that is harshly against it. It is imaginative and innovative, and it combines issues of our world with magic! What’s not to love?!
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
This is a wonderful book that includes a few life lessons. It is a book about a boy, named Piscine Molitor Patel, and his family who owns a zoo. Their dad decides to sell the animals, and they decide to move to North America from India. On the way, something mysterious happens. It is full of nonfiction/fiction! Why not read it?
Positively Izzy by Terri Libenson
Positively Izzy, like Invisible Emmie, is charming, sweet, and has a positive message. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys graphic novels or even to someone who is skeptical about trying their first graphic novel. Libenson books are a great start of self-confidence.
Baby-Sitters Club (BSC) by Raina Telgemeier
When Kristy Thomas, president of The Baby-Sitters Club, has a brilliant idea to run a summer day camp, the girls all agree it's the perfect way to spend their summer together. But life gets complicated as budding romance, family problems, and three rival teen girls conspire to ruin the club, all putting the friendships between the members to fix all their problems throughout the series.
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holms and Matthew Holms
After having read a few online reviews of Jennifer L. Holm's (narrative) and her brother Matthew Holm's (illustrations) Sunny Side Up, I finally decided to ask my mom if I could get this book. This middle-grade graphic novel is set in 1976, and indeed with young Sunny, you’re day’s about to turn its side. Keep your Sunny Side Up!
Sabriel by Garth Nix
This book is an engaging fantasy adventure in a completely believable world. It has it all: magical aircraft, talking cats, zombies, mystical swords, a touch of romance, and a terrifying villain. There are three other books in this series and they’re all very entertaining. A good book for those who would like to go on adventures.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Most people know this book from the Disney movie version, but in my opinion, the book is much better. It’s written in a beautifully poetic style, and the text feels natural and deep like the jungle it describes. There is also a subtle sense of humor that you need to watch out for.
Rascal by Sterling North
An unbelievably sweet book about a boy and his pet raccoon during the World War II era. The humor is fabulous and the characters are delightful and carefree. A good book for those trying to relax.
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
This book is about a boy growing up in Corfu, Greece having moved there from England with his colorful family. It is packed full of facts about the natural world and is absolutely hilarious, which is a rarity in books about the natural world. It made me want to move to Corfu.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This is an amazing and captivating book that is full of magic and wonder. It is about Le Cirque des Reves (The Circus of Dreams) and the adventures that go on inside it. I enjoyed it because of the imagination and the details about every character, object, and performance. It is a truly wonderful book full of amazing literature, detail, and imagination.
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Melody, the main character, is a child with special needs who is actually very smart. This book is about her struggles and how she rises above the hate to show everyone her intelligence.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
This book is about 12 kids who get picked to do an escape challenge in a library. Kyle Keely is the main character, and he has to solve all these riddles to get out of the library. Whoever escapes first gets a prize.
Swindle by Gordon Korman
This book is about Griffin Bing who finds a baseball card in the old Rockford house. He brings it to this men collector named Swindle. He totally rips him off for the million-dollar baseball card. Griffin forms a team to break into his house and steal the card back.
Charlie Bone (series) by Jenny Nimmo
Charlie Bone is about Charlie who goes to a school for the endowed. All of the endowed children are related to the Red King. The Red King had ten kids, five good and five bad. The five bad kids took over the castle and destroyed everything. At Bloors, the school, Charlie is a kid that the Bloors want to have on their side. He can travel into pictures!
Wonder (series) by R.J Palacio
The story of Wonder is told from many points of view. It is about a child, named Auggie, who has a craniofacial abnormality and has to endure many hardships because of it.
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
In this book, Rania can not wait to be a big sister. When she does get the little sister she had always wished for, she takes her wish back. Raina and her sister are always fighting. When they find out that they have to spend a month in the car together, they get very mad!
Real Friends by Shannon Hale
This graphic novel is all about friends. When Shannon goes to kindergarten, she is scared she is not going to make any friends but she was wrong. In second grade, her best friend leaves and then moves back. Luckily, she made some new friends called “the group.”
Best Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
This book is the sequel to Real Friends, the book above this one. I don’t want to spoil too much! This book has all the same characters from real friends and some new ones.
To Catch A Killer by Sheryl Scarborough
This book is about a girl named Erin Blake. Everyone knows her because at three years old, she had to survive for three days alone. Fourteen years later, her biology teacher is gone, and she is suspicious. With the help of her friends, can she find the clues to solve the case?
Big Nate (series and comics) by Lincoln Peirce
Big Nate HATES school, and he goes to P.S.38. There's a mean teacher named Mrs. Godfrey who sends him to detention for NO REASON! In the series, there are competitions, a mud bowl, and more!
Divergent by Veronica Roth
I was never a fan of dystopias until I read Divergent. This is a read about future humanity told by a 16-year-old in Chicago. It is full of powerful insights about human nature and life and plot-twists. A really spectacular read that requires a lot of focus and thoughtfulness. It is one of my favorite series of all time.
The Oregon Trail by Jesse Wiley
Oregon Trail used to be a videogame that allowed you to choose your own paths. NOW, you can read it! It's just like playing the video game! You choose your own paths, and there are 20 possible endings. Can you survive?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird rises to the top of the pile easily. Yes, the courtroom proceedings are nail-bitingly engaging. But played out against the tapestry of bigotry and hate make the legal goings-on even more compelling. The writing here is so beautiful, so lyric, so poetic.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
This book is about a farm of animals that rebelled against humans.
The Miscalculations Of Lightning Girl by Stacy Mcanulty
This book is about a girl named Lucy who was struck by lighting and managed to survive, but with that, she got the ability to have insane math skills, so she has been online schooled her whole life, but her grandmother, Nonny, forces her to go to 7th Grade in a REAL SCHOOL before going to college. Will she grow to like the new school, or will it be the worst decision of her life?
Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Stuart Gibbs
Tyrannosaurus Wrecks is the 6th book in the FunJungle series which is about crimes that are committed at the zoo, FunJungle. In this 6th book, a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull was found in the middle of someone’s property, but then the 500-pound skull vanished in the middle of an intense rainstorm with no evidence left behind. Now it is up to Teddy Fitzroy to solve his 6th FunJungle case and find the missing T-Rex skull.
The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer
I haven’t read all the books yet, but I am in the middle of the second book. In this series, there are two twins named Alex and Conner. They find out that their dad was a part of this fairy tale land. In the second book, their Mom is kidnapped, and they have to find her in the fairytale land. She is kidnapped by the Enchantress who once put sleeping beauty to sleep for 100 years. In the first book, they get stuck in the land of stories, and they have to get out. There is one more try left, and the evil queen is racing them to get the spell otherwise they are stuck there forever!
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Following a murder in the Louvre Museum in Paris, symbologist Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu find themselves on a quest for hidden clues in Leonardo Da Vinci’s most famous paintings. This quest soon pushes them into a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over a religious conspiracy that could damage the very foundations of Christianity.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Four children are chosen from mind-boggling quizzes to join a team and go on a mission. The fate of humanity rests in the children's hands.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
In the last weeks of Morrie, he shared his life experience and opinion of the culture with his young student: Mitch.
Wings of Fire (series) by Tui T. Sutherland
This book is about dragonets who have been held captive their whole lives. They are part of a prophecy to stop a war that has been going on for twenty years. The war is between Burn, Blister, and Blaze, three sisters who all want to rule the Sandwings. The dragonets Clay, Tsunami, Glory, Sunny, and Starflight, are supposed to choose a winner.
Wings of Fire (series) by Tui T. Sutherland
SkyWings, MudWings, RainWings, SeaWings, NightWings, SandWings, IceWings, SilkWings, HiveWings, and LeafWings are thrown into different adventures, from the Dragonets of Destiny’s adventures on Pyrrhia, to three dragonets’ adventures on Pantala. Beginning with the SandWing War of Succession, it’s up to five dragonets to decide the fate of the SandWings, and even when the war ends, six other dragonets have the fate of Pyrrhia resting on their shoulders. And on Pantala . . . well, let’s just say that’s another three stories.
Nancy Drew (series) by Carolyn Keene
The daughter of a lawyer, whose mother passed away when she was a baby, Nancy Drew finds herself being pulled into mysteries one after the other, and she finds she quite likes it. However, solving crimes has its consequences. Nancy often gets captured by the very villains she’s been looking for. From kidnapping to smuggling, this amateur detective solves them all.
Ranger’s Apprentice: The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan
Princess Madelyn never expected to become a ranger, especially because it meant she would be the first female and royal ranger in the Corps. Yet when her parents send her off to be trained as an apprentice, she proves to have all the skills needed. What’s more, she’s sent on a mission to find out who murdered a ranger and why.
The Gunslinger by Stephen King
All the way from the amazing opening to a decision and a betrayal that will change the story, this is a race against The Man in Black. It won’t be easy but it will be done. Will Roland catch the man in black or will The Man In Black create darkness?
The Body by Stephen King
On the radio, the gang heard of the death of Ray Brower. A search party has been trying to find him for days. Soon one member of the gang overheard his brother saying he was going to find him. Now it is a race to the body. A race against some bullies. Who will win? (Note from Mrs. Young: Please ask permission from your parents before reading it. Some parts are really inappropriate. I recommend it for 8th graders.)
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan