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.

The Last of the Mohicans

By James Fenimore Cooper

The best known historical fiction of the French and Indian War, this book was also one of the first successful American novels. A woodsman and his two Native American friends try to rescue two American sisters as conflict between settlers and warring Indians escalates.

The Black Arrow

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Historical fiction from the time of the War of the Roses, this is an adventure story set in the mid-1400's in England. A young knight, Richard Shelton, seeks to learn the truth of his father's murder. He meets the outlaws known for their use of black arrows. Meanwhile, his own guardian threatens his life.

The Story of My Life

By Helen Keller

This autobiography of Helen Keller starts with her childhood "discovery" of language, and continues through her life. Unable to see or hear due to an illness in infancy, her teacher and companion, Anne Sullivan, helped her learn to communicate.

The Call of the Wild

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 eventually heeds the "call of the wild" away from the society of humans.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

By Mark Twain

Historical fiction from the post Civil War South, the story takes place is Missouri. It's a tale of mixed up infants, a murder trial, a set of identical Italian twins, and a lawyer largely considered eccentric by the people of his town. Twain critiques the social relations between black and white residents of the South.

The Fellowship of the Ring

By JRR Tolkien

This is the first book in the trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings." It is both fantasy and allegory. Hobbits, dwarves, elves and men collaborate to prevent the destruction of their beloved Middle Earth by the dark lord.

Little Women

By Louise May Alcott

Historical fiction - based on author's childhood. The story of four sisters takes place during the Civil War, though that conflict does not occupy much attention in the plot. The four teenagers face the coming of adulthood during a time of social transitions. This is one of the least adventurous and more reflective books on the 8th grade reading list.

Rifles for Watie

By Harold Keith

Historical fiction from the American Civil War, the main character is sixteen year old Jeff, a Union soldier. Jeff becomes involved with both the Union and Confederate armies, and becomes close friends with individuals on both sides. In addition, he uncovers an intriguing plot against the Union.

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare

This fictitious play by the famous playwright, The Twelfth Night is a comedy which is a good introduction to the world of Shakespeare. A twin brother and sister are separated by a shipwreck. This sister disguises herself and becomes mixed up in a humorous plot twisted by mistaken identities and contrived romances. Make the story more interesting by keeping a log of the characters as they are encountered and re-encountered.

Tale of Two Cities

By Charles Dickens

Historical fiction from the French Revolution of the 1700's, this story contrasts London and Paris at the same time as the American Revolutionary War. One family becomes imbroiled in the events of the French Revolution. A story of intrigue, treachery, and loyalty.

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.

More Eighth Grade Books

So many, many books to choose from. In addition to those listed above, here are a few other sources for finding great books for your eighth grader:

For great paperback books check out our discount classics for 4th to 8th grade.

Students might also want to choose books from the classic list for middle school.

Our list of favorite high school classics will be available soon.

If your student enjoys certain themes, check out the book themes on the left navigation bar.

Sign up for the Classic Lit Report in the upper right hand of the screen. We will let you know when new pages are added.

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