Needed: Novel Recommendations

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  1. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    My guess is that this is in not appropriate as it is fiction and takes place in modern times, but Lord of the FLies was the first thing that popped into my head in terms of 7th grade level books about how people form governments and religion.Report

  2. Avatar Maribou
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    He might want to take a look at Peter Dickinson’s The Kin. Not one of my all-time faves, but it’s topically right on target, aimed at teens, and I did like it.

    From the synopsis on Goodreads:

    “It is two hundred thousand years ago. A small group of children are cut off from their Kin, the Moonhawks, when they are driven from their “Good Place” by violent strangers. While searching for a new Good Place, they face the parched desert, an active volcano, a canyon flood, man-eating lions, and other Kins they’ve never seen before. Told from four points of view, with tales of the Kins’ creation interspersed throughout, this epic novel humanizes early man and illuminates the beginning of language, the development of skills, and the organization of society.”Report

  3. Avatar Murali
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    says:

    The trouble with using fiction to talk about government is that people can make up the rules. When people make up the rules, command economies actually would work (what happenned to the calculation problem?) Enacting punitive taxes won’t backfire etc.

    Look at this for a list of economics errors in fiction.

    Anyway, AFAIK, L.E. Modesitt Jr’s Recluse series does a reasonable job (for fictional work) of comparative political economy without going into strawmen.Report

  4. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    says:

    Does it have to be a novel? “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is digestible by 7th graders, I imagine, with effort.

    Murali’s suggestion of “The Magic of Recluse” is probably a good one. The Pern books, overall, sort of match what you’re talking about but you’d have to skip to 3/4 of the way through the series to get the book you want, and then half the story wouldn’t make sense.Report

  5. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    says:

    You know what? I bet there’s a “Star Trek” novelization that would work.

    Uller Uprising is in the Gutenberg Project. That’s more of a “East India Company” novel than “early civilizations”, though.Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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      says:

      If you have Usenet access, James, ask this on rec.arts.sf.written. (You can probably also access that through Google Groups using your gmail account.) If you do, try to avoid the endless political arguments there, though if you can’t you’ll see why my default assumption used to be that anyone calling himself a libertarian had an IQ of about 50.Report

  6. Avatar MikeSchilling
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    says:

    Samuel R. Delany’s first volume of Neveryona stories would be prefect for this, as it deals in detail with things like the transition from a barter economy to a money-based economy, except for two things:

    1. It’s pitched well above the 7th-grade level
    2.One of its other main themes is gay bondage.Report

  7. Avatar zic
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    says:

    Salmon Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories.Report

  8. Avatar Dan Miller
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    says:

    I’ll second Lord of the Flies. I was assigned to read it in the summer after 8th grade (this was about 15 years ago), so there’s precedent.Report

  9. Avatar JMS
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    says:

    There is not a lot to choose from. But I would recommend “Alexander the Great: Master of the Ancient World (Wicked History).” It is a pbk book, only 128 pages and costs $5.95. You could use the book and show clips from Michael Wood’s “In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great” DVD. I think any 7th graders would be intrigued.Report

  10. Avatar Just Me
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    says:

    Empire of Man series by David Webber / John Ringo . Paratime series (Lord Kalven of Otherwhen) by H. Beam Piper. W. Michael Gear (archaeologist)/ Kathleen O’Neal Gear has some books on the first American’s that I like that. The last series is based on archaeological and anthropological findings.Report

    • Avatar Just Me in reply to Just Me
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      says:

      Or the Earth’s Children series…I had to have been around 7th grade when I first read Clan of the Cave bears. I would recommend the second book (The Valley of the Horses) or the last (The Land of Painted Caves). May be a little wordy for a class though.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Just Me
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        says:

        Hooboy – I would suggest the Earth’s Children books might be a little 50 shades of grey for a class of 7th graders 😀 – I was that age when I read ’em too, but I can just see the parents freaking out…
        Your suggestions are giving me some good memories of my own recreational reading, though.Report

        • Avatar Just Me in reply to Maribou
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          says:

          I agree that they may be too “50 shades of grey” especially the first book. I lived out in the country. Once a month mom would take me to the big city library. I would fill up a bag with books. I don’t think they knew exactly what all I was reading. Probably better that way too.Report

  11. Avatar MaxL
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    says:

    It’s been awhile, but Bruce Chatwin’s “The Songlines” might be a good choice.Report

  12. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    says:

    Since he is asking about early humans I would recommend a couple classics from my anthropology days. Both good reads.

    Clan of the Cave Bear
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clan_of_the_Cave_Bear

    I highly recommend Dance of the Tiger

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance_of_the_Tiger

    Good resource here:

    http://www.historicalnovels.info/Prehistoric-YA.htmlReport

  13. Avatar IrisUWS
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    says:

    My son was assigned this novel early in 6th grade. Not exactly “early human” and perhaps not quite up to 7th grade level, but worth a look:
    The Girl Who Owned a City, O. T Nelson
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Girl-Who-Owned-City/dp/0822596709/Report

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