Partial Book List for 2020-2021

We are ready to jump into our third season of SALT. As we welcome 7th and 8th graders to the club, here are the first nine books on our 2020-2021 reading list:


  • Book of Acts NIV Bible (3rd-6th: chapters 1-14, 7th-8th: chapters 1-28)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis


  • Another Quest for Celeste by Henry Cole
  • The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
  • The Prince Warriors and the Swords of Rhema by Priscilla Shirer
  • The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  • Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick


  • The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau


  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

These first nine books are listed with details here on the website. We hope you enjoy some great summer reading. Watch for the remaining nine books to be announced in August.

Junior High Added for 2020-2021

We’re happy to announce the addition of junior high students to our SALT program! We are excited to get this up and rolling for the coming 2020-2021 school year. The junior high team will function the same as an elementary team but will have a shorter book list. Our hope here is that the 7th-8th Grade Division teams will be able to dive into more content-heavy books at this level. Please spread the word!

The City of Ember

AUTHOR: Jeanne DuPrau

GENRE: Science Fiction, Children’s literature, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Young adult fiction, Fantasy Fiction

SUMMARY: Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness…

But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?

The Hobbit

AUTHOR: J.R.R. Tolkien

GENRE: Novel, Fantasy, Children’s literature, Epic, High fantasy, Fantasy Fiction

SUMMARY: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.

The Unbreakable Code

AUTHOR: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

GENRE: Mystery, Adventure Fiction

SUMMARY: Mr. Quisling is definitely up to something mysterious, and Emily and James are on high alert. First, there’s the coded note he drops at a book event. Then, they uncover a trail of encrypted messages in Mark Twain-penned books hidden through Book Scavenger. What’s most suspicious is that each hidden book triggers an arson fire.

As the sleuthing friends dig deeper, they discover Mr. Quisling has been hunting a legendary historical puzzle: the Unbreakable Code. This new mystery is irresistible, but Emily and James can’t ignore the signs that Mr. Quisling might be the arsonist.

The clock is ticking as the arson fires multiply, and Emily and James’ race to crack the code of a lifetime.

The Lemonade War

AUTHOR: Jacqueline Davies

GENRE: Fiction

SUMMARY: Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings’ lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win—or even if their fight will ever end. Brimming with savvy marketing tips for making money at any business, definitions of business terms, charts, diagrams, and even math problems, this fresh, funny, emotionally charged novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyone’s intent.

Another Quest for Celeste

AUTHOR: Henry Cole

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction

SUMMARY: In this sequel to A Nest for Celeste, Celeste is hundreds of miles from home following an unexpected journey aboard a Mississippi steamboat. After mishaps and disasters, she finds herself on the frontier in southern Indiana. It’s 1822, and Celeste meets a tall, lanky boy wielding an ax: a young Abraham Lincoln.

The journey reveals the harsh realities of frontier life for the Lincoln family. But with the help of Celeste’s new woodland animal friends and some creativity, she may just prove that even the littlest creatures can make a big difference. And it’s in losing her way that Celeste finds herself in a place she never expected—home, finally.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

AUTHOR: C.S. Lewis

GENRE: Novel, Children’s literature, Fantasy Fiction, Christian literature

SUMMARY: NARNIA… the world of wicked dragons and magic spells, where the very best is brought out of even the worst people, where anything can happen (and most often does)… and where the adventure begins.

The Dawn Treader is the first ship Narnia has seen in centuries. King Caspian has built it for his voyage to find the seven lords, good men whom his evil uncle Miraz banished when he usurped the throne. The journey takes Edmund, Lucy, and their cousin Eustace to the Eastern Islands, beyond the Silver Sea, toward Aslan’s country at the End of the World.

Book of Acts


GENRE: Religious Text

SUMMARY: The Book of Acts, Luke’s second writing, opens with Jesus saying farewell to the apostles before returning to heaven to sit in his rightful place as King. Before leaving them, Jesus commissions the Apostles with the task of taking the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ and spreading it throughout the world. He tells them that the Holy Spirit will provide them with the ability to accomplish this task. The rest of the book is a record of how the Holy Spirit worked through the Apostles in telling everyone about Jesus. In his final words to the Apostles, before he returned to heaven, Jesus outlined what would happen next. He said to them,

“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:7-8, NIV

The Prince Warriors and the Swords of Rhema

AUTHOR: Priscilla Shirer

GENRE: Fantasy Fiction, Adventure Fiction, Christian Fiction, Religious Fiction

SUMMARY: In this third book of The Prince Warriors trilogy, the Prince Warriors finally receive their last piece of armor—the swords they were promised when they began their adventure in the unseen realm of Ahoratos. And none too soon, for they must face the ultimate enemy, one who is gathering his Forgers and creating unthinkable new evil to stop the Prince Warriors from winning any battle ever again.

Yours Truly

AUTHOR: Heather Vogel Frederick

GENRE: Mystery

SUMMARY: Even Truly Lovejoy has to admit that teeny-tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, has its charms—like the annual maple festival, where tourists flock from all over to sample the local maple syrup, maple candy, maple coffee, and even maple soap! But when someone tries to sabotage the maple trees on her friend Franklin’s family farm, Truly has to rally the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes to investigate.

Meanwhile, she uncovers another, more personal mystery under the floorboards of her very own home—a diary written centuries ago by her namesake, the original Truly Lovejoy…and it might just prove her family’s ties to Pumpkin Falls run deeper than anyone ever could have imagined.

2020 SALT Tournament Postponed

The second annual Salem Area Literature Tournament, originally scheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2020, has been POSTPONED due to Governor Kate Brown’s executive order regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The order prohibits large gatherings and places restrictions on social distancing over the next four weeks. You can find more details about the mandate here. The SALT Board of Directors will review options for resuming the tournament at a later date. We will send email notifications to coaches, and update the website, as new information becomes available.

Final Book List for 2019-2020

We are so excited to get started for the school year! The official reading list for 2019-2020 is here:

  • Absolutely Truly Heather Vogel Frederick
  • Book of Nehemiah NIV Bible
  • Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
  • Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
  • Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers
  • Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  • The Prince Warriors and the Unseen Invasion by Priscilla Shirer
  • The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks
  • What Was the Underground Railroad? by Yona Zeldis McDonough
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (5th-6th Grade Division Only)
  • Quinny & Hopper by Adriana Brad Schanen (5th-6th Grade Division Only)
  • Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton (5th-6th Grade Division Only)
  • The Twenty-One Balloons by William Péne du Bois (5th-6th Grade Division Only)

Brief details for each book can be found here on the website.

Please remember that we have a mandatory coaches meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 19, 2019. Join us at 4:00 pm in the Salem Academy Elementary Library. If you are unable to attend, please contact us so we can make alternate plans to get you the current information you will need for starting up your SALT program this fall. 


AUTHOR: Katherine Applegate

GENRE: Fiction, Fantasy

SUMMARY: Hunger is a constant for soon-to-be fifth-grader Jackson and his family, and the accompanying dizziness may be why his imaginary friend is back. A giant cat named Crenshaw first appeared after Jackson finished first grade, when his parents moved the family into their minivan for several months. Now they’re facing eviction again, and Jackson’s afraid that he won’t be going to school next year with his friend Marisol. When Crenshaw shows up on a surfboard, Jackson, an aspiring scientist who likes facts, wonders whether Crenshaw is real or a figment of his imagination. Jackson’s first-person narrative moves from the present day, when he wishes that his parents understood that he’s old enough to hear the truth about the family’s finances, to the first time they were homeless and back to the present. The structure allows readers access to the slow buildup of Jackson’s panic and his need for a friend and stability in his life. Crenshaw tells Jackson that “Imaginary friends don’t come of their own volition. We are invited. We stay as long as we’re needed.” The cat’s voice, with its adult tone, is the conduit for the novel’s lessons: “You need to tell the truth, my friend….To the person who matters most of all.”

Soul Surfer

AUTHOR: Bethany Hamilton

GENRE: Non-Fiction

SUMMARY: They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? How else could one explain that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a girl with God on her side. Pushing pain and panic aside, she began to paddle with one arm, focusing on a single thought: “Get to the beach….” And when the first thing Bethany wanted to know after surgery was “When can I surf again?” it became clear that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of courage and faith that this soft-spoken girl would come to share with the world.

Soul Surfer is a moving account of Bethany’s life as a young surfer, her recovery after the attack, the adjustments she’s made to her unique surfing style, her unprecedented bid for a top showing in the World Surfing Championships, and, most fundamentally, her belief in God. It is a story of girl power and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing—perhaps even less so—than the soul.