I would appreciate some help choosing literature for an eighth grade English class. I will be teaching this coming year in a Christian school that is not classical. The current curriculum is Abeka, but the principal has given me flexibility to teach outside the curriculum because they are desperate for teachers. I taught the Abeka curriculum twenty years ago, but I'd like to give the students more than what Abeka offers for literature at this stage. I have been classically homeschooling my children for fourteen years, so I am familiar with classical and Charlotte Mason methods. I plan on teaching The Lord of the Rings trilogy because the school already owns it. I am considering these other options to fill out the year: The Hobbit, The Silver Chair, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Last Battle, The Black Arrow, or The Call of the Wild. We'd have to order The Hobbit, but I thought it would be good background for The Lord of the Rings. The Lewis books would also have to be ordered, but I will be teaching three other Narnia books (LWW, Prince Caspian, and The Magician's Nephew) to the seventh grade. The Black Arrow and The Call of the Wild are owned by the school.
My concern with teaching The Hobbit is that Tolkien would be the primary author for the whole year which may be too much of a good thing. Although I am teaching three Narnia books to the seventh grade, the eighth graders of this year will not have the first books for context. I am not a big fan of the The Black Arrow or The Call of the Wild but they would not cost the school anything.
I will also be teaching a month-long poetry unit and several weeks of short stories.
Do you have any wisdom for me?