Book List

  • During the year the students will have many opportunities to read and listen to great books.

Recommended Books

  • Song for a Whale

    by Lynne Kelly Year Published: 2019

    From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she's the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she's not very smart. If you've ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

    When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to "sing" to him! But he's three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

    Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

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  • The Insignificant Events in the life of a Cactus

    by Dusti Bowling Year Published: 2017

    Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.
    Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.

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  • Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus

    by Dusti Bowling Year Published: 2020

    Just as Aven starts to feel comfortable in Stagecoach Pass, with her friends and schoolmates accustomed to her lack of “armage,” everything changes once again. She’s about to begin high school . . . with 3,000 new kids to stare at her. And no matter how much Aven tries to play it cool, nothing prepares her for the reality. In a year filled with confusion, humiliation, and just maybe love, can Aven manage to stay true to herself?

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  • Blended

    by Sharon M. Draper Year Published: 2020

    Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves.

    Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels completely stuck in the middle, split and divided between them more than ever. And she is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad involves more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?

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  • New Kid

    by Jerry Craft Year Published: 2019

    Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature! 

    Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft. 

    Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

    As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

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  • Other Words for Home

    by Jasmine Warga Year Published: 2020

    Gr 4-8-Twelve-year-old Jude lives in a coastal tourist town in Syria where many people go to get away. While Jude wants to become a movie star, her older brother, Issa, wants more from their future than the oppression overtaking their beloved country. As the tumult crawls closer to Jude's home, Issa yearns to join the revolution in Aleppo, Baba refuses to leave his seaside store, and Mama believes the safest place for Jude, herself, and the baby she is carrying is with Jude's Uncle Mazin and Aunt Michelle in America. Leaving a possible war behind is easy, but leaving Baba, Issa, and everything she knows is hard. Adjusting to life in Cincinnati alongside her less-than-welcoming cousin, Sarah, is almost as difficult, especially with school play tryouts looming and Jude feeling that a girl like her would never get, or even merit, the spotlight. With the help of her fellow immigrant classmates and new Arabic-speaking American friend, Layla, Jude adjusts to her new home and family while never forgetting what she left behind. Told in verse and divided into five sections chronicling Jude's flight from Syria and adjustment to America, this powerful middle grade novel explores the complicated concepts of war and corruption, home, family, belonging, and how, in Jude's own words, "It is strange to feel lucky/for something that is making my heart feel so sad." 

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  • Front Desk

    by Kelly Yang Year Published: 2019 Front Desk

    Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

    Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

    Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

    Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

    It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

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  • Sweeping Up The Heart

    by Kevin Henkes Year Published: 2019

    From two-time Newbery Honor and New York Times–bestselling author Kevin Henkes, this timeless novel about loss, loneliness, and friendship tells the story of the spring break that changes seventh-grader Amelia Albright’s life forever.

    Amelia Albright dreams about going to Florida for spring break like everyone else in her class, but her father—a cranky and stubborn English professor—has decided Florida is too much adventure.

    Now Amelia is stuck at home with him and her babysitter, the beloved Mrs. O’Brien. The week ahead promises to be boring, until Amelia meets Casey at her neighborhood art studio. Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, and the experience is both fraught and thrilling. When Casey claims to see the spirit of Amelia’s mother (who died ten years before), the pair embarks on an altogether different journey in their attempt to find her.

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  • Shouting at the Rain

    by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Year Published: 2019

     Delsie loves tracking the weather--lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She's always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she's looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a "regular family." Delsie observes other changes in the air, too--the most painful being a friend who's outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he's endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved. And that, together, they can weather any storm.

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  • A Wolf Called Wander

    by Rosanne Parry Year Published: 2019

    Swift, a young wolf cub, lives with his pack in the mountains learning to hunt, competing with his brothers and sisters for hierarchy, and watching over a new litter of cubs. Then a rival pack attacks, and Swift and his family scatter.

    Alone and scared, Swift must flee and find a new home. His journey takes him a remarkable one thousand miles across the Pacific Northwest. The trip is full of peril, and Swift encounters forest fires, hunters, highways, and hunger before he finds his new home.

    Inspired by the extraordinary true story of a wolf named OR-7 (or Journey), this irresistible tale of survival invites readers to experience and imagine what it would be like to be one of the most misunderstood animals on earth. This gripping and appealing novel about family, courage, loyalty, and the natural world is for fans of Fred Gipson’s Old Yeller and Katherine Applegate’s Endling.

    Includes black-and-white illustrations throughout and a map as well as information about the real wolf who inspired the novel.

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  • Fish in a Tree

    by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Year Published: 2015

    “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
    Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

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  • Book Scavenger

    by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman Year Published: 2016

    For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it's the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.

    Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold's new game―before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.

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  • The Unbreakable Code

    by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman Year Published: 2017

    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.
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  • Wonder

    by R.J. Palacio Year Published: 2012

    August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

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  • Frindle


    by Andrew Clements Year Published: Average
    When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • Ruby Holler

    Ruby Holler

    by Sharon Creech Year Published: Average

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • The Graveyard Book

    The Graveyard Book

    by Neil Gaiman Year Published: Challenging
    In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman has created a charming allegory of childhood. Although the book opens with a scary scene--a family is stabbed to death by "a man named Jack” --the story quickly moves into more child-friendly storytelling. The sole survivor of the attack--an 18-month-old baby--escapes his crib and his house, and toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard's ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody ("Bod"), and allow him to live in their tomb. Taking inspiration from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Gaiman describes how the toddler navigates among the headstones, asking a lot of questions and picking up the tricks of the living and the dead. In serial-like episodes, the story follows Bod's progress as he grows from baby to teen, learning life’s lessons amid a cadre of the long-dead, ghouls, witches, intermittent human interlopers. A pallid, nocturnal guardian named Silas ensures that Bod receives food, books, and anything else he might need from the human world. Whenever the boy strays from his usual play among the headstones, he finds new dangers, learns his limitations and strengths, and acquires the skills he needs to survive within the confines of the graveyard and in wider world beyond.
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  • Touch Blue

    Touch Blue

    by Cynthia Lord Year Published: Average
    The state of Maine plans to shut down her island’s schoolhouse, which would force Tess’s family to move to the mainland—and Tess to leave the only home she has ever known. Fortunately, the islanders have a plan too: increase the numbers of students by having several families take in foster children. So now Tess and her family are taking a chance on Aaron, a thirteen-year-old trumpet player who has been bounced from home to home. And Tess needs a plan of her own—and all the luck she can muster. Will Tess’s wish come true or will her luck run out? Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord offers a warm-hearted, humorous, and thoughtful look at what it means to belong—and how lucky we feel when we do. Touch Blue, sure as certain, will touch your heart.
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  • Vive La Paris

    Vive La Paris

    by Esme Raji Codell Year Published: Average
    Smart, engaging, thought provoking—all describe the newest offering from the author of Sahara Special. Paris, a fifth grader, thinks she's visiting Mrs. Rosen just for piano lessons, but what she learns is far more than finger technique—she learns things that will change her life forever. Mrs. Rosen learns a thing or two from Paris along the way, and everyone learns to get along—eventually. This book is historical, and provides social/cultural aspects, ethics, and unconditional love all in one quick and easily read novel. Paris learns to view life through rose-colored glasses and see the realities that life can bring, pleasant or not. Why is Darrell filming the class? Why does Michael keep getting beat up by a girl? Why does Mrs. Rosen want to visit Paris, France? What's the real meaning of those yellow stars, anyway? Those are just some of the many opportunities for discussion after reading this book.
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  • Seedfolks

    by Paul Fleischman Year Published: Average
    One by one, a number of people of varying ages and backgrounds transform a trash-filled inner-city lot into a productive and beautiful garden, and in doing so, the gardeners are themselves transformed.
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  • Lawn Boy

    Lawn Boy

    by Gary Paulsen Year Published: Average
    One day I was 12 years old and broke. Then Grandma gave me Grandpa's old riding lawnmower. I set out to mow some lawns. More people wanted me to mow their lawns. And more and more. . . . One client was Arnold the stockbroker, who offered to teach me about "the beauty of capitalism. Supply and Demand. Diversify labor. Distribute the wealth." "Wealth?" I said. "It's groovy, man," said Arnold. If I'd known what was coming, I might have climbed on my mower and putted all the way home to hide in my room. But the lawn business grew and grew. So did my profits, which Arnold invested in many things. And one of them was Joey Pow the prizefighter. That's when my 12th summer got really interesting.
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Survival Books

  • Dovey Coe

    Dovey Coe

    by Frances O'Roark Dowell Year Published: Average
    Twelve-year-old Dovey has never had the slightest problem speaking her mind. But now, faced with a murder trial, she may just have to keep her mouth shut while the slick city lawyer takes care of things. It all started when the wealthy, vain, greedy Parnell takes a notion to win Dovey's older sister, trying to convince her she's too pretty to go off to college. But behind her back, he treats Dovey and her deaf brother Amos like dirt all summer long. Dovey gets in her jabs whenever she can--until the day she finds herself trapped in a back room with an irate, vengeful Parnell. Things don't look too good for Dovey when she comes to and finds her enemy dead on the floor next to her.
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  • Esperanza Rising

    Esperanza Rising

    by Pam Munoz Ryan Year Published: Average
    Ryan uses the experiences of her own Mexican grandmother as the basis for this compelling story of immigration and assimilation, not only to a new country but also into a different social class. Esperanza's expectation that her 13th birthday will be celebrated with all the material pleasures and folk elements of her previous years is shattered when her father is murdered by bandits. His powerful stepbrothers then hold her mother as a social and economic hostage, wanting to force her remarriage to one of them, and go so far as to burn down the family home. Esperanza's mother then decides to join the cook and gardener and their son as they move to the United States and work in California's agricultural industry. They embark on a new way of life, away from the uncles, and Esperanza unwillingly enters a world where she is no longer a princess but a worker. Set against the multiethnic, labor-organizing era of the Depression, the story of Esperanza remaking herself is satisfyingly complete, including dire illness and a difficult romance. Except for the evil uncles, all of the characters are rounded, their motives genuine, with class issues honestly portrayed.
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  • Fever 1793

    Fever 1793

    by Laurie Halse Anderson Year Published: Average
    During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out. Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease
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  • Tangerine


    by Edward Bloor Year Published: Challenging
    Paul Fisher sees the world from behind glasses so thick he looks like a bug-eyed alien. But he’s not so blind that he can’t see there are some very unusual things about his family’s new home in Tangerine County, Florida. Where else does a sinkhole swallow the local school, fire burn underground for years, and lightning strike at the same time every day? The chaos is compounded by constant harassment from his football–star brother, and adjusting to life in Tangerine isn’t easy for Paul—until he joins the soccer team at his middle school. With the help of his new teammates, Paul begins to discover what lies beneath the surface of his strange new hometown. And he also gains the courage to face up to some secrets his family has been keeping from him for far too long. In Tangerine, it seems, anything is possible.
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  • Touching Spirit Bear

    Touching Spirit Bear

    by Ben Mikaelsen Year Published: Challenging
    Within Cole Matthews lie anger, rage, and hate. Cole has been stealing, fighting, and lying for years. His attack on a classmate has left the boy with permanent physical and deep psychological damage and Cole in the biggest trouble of his life. To most, Cole seems beyond hope. But when he's offered a chance at an alternative path called Circle Justice, based on Native American tradition, Cole finds himself banished to a remote Alaskan island, where his rage and isolation lead him to another brazen attack. This time, his intended victim is the Spirit Bear of Native American legend—and the clumsy assault ends with Cole mauled nearly to death, desperately clinging to the life he has tried so hard to waste. Rescuers arrive to save Cole's life, but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that is the start of Cole's long journey to accepting responsibility for his life and saving his soul.
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  • The Cay

    The Cay

    by Theodore Taylor Year Published: Average
    Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he’s eager to glimpse it firsthand–until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed. When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother’s warning about black people: “They are different, and they live differently.” But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip’s head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.
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  • My Side of the Mountain

    My Side of the Mountain

    by Jean Craighead George Year Published: Challenging
    Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going--all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbinding, touching, funny account, Sam learns to live off the land, and grows up a little in the process. Blizzards, hunters, loneliness, and fear all battle to drive Sam back to city life. But his desire for freedom, independence, and adventure is stronger. No reader will be immune to the compulsion to go right out and start whittling fishhooks and befriending raccoons.
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  • Crispin: The Cross of Lead

    Crispin: The Cross of Lead

    by Avi Year Published: Challenging
    The 2003 Newbery Award Winner and New York Times Best-seller. "Avi's latest novel is superb combination of mystery, historical fiction, and a coming-of-age tale... Breathlessly paced, beautifully written, and filled with details of life in the Middle Ages, this compelling novel is one of Avi's finest."-Book Report
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  • Holes


    by Louis Sachar Year Published: Average
    Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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The Great Depression

  • A Long Way From Chicago

    A Long Way From Chicago

    by Richard Peck Year Published: Average
    A rollicking celebration of an eccentric grandmother and childhood memories. Set in the 1930s, the book follows Joe and Mary Alice Dowdel as they make their annual August trek to visit their grandmother who lives in a sleepy Illinois town somewhere between Chicago and St. Louis. A woman with plenty of moxie, she keeps to herself, a difficult task in this small community. However, Grandma Dowdel uses her wit and ability to tell whoppers to get the best of manipulative people or those who put on airs. She takes matters into her own hands to intimidate a father who won't control his unruly sons, and forces the bank to rescind a foreclosure on an elderly woman's house. Whether it's scaring a pretentious newspaper man back to the city or stealing the sheriff's boat and sailing right past him as he drunkenly dances with his buddies at the Rod & Gun Club, she never ceases to amaze her grandchildren with her gall and cunning behavior. Each chapter resembles a concise short story. Peck's conversational style has a true storyteller's wit, humor, and rhythm.
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  • Al Capone Does My Shirts

    Al Capone Does My Shirts

    by Gennifer Choldenko Year Published: Average
    Murderers, mob bosses, and convicts . . . these guys are not your average neighbors. Unless you live on Alcatraz. It’s 1935 and twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan and his family have just moved to the infamous island that’s home to criminals like notorious escapee Roy Gardner, Machine Gun Kelly, and of course, Al Capone. Now Moose has to try to fit in at his new school, avoid getting caught up in one of the warden’s daughter’s countless plots, and keep an eye on his sister Natalie, who’s not like other kids. All Moose wants to do is protect Natalie, live up to his parents’ expectations, and stay out of trouble. But on Alcatraz, trouble is never very far away.

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • Black Duck

    Black Duck

    by Janet Taylor Lisle Year Published: Challenging
    A teen's determination to be published in the local paper leads him to Ruben Hart's front door and an unlikely friendship. The elderly man has a mysterious past, and David soon becomes wrapped up in his tale of how he played an integral part in the adventures surrounding the legendary rum-running ship called the Black Duck. In 1929, in Newport, RI, Ruben and his friend Jeddy, 14, found a body on the beach. By the time they convinced the authorities to check it out, the dead man had disappeared, and soon both the New York and Boston mobs were after Ruben. The author explores the subject of Prohibition as well as various underlying social themes. She shows the difficulty of staying honest when everyone else is breaking the law and when local authorities all seem to be in on the action. Another issue involves the Coast Guard's shooting of three men believed to be rumrunners, and whether the murders were justified. Readers will be inspired by both Ruben's and David's will to succeed when faced with an overwhelming challenge and how they stand by their convictions in doing so.
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  • Dovey Coe

    Dovey Coe

    by France O'Roark Dowell Year Published: Average
    Twelve-year-old Dovey has never had the slightest problem speaking her mind. But now, faced with a murder trial, she may just have to keep her mouth shut while the slick city lawyer takes care of things. It all started when the wealthy, vain, greedy Parnell takes a notion to win Dovey's older sister, trying to convince her she's too pretty to go off to college. But behind her back, he treats Dovey and her deaf brother Amos like dirt all summer long. Dovey gets in her jabs whenever she can--until the day she finds herself trapped in a back room with an irate, vengeful Parnell. Things don't look too good for Dovey when she comes to and finds her enemy dead on the floor next to her.
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World War II

  • The War That Saved My Life

    by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Year Published: 2016

    Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.
    So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

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  • Don't You Know There's A War On?

    Don't You Know There's A War On?

    by Avi Year Published: Average
    From School Library Journal- Grade 4-6-Howard Bellington Crispers looks back from his 16-year-old perspective to 1943 when he grappled with issues of friendship, fear, love, and loss. At age 11, Howie and his friend Denny share a crush on their teacher and they suspect their principal is a Nazi spy. However, in a sleuthing expedition, Howie learns that the principal's real perfidy hits closer to home-he is urging the firing of Miss Gossim.
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  • On the Wings of Heroes

    On the Wings of Heroes

    by Richard Peck Year Published: Average
    From Publishers Weekly- Richard Peck (A Year Down Yonder) concocts another delicious mixture of humor, warmth and local color in this period piece, which describes America during WWII through the eyes of a Midwestern boy, Davy Bowman. The 1940s are a time of sacrifice for the Bowman family and a time of collecting for young Davy, who does his patriotic duty by gathering "whatever it took to win the war." Davy's search for scrap metal ("Five thousand tin cans will make a shell casing," his friend muses") leads him to mysterious Mr. Stonecypher, who lives in the oldest house in the neighborhood and who lost a son in another war. While hunting for milkweed ("for stuffing in life jackets, to keep shipwrecked sailors afloat"), Davy has his first run-in with old Miss Titus, a cantankerous woman, who ends up taking charge of his class during the teacher shortage ("We weren't used to a teacher who looked like a walnut with a mustache"). Throughout the novel, the author adroitly conveys how Davy's boundaries and horizons gradually expand, first beyond his neighborhood and finally overseas, when his brother is sent to Europe. First-person narrative brings the time period to life and vividly captures Davy's sentiments about the war and his family members, especially his father and brother, who are both heroes in Davy's mind. Chock full of eccentric characters and poignant moments, this coming-of-age novel will be embraced by children and grownups alike. Ages 10-up.
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  • Snow Treasure

    Snow Treasure

    by Marie McSwigan Year Published: Average
    From Library Journal- Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan (Scholastic, pap. 1986) is an exciting, suspenseful tale of Norwegian children and their contributions to protecting their town's gold during the German occupation in 1940. Convinced that the Germans will try to steal their town's considerable wealth of gold bouillon from the banks, the townsmen decide that it must be removed. Since a group of adults can't remove the gold without the Germans finding out, the townsmen develop a daring plan involving the children. In teams, the children will carry the bouillon on their sleds down to the river where one of the townsmen will load them onto his ship to take to the United States. Various problems arise as the children begin to carry out this plan, but they are resolved.
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  • The Art of Keeping Cool

    The Art of Keeping Cool

    by Janet Taylor Lisle Year Published: Challenging
    From School Library Journal- Despite a misleading title (the word "cool" does not conjure up the 1940s), this is a well-drawn story that is part coming-of-age, part mystery. Robert and his mother have come to live with his grandparents on the Rhode Island coast in 1942, soon after his father has gone off to fight in the war. The coastal residents are getting ready for war and a German painter, living like a hermit on the outskirts of town, has raised suspicions of being a spy. To complicate matters, Robert's cousin Elliott, also an artist, is at odds with their grandfather, an imposing patriarch prone to anger. As the summer unfolds, the tension mounts. Robert and his mother wait anxiously for word from the front; Elliott grows more unhappy at home as he befriends the painter; the town turns against the outsider with tragic consequences; and Robert finally learns why his father has been estranged from his family. The focus is clearly on the men of the household, and cursory treatment is given to the women's feelings and thoughts. Although women in such situations are indeed often overshadowed by their husbands or fathers, the emotional depth of this story is undercut by their portrayals. Still this is a heartfelt story about family dynamics and the harmful power of prejudice and hatred.
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  • The Devil's Arithmetic

    The Devil's Arithmetic

    by Jane Yolen Year Published: Challenging
    Hannah thinks tonight's Passover Seder will be the same as always. Little does she know that this year she will be mysteriously transported into the past where only she knows the horrors that await.
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Historical Fiction

  • Countdown

    by Deborah Wiles Year Published:
    Four starred reviews greeted this new, groundbreaking classic from Deborah Wiles!

    Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that's hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall.

    It's 1962, and it seems that the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. Franny doesn't know how to deal with what's going on in the world--no more than she knows with how to deal with what's going on with her family and friends. But somehow she's got to make it.
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  • Stella By Starlight

    by Sharon Draper Year Published: 2015

    Stella lives in the segregated South—in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community—her world—is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.

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  • Brown Girl Dreaming

    by Jacqueline Woodson Year Published: 2014

    Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

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  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

    by Jacqueline Kelly Year Published: Challenging
    Growing up with six brothers in rural Texas in 1899, 12-year-old Callie realizes that her aversion to needlework and cooking disappoints her mother. Still, she prefers to spend her time exploring the river, observing animals, and keeping notes on what she sees. Callie’s growing interest in nature creates a bond with her previously distant grandfather, an amateur naturalist of some distinction. After they discover an unknown species of vetch, he attempts to have it officially recognized. This process creates a dramatic focus for the novel, though really the main story here is Callie’s gradual self-discovery as revealed in her vivid first-person narrative.
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  • The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

    by Jacqueline Kelly Year Published: 2015

    Callie Vee, Travis, Granddaddy, and the whole Tate clan are back in this charming follow-up to Newbery Honor-winner The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

    Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the wild animals-her brother included-away from her mother's critical eye. Whether it's wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, the trials and tribulations of Callie Vee will have readers laughing and crying and cheering for this most endearing heroine.

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  • Penny From Heaven

    by Jennifer L. Holm Year Published: 2007

    School’s out for summer, and Penny and her cousin Frankie have big plans to eat lots of butter pecan ice cream, swim at the local pool, and cheer on their favorite baseball team—the Brooklyn Dodgers! But sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Penny’s mom doesn’t want her to swim because she’s afraid Penny will get polio. Frankie is constantly getting into trouble, and Penny feels caught between the two sides of her family. But even if the summer doesn’t exactly start as planned . . . things can work out in the most unexpected ways!

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  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P.

    The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P.

    by Rodman Philbrick Year Published: Average
    Philbrick offers rip-roaring adventure in this Civil War–era novel featuring a mistreated orphan who doesn't let truth stand in the way of spinning a good yarn. When his guardian, Uncle Squinton—the meanest man in the entire state of Maine—sells off Homer P. Figg's older brother, Harold, to take a rich man's son's place in the Union army, Homer can't just stand around doing nothing. Determined to alert the authorities (and his brother) that Harold is too young to be a soldier, the plucky narrator traces the path of the regiment. He faces many dangers, including an abduction or two, and being robbed and thrown in with the pigs, and joining the Caravan of Miracles before landing smack in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg, where he reunites with his brother and more or less drives the Confederates away. The book wouldn't be nearly as much fun without Homer's tall tales, but there are serious moments, too, and the horror of war and injustice of slavery ring clearly above the din of playful exaggerations.
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Books by Jerry Spinelli

  • Crash


    by Jerry Spinelli Year Published: Average
    Seventh-grader John "Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy and his grandfather's stroke make him consider the meaning of friendship and the importance of family.
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  • Loser


    by Jerry Spinelli Year Published: Average
    Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like "Jabip." Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn't know he's not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff's differences show that any name can someday become "hero."

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • Maniac Magee

    Maniac Magee

    by Jerry Spinelli Year Published: Average
    Jeffrey Magee lived with his aunt and uncle after his parents died. Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan hated each other, but remained married and continued to live together. They tried to see as little of each other as possible. Jeffery had had enough of it so he decided to run away, during a school program! It was then that the legend started of Maniac Magee. Known for his amazing running ability and the things he encountered along his adventure, Maniac meets up with some very unusual people like Mars Bar, Grayson, Amanda Beale, and many others. Find out why this book deserved and earned a Newbery Medal and one of the most amazing children's books to hit the shelves.
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  • Stargirl


    by Jerry Spinelli Year Published: Challenging
    Leo Borlock follows the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don't stand out--under any circumstances! Then Stargirl arrives at Mica High and everything changes--for Leo and for the entire school.
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  • Wringer


    by Jerry Spinelli Year Published: Average
    Palmer LaRue is not looking forward to the day he turns 10. His town has an annual Pigeon Day. When a boy turns 10 in this town, they become "wringers" and strangle the pigeons wounded during the annual pigeon shoot. He must either accept this task or find the courage to say no. His buddies soon discover Palmer is hiding a pet pigeon in his room. He finds friendship with Dorothy, the girl across the street. Palmer finds it is hard not to go along with the crowd.
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Books by Katherine Paterson

  • Bridge to Terabithia

    Bridge to Terabithia

    by Katherine Paterson Year Published: Average
    Have you ever had a secret place that you could escape to? Who would you share that place with? Your best friend? In Bridge to Terabithia, two fifth-grade children, Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke become unlikely best friends. Jess, a boy form a large, poor family befriends the big-city girl, Leslie who is an only child. Their homelives are totally different, but they become best friends. Together they create their own "magical" kingdom they call Terabithia. As the rulers of this make-believe world, they can escape the realities of their lives. During Spring Break, tragedy stikes that threatens to destroy Terabithia. Will the magic of Terabithia survive or will it be lost forever?

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • Jacob Have I Loved

    Jacob Have I Loved

    by Katherine Paterson Year Published: Challenging
    When twins are born, the younger might need more medical attention and the older gets left out. Louise felt that happen to her. While sister Caroline is taking piano lessons, Louise and McCall Purnell are earning money by catching crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. Louis really gets confused when the old man, who has returned to the island after an absence of 50 years, seems to prefer Call and her sister to her, despite her trying so hard to be friendly with him. Her grandmother, a bit senile, rubs it in by quoting passages from the Bible that seem to condemn Louise and her ways. If you want to share Louise's struggle to find her place in her family, on her island and eventually in her own home, be sure to read "Jacob Have I Loved".

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • Jip, His Story

    Jip, His Story

    by Katherine Paterson Year Published: Challenging
    The story takes place in Vermont during the years 1855-1865. Jip is a young man living on the town's poor farm. No one really knows where Jip came from. The story goes that Jip fell off a gypsy wagon out on West Hill Road and that no one ever came back for him. The townsfolk named him Jip West and sent him off to live on the poor farm. Jip had a wonderful way with animals and it was only natural that he be put in charge of the lunatic who came to live on the farm. When a stranger comes to town and starts asking about Jip, the lunatic warns him not to believe what the man is saying. What does the stranger want with Jip? Could he really hold the key that will unlock the mystery of Jip's past? Watch for a character from one of Paterson's other books to come to Jip's defense.
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  • Lyddie


    by Katherine Paterson Year Published: Challenging
    Lyddie Worthern lives with her family on a farm in Vermont. Life is not easy for them. Her father leaves in search of work and is never heard from again. Her mother leaves Lyddie and her brother to take care of the farm and help pay off the debts. When they can no longer do that, Charles is sent to work in a factory and Lyddie is hired out to a tavern in the southern part of the state. Lyddie meets many young women who are on their way to Lowell, Massachusetts to make their fortune. The young girls believe that their is lots of money to be made in the textile mills in Lowell. Lyddie decided to leave the tavern and try her luck as a factory worker. The textile factory work is long and hard. The money is not as good as everyone thought. Follow Lyddie as she spends her days working in the mills of Lowell.

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • The Day of the Pelican

    The Day of the Pelican

    by Katherine Paterson Year Published: Challenging
    On the day 11-year-old Meli draws a picture of a pelican that bears a striking resemblance to her teacher—and gets caught—spring is just around the corner in Kosovo. But along with the change in season in 1998 come life-altering changes for Albanian Kosovars, the ethnic group to which Meli's family belongs. Because she is forced to stay after class, her 13-year-old brother, Mehmet, heads home alone and is taken by the Serbian police, beaten, and dumped in a field to die. When he returns home after being nursed to health by the Kosovo Liberation Army, his family must flee. Surviving extreme hardship and violence, they arrive in a refugee camp, and at long last immigrate to the United States. All is well until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when their family is mistreated for being Muslim. Kindness and forgiveness on both sides bring about healing and the realization that the Lleshis have truly found a home.
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  • The Great Gilly Hopkins

    The Great Gilly Hopkins

    by Katherine Paterson Year Published: Average
    This book is about an eleven-year-old girl whose name is Galadreal Hopkins. Most people call her Gilly. Her mother lives in California and she doesn’t know her dad. Gilly doesn’t want to live anywhere but only with her real mother. Gilly plans to keep moving out of foster homes so much so they will get sick of her and send her back to her real mother. In the past three years she has been in three different foster homes. This will be her fourth one. While she’s in her fourth foster home she earns money for babysitting her new little brother and for reading aloud to them after supper. If she keeps saving up she might have enough to take a train or a bus to California to get to her mom. But the only things holding her back is… How will she save enough money? How will she find where her mother lives?

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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  • Bread and Roses, Too

    Bread and Roses, Too

    by Katherine Paterson Year Published: Challenging
    Through the eyes of Rosa, the sixth-grade daughter of Italian immigrants, and Jake, a 13-year-old homeless boy, readers see how bigotry, hunger, and hope all played key roles in the mill worker strike of 1912 in Lawrence, MA.

    Note: This book is available in our Library.
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