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Before Entering Sixth Grade
Blackwood: The Shakespeare Stealer c1998 historical fiction, mystery
Widge, a likeable orphan, finds himself in the middle of an adventure to steal and copy the play HAMLET from Shakespeare. He soon discovers that life in the Globe Theatre is much better than the other places he has apprenticed.
Broach: Shakespeare’s Secret c2005 mystery
Hero moves into a new town and finds she is living in an old house with an unusual past. With the help of the police chief’s son and her neighbor, Hero tries to unravel the mystery.
Carbone: Stealing Freedom c1998 historical fiction, diversity
This story is based on the true experiences of a young slave girl who escapes to Canada on the Underground Railroad.
Creech: The Wanderer c2000 adventure
Told through journal writings, Sophie and her cousin, Cody, share the experiences of their journey on a sailboat, The Wanderer, from Connecticut to England with six crew members, including her uncles and cousins.
Cushman: The Ballad of Lucy Whipple c1996 historical fiction
Lucy isn’t happy when her mother moves the family from New England to California for the Gold Rush.
Di Camillo: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread c2003 fantasy
Tale of a tiny mouse with huge ears, a princess that he loves, a servant girl who wishes to be a princess and a rat named Roscuro who yearns for soup.
Funke: Inkheart c2003 fantasy
A girl and her father, a bookbinder who can “read” fictional characters into real life, are abducted by one of the characters, who tries to force them into his service.
Giff: Nory Ryan’s Song c2000 historical fiction
Twelve-year-old Nory Ryan helps her family and neighbors survive during the 1845 potato famine in Ireland.
Golding: The Secret Within c2002 realistic fiction
Carly’s domineering father has a painful family secret that causes Carly to face danger and seek freedom at night.
Haddix: Double Identity c2005 mystery
Bethany becomes curious about her past when her parents unexpectedly disappear after leaving her with an aunt who she did not know existed. As the story unravels, the conclusion uncovers a shocking secret.
Hesse: Music of the Dolphins c1996 realistic fiction
The thoughts of a young girl, who was raised by dolphins from 4 years old after a plane crash, are recorded by a scientist as she is reintroduced to a civilized way of life.
Holm: Penny from Heaven c2006 historical fiction Newbery honor winner
In New Jersey during the summer of 1953, eleven-year-old Penny, living with her mother and maternal grandparents, learns the truth about her father’s death and about her upbringing after she has a serious accident.
Isaacs: Torn Thread c2000 historical fiction
During World War II, twelve year-old Eva, living in Poland at the time, is sent by her father to a Nazi labor camp in Czechoslovakia, where her sickly sister has been taken.
Kehret: Abduction! c2004 adventure, contemporary realistic fiction
Thirteen-year-old Bonnie, on a quest to find her kidnapped brother and his dog, becomes a victim of the kidnapper as well.
Levine: Hana’s Suitcase: A True Story c2002 biography
The director of a newly opened Holocaust museum in Japan and her students become intrigued with a suitcase from a concentration camp found among the museum’s artifacts. The story of a Czech girl, Hana Brady, a victim of the Holocaust, unfolds through the search for information about a suitcase.
Paratore: The Wedding Planner’s Daughter c2005 humor, romance
A twelve-year-old girl, whose mother is a wedding planner, wishes for her mother to marry.
Ryan: Esperanza Rising c2000 historical fiction, diversity
During the Great Depression, Esperanza and her mother are forced from their wealthy home in Mexico to Southern California where they work in harsh conditions.
Smith: Peak c2005 adventure, coming-of-age
Fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello’s goal is to become the youngest person to reach the top of Mt. Everest.
Selznick: The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures c2007 adventure, mystery 2008 Caldecott Medal Winner
When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized.
Whelan: Angel on the Square c2001 historical fiction
In 1913 Russia, World War I and the revolution bring unwanted changes into twelve-year-old Katya’s life after she joins her mother in the household of Tsar Nicholas II.
Before Entering 7th Grade
Anderson: Fever, 1793 c2000 historical fiction
In 1793 sixteen year-old Matty, who is forced to leave her home to aviod the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, learns self-reliance and perseverance.
Avi: Crispin: The Cross of Lead c2004 historical fiction
Crispin is a poor, motherless child who finds that there is a price on his head. When the only person who can tell him who he really is dies, he is left to fend for himself. He does make a friend of a strange fellow who protects him and teaches him skills to make his way in the lonely world of 14th century England.
Bradley: For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy c2003 historical fiction
During World War II, a 13-year-old French girl finds her life changed and in danger when she becomes a spy for the French Resistance.
Caputo: 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War c2005
Accounts from Vietnam soldiers and civilians, profiles of persons involved and the role of the female on the battlefield are depicted in this book, which includes a collection of photographs and maps of the war from its beginning to the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Carson: Gifted Hands: The Story of Ben Carson c1990 autobiography
The inspirational story of Ben Carson, an African American pediatric neurosurgeon, who achieved his life goals in spite of the many obstacles he encountered.
Colfer: Airman c2008 adventure, survival, fantasy
After being branded a traitor, imprisoned, and forced to work in the diamond mines under horrible conditions, Conor Broekhart encounters many adventures while planning a prison escape in a flying machine that he must build.
DuPrau: The City of Ember c2003 fantasy
Twelve-year-old Lina lives in the 241 year-old ruined, underground city of Ember where she and a friend embark on a harrowing journey to find a way out of the city and save their people before it is too late.
Funke: The Thief Lord c2001 adventure, fantasy
The threat of being separated causes two orphaned brothers to run away to Venice where they join a group of fugitive children and a gentle undercover detective.
Haddix: Among the Hidden c1998 science fiction, adventure
Luke, twelve years old and an illegally born third child, has been in hiding all of his life from the Population Police who are trying to eliminate “shadow children.”
Hiaasen: Hoot c2002 mystery, environmental issue
Roy, a middle school boy who is the target of a school bully, gets involved in a mysterious case of vandalism and a barefoot boy’s commitment to save burrowing owls living on a construction site.
Hobbs: Jackie’s Wild Seattle c2003 adventure
While spending the summer with their uncle at a wildlife rescue center, 14-year-old Shannon and her younger brother encounter life-changing experiences.
Horowitz: Alex Rider Adventures series adventure
Read about the adventures of Alex Rider, a teenage super spy. 1st book: Stormbreaker (Series does not have to be read in order)
Lobel: No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War c1998 autobiography
Anita Lobel, a Polish Jew and an illustrator of children’s books, writes of her experiences during World War II and in Sweden after the war.
Riordan: The Lightning Thief c2005 fantasy
Percy learns that he has special powers after he makes his pre-algebra teacher disappear. Further investigation reveals that he is the son of Greek god Poseidon. To save humankind Percy embarks on an adventure to return a lightning bolt his father stole from Zeus.
Roberts: Undercurrents c2002 mystery
Fourteen-year-old Nikki has trouble accepting her new stepmother Crystal, and the problem grows worse when they visit the Northern California house where Crystal lived as a child and experienced some horrible event that she is trying to keep secret.
Sachar: Holes c1998 adventure
Stanley Yelnats finds true friendship, a treasure and a new beginning at Camp Greenwood, a correctional camp in Texas for juveniles, where he is sent for a crime he did not commit.
Smith: Cryptid Hunters c2005 adventure, mystery
Adventurous and orphaned twins, Grace and Marty, are sent to live with their mysterious uncle who is an authority on cryptids. They find themselves being dropped from a plane in the Congolese jungle, where they discover truths about themselves and their family.
Weeks: So B. It c2005 contemporary realistic fiction, diversity
Heidi searches to discover the background of her mentally disabled mother.
Whelan: Burying the Sun c2004 historical fiction, diversity
While trying to survive the cold and starvation during the WW II siege of Leningrad, fourteen-year-old Georgi, his family and their neighbors try to keep hope alive by focusing on the beauty in the world.
Woodson: Hush c2002 contemporary realistic fiction, diversity
A twelve-year-old African American girl encounters many challenges when her family enters the Witness Protection Program.
Before Entering Eighth Grade
Bartoletti: Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow c2005 nonfiction
Against the backdrop of Hitler’s world, we follow German young people through the many different organizations which formed them into soldiers faithful to the fatherland.
Beals: Warriors Don’t Cry: A Seering Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High c1994 nonfiction
Melba Patillo Beals, one of the nine students who integrated Central High in 1957, shares the horrific experiences she and the others encountered and how they were able to survive.
Cummings: Red Kayak c2004 contemporary realistic fiction
After a young boy is killed in a kayaking accident, 13-year-old Brady struggles with whether he should divulge the prank that caused the accident or keep silent to protect the pranksters.
Forbes: Johnny Tremain c1943 historical fiction, classic
Johnny Tremain is drawn into the Revolutionary War and becomes a patriot fighting to free the colonies from England. Along the way he learns about life and about himself.
Friend: Perfect c2004 contemporary realistic fiction
Developing bulimia after the death of her father, 13-year-old Isabelle is forced to attend a therapy group. There she discovers that one of the school’s most popular girls is also battling the same disease.
Giblin: Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth c2005 collective biography
Both John Wilkes Booth and his elder brother Edwin made lasting impressions on American history. Find out how they were alike and how they were different.
Haddix: Uprising c2007 historical fiction
After 16 years, Bella Livingston finally shares the story of the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory that killed her two best friends in 1911 and the poor working conditions.
Jackson: I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust c1997 nonfiction
Holocaust memoir of a 13 year-old girl Jewish girl.
McWhorter: A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968 c2004 nonfiction
The author writes personal and factual accounts of the modern Civil Rights movement, from Brown v the Board of Education through the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Oppel: Airborn c2004 mystery
A cabin boy and wealthy young girl on luxury airship team-up to search for mysterious creatures that a dying balloonist claimed he saw.
Paolini: Eragon c2003 fantasy
Eragon’s life is changed into a world of suspense, survival and magic after he finds a mysterious stone from which a dragon hatches.
Park: When My Name was Keoko c2002 historical fiction
Teenage siblings describe the struggles of their Korean family to preserve its culture during WWII Japanese occupation.
Patent: Buffalo and the Indians: A Shared Destiny c2006 nonfiction
The history of the American Indian’s dependence on the bison and their relationship from prehistoric times to the present is traced. Each chapter is intorduced with a legend about the buffalo from various tribes.
Peck: The River Between Us c2003 historical fiction, diversity
During the Civil War, two mysterious young ladies travel from New Orleans to Illinois and are taken in by a family. As the story unfolds so does the mystery of their lives.
Perkins: The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen (Original Title: The Sunita Experiment) c1993 diversity
When grandparents from India visit, Sunita resents her Indian heritage.
Rinaldi: A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials c1992 historical fiction
In 1706, the town of Salem is in an uproar due to the Salem witch trials. The story is told from the perspective of Susanna English, who is caught between her desire to join the malicious group of girls who are spreading the mischief and her fear of what they are doing.
Spinelli: Stargirl c2000 contemporary realistic fiction
A sixteen-year-old eccentric high school girl and her boyfriend discover the ill effects of her unconventional behavior.
Stevenson: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde classic
The classic story about a respected doctor who creates a drug that transforms him into a murderous criminal.
White: Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 c2005 adventure, science fiction
In the year 2083, five 14-year-olds contestants in a reality TV program reenact Scott’s 1910-1913 dangerous expedition to the South Pole.
Before Entering Ninth Grade
Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy c1980 humor, science fiction
After narrowly escaping Earth’s destruction, Arthur Dent travels the galaxy with the help of tour guide Ford Prefect, on a quest to save the universe.
Anaya: Bless Me, Ultima c1972 diversity, fiction
A healer helps Antonio when he comes to live with his family in New Mexico.
Anderson, Laurie Halse: Speak c1999 emotional problems
Melinda begins high school as a social outcast after a traumatic experience in the summer.
Blackwood: The Year of the Hangman c2002 alternate hitory adventure
In 1777, 15-year-old Creighton is kidnapped from England and taken to the American colonies, where he becomes involved in the political unrest than can change the course of history.
Covey: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens c1998 nonfiction
Hints and strategies for success in life, communicated through engaging stories, cartoons and quotations.
Cox: Swimming to Antarctica c2004 nonfiction, memoir
Follow the story of Lynne Cox as she deals with achieving her dreams of conquering some of the roughest waters in the world. The story shows that even young people can accomplish great things.
Dessen: The Truth about Forever c2004 grief, fiction
The summer after her father dies holds unexpected changes that help Marcy face her grief.
Dickens: Oliver Twist c1867 classic
An orphan in Victorian England finds his true identity through his misadventures.
Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo c1846 historical fiction, classic
This classic adventure novel involves a daring prison escape, a risky search for buried treasure and a quest for revenge.
Farmer: The House of the Scorpion c2002 science fiction
In the future, clones are looked down upon by humans. However, Matt, a clone of a powerful leader, experiences special privileges.
Grimes: Dark Sons c2005 African American fiction
This starkly written novel is a story of two young men, separated by history, who struggle with identity, race and faith. Both young men struggle with societal acceptance and a place to belong.
Halberstam: Firehouse c2002 nonfiction, biography
Out of all the men who responded to the terrorists’ attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, from the Engine 40 Ladder 35 firehouse, only one man survived.
Johnson: The First Part Last c2003 teenage, African American fiction
The birth of Bobby’s baby girl brings life changes to his carefree teenage life.
Krakauer: Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster c1998 nonfiction, survival
In March 1996, a group of people joined an expedition to climb Mount Everest. This group included journalist Jon Krakauer and lead climber Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of the climbers, the expedition met with disaster. Krakauer analyzes why.
Lord: A Night to Remember c1955 nonfiction, history
The story of the sinking of the Titanic is told in a “you were there” approach.
McKinley: Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast c1978 romance, folklore fiction
While the beautiful heroine is being held captive in the castle of the frightening beast, her love for the beast releases him from the spell that transformed him.
Murdock: Dairy Queen c2006 farm life, fiction
With humor, sports action, romance and wit, this book could appeal to both male and female. The interesting and empathetic characters in non-conventional roles provide “food for thought” and provide insight into situations not usually covered in young adult fiction.
Murray: Bottled Up c2003 drug abuse, realistic fiction
Pip must face his high school principal, his drug addiction, his alcoholic father and a younger brother who looks up to him.
Nolan: Dancing on the Edge c2007 fiction
Miracle McCloy feels like a misfit in a dysfunctional family. Her mother died when she was born and her distant, brooding father disappears suddenly. Raised by her psychic grandmother, Gigi, Miracle searches for her identity and dancing becomes the only thing that makes Miracle feel like a whole person. After being committed to the psychiatric ward of a hospital, Miracle must face the truth about her past.
Nye: 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East c2002 poetry
Poetry of the Middle East.
Oates: Freaky Green Eyes c2003 realistic fiction
Fourteen-year-old Frankie relates the events leading up to her mother’s disappearance and her own attempt to come to terms with her parents’ relationship.
Peck: The Teacher’s Funeral c2004 teenage guys’ fiction
In rural Indiana in 1904, fifteen-year-old Russell’s dream of quitting school and joining a wheat threshing crew is disrupted when his older sister takes over teaching at his one room schoolhouse after mean, old Myrt Arbuckle, “hauls off and dies.”
Philbrick: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex c2000 nonfiction, survival
This is the story of the tragic sinking of the Essex by an 80 foot sperm whale in 1820. Elements of this tragedy inspired the writing of the classic tale Moby Dick.
Schaap: Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics c2007 nonfiction, sports biography
This book uncovers the history of one of sports greatest track and field stars, Jesse Owens. It traces the racial struggles he faced in America and the dramatic contests in 1936 at the Olympics in Nazi Berlin.
Tolkien: Lord of the Rings Trilogy c1954 fantasy, classic
This trilogy includes The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. It is the story of how the dark power of Sauron is destroyed.
Uchida: Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese-American Family c1982 nonfiction, survival
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, like many other Japanese-American families, Yoshiko’s family is assigned to an internment camp in Utah.
Woodson: Behind You c2004 African American fiction
After fifteen-year-old Jeremiah is mistakenly shot by the police, his loved ones struggle to cope with his loss, unaware that he is watching over them.