Fifth and Sixth Grade
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus - In 1841, rescued by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck leaves him and his four companions castaways on a remote island, fourteen-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a samurai, learns new laws and customs as he becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park - When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.
Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes - In New Orleans' Ninth Ward, twelve-year-old Lanesha, who can see spirits, and her adopted grandmother have no choice but to stay and weather the storm as Hurricane Katrina bears down upon them.
Shooting Kabul by NH Senzai - Escaping from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the summer of 2001, eleven-year-old Fadi and his family immigrate to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Fadi schemes to return to the Pakistani refugee camp where his little sister was accidentally left behind.
As Simple as it Seems by Sarah Weeks - Eleven-year-old Verbena Polter gets through a difficult summer of turbulent emotions and the revelation of a disturbing family secret with an odd new friend who believes she is the ghost of a girl who drowned many years before.
The Danger Box by Blue Balliett - In small-town Michigan, twelve-year-old Zoomy and his new friend Lorrol investigate the journal found inside a mysterious box and find family secrets and a more valuable treasure, while a dangerous stranger watches and waits. This is a science-based mystery.
Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord - When the state of Maine threatens to shut down their island's one-room schoolhouse because of dwindling enrollment, eleven-year-old Tess, a strong believer in luck, and her family take in a trumpet-playing foster child, to increase the school's population.
What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Spingstubb - Fox Street means everything to Mo Wren, who is nearly eleven, and so she is very upset when a land developer offers to buy her father's house, especially since she has not yet found the fox she is sure lives in the nearby ravine.
SciFi and Fantasy
(SF/F)Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation by Matt Myklusch – Twelve-year-old Jack, freed from a dismal orphanage, makes his way to the elusive and impossible Imagine Nation, where a mentor saves him from dissection and trains him to use his superpower, despite the virus he carries that makes him a threat. (series, will appeal to fans of Harry Potter/Percy Jackson/etc.)
(SF)Saving Sky by Diane Stanley – Sky Brightman, living happily off the grid on sixty acres in New Mexico, with no television or Internet to bring her news of the war going on in the United States, is forced to face reality when her friend Kareem is unjustly arrested. (Dystopian fantasy)
(F) Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry - On her journey to the royal university to become a doctor, fifteen-year-old Evie, wearing potent gypsy charms, learns of her monstrous inheritance.
Scumble by Ingrid Law - Mibs's cousin Ledge is disappointed to discover that his "savvy"--the magical power unique to each member of their family--is to make things fall apart, which endangers his uncle Autry's ranch and reveals the family secret to future reporter Sarah. (sequel to Savvy 2008)
Foiled by Jane Yolen –Aliera Carstairs, having always felt like an outcast at school but special in her fencing class, falls for Avery Castle, until a fencing foil with a large ruby on the hilt that her mother found at a sale reveals to her that both Avery and the world around her are not what they seem.
Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel – Garth Hale, accidentally zapped into the ghost world by ghost wrangler Frank Gallows, teams up with Cecil, his grandfather's ghost, in an effort to save him from the evil ruler of Ghostopolis and get him back home again.
Percy Jackson 1 Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan GN version of first Percy Jackson book
The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time by Len Berman – Profiles twenty-five individuals chosen by the author and his panel of experts as the greatest baseball players of alltime, and includes statistics, significant moments, and photographs.
Candy Bomber: the story of the Berlin Airlift’s Chocolate Pilot by Michael O. Tunnell – Describes the efforts of US Air Force Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen to aid the children in Russian-blockaded West Berlin by dropping packages filled with candy from the air. Features personal photographs, along with letters and drawings from the children of Berlin.
Good Garden by Katie Smith Milway local author – Eleven-year-old Maria Luz and her family have a small farm in Honduras, but may not have enough food to sustain them for the year, so Maria's father must leave home to find work, leaving her in charge of the garden.
Seventh and Eighth Grade
Black Radishes by Susan Lynne Meyer (Wellesley College Professor) Gustave, having been forced to move from Paris to the countryside after his parents decided it was not safe for Jews to live in the city during World War II, meets a Catholic girl named Nicole, whose family is part of the French Resistance, and together they devise a plan to rescue his friend and family members from the Nazi occupied territory.
Countdown by Deborah Wiles - As eleven-year-old Franny Chapman deals with drama at home and with her best friend in 1962, she tries to understand the larger problems in the world after President Kennedy announces that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba. Features historic quotations and photographs.
Flygirl by Sherrie L. Smith Ida is a very light-skinned African-American girl living in the south in the early 1940’s who loves to fly. Ida wants to apply to the Women’s Air Service Program (WASP). She knows she won’t be able to apply as an African American and has to decide whether or not to try to pass as a white woman to get into the program.
Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson - Sequel to Chains. Curzon, having matured from boy to man over the course of the winter with the army at Valley Forge, worries that someone will learn he is a runaway slave passing for free, and tries to figure out the meaning of his friendship with Isabel.
*Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan – Sam, having moved with her mother to Jackson, Mississippi, after the death of her father, finds the conservative 1960s values of the town clashing with her family's liberal views and struggles to navigate difficult relationships and understand segregation.
Eighth Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhudy-Perkovich – Reggie in NYC wants to make a difference in the world, but find his classmates to be unhelpful. After volunteering at a homeless shelter, Reggie (known as Pukey, and not popular), decides to run for class president and discovers that there’s more to politics than he realized.
The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer – Thirteen-year-old Annie is thrilled when her grandmother agrees to let her work as a barista at the Steeping Leaf, but as the shop faces possible eviction and Annie begins to drift away from her friends, she fears everything is changing and wonders what she will do if the tea shop closes.
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins – Two Burmese boys, one a Karenni refugee and the other the son of an imprisoned Burmese doctor, meet in the jungle and in order to survive they must learn to trust each other.
*Dirt Road Home by Watt Key – Fourteen-year-old Hal Mitchell, sentenced after his recapture to live at a boys' home called Hellenweiler, tries to stay away from gangs and violence so he can get out in a few months, but his inmates do their best to involve him in trouble. (Companion to Alabama Moon)
*Icecore by Matt Whyman - Seventeen-year-old Englishman Carl Hobbes meant no harm when he hacked into Fort Knox's security system, but at Camp Twilight in the Arctic Circle, known as the Guantanamo Bay of the north, he is tortured to reveal information about a conspiracy of which he was never a part. (Sequel is Goldstrike)
*Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco Stork - Seventeen-year-old Pancho is bent on avenging the senseless death of his sister, but after he meets D.Q, who is dying of cancer, and Marisol, one of D.Q.'s caregivers, both boys find their lives changed by their interactions. Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game by John Feinstein - Another sports mystery from John Feinstein. This time at Army-Navy game where president is supposed to be in attendance. Sports fans and mystery fans will enjoy.
*Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly - An angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy--Louis Charles, the lost king of France.
*The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt – Although they have never gotten along well, seventeen-year-old Levi follows his older brother Boaz, an ex-Marine, on a walking trip from Boston to Washington, D.C. in hopes of learning why Boaz is completely withdrawn.
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – Sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray travels to England in search of her brother only to be abducted by the Dark Sisters, residents of London's Downworld, home to the city's supernatural folk, and she becomes the object of much attention--both good and bad--when it is discovered she has the power to transform at will into another person. Companion series to Mortal Instruments series by same author.
Matched by Allie Condie – Cassia has always had complete trust in the Society to make decisions for her, but when she is being paired with her ideal mate, a second face flashes on the screen, and Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility as she tries to decide which man she truly loves.
Plain Kate by Erin Bow – Plain Kate's odd appearance and expertise as a woodcarver cause some to think her a witch, but friendship with a talking cat and, later, with humans help her to survive and even thrive in a world of magic, charms, and fear.
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff – Sixteen-year-old Mackie Doyle, a being from another world who was swapped with a human child when he was a baby, struggles with his allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground and wants desperately to live like a normal teenager, and when his crush Tate's sister disappears, Mackie sets out to find her and gets a chance to find his rightful place in the world.
Ship Breaker by Paulo Bacigalupi – In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.
Anne Frank: the Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson – Really her story, not just the diary. Discusses life before hiding and the decision to go into secret annex.
The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds – Latest from Gareth Hinds, recreation of the Odyssey.
Smile by Raina Relgemeier – Autobiography in graphic novel format about when author has a middle schooler knocks out her two front teeth. Over the next five years or surgeries, braces, headgear and more that it takes to get her teeth back to normal, Raina also makes discoveries about friends and bullying.
William Shakespeare: His life and times by Ari Berk/ Kristen McDermott – A fictionalized account of the life and times of William Shakespeare as revealed in a scrapbook he assembles in 1613 on the eve of his retirement for his daughter Judith. Includes summaries and excerpts from his plays, illustrations, pull-out letters, lift-the-flaps, and other manipulatives.
Built to Last by David Macaulay – Contains detailed illustrations and explanations of how castles, mosques, and cathedrals were built.