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LEV
The Wish (age 9-12)
by Gail Carson Levine
friendship ... fantasy ... school
Publisher comments: Wilma Sturtz is invisible and miserable at school. So when an old lady on the subway offers her a wish, Wilma immediately asks for popularity — in fact, she asks to be the most popular kid at school. Suddenly, Wilma has more friends than she can keep track of, forty dates to the Grad Night Dance, and a secret admirer writing her love poems. Everything is great, until she realizes there's a loophole in her wish, and her time in the spotlight has almost run out.
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LOR
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (age 9-12)
by Bette Bao Lord
friendship ... humor ... identity ... sports ... school
Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends. Then a miracle happens...baseball. It is 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is everyone's hero. Jackie Robinson is proving that a black man, the grandson of a slave, can make a difference in America and for Shirley as well, on the ball field and off, America becomes the land of opportunity.
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BUN
Sixth-Grade Sleepover (age 9-12)
by Eve Bunting
growing up ... school
Catalog: Janey worries that the sixth grade Rabbit Reading Club's all-night sleepover will expose her fear of the dark, but it turns out that she is not the only member with a secret.
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LUP
Two-Minute Drill (age 9-12)
by Mike Lupica
friendship ... sports ... school
Publisher comments: Chris Conlan is the coolest kid in sixth grade...the golden-armed quarterback of the football team and the boy all the others look up to. Scott Parry is the new kid, the boy with the huge brain, but with feet that trip over themselves. These two boys may seem like an odd couple, but each has a secret that draws them together, and proves that the will to succeed is even more important than raw talent.
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MAR
Belle Teal (age 9-12)
by Ann M. Martin
school ... family ... illness/loss ... historical
Publisher comments: Belle Teal's life isn't easy, but she gets by. She lives with her mother and grandmother far out in the country. They don't have much money, but Belle Teal feels rich with their love. As school begins, Belle Teal faces unexpected challenges. Her best friends are up against some big problems. And there are two new students in Belle Teal's class: a shy boy caught in the town's furor over desegregation, and a snob who has problems of her own. As her world falls apart, Belle Teal discovers the importance of sticking together.
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BAR
The Great Gradepoint Mystery (age 9-12)
by Barbara Bartholomew
math/science/technology ... school ... mystery
When the grades of twelve-year-old Ricky and his friends inexplicably drop at the beginning of junior high, they suspect someone may be tampering with the school computer during a competition with a rival junior high.
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WOO
Feathers (age 9-12)
by Jacqueline Woodson
growing up ... school
"Hope is the thing with feathers" starts the poem Frannie is reading in school. Frannie hasn't thought much about hope. There are so many other things to think about. Each day, her friend Samantha seems a bit more "holy." There is a new boy in class everyone is calling the Jesus Boy. And although the new boy looks like a white kid, he says he's not white. Who is he? During a winter full of surprises, good and bad, Frannie starts seeing a lot of things in a new light: her brother Sean's deafness, her mother's fear, the class bully's anger, her best friend's faith, and her own desire for "the thing with feathers."
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KIN
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series (age 9-12)
by Jeff Kinney
letters/journal ... growing up ... humor ... school ... friendship
It's a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you're ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.
title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal
title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
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COL
Medusa Jones (age 9-12)
by Ross Collins
adventure ... humor ... school ... folklore
In ancient Greece lived a little girl called Medusa Jones. Medusa was a Gorgon, but apart from that, pretty normal. So she has snakes for hair instead of gorgeous blond ringlets like Cassandra. So her best friend is half horse. Is that any reason for the popular kids to be SO mean? Medusa's sure the school camping trip is going to be a nightmare. But a rock fall puts the popular kids in peril, and Medusa's the only one who can help. Will she be a hero ... or is her monster side finally going to come out?
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LOV
Crossing Over (age 9-12)
by Sandra Love
school ... family
When Megan, thirteen, and Kevin, ten, go to spend a school year with their divorced father, now a teacher at a military school, they find life a bit different than with their easygoing mother.
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KEL
Desdemona, Twelve Going on Desperate (age 9-12)
by Beverly Keller
friendship ... humor ... school
It's one disaster after another as Desdemona Blank tries to make friends at her new junior high, salvage her single-parent father's budding romance, and not think too much about Mike Harbinger, the fifteen-year-old blond school heartthrob. Then several extraordinary things happen...including getting to know Mike...and Desdemona's desperate life becomes a delirious one.
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JOH
Ellie Brader Hates Mr. G (age 9-12)
by Janet Johnston
friendship ... humor ... school
Compared to nice Ms. Simpson, Mr. Garrett, Ellie's substitute teacher, seems mean and unfair, until his handling of several class crises changes Ellie's feelings towards him.
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HAW
The Cat That Could Spell Mississippi (age 9-12)
by Laura Hawkins
identity ... friendship ... school
Anxious to prove that she is special at her new school, fourth-grader Linda makes everything more difficult for herself when she cheats on a spelling bee.
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DAN
The Cat Ate My Gymsuit (age 9-12)
by Paula Danziger
growing up ... humor ... school
When the unconventional English teacher who helped her conquer many of her feelings of insecurity is fired, a junior high student uses her new found courage to campaign for the teacher's reinstatement.
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GUT
The Homework Machine (age 9-12)
by Dan Gutman
brilliant protagonist ... enterprise ... humor ... friendship ... school
Meet the D Squad, a foursome of fifth graders at the Grand Canyon School made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker. They are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code-named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention. And attention is exactly what you don't want when you are keeping a secret. Before long, things start to get out of control, and Belch becomes much more powerful than they ever imagined. Now the kids are in a race against their own creation, and the loser could end up in jail...or worse!
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WIL
Bad Girls (age 9-12)
by Jacqueline Wilson
friendship ... school ... humor
Mandy White is a good girl whom the bad girls like to pick on, until a bigger, badder girl makes her her special friend. Tanya is a foster child across the street, and she's nothing like good little Mandy. She's fun and she's tough and she wears really cool clothes. Of course, Mandy's overprotective mother wants her precious little daughter to have nothing to do with the new neighbor.
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CLE
Mitch and Amy (age 9-12)
by Beverly Cleary
school ... family
Publisher comments: Mitch and Amy both think being twins is fun, but that doesn't stop them from squabbling. Amy is good at reading. Mitch is a math whiz. Amy likes to play pretend. Mitch would rather skateboard. They never want to watch the same television show. And they always try to get the better of each other. Then the school bully starts picking on Mitch and on Amy, too. Now the twins have something rotten in common: Alan Hibbler. This twosome must set aside their squabbles and band together to defeat a bully!
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CLE
The Janitor's Boy (age 9-12)
by Andrew Clements
family ... school
It was the perfect crime. Unfortunately, it also led to the perfect punishment. When Jack Rankin gets busted for defacing a school desk with a huge wad of disgusting, watermelon bubble gum, the principal sentences him to three weeks of after-school gum cleanup for the chief custodian. The problem is, Jack's anger at the chief custodian was the reason for his gum project in the first place. The chief custodian happens to be Jack's dad. But doing time in the school basement after hours reveals some pretty surprising things: about the school, about Jack's father, and about Jack himself.
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CLE
Strider (age 9-12)
by Beverly Cleary
school ... friendship ... growing up ... letters/journal
Strider has a new habit. Whenever we stop, he places his paw on my foot. It isn't an accident because he always does it. I like to think he doesn't want to leave me. Can a stray dog change the life of a teenage boy? It looks as if Strider can. He's a dog that loves to run; because of Strider, Leigh Botts finds himself running, well enough to join the school track team. Strider changes Leigh on the inside, too, as he finally begins to accept his parents' divorce and gets to know a redheaded girl he's been admiring. With Strider's help, Leigh finds that the future he once hated to be asked about now holds something he never expected: hope.
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HAN
Ida B: and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World (age 9-12)
by Katherine Hannigan
illness/loss ... humor ... school ... growing up
Who is Ida B. Applewood? She is a fourth grader like no other, living a life like no other, with a voice like no other, and her story will resonate long after you have put this book down. How does Ida B cope when outside forces (life, really) attempt to derail her and her family and her future? She enters her Black Period, and it is not pretty. But then, with the help of a patient teacher, a loyal cat and dog, her beloved apple trees, and parents who believe in the same things she does (even if they sometimes act as though they don't), the resilience that is the very essence of Ida B triumph...and Ida B. Applewood takes the hand that is extended and starts to grow up.
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ROW
The Harry Potter Series (age 9-12)
by J. K. Rowling
fantasy ... adventure ... family ... school ... magic
As the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone opens, all Harry Potter knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley, a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry (and anyone who reads about him) will find unforgettable.
title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
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DEC
The Pickle Song (age 9-12)
by Barthe DeClements
friendship ... school
Paula would like to befriend Sukey Parsons, the new girl in her class, but Sukey isn't making it easy. Sukey keeps to herself and disappears immediately after school. But Paula discovers that she eats very strange lunches, washes her hair in the creek, sings and plays the guitar, and knows how to get money by pawning her belongings. Eventually, Paula also learns that Sukey and her mother are homeless, waiting for Sukey's father to find work in California and send for them. As Paula looks for ways to help, she learns what real generosity means.
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NAY
The Alice Prequels (age 9-12)
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
friendship ... school ... identity ... realistic ... growing up
Well, a pet and pierced ears and really long hair would be nice, too and most of all, Alice wishes she still had a mother. But starting third grade in a new school in a new town can be lonely, especially if the closest thing you have to a friend is weird Donald Sheavers from next door. But even making new friends can't solve all of Alice's problems. Somehow she manages to get into trouble for a stupid lie, and to get on the wrong side of a bullying crossing guard and three snooty girls whom Alice calls "the Terrible Triplets." Will Alice ever feel at home in Takoma Park? This series introduce the younger Alice, leading up to the older series The Agony of Alice.
title: Starting With Alice
title: Alice in Blunderland
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YOL
Wizard's Hall (age 9-12)
by Jane Yolen
fantasy ... magic ... school
Poor Henry. It's not enough that his mother has sent him away from home to learn magic. It's not enough that everyone at his new school calls him Thornmallow because he's ``prickly on the outside, squishy within''. It's not enough that the only talent he shows at Wizard's Hall is an ability to make messes of even the simplest spells. He finds himself with more responsibility than he knows how to bear.
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SAC
There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom (age 9-12)
by Louis Sachar
identity ... friendship ... school ... humor
An unmanageable, but lovable, eleven-year-old misfit learns to believe in himself when he gets to know the new school counselor, who is a sort of misfit too.
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NIM
Children of the Red King (Charlie Bone) Series (age 9-12)
by Jenny Nimmo
adventure ... fantasy ... school
This series chronicles Charlie's mysterious adventures at Bloor's Academy.
title: Midnight for Charlie Bone
title: Charlie Bone and the Beast
title: Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors
title: Charlie Bone and the Hidden King
title: Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy
title: Charlie Bone and the Time Twister
title: Charlie Bone and the Shadow
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CLE
A Week in the Woods (age 9-12)
by Andrew Clements
identity ... survival ... adventure ... school
The fifth-grade Week in the Woods is a beloved tradition of Hardy Elementary, where Mark Chelmsley (the Fourth) is pretty much killing time before his parents send him off to an exclusive prep school. But then Mark realizes the Week might be a chance to prove to Mr. Maxwell that he's not just another of the slacker kids the teacher can't stand.

Addison Elementary School, Sat Aug 25 11:55:25 2012
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