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STO
Deep Down Popular: a Novel (age 10+)
by Phoebe Stone
realistic ... school ... friendship
Publisher comments: 6th-grader Jessie Lou is deeply, madly, passionately in love with Conrad Parker Smith. Too bad she's a tomboy with only one on-again, off-again friend, and hair so short you can't spit on it. Too bad he's the most popular boy in their small-town school. But then Conrad hurts his leg and suddenly can't keep up with his old pursuits anymore. Jessie Lou and Conrad start spending a lot more time together, but she can't help wonder -- is she just a substitute friend? And will Conrad forget her when his leg brace comes off and he's king of the school once again?
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KIM
The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt (age 10+)
by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
friendship ... identity ... school
Publisher comments: Moxie Roosevelt Kipper is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary name, but that is about to change. She's starting boarding school, and it's time to reinvent herself, to become worthy of a name like "Moxie." So she tries a bunch of personalities to try to figure out which one suits her best. But she quickly loses track of who she actually is and who she's supposed to be at any given moment! And as Moxie deals with new friendships and new situations, she comes to realize that boarding school is not what it seems and she's not the only one who isn't what she claims to be.
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ALE
The Gawgon and the Boy (age 10+)
by Lloyd Alexander
historical ... adventure ... school
In Depression-era Philadelphia, when eleven-year-old David is too ill to attend school, he is tutored by the unique and adventurous Aunt Annie, whose teaching combines with his imagination to greatly enrich his life.
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AVI
Never Mind!: a Twin Novel (age 10+)
by Avi
family ... school ... humor
Twelve-year-old New York City twins Meg and Edward have nothing in common, so they are just as shocked as everyone else when Meg's hopes for popularity and Edward's mischievous schemes coincidentally collide in a hilarious showdown.
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KOR
No More Dead Dogs (age 10+)
by Gordon Korman
the arts ... school ... humor
Eighth-grade football hero Wallace Wallace is sentenced to detention attending rehearsals of the school play where, in spite of himself, he becomes wrapped up in the production and begins to suggest changes that improve not only the play but his life as well.
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WIN
Counting on Grace (age 10+)
by Elizabeth Winthrop
school ... historical
1910. Pownal, Vermont. At 12, Grace and her best friend Arthur must leave school and go to work as a “doffers” on their mothers’ looms in the mill. Grace’s mother is the best worker, fast and powerful, and Grace desperately wants to help her. But she’s left handed and doffing is a right-handed job. Grace’s every mistake costs her mother, and the family. She only feels capable on Sundays, when she and Arthur receive special lessons from their teacher. Together they write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board about underage children working in Pownal. A few weeks later a man with a camera shows up. It is the famous reformer Lewis Hine, undercover, collecting evidence for the Child Labor Board. Grace’s brief acquaintance with Hine and the photos he takes of her are a gift that changes her sense of herself, her future, and her family’s future.
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TAR
Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree (age 10+)
by Lauren Tarshis
brilliant protagonist ... friendship ... school
Emma-Jean Lazarus is the smartest and strangest girl at William Gladstone Middle School. Her classmates don't understand her, but that's okay because Emma-Jean doesn't quite get them either. But one afternoon, all that changes when she sees Colleen Pomerantz crying in the girl's room. It is through Colleen that Emma-Jean gets a glimpse into what it is really like to be a seventh grader. And what she finds will send her tumbling out of a tree and questioning why she ever got involved in the first place.
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STE
The Mysterious Benedict Society Series (age 10+)
by Trenton Lee Stewart
friendship ... science fiction ... brilliant protagonist ... adventure ... school
"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?
title: The Mysterious Benedict Society
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SPI
Stargirl (age 10+)
by Jerry Spinelli
growing up ... friendship ... school ... identity
In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.
sequel: Love, Stargirl
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HOL
Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: a Year Told Through Stuff (age 10+)
by Jennifer Holm
growing up ... humor ... school ... letters/journal
Told entirely through notes, grocery receipts, report cards, bottle caps, newspaper clippings, and other pieces of a young girls life, Newbery Honor winner Holm delivers the story of Ginnys seventh-grade year using all the things that "really" matter.
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SAC
The Boy Who Lost His Face (age 10+)
by Louis Sachar
school ... growing up ... friendship
David is only trying to be cool when he helps some of the popular kids steal Old Lady Bayfield's cane. But when the plan backfires, he's the one the "old witch" curses. Now David can't seem to do anything right. Is it the Bayfield curse at work? Or is David simply turning into a total loser?
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HAL
Princess Academy (age 10+)
by Shannon Hale
princesses ... fantasy ... friendship ... school
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess. Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.
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FLE
Flying Solo (age 10+)
by Ralph Fletcher
friendship ... school ... illness/loss
Rachel, having chosen to be mute following the sudden death of a classmate, shares responsibility with the other sixth-graders who decide not to report that the substitute teacher failed to show up.
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FIN
Bad Dreams (age 10+)
by Anne Fine
spooky ... school ... friendship
Despite her preference for books over friends, Melanie gradually becomes involved with a new classmate, and realizes that her her friend has a special gift that is also a burden.

Duveneck Elementary School, Sat Aug 25 11:55:27 2012
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