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ALC
Louisa May Alcott's Little Women Books (age 10+)
by Louisa May Alcott
historical ... growing up ... family
Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young ladies in nineteenth-century New England.
title: Little Women
title: Little Men: Life at Plumfield With Jo's Boys
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VAN
Dear Mom, You're Ruining My Life (age 10+)
by Jean Van Leeuwen
realistic ... growing up ... family
Samantha Slayton's eleventh year includes losing her last baby teeth, towering over every boy in dance school, and being mortified by everything her mother does.
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TOL
Surviving the Applewhites (age 10+)
by Stephanie S. Tolan
humor ... growing up ... school ... friendship
Publisher comments: Will anyone take on Jake Semple? Jake Semple is notorious. Rumor has it he burned down his old school and got kicked out of every school in his home state. Only one place will take him now, and that's a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic and hilarious family of artists. The only one who doesn't fit the Applewhite mold is E.D., a smart, sensible girl who immediately clashes with the unruly Jake. Jake thinks surviving this one will be a breeze, but is he really as tough or as bad as he seems?
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BAU
Hope Was Here (age 10+)
by Joan Bauer
growing up ... family ... humor
Catalog: When sixteen-year-old Hope and the aunt who has raised her move from Brooklyn to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, to work as waitress and cook in the Welcome Stairways diner, they become involved with the diner owner's political campaign to oust the town's corrupt mayor.
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JIM
Breaking Through (age 10+)
by Francisco Jimenez
historical ... family ... growing up
Publisher comments: "Breaking Through" chronicles the author's teenage years. At the age of 14, Francisco and his family are caught by "la migra" (immigration officers) and forced to leave their California home, but soon find their way back. Jiminez explores the prejudice and challenges they face while also relaying universal adolescent experiences of school, dances and romances.
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HOL
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (age 10+)
by Kimberly Willis Holt
growing up ... friendship ... historical
Publisher comments: Nothing ever happens in Toby's small Texas town. Nothing much until this summer that's full of big changes. It's tough for Toby when his mother leaves home to become a country singer. And Toby takes it hard when his best friend Cal's older brother goes off to fight in Vietnam. But now their sleepy town is about to get an even bigger jolt with the arrival of Zachary Beaver, billed as the fattest boy in the world. Toby is in for a summer unlike any other, a summer sure to change his life.
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LAW
Scumble (age 10+)
by Ingrid Law
growing up ... fantasy ... family
Publisher comments: It's nine years after Savvy, and Mibs' cousin Ledge is on the verge of turning thirteen. More than anything, he wants the power to run like the wind. But when his birthday comes, he discovers that his savvy is actually making things fall apart. It starts out with small things, but then it gets worse. To top it all off, someone outside the family has witnessed his destruction. Now, in addition to trying to figure out how to control - or scumble - his savvy, he's got to worry about how to protect the family secrets. Over the course of one amazing summer, Ledge learns a lot about himself and his family, makes a new - and very unlikely - friend, and learns to appreciate his newfound skills.
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LAW
Savvy (age 10+)
by Ingrid Law
growing up ... fantasy ... family
Publisher comments: For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a "savvy", a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn thirteen. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity...and now it's the eve of Mibs's big day. As if waiting weren't hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs's birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman's bus...only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin.
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FAR
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm: a novel (age 10+)
by Nancy Farmer
growing up ... mystery ... adventure ... science fiction
General Matsika's children steal out of the house on a forbidden adventure--and disappear. In Zimbabwe, in the year 2194, the children's parents call in Africa's most unusual detectives--the Ear, the Eye and the Arm--who have powers far beyond those of other human beings. The children must avoid the evils of the past, the technology of the future, and a motley assortment of criminals in order to return home safely.
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VAN
Flipped (age 10+)
by Wendelin Van Draanen
humor ... friendship ... growing up
The first time she saw him, she flipped. The first time he saw her, he ran. That was the second grade, but not much has changed by the seventh. She says: "My Bryce. Still walking around with my first kiss." He says: "It's been six years of strategic avoidance and social discomfort." But in the eighth grade everything gets turned upside down. And just as he's thinking there's more to her than meets the eye, she's thinking that he's not quite all he seemed. This is a classic romantic comedy of errors told in alternating chapters by two fresh, funny new voices. Wendelin Van Draanen is at her best here with a knockout cast of quirky characters and a hilarious series of misunderstandings and missed opportunities. But underlying the humor are two teens in transition. They are each learning to look beyond the surface of people, both figuring out who they are, who they want to be, and who they want to be with.
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LEW
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze (age 10+)
by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis
growing up ... historical
When Young Fu arrives with his mother in bustling 1920s Chungking, all he has seen of the world is the rural farming village where he has grown up. He knows nothing of city life. But the city, with its wonders and dangers, fascinates the 13-year-old boy, and he sets out to make the best of what it has to offer him.
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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.
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SCH
The Wednesday Wars (age 10+)
by Gary Schmidt
school ... humor ... growing up ... historical
Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn't like Holling, he's sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation...the Big M...in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.
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LOW
Gossamer (age 10+)
by Lois Lowry
fantasy ... growing up
Where do dreams come from? What stealthy nighttime messengers are the guardians of our most deeply hidden hopes and our half-forgotten fears? Drawing on her rich imagination, two-time Newbery winner Lois Lowry confronts these questions and explores the conflicts between the gentle bits and pieces of the past that come to life in dream, and the darker horrors that find their form in nightmare. In a haunting story that tiptoes between reality and imagination, two people (a lonely, sensitive woman and a damaged, angry boy) face their own histories and discover what they can be to one another, renewed by the strength that comes from a tiny, caring creature they will never see.
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DIC
The Tiger Rising (age 10+)
by Kate DiCamillo
illness/loss ... growing up ... friendship
Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger ... a real-life, very large tiger ... pacing back and forth in a cage. What's more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things ... like memories, and heartaches, and tigers ... can't be locked up forever.
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SIL
The Giving Tree (age 10+)
by Shel Silverstein
growing up
'Once there was a tree...and she loved a little boy.' So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein. Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk...and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave. This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation.
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SNY
And Condors Danced (age 10+)
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
historical ... growing up ... illness/loss
The year Carly turns eleven, 1907, is filled with playing detective, watching condors, observing a fierce feud involving her family's Southern California ranch, and coping with unexpected tragedies.
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HOL
Penny From Heaven (age 10+)
by Jennifer Holm
growing up ... family ... historical
As she turns twelve during the summer of 1953, Penny gains new insights into herself and her family while also learning a secret about her father's death. It's 1953 and 11-year-old Penny dreams of a summer of butter pecan ice cream, swimming, and baseball. But nothing's that easy in Penny's family. For starters, she can't go swimming because her mother's afraid she'll catch polio at the pool. To make matters worse, her favorite uncle is living in a car. Her Nonny cries every time her father's name is mentioned. And the two sides of her family aren't speaking to each other!
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CUS
Catherine, Called Birdy (age 10+)
by Karen Cushman
growing up ... letters/journal ... historical
Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to a rich man--any rich man, no matter how awful. But by wit, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would-be husbands packing. Then a shaggy-bearded suitor from the north comes to call--by far the oldest, ugliest, most revolting suitor of them all. Unfortunately, he is also the richest. Can a sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own actually lose the battle against an ill-mannered, piglike lord and an unimaginative, greedy toad of a father? Deus! Not if Catherine has anything to say about it!
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CAM
The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods (age 10+)
by Ann Cameron
growing up ... identity ... historical ... family
Amanda Woods is discovering that there are some things in life that you just can't change, like who your parents are or how your older sister treats you, but she is determined to change what she can. To begin with, she's not going to be just plain Amanda Woods (the girl her mother seems to think is just average). She's going to be Amanda K. Woods - someone who is proud and strong and sure of herself, someone who can have a French pen pal and a best friend of her own choosing, someone who finds four-leaf clovers and can get perfect scores on her math homework. There is more to Amanda than anyone else can see, things about her that Amanda herself doesn't even know yet, but she's finding out.
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RYL
The Islander: a Novel (age 10+)
by Cynthia Rylant
growing up ... fantasy ... family
Living with his grandfather on an island off British Columbia, orphaned ten-year-old Daniel feels deep loneliness until the night he meets a mermaid whose identity he tries to learn.
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PUL
His Dark Materials (age 10+)
by Philip Pullman
growing up ... spooky ... action ... adventure ... fantasy
Lyra Belaqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar Pantalaimon always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle ... a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold, far North, young Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: She alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.
title: The Golden Compass
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SPI
Crash (age 10+)
by Jerry Spinelli
family ... friendship ... growing up
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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PAU
Hatchet (age 10+)
by Gary Paulsen
growing up ... survival ... adventure
Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother has given him as a present and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart ever since his parents' divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self-pity, or despair it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.
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HEN
The Birthday Room (age 10+)
by Kevin Henkes
growing up ... family
Benjamin Hunter gets two things for his twelfth birthday: a freshly renovated room in the attic from his parents and a letter from his uncle, Ian, whom he hasn't seen in nearly ten years. Ben isn't sure what he thinks about the room . . . but the letter! It's an invitation to visit, and Ben has an unexplainable urge to see, and know, this man who's been estranged from the family for so long. That is, if Ben's mother can let go of an old grudge long enough to let him have his wish.
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GEO
Dipper of Copper Creek (age 10+)
by Jean Craighead George
growing up ... adventure ... nature ... animals
Doug is spending the summer in the Colorado Rockies, prospecting for gold with his grandfather. One day, he comes across the strangest bird he has ever seen--the water ouzel, who nests behind waterfalls. Soon Doug is fascinated with the Dipper of Copper Creek and, after an avalance, finds himself raising an ouzel of his own.
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CHO
Al Capone Does My Shirts (age 10+)
by Gennifer Choldenko
growing up ... historical ... family
Publisher comments: Moose Flannagan moves with his family to Alcatraz so his dad can work as a prison guard and his sister, Natalie, can attend a special school. But Natalie has autism, and when she's denied admittance to the school, the stark setting of Alcatraz begins to unravel the tenuous coping mechanisms Moose's family has used for dealing with her disorder. When Moose meets Piper, the cute daughter of the Warden, he knows right off she's trouble. But she's also strangely irresistible. 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.
sequel: Al Capone Shines My Shoes
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VOI
Homecoming (age 10+)
by Cynthia Voigt
growing up ... survival ... family
In the first book of Cynthia Voigt's Tillerman cycle, the four Tillerman children, abandoned by their emotionally ill mother, undertake a difficult journey in search of a place to call home.
sequel: Dicey's Song
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PAT
Jacob Have I Loved (age 10+)
by Katherine Patterson
identity ... realistic ... growing up ... family
Sara Louise Bradshaw is sick and tired of her beautiful twin Caroline. Ever since they were born, Caroline has been the pretty one, the talented one, the better sister. Even now, Caroline seems to take everything: Louise's friends, their parents' love, her dreams for the future. For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one. But in order to do that, she must first figure out who she is, and find a way to make a place for herself outside her sister's shadow.
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HOR
Everything on a Waffle (age 10+)
by Polly Horvath
growing up ... family ... humor
Eleven-year-old Primrose, living in a small fishing village in British Columbia, recounts with surprising humor her experiences and all she learns about human nature and the unpredictability of life after her parents are lost at sea.
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HEN
Protecting Marie (age 10+)
by Kevin Henkes
family ... animals ... growing up
``Fanny sensed that from the moment she was born she was meant to have a dog. It was as though some unique and independent organ deep inside her, like a tiny heart, couldn't thrive properly without one.'' With humor and compassion Kevin Henkes tells Fanny's story. But this is not just a dog story. This is a story about a girl and her father. This is a story about growing up. This is a story about wanting and getting and realizing that nothing is simple or easy.
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HEN
Olive's Ocean (age 10+)
by Kevin Henkes
illness/loss ... growing up ... friendship
``Olive Barstow was dead. She'd been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew.'' Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they weren't, and now all that is left are eerie connections between two girls who were in the same grade at school and who both kept the same secret without knowing it. Now Martha can't stop thinking about Olive. A family summer on Cape Cod should help banish those thoughts; instead, they seep in everywhere.
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PAT
The Same Stuff as Stars (age 10+)
by Katherine Patterson
growing up ... friendship ... family
When Angel's self-absorbed mother leaves her and her younger brother with their poor great-grandmother, the eleven-year-old girl worries not only about her mother and brother, her imprisoned father, the frail old woman, but also about a mysterious man who begins sharing with her the wonder of the stars.
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CRE
Walk Two Moons (age 10+)
by Sharon Creech
illness/loss ... identity ... growing up ... friendship ... voyages/journeys ... family
As Salamanca travels cross-country with her eccentric grandparents, she tells the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, who met a ``potential lunatic,'' and whose mother disappeared--just like Sal's.

Escondido Elementary School, Sat Aug 25 11:55:29 2012
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