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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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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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HOF
Aquamarine (age 10+)
by Alice Hoffman
fantasy ... growing up ... friendship
Publisher comments: Hailey and Claire are spending their last summer together when they discover something at the bottom of the murky pool at the Capri Beach Club. There in the depths is a mysterious and beautiful creature with a sharp tongue and a broken heart: a mermaid named Aquamarine who has left her six sisters to search for love on land. Now, as this mythological yet very real being starts to fade in the burning August sun, a rescue is begun. On the edge of growing up, during a summer that is the hottest on record, Hailey and Claire are discovering that life can take an unpredictable course, friendship is forever, and magic can be found in the most unexpected places.
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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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MAS
Every Soul a Star: a Novel (age 10+)
by Wendy Mass
identity ... friendship ... growing up
Publisher comments: And as streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of a butterfly, I realize that I never saw real beauty until now. At Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. It's also were three lives are about to be changed forever: Ally likes the simple things in life--labyrinths, star-gazing, and comet-hunting. Her home, the Moon Shadow campground, is a part of who she is, and she refuses to imagine it any other way. Popular and gorgeous (everybody says so), Bree is a future homecoming queen for sure. Bree wears her beauty like a suit of armor. But what is she trying to hide? Overweight and awkward, Jack is used to spending a lot of time alone. But when opportunity knocks, he finds himself in situations he never would have imagined and making friends in the most unexpected situations. Told from three distinct voices and perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together, unlikely friendships, and finding one's place in the universe.
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COM
Revolution is Not a Dinner Party (age 10+)
by Ying Chang Compestine
family ... growing up ... historical
Publisher comments: Nine-year-old Ling is very comfortable in her life; her parents are both dedicated surgeons in the best hospital in Wuhan. But when Comrade Li, one of Mao's political officers, moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. In an atmosphere of increasing mistrust, Ling fears for the safety of her neighbors and, soon, for herself and family. Over the course of four years, Ling manages to grow and blossom, even as she suffers more horrors than many people face in a lifetime.
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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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MAS
A Mango-Shaped Space: A Novel (age 10+)
by Wendy Mass
school ... growing up ... illness/loss ... identity
Afraid that she is crazy, thirteen-year-old Mia, who sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound, keeps this a secret until she becomes overwhelmed by school, changing relationships, and the death of her beloved cat, Mango.
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MAS
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life (age 10+)
by Wendy Mass
mystery ... realistic ... growing up
In one month Jeremy Fink will turn thirteen. But does he have what it takes to be a teenager? He collects mutant candy, he won't venture more than four blocks from his apartment if he can help it, and he definitely doesn't like surprises. On the other hand, his best friend, Lizzy, isn't afraid of anything, even if that might get her into trouble now and then. Jeremy's summer takes an unexpected turn when a mysterious wooden box arrives in the mail. According to the writing on the box, it holds the meaning of life Jeremy is supposed to open it on his thirteenth birthday. The problem is, the keys are missing, and the box is made so that only the keys will open it without destroying what's inside. Jeremy and Lizzy set off to find the keys, but when one of their efforts goes very wrong, Jeremy starts to lose hope that he'll ever be able to open the box. But he soon discovers that when you're meeting people named Oswald Oswald and using a private limo to deliver unusual objects to strangers all over the city, there might be other ways of finding out the meaning of life.
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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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COO
Sam I Am (age 10+)
by Ilene Cooper
traditions ... family ... growing up ... identity
Twelve-year-old Sam Goodman knows the holidays are going to be difficult when his dog knocks over the Hanukkah bush/Christmas tree. His Jewish father and Christian mother have never quite figured out how to celebrate both holidays, and when the tree goes down, their resentments, simmering for so long, boil over. His older sister and younger brother don't seem to have any solutions for the family's predicament; his best friend Avi seems to know who he is as he prepares for his Bar Mitzvah; his secret crush, Heather, knows who she is and who she wants to associate with.
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CHO
Notes From a Liar and Her Dog (age 10+)
by Gennifer Choldenko
family ... growing up
Eleven-year-old Ant, stuck in a family that she does not like, copes by pretending that her "real" parents are coming to rescue her, by loving her dog Pistachio, by volunteering at the zoo, and by bending the truth and telling lies.
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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
The Changeling (age 10+)
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
growing up ... friendship
Ivy Carson belonged to the notorious Carson family, which lived in a run-down house in suburban Rosewood. But Ivy was not a typical Carson. There was something wonderful about her. Ivy explained it by saying that she was a changeling, a child of supernatural parents who had been exchanged for the real Ivy Carson at birth.
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FOX
One-Eyed Cat: a Novel (age 10+)
by Paula Fox
growing up ... animals ... historical
Ned fired the forbidden rifle just once, at a flickering shadow in the autumn moonlight. But someone ... a face, fleetingly seen staring at him from an attic window ... was watching. And when a one-eyed cat turns up at an elderly neighbor's woodshed, Ned is caught in a web of guilt, fear, and shame that he cannot escape ... until another moonlit night, come spring, brings redemption and surprising revelations.
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FRI
Early Thunder (age 10+)
by Jean Fritz
growing up ... historical
Traces a youth's growth to maturity as he resolves his political conflicts in pre-revolutionary Salem, a center of high feeling between the British and colonists.
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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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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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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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RAW
The Yearling (age 10+)
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
nature ... growing up ... animals
A young boy living in the Florida backwoods is forced to decide the fate of a fawn he has lovingly raised as a pet.
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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.
sequel: The River
sequel: Brian's Winter
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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
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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NAY
The Alice Series (age 10+)
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
friendship ... school ... identity ... realistic ... growing up
Eleven-year-old, motherless Alice decides she needs a gorgeous role model who does everything right. Denied her wish to be in lovely Miss Cole's class, she learns that what she needs is not always what she expects.
title: The Agony of Alice
title: Alice in April
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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.

Fairmeadow Elementary School, Sat Aug 25 11:55:30 2012
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