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URB
Hound Dog True (age 9-12)
by Linda Urban
school ... friendship
Publisher comments: Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing. Custodial wisdom: Mattie Breen writes it all down. She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary School. One week until school starts and she has to be the new girl again. But if she can be Uncle Potluck's apprentice, she'll have important work to do during lunch and recess. Work that will keep her safely away from the other fifth graders. But when her custodial wisdom goes all wrong, Mattie's plan comes crashing down. And only then does she begin to see how one small, brave act can lead to a friend who is hound dog true.
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LAF
Eight Keys (age 9-12)
by Suzanne LaFleur
growing up ... identity ... friendship
Publisher comments: Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise's parents died when she was too young to remember them. There's always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor. When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish. Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the bar.
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BRE
Children of Crow Cove Series (age 9-12)
by Bodil Bredsdorff
adventure ... friendship ... voyages/journeys
Publisher comments: Near a little cove where a brook runs out to the sea live a girl and her grandmother. All alone with no neighbors at all, the two lead a peaceful existence. They have a house, dine on sea kale and mussels and sand snails, and build fires from driftwood. But the grandmother is very old. When the time comes that the girl must bury the woman, she makes up a funeral song about the birds she is watching: Two crows never fly alone, and death is never, ever past. The next day the same crows seem to beckon her, and so the Crow-Girl begins her journey, one in which she will meet people both warm and cold, hurt and hurtful. And the Crow-Girl, before she knows it, has the makings before her of a new family.
title: Tink
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HAW
Violet Raines Almost got Struck by Lightning (age 9-12)
by Danette Haworth
identity ... friendship
Publisher comments: Spunky, headstrong Violet Raines is happy with things just the way they are in her sleepy backwoods Florida town. She loves going to the fish fry with her best friend, Lottie, and collecting BrainFreeze cups with her good friend Eddie. She loves squeezing into the open trunk of the old cypress tree, looking for alligators in the river, and witnessing lighting storms on a warm summer day. But Violet's world is turned upside down when Melissa moves to town from big city Detroit. All of a sudden Violet's supposed to want to wear makeup, and watch soap operas, and play Truth or Dare! It'll take the help of Violet's friends, her Momma, a few run-ins with lightning, and maybe even Melissa, for Violet to realize that growing up doesn't have to mean changing who you are.
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MAS
11 Birthdays (age 9-12)
by Wendy Mass
humor ... friendship
Publisher comments: It's Amanda's 11th birthday and she is super excited---after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she's shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven't shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating iself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell. . .
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CUL
The Backyard Ghost (age 9-12)
by Lynn Cullen
war ... school ... friendship ... spooky
Eleanor's desperate attempts to break into the popular crowd at her new school are complicated by her discovery that her back yard is haunted by a Civil War ghost.
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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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DEF
The Ghost of Fossil Glen (age 9-12)
by Cynthia C. DeFelice
letters/journal ... mystery ... friendship ... spooky
Allie Nichols knows she's being pursued by a ghost. But her friend Karen calls her a liar and doesn't want to hear stuff like that. It is Allie's old pal Dub who listens eagerly as Allie tells him about a voice that guides her safely down a steep cliff side, the face in her mind's eye of a girl who begs ``Help me,'' and a terrible nightmare in which that girl falls to her death. Who is the girl? Is she the ghost? And what does the ghost want from Allie? As Allie discovers that her role is to avenge a murder, she also learns something about friendship, false and true, in this gripping ghost story and murder mystery.
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ALC
Jack and Jill (age 9-12)
by Louisa May Alcott
illness/loss ... friendship ... family
When friends Jack and Jill are injured in a sledding accident, their family and friends rally around them to help in their recovery.
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ADL
Fly Free (age 9-12)
by Carole S. Adler
family ... friendship
Shy thirteen-year-old Shari, abused at home by a mother who resents her, is befriended by a neighbor who shares her love of birds and the out-of-doors.
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BAT
Thatcher Payne-in-the-neck (age 9-12)
by Betty Bates
friendship ... family
Two friends with one parent each decide to do some matchmaking, only to later wonder if they've been too successful.
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BRO
Masterpiece (age 9-12)
by Elise Broach
the arts ... mystery ... friendship
Publisher comments: Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy. After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that could help recover a famous drawing by Albrecht Durer. But James can't go through with the plan without Marvin's help. And thats where things get really complicated (and interesting!).
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BRI
My Buddy, the King: a Novel (age 9-12)
by Bill Brittain
friendship ... humor ... mystery
Catalog: When King Tokab of Mokobway is saved from choking on a frankfurter by Tim Quilt, they become fast friends and together outwit a plot to do in the king.
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BOY
Forever Friends (age 9-12)
by Candy Dawson Boyd
friendship ... illness/loss
Catalog: A twelve-year-old black girl's preparations for the prestigious King Academy's entrance exam are disrupted when her best friend is killed.
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BLU
Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself (age 9-12)
by Judy Blume
friendship ... family ... humor
Publisher comments: It's 1947, and Sally J. Freedman is full of wild ideas. She's got her eye on handsome Peter Hornstein, the Latin lover of her dreams...on old Mr. Zavodsky, who looks suspiciously like Hitler in disguise...and on her father, who Sally misses terribly. There are so many things to worry and wonder about. But whatever happens, Sally's school year in Miami Beach will certainly be exciting--and absolutely unforgetable.
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MYR
Eleven (age 9-12)
by Lauren Myracle
realistic ... humor ... friendship ... growing up
Publisher comments: Eleven-year-old Winnie knows that change isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when it means her best friend might be dropping her for someone else and her crush may have a nasty case of pinkeye.
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APP
The Underneath (age 9-12)
by Kathi Appelt
friendship ... animals
Publisher comments: There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road. A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath...as long as they stay in the Underneath. Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten's one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love, and its opposite, hate, the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises.
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NUZ
The Leanin' Dog (age 9-12)
by K. A. Nuzum
friendship ... animals ... illness/loss
Publisher comments: More than anything, Dessa Dean needed a friend. A friend to love and confide in, a friend with whom she could share her heart. A friend who would delight in all the beauty and joy and fun of Christmas, only four days away. Hope had just about run out, but then . . . there came a scratchin' at the door and Dessa Dean's life was forever changed.
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FER
Cricket and the Crackerbox Kid (age 9-12)
by Alane Ferguson
growing up ... friendship ... school
Pampered eleven-year-old rich kid Cricket thinks she has finally found a friend in Dominic, who lives in the low-income houses called crackerboxes, until they quarrel over ownership of a dog and their classroom becomes a courtroom to decide who is right.
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GRE
Philip Hall Likes Me. I Reckon Maybe. (age 9-12)
by Bette Greene
friendship ... humor
Eleven-year-old Beth thinks that Philip Hall likes her, but their on-again, off-again relationship sometimes makes her wonder.
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ROC
How to Fight a Girl (age 9-12)
by Thomas Rockwell
growing up ... friendship
Joe and Alan's plan to get revenge on Billy backfires when their secret weapon, the prettiest girl in their fifth grade class, becomes Billy's friend instead.
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TAY
The Trouble With Tuck (age 9-12)
by Theodore Taylor
friendship ... illness/loss ... animals
Helen adored her beautiful golden Labrador from the first moment he was placed in her arms, a squirming fat sausage of creamy yellow fur. As her best friend, Friar Tuck waited daily for Helen to come home from school and play. He guarded her through the long, scary hours of the dark night. Twice he even saved her life. Now it's Helen's turn. No one can say exactly when Tuck began to go blind. Probably the light began to fail for him long before the alarming day when he raced after some cats and crashed through the screen door, apparently never seeing it. But from that day on, Tuck's trouble--and how to cope with it--becomes the focus of Helen's life. Together they fight the chain that holds him and threatens to break his spirit, until Helen comes up with a solution so new, so daring, there's no way it can fail.
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YEE
So Totally Emily Ebers (age 9-12)
by Lisa Yee
humor ... friendship ... letters/journal ... brilliant protagonist
After her parents' divorce, Emily had to move to California with her mom. Now she writes letters to her rock-star dad about travel ("How did the pioneers do it? Did they have to ride with their mothers?"), her new friends, and how much she misses him, though she does still have his credit card. Emily Ebers may be starting over, but she's going to come out on top.
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YEE
Millicent Min, Girl Genius (age 9-12)
by Lisa Yee
humor ... friendship ... letters/journal ... brilliant protagonist
Millicent Min is having a bad summer. Her fellow high school students hate her for setting the curve. Her fellow 11-year-olds hate her for going to high school. And her mother has arranged for her to tutor Stanford Wong, the poster boy for Chinese geekdom. But then Millie meets Emily Ebers. Emily doesn't know Millicent's IQ score. She actually thinks Millie is cool. And if Millie can hide her awards, ignore her grandmother's advice, swear her parents to silence, blackmail Stanford, and keep all her lies straight, she just might make her first friend. What's it gong to take? Sheer genius.
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TOL
Listen! (age 9-12)
by Stephanie Tolan
friendship ... animals ... illness/loss ... survival
Charley knows a lot about pain. She endures it when she walks on her newly shattered leg, she sees it when her father buries himself in an eighty-hour work week, and she runs from it when she sees photographs her mother took before her death. Then one day, Charley meets a wild, abused dog that knows as much about pain as she does, and, despite herself, she feels an immediate connection and vows to help him. But how will one heartbroken girl help mend the battered spirit of an untamable dog?
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SPI
Eggs (age 9-12)
by Jerry Spinelli
humor ... friendship ... illness/loss
Mourning the loss of his mother, nine-year-old David forms an unlikely friendship with independent, quirky thirteen-year-old Primrose, as the two help each other deal with what is missing in their lives.
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SAL
Night of the Howling Dogs (age 9-12)
by Graham Salisbury
folklore ... action ... adventure ... friendship ... survival ... nature
Dylan's scout troop goes camping in Halape, a remote spot below the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. The only thing wrong with the weekend on a beautiful, peaceful beach is Louie, a tough older boy. Louie and Dylan just can't get along. That night an earthquake rocks the camp, and then a wave rushes in, sweeping everyone and everything before it. Dylan and Louie must team up on a dangerous rescue mission. The next hours are an amazing story of survival and the true meaning of leadership.
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MAR
Main Street Series (age 9-12)
by Ann Martin
friendship
Following the death of their parents, Flora and Ruby move in with their grandmother Min, who runs a sewing store at the heart of Main Street in the small town of Camden Falls. From the author of The Babysitters Club series, these stories will warm your heart.
title: Welcome to Camden Falls
title: Needle and Thread
title: Best Friends
title: The Secret Book Club
title: September Surprises
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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
title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever
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KAY
A Friend Like Phoebe: a Novel (age 9-12)
by Marilyn Kaye
school ... friendship
Wishing to equal the achievements of her three sisters, twelve-year-old Phoebe hopes to be chosen for a television interview discussing her school, while at the same time she tries to help a friend who recently lost her mother.
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LIS
Afternoon of the Elves (age 9-12)
by Janet Taylor Lisle
fantasy ... friendship
As Hillary works in the miniature village, allegedly built by elves, in Sara-Kate's backyard, she becomes more and more curious about Sara-Kate's real life inside her big, gloomy house with her mysterious, silent 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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DOW
Chicken Boy (age 9-12)
by Frances O'Roark Dowell
illness/loss ... family ... friendship
Tobin Mccauley's got a near-certifiable grandmother, a pack of juvenile-delinquent siblings, and a dad who's not going to win father of the year any time soon. To top it off, Tobin's only friend truly believes that the study of chickens will reveal...the meaning of life? Getting through seventh grade isn't easy for anyone, son, but when the first day of school starts out with your granny's arrest, you know you've got real problems. Throw on five-day suspension (for defending your English teacher's honor), a chicken that lays green eggs, and a family feud that's tearing everyone to pieces, and you're in for one heck of a ride.
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O'D
Agnes Parker Series (age 9-12)
by Kathleen O'Dell
growing up ... friendship ... school
Agnes Parker isn't the class outcast or its queen bee-which is okay except that sometimes the middle just seems . . . really . . . ordinary. So Agnes sets out to be a different version of the girl she's always been. Someone who won't always get clobbered by bullies, who can some-times be cool and confident-and maybe catch the eye of that new boy in class?
title: Agnes Parker, Girl in Progress
title: Agnes Parker, Happy Camper?
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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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PAT
The Hard Pan Trilogy (age 9-12)
by Susan Patron
humor ... growing up ... survival ... illness/loss ... friendship ... family
Publisher comments: Lucky, age ten, can't wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has. It's all Brigitte's fault ... for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure that she'll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles. She'll have to lose her friends Miles and Lincoln. Just as bad, she'll have to give up eavesdropping on twelve-step anonymous programs where the interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own ... and quick. But she hadn't planned on a dust storm. Or needing to lug the world's heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.
title: The Higher Power of Lucky
title: Lucky Breaks
title: Lucky for Good
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LOR
Rules (age 9-12)
by Cynthia Lord
growing up ... friendship ... family
Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules-from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"-in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?
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KRU
Onion John (age 9-12)
by Joseph Krumgold
family ... friendship
His friendship with the town odd-jobs man, Onion John, causes a conflict between Andy and his father.
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MOR
Gentle Ben (age 9-12)
by Walt Morey
friendship ... nature ... animals
The Alaskan wilderness is a lonely place for Mark Andersen, especially after the death of his older brother, Jamie. But in time Mark finds someone else to love--Ben, an Alaskan brown bear so huge that no one else dares come near him.
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BYA
The 18th Emergency (age 9-12)
by Betsy Cromer Byars
school ... friendship
Publisher comments: Mouse Fawley has just done something very, very dumb. No kid in his right mind would go out of his way to enrage Marv Hammerman, the school bully--but when Mouse saw the picture of the Neanderthal man, he just had to write Marv's name under it. Too bad Marv was standing right behind him while he was doing it. Now Mouse has to choose between being on the run and being killed by the school bully.
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SYM
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (age 9-12)
by Jimmy Symonds
friendship ... historical
Adapted from Victor Hugo's famous novel. In medieval Paris, Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, struggles to save the gypsy dancer Esmeralda from being unjustly executed.
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SNY
The Witches of Worm (age 9-12)
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
friendship ... magic ... spooky
A lonely twelve-year-old is convinced that the cat she finds is possessed by a witch and is responsible for her own strange behavior.
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PEC
Soup (age 9-12)
by Robert Newton Peck
humor ... adventure ... friendship
The adventures and misadventures of two boys growing up in a small Vermont town.
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NAM
Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear (age 9-12)
by Lensey Namioka
family ... friendship ... sports ... the arts
Recently arrived in Seattle from China, musically untalented Yingtao is faced with giving a violin performance to attract new students for his father when he would rather be working on friendships and playing baseball.
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NAM
Yang the Second and Her Secret Admirers (age 9-12)
by Lensey Namioka
identity ... friendship ... family
Yinglan Yang couldn't care less that her brother and sister have adopted all sorts of American customs. She misses China and doesn't want to fit in here. Her siblings decide that Yinglan needs help making friends in America. That's when they join forces and play matchmaker between Yinglan and Paul Eng, a Chinese American baseball player. They're certain Yinglan will never find out. Or will she?
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GIP
Old Yeller (age 9-12)
by Fred Gipson
adventure ... historical ... growing up ... friendship
In the late 1860s in the Texas hill country, a big yellow dog and a fourteen-year-old boy form a close, loving relationship.
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FLE
Seedfolks (age 9-12)
by Paul Fleischman
enterprise ... nature ... friendship
A vacant lot, rat-infested and filled with garbage, looked like no place for a garden. Especially to a neighborhood of strangers where no one seems to care. Until one day, a young girl clears a small space and digs into the hard-packed soil to plant her precious bean seeds. Suddenly, the soil holds promise: To Curtis, who believes he can win back Lateesha's heart with a harvest of tomatoes; to Virgil's dad, who sees a fortune to be made from growing lettuce; and even to Maricela, sixteen and pregnant, wishing she were dead. Thirteen very different voices, old, young, Haitian, Hispanic, tough, haunted, and hopeful, tell one amazing story about a garden that transforms a neighborhood.
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WAL
The Pick of the Litter (age 9-12)
by Bill Wallace
friendship ... animals
Twelve-year-old Tom learns firsthand about honor, friendship, and puppy love in the summer after sixth grade. First he is wrongly accused of lying on the last day of school. Then, after helping his ill grandfather take care of his kennel, he faces the risk of losing a puppy he has come to love.
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HAM
Zeely (age 9-12)
by Virginia Hamilton
identity ... family ... friendship
Geeder's summer at her uncle's farm is made special because of her friendship with a very tall, composed woman who raises hogs and who closely resembles the magazine photograph of a Watutsi queen.
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CRE
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup (age 9-12)
by Sharon Creech
growing up ... family ... friendship
Bailey, who is usually so nice, Bailey, my neighbor, my friend, my buddy, my pal for my whole life, knowing me better than anybody, that Bailey, that Bailey I am so mad at right now, that Bailey, I hate him today. Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don't always get along, that's true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her warm words and family recipes. She understands from experience that life's twists and turns can't rattle the unique bond between two lifelong pals.
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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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BYA
The Not-Just-Anybody Family (age 9-12)
by Betsy Cromer Byars
humor ... realistic ... family ... friendship
When Junior Blossom wakes up in the hospital, his last memory is of crouching on the barn roof with cloth wings tied to his arms, and of Maggie and Vern in the yard below, urging him to fly. That had been just before Junior spotted a police car approaching the farm in a cloud of dust. Meanwhile Pap, the children's grandfather, sits in disgrace in the city jail. He was arrested for disturbing the peace after his pickup truck accidentally dumped 2,147 beer and soda cans (worth $107.35) on Spring Street. With their mother away on the rodeo circuit, it's up to Maggie and Vern to find a way to rescue Pap and Junior. How will they solve their family problems?
sequel: A Blossom Promise
sequel: Wanted: Mud Blossom
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BAU
On My Honor (age 9-12)
by Marion Dane Bauer
illness/loss ... growing up ... friendship
On your honor?" Joel's father said. "You won't go anywhere except the park?" "On my honor," Joel repeated. During a bicycle trip to the state park, Joel dares his best fried Tony to a swimming race in the dangerous Vermillion River. The boys have been warned never to go near the river, but Tony can't let Joel think he's scared. Both boys jump in. When Joel reaches the sandbar, he turns and looks for Tony and finds that he has vanished. Joel is stunned. How can he face their parents and the terrible truth?
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FIT
Harriet the Spy (age 9-12)
by Louise Fitzhugh
brilliant protagonist ... growing up ... realistic ... friendship
Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she's written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?
sequel: The Long Secret
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YEP
When the Circus Came to Town (age 9-12)
by Laurence Yep
bigotry ... historical ... friendship
Ursula always wanted to see the circus. That is, until she caught smallpox. Now all she wants is to hide her scarred face. But Ah Sam, her parents' Chinese cook, has other ideas. He brings to town a magical circus and finds a way to give Ursula the confidence she needs to face the world. In return, Ursula finds a way to make Ah Sam happy. She creates the biggest, best Chinese New Year celebration that Whistle, Montana, has ever seen!
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WHI
Belle Prater's Boy (age 9-12)
by Ruth White
illness/loss ... growing up ... friendship ... family
When Woodrow's mother suddenly disappears, he moves to his grandparents' home in a small Virginia town where he befriends his cousin and together they find the strength to face the terrible losses and fears in their lives.
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SNY
The Headless Cupid (age 9-12)
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
spooky ... mystery ... magic ... friendship
When the four Stanley children meet Amanda, their new stepsister, they're amazed to learn that she studied witchcraft. They're stunned to see her dressed in a strange costume, carrying a pet crow, and surrounded by a pile of books about the supernatural. It's not long before Amanda promises to give witchcraft lessons to David, Janie, and the twins. But that's when strange things start happening in their old house. David suspects Amanda of causing mischief, until they learn that the house really was haunted a long time ago. Legend has it that a ghost cut the head off a wooden cupid on the stairway. Has the ghost returned to strike again?
sequel: The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case
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SCH
F Is for Freedom (age 9-12)
by Roni Schotter
historical ... friendship
``Reading is freedom,'' Hannah's mother has always told her. ``The thoughts in books are powerful strong, stronger even than chains,'' her father has said. Courageous and determined, Hannah longs to be free in every way she can, including the freedom that comes with literacy. And her headstrong friend Amanda is willing to risk everything to help her. Set a decade before the Civil War, this moving story crackles with suspense and says as much about the power of words as it does about the power of friendship.
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SAC
Someday Angeline (age 9-12)
by Louis Sachar
identity ... friendship ... brilliant protagonist
Nobody understands why Angeline is so smart. But being smart is causing Angeline nothing but trouble. The mean kids in school call her a freak, her teacher finds her troublesome, and even her own father doesn't know what to do with an eight-year-old girl who seems to be a genius. Angeline just wants the chance to be herself and be happy, but it's only when she makes friends who appreciate her that Angeline gets that chance.
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RYL
A Fine White Dust (age 9-12)
by Cynthia Rylant
friendship ... growing up
The visit of the traveling Preacher Man to his small North Carolina town gives new impetus to thirteen-year-old Peter's struggle to reconcile his own deeply felt religious belief with the beliefs and non-beliefs of his family and friends.
F
PAT
The Great Gilly Hopkins (age 9-12)
by Katherine Paterson
identity ... family ... friendship
An eleven-year-old foster child tries to cope with her longings and fears as she schemes against everyone who tries to be friendly.
F
JAR
The Bat-Poet (age 9-12)
by Randall Jarrell
brilliant protagonist ... friendship ... poetry
There was once a little brown bat who couldn't sleep days-he kept waking up and looking at the world. Before long he began to see things differently from the other bats, who from dawn to sunset never opened their eyes. The Bat-Poet is the story of how he tried to make the other bats see the world his way.
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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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BAU
The Wizard of Oz Series (age 9-12)
by L. Frank Baum
princesses ... voyages/journeys ... friendship ... fantasy
They're off to read the Wizard--the original, imaginative American tale written by Frank L. Baum just over a century ago. All the beloved characters are here, along with the splendid Emerald City and the shoes with unparalleled power.
title: The Wizard of Oz
title: The Emerald City of Oz
title: Glinda of Oz
F
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
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MON
Anne of Green Gables Series (age 9-12)
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
family ... friendship
Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert had planned to adopt a boy to help out around Green Gables farm. But waiting for Matthew at the train station is freckle-faced, red-headed Anne Shirley...a talkative eleven-year-old orphan with a heart full of dreams and a desperate longing for a home. From the minute Anne sets foot in Matthew's buggy, Green Gables will never be the same!
title: Anne of Green Gables
title: Anne of Avonlea
title: Anne of Windy Poplars
title: Anne of Ingleside
title: Rilla of Ingleside
title: Rainbow Valley
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GIF
All the Way Home (age 9-12)
by Patricia Reilly Giff
identity ... historical ... sports ... friendship ... family
Brick Tiernan is devastated when fire destroys his family's apple orchard in Windy Hill, New York, in the summer of 1941. His parents are forced to take jobs in different cities, and Brick is sent to Brooklyn to live with Loretta, a family friend, until the family recovers front their financial loss. Brick feels homesick before he even gets to Brooklyn, but when he meets Martel, Loretta's adopted daughter, he discovers that they have things in common. Both are Dodgers fans, and Martel, who wonders about her real mother, has a mysterious connection to Windy Hill. In the final days of summer, Brick and Martel find a way to return to Windy Hill, where a kind elderly couple help them discover what they are each searching for-a sense of belonging and the real meaning of home.
F
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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NAY
Shiloh (age 9-12)
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
friendship ... animals
One summer Sunday, Marty comes across a young beagle on the road just past the old Shiloh schoolhouses and the trouble begins. What do you do when a dog you suspect is being mistreated runs away and comes to you? When it is someone else's dog? Marty puts his courage on the line, and discovers in the process that it is not always easy to separate right from wrong. Sometimes, however, you do almost anything to save a dog.
sequel: Saving Shiloh
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NAY
Boys Versus Girls Series (age 9-12)
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
war ... realistic ... humor ... friendship
Disgusted that a family with three girls moves into the house across the river, nine-year-old Wally and his three brothers declare a practical joke war on the girls.
title: The Boys Start the War and The Girls Get Even
title: The Boys Return
title: The Girls' Revenge
title: A Traitor Among the Boys
title: A Spy Among the Girls
title: Boys In Control
title: The Girls Take Over
title: Boys Against Girls
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KON
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William, McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth (age 9-12)
by E. L. Konigsburg
realistic ... identity ... friendship
Elizabeth is an only child, new in town, and the shortest kid in her class. She's also pretty lonely, until she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is...well, different. She's read Macbeth. She never wears jeans or shorts. She never says ``Please'' or ``thank you.'' And she says she is a witch.
F
CLE
Dear Mr. Henshaw (age 9-12)
by Beverly Cleary
identity ... friendship ... authorship ... letters/journal
In his letters to his favorite author, ten-year-old Leigh reveals his problems in coping with his parents' divorce, being the new boy in school, and generally finding his own place in the world.
Dinotopia Series (age 9-12)
friendship ... fantasy
In the lush fantastical world of Dinotopia, dinosaurs and humans live harmoniously in a unique society with a culture, philosophy, and written language all its own. A storm at sea washes a young pickpocket and a surgeon's son overboard and they land in Dinotopia, where they learn the real meaning of courage and friendship.
title: Return to Lost City by Scott Ciencin F CIE
title: Dinotopia: a Land Apart From Time by James Gurney F GUR
title: Dinotopia: the World Beneath by James Gurney F GUR
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BUR
The Secret Garden (age 9-12)
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
fantasy ... friendship
When Mary Lennox, lonely and sad, comes to live at her uncle's great house on the Yorkshire moors, she finds it full of secrets. At night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors. Outside, she meets a magical boy who can charm and talk to animals. Then, one day, Mary discovers the most mysterious wonder of all--a secret garden, walled and locked, which has been completely forgotten for years and years. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?
F
BUR
A Little Princess (age 9-12)
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
growing up ... friendship ... fantasy
A Little Princess tells the story of Ann, whose comfortable life as the daughter of a wealthy and loving father is destroyed when he goes missing. Though she faces many challenges, we find that her strength of character makes her special indeed.
F
BLU
Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (age 9-12)
by Judy Blume
friendship
A summer in Tarrytown, N.Y., is a lot of fun for ten-year-old Sheila even though her friends make her face up to some self-truths she doesn't want to admit.
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BLU
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret (age 9-12)
by Judy Blume
identity ... friendship ... growing up
For Margaret, everything is different this year. She's just moved from New York City to the suburbs and is anxious to fit in with her new friends. When the girls form a secret club to talk about private subjects, Margaret is happy to belong. But in Farbrook, everybody joins the Y or the Jewish Community Center. Margaret doesn't have a religion, so what's she supposed to do? Suddenly life is very confusing. Maybe it's all part of growing up, but Margaret could really use some answers.

Juana Briones Elementary School, Sat Aug 25 11:55:27 2012
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