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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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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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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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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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CIS
The House on Mango Street (age 10+)
by Sandra Cisneros
short stories ... growing up ... identity
Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous, The House on Mango Street tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and harsh beauty. Esperanza doesn't want to belong ... not to her rundown neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Esperanza's story is that of a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become.
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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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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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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
title: The Subtle Knife
title: The Amber Spyglass
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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: Brian's Winter
sequel: Brian's Return
sequel: Brian's Hunt
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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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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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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.

LM Nixon Elementary School, Sat Aug 25 11:55:32 2012
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