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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
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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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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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HOL
Letters From Rapunzel (age 10+)
by Sara Holmes
growing up ... realistic ... illness/loss ... letters/journal
Publisher comments: Once upon a time, there was a girl. Let's call her Rapunzel. A modern-day version. Abandoned. Alone. Waiting for her hair to grow and dreaming of a way to escape from her tower. She was trapped, you see. Not in the conventional fairy-tale way; this was the dreaded after-school Homework Club. A desolate place, where no gum could be chewed, and where Rapunzel sat day after day, cursing the evil spell that had been cast over her father. The doctors called it something else, but a true heroine can smell an evil spell a mile away. So when a mysterious letter addressed to P.O. Box #5667 falls into her hands, she knows she's found the pea under her mattress. But since when is finding happily ever after as simple as Just Writing Back?
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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
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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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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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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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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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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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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YEP
Child of the Owl (age 10+)
by Laurence Yep
growing up ... identity ... family
In Child of the Owl, a twelve-year-old girl who knows little about her Chinese heritage is sent to live with her grandmother in San Francisco's Chinatown.
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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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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
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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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GAN
Heads or Tails: Stories From the Sixth Grade (age 10+)
by Jack Gantos
growing up ... letters/journal ... family ... humor
Jack's life is a crazy roller-coaster ride. At his fifth school in six years, he has a crackpot teacher who won't give him a break about his lousy handwriting and a secret crush who wants to be a policewoman. At home, he has a pesty little brother with a knack for breaking an arm whenever Jack's supposed to be looking after him, a terror for an older sister, all sorts of weird neighbors, and, last but not least, ferocious alligators in the canal behind his house.
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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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BYA
The Pinballs (age 10+)
by Betsy Cromer Byars
growing up ... friendship ... family
You can't always decide where life will take you--especially when you're a kid. Carlie knows she's got no say in what happens to her. Stuck in a foster home with two other kids, Harvey and Thomas J, she's just a pinball being bounced from bumper to bumper. As soon as you get settled, somebody puts another coin in the machine and off you go again. But against her will and her better judgment, Carlie and the boys become friends. And all three of them start to see that they can take control of their own lives.
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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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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.

Palo Verde Elementary School, Sat Aug 25 11:55:34 2012
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