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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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WIL
One Crazy Summer (age 9-12)
by Rita Williams-Garcia
identity ... family ... historical
Publisher comments: Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, One Crazy Summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 in search of the mother who abandoned them.
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BET
My Name Is Brain Brian (age 9-12)
by Jeanne Betancourt
identity ... friendship ... school
Catalog: Although he is helped by his new sixth grade teacher after being diagnosed as dyslexic, Brian still has some problems with school and with people he thought were his friends.
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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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CRE
Chasing Redbird (age 9-12)
by Sharon Creech
growing up ... identity ... family ... illness/loss
It started out as an ordinary summer. But the minute thirteen-year-old Zinny uncovered the old, overgrown trail that ran through the woods behind her family's house, she realized that things were about to change. Right from the start, Zinny knew that uncovering the trail would be more than just a summer project. It was her chance to finally make people notice her, and to have a place she could call her very own. But more than that, Zinny knew that the trail somehow held the key to all kinds of questions. And that the only way to understand her family, her Aunt Jessie's death, and herself, was to find out where it went.
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AUC
Pick of the Litter (age 9-12)
by Mary Jane Auch
humor ... identity ... family
An eleven-year-old adopted child realizes that being an only child has its advantages when her mother becomes pregnant after years of sterility.
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BEA
Charley Skedaddle (age 9-12)
by Patricia Beatty
war ... identity ... historical
Publisher comments: In this powerful story, based on real-life Civil War records and memoirs, young Yankee deserter Charley Quinn learns that his flight from his first battle doesn't brand him a life-long coward.
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HAD
The Missing Series (age 9-12)
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
adventure ... identity ... science fiction
Publisher comments: Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who's also adopted, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, You are one of the missing. The second one says, Beware They're coming back to get you. Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere, and people who seem to appear and disappear at will. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip's lives. Do Jonah and Chip have any choice in the matter? And what should they choose when both alternatives are horrifying?
title: Found
title: Sent
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GIF
Eleven (age 9-12)
by Patricia Reilly Giff
realistic ... growing up ... family ... mystery ... identity
Publisher comments: Sam is almost 11 when he discovers a locked box in the attic above his grandfather Mack’s room, and a piece of paper that says he was kidnapped. There are lots of other words, but Sam has always had trouble reading. He’s desperate to find out who he is, and if his beloved Mack is really his grandfather. At night he’s haunted by dreams of a big castle and a terrifying escape on a boat. Who can he trust to help him read the documents that could unravel the mystery? Then he and the new girl, Caroline, are paired up to work on a school project, building a castle in Mack’s woodworking shop. Caroline loves to read, and she can help. But she’s moving soon, and the two must hurry to discover the truth about Sam.
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CAR
Witch-cat (age 9-12)
by Joan Davenport Carris
fantasy ... identity ... magic
A down-to-earth girl is made to see that she is a witch through the efforts of a magical cat.
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BYA
The Glory Girl (age 9-12)
by Betsy Cromer Byars
identity ... family ... the arts
Anna Glory, the one non-singing member of a gospel-singing family, feels left out, like her misfit Uncle Newt, until the day the family bus is involved in a terrible accident.
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IBB
The Star of Kazan (age 9-12)
by Eva Ibbotson
mystery ... identity
Set in pre-World War I Vienna, a young servant girl Annika learns that she is actually an aristocrat whose true home is an ancient castle. There, Annika discovers that all is not as it seems in the lives of her newfound family.
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MCK
The Casson Family Series (age 9-12)
by Hilary McKay
humor ... identity ... family
Publisher comments: The four Casson children, whose mother, Eve, is a fine-arts painter, have all been given the names of paint colors. Cadmium (Caddy), is the eldest; then Saffron (Saffy); Indigo, the only boy; and Rose, the youngest. When Saffy discovers quite by accident that she has been adopted, she is deeply upset, though the others assure her that it makes no difference at all. Saffy is the daughter of Eve's twin sister, who lived in Siena, Italy, and died in a car crash. Grandad brought Saffy, as a very small child, back from Siena. At Grandad's death he leaves something to each of the children. To Saffy, it is "her angel," although no one knows its identity. How Saffy discovers what her angel is, with the help of an energetic new friend, lies at the heart of this enchanting story. Unforgettable characters come alive in often deeply humorous and always absorbing events to be treasured for a long, long time.
title: Saffy's Angel
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SPR
Tales of Rowan Hood Series (age 9-12)
by Nancy Springer
folklore ... adventure ... fantasy ... identity
Rosemary has nowhere to go when her beloved mother dies. She has never met her father--the outlaw Robin Hood. So she changes her name to Rowan, disguises herself as a boy, and make a perilous journey to Sherwood Forest in search of her lost father.
title: Outlaw Princess of Sherwood: a Tale of Rowan Hood
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SNY
Gib Rides Home (age 9-12)
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
identity ... mystery ... historical ... family
Gib Whittaker's life at Lovell House Orphanage in the early 1900s is pretty bleak. But along with hours of chores, bad food, and paddlings, the boys do get some schooling, and reading and writing are better than scrubbing floors. Still, Gib's fondest dream is to have a real family. So when Georgie Olson is adopted, Gib can't help being jealous, even when he finds out that the "adoption" really means being farmed out to work as unpaid labor until the age of 18. When Gib himself is farmed out, he arrives at the home he has always dreamed of. But he's soon aware of barely concealed tensions and secrets kept hidden from him.
sequel: Gib and the Gray Ghost
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CRE
The Wanderer (age 9-12)
by Sharon Creech
identity ... adventure ... family ... illness/loss ... voyages/journeys
"The sea, the sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me. Come in, it said, come in." Thirteen-year-old Sophie hears the sea calling, promising adventure and a chance for discovery as she sets sail for England with her three uncles and two cousins. Sophie's cousin Cody isn't sure he has the strength to prove himself to the crew and to his father. Through Sophie's and Cody's travel logs, we hear stories of the past and the daily challenges of surviving at sea as The Wanderer sails toward its destination, and its passengers search for their places in the world.
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SLO
Finding Buck McHenry (age 9-12)
by Alfred Slote
identity ... historical ... sports
Eleven-year-old Jason, believing the school custodian Mack Henry to be Buck McHenry, a famous pitcher from the old Negro League, tries to enlist him as a coach for his Little League team by revealing his identity to the world.
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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.
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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: Lovingly Alice
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PAR
The Kite Fighters (age 9-12)
by Linda Sue Park
identity ... historical ... family
In Korea in 1473, eleven-year-old Young-sup overcomes his rivalry with his older brother Kee-sup, who as the first-born son receives special treatment from their father, and combines his kite-flying skill with Kee-sup's kite-making skill in an attempt to win the New Year kite-fighting competition.
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CUR
Bud, Not Buddy (age 9-12)
by Christopher Curtis
the arts ... identity ... voyages/journeys ... historical ... family ... brilliant protagonist
Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.
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CLE
A Week in the Woods (age 9-12)
by Andrew Clements
identity ... survival ... adventure ... school
The fifth-grade Week in the Woods is a beloved tradition of Hardy Elementary, where Mark Chelmsley (the Fourth) is pretty much killing time before his parents send him off to an exclusive prep school. But then Mark realizes the Week might be a chance to prove to Mr. Maxwell that he's not just another of the slacker kids the teacher can't stand.
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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.
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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.

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