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Spellbinder Series (age 9-12)
by Helen Stringer
adventure ... fantasy ... school ... spooky
Publisher comments: Belladonna Johnson can see ghosts. It's a trait she's inherited from her mother's side of the family, like blue eyes or straight hair. And it's a trait she could do without, because what twelve-year-old wants to be caught talking to someone invisible? It is convenient, though, after Belladonna's parents are killed in a car accident. They can live with her the same as always, watching the same old TV shows in their same old house. Nothing has changed . . . until everything changes. One night, with no warning, they vanish into thin air—along with every other ghost in the world. It's what some people think ghosts are supposed to do, but Belladonna knows it's all wrong. They may not be living, but they're not supposed to be gone. With the help of her classmate Steve, a master of sneaking and spying, Belladonna is left to uncover what's become of the spirits and to navigate a whole world her parents have kept well-hidden. If she can't find her way, she’ll lose them again—this time for good.
title: Spellbinder
title: The Midnight Gate
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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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Daddy-Long-Legs (age 9-12)
by Jean Webster
school ... growing up ... letters/journal
Publisher comments: A kind woman who was always deeply interested in the problems of the downtrodden, Jean Webster made an orphan girl a major character in one of her most charming and popular books--Daddy-Long-Legs. The oldest at a dreary home for foundlings, Judy Abbott finds her life completely changed when, with the help of a mysterious benefactor, she is granted her wish to be able to go to college. In return for this great favor, Judy has to write her anonymous sponsor each month about her activities at the New England school, which she does in letters addressed to "Daddy-Long-Legs." A meeting with the rich, handsome uncle of her snobbish roommate sets Judy and readers alike on the road to uncovering the secrets surrounding her secret friend.
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Callie's Rules (age 9-12)
by Naomi Zucher
realistic ... growing up ... traditions ... school
Publisher comments: Callie Jones is excited about her first day of sixth grade, but from the moment she arrives and is greeted by dirty looks (apparently, you don't ride your bike to middle school), she realizes that there are a set of unwritten rules that everyone seems to know—everyone except her. So Callie decides she'll write a list of the rules, and she'll never go wrong again. At home, Callie's close-knit family is making big Halloween plans, until the parents of snotty Valeri Van Dine convince the Town Council to cancel Halloween and replace it with Autumn Fest, a celebration of wholesome "American" values. Callie doesn't think their arguments make much sense, and the Council keeps making rules so they don't have to listen. So Callie decides it's time to make some rules of her own.
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KRI
Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol (age 9-12)
by Jim Krieg
humor ... mystery ... school
Publisher comments: Twelve-year-old Griff Carver knows a thing or two about fighting crime. Because Griff's not just any kid - he's a kid with a badge. And if you are a criminal, he's your worst nightmare. Griff might be the new kid on the Rampart Jr. High Patrol squad, but he's no rookie. And he'll do whatever it takes to clean up the mean hallways of his middle school - even if it lands him in hot water. But when Griff links cool kid Marcus "The Smile" Volger to a counterfeit hall pass ring, can he and his friends close the case? Or will Griff let down the force - and lose his badge - for good?
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Kimchi and Calamari (age 9-12)
by Rose Kent
school ... family ... identity
Publisher comments: There are worse things in the world than being adopted. But right now Joseph can't think of one. Joseph Calderaro has a serious problem. His social studies teacher has given him an impossible assignment: an essay about ancestors. Ancestors, as in dead people you're related to. Joseph was adopted, but the only sure thing he knows about his birth family is that they shipped his diapered butt on a plane from Korea and he landed in New Jersey. How do you write about a family you've never known and at the same time manage all the other hassles that middle school mixes in the pot? What Joseph writes leads to a catastrophe messier than a table of shattered dishes, and self-discovery that will change his life recipe forever.
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Sylvia and Aki (age 9-12)
by Winifred Conkling
bigotry ... historical ... school
Publisher comments: Sylvia never expected to be at the center of a landmark legal battle; all she wanted was to enroll in school. Aki never expected to be relocated to a Japanese internment camp in the Arizona desert; all she wanted was to stay on her family farm and finish the school year. The two girls certainly never expected to know each other, until their lives intersected in Southern California during a time when their country changed forever. Here is the remarkable story based on true events of Sylvia Mendez and Aki Munemitsu, two ordinary girls living in extraordinary times. When Sylvia and her brothers are not allowed to register at the same school Aki attended and are instead sent to a "Mexican" school, the stage is set for Sylvia's father to challenge in court the separation of races in California's schools. Ultimately, Mendez vs. Westminster School District led to the desegregation of California schools and helped build the case that would end school segregation nationally.
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Brass Monkeys (age 9-12)
by Terry Caszatt
fantasy ... school ... adventure ... action
Publisher comments: Bumbling, cowardly Eugene is forced to transfer to a new school in northern Michigan in the middle of the year, and in the middle of a blizzard. Eugene is used to weird things happening in his life, but this new place feels really bad. He has no idea how bad it s going to get until he meets his new English teacher, Ming the Merciless. To save his classmates from a fatal graduation from Ming's School of the Brass Monkeys, Eugene must deliver an unfinished book to a legendary teacher named McGinty, who is hiding in the underworld. With the help of some renegade teachers and his new friends, he begins an epic journey to find McGinty. Will Eugene survive the Cliffs of Notes and the Sea of Hot Lunches? Will he reach McGinty in time to expose Ming's plot?
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The New Class (age 9-12)
by Lauren Brooke
animals ... school
Publisher comments: Welcome to Chestnut Hill, a prestigious boarding school with a rich tradition of academics, horses, and rivalry. This year, five girls from different backgrounds will challenge the Chestnut Hill stereotype. There's witty, spunky Dylan; secretive Malory; western tomboy Lani; Honey, the soft-spoken Brit; and polished New Yorker Razina. None is prepared for the social or riding rigors, and they all doubt they will fit in -- certainly not if queen bee Lynsey and her clique have any say. But if this unlikely fivesome can band together, they may prove themselves the true stars of Chestnut Hill.
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Jacob Wonderbar and teh Cosmic Space Kapow (age 9-12)
by Nathan Bransford
science fiction ... action ... humor ... school
Publisher comments: Sixth-grader Jacob Wonderbar is a master when it comes to disarming and annihilating substitute teachers. But when he and his best friends, Sarah and Dexter, swap a spaceship for a corn dog, they embark on an outer space adventure. And between breaking the universe with an epic explosion, being kidnapped by a space pirate, and surviving a planet that reeks of burp breath, Jacob and his friends are in way over their heads.
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BOW
Touchdown Trouble (age 9-12)
by Fred Bowen
school ... sports
Publisher comments: Sam loves football. Most of all he loves the feeling he gets when his team, the Cowboys, are working together-moving closer and closer to the end zone. But Sam's pride in his team begins to fade. In an important game, the Cowboys beat the Giants to remain undefeated, thanks to a touchdown by Sam in the final play of the game. But later, watching a video of the game, Sam and his teammates realize that the winning touchdown was scored illegally. The Giants should have won the game. Now the team is divided. Should they keep quiet or give the Giants the win? It is only when Sam's father tells the Cowboys about a famous football game-and similar dilemma-from the past that that Sam knows what to do. But will his teammates agree?
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BOW
Throwing Heat (age 9-12)
by Fred Bowen
school ... sports
Publisher comments: Last season, Jack's pitches were the fastest around, and he could always rely on them to strike out his opponents. But now he's playing in a new middle school league, where the distance between the pitching rubber and the catcher's mitt is a lot greater. Jack keeps throwing heat but he can't get seem to get balls into the strike zone. Then Finn, a baseball coach at a local college, offers to help. He shows Jack some new pitches and tells him about Steve Dalkowski, a hard-throwing left-hander often considered the fastest pitcher in baseball history who never made it out of the minor leagues. He didn't have enough control over his fastball, and he didn't throw other pitches like a change-up or a curve ball. At first Jack doesn't listen to the coach's advice. But soon, with the season on the line, he realizes that Finn was right. Is it too late to change his game plan?
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BOW
Hardcourt Comeback (age 9-12)
by Fred Bowen
school ... sports
Publisher comments: Brett blew a key play in an important game. Now he feels like a loser for letting his teammates down and he keeps making mistakes. How can Brett become a winner again?
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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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The Wish (age 9-12)
by Gail Carson Levine
friendship ... fantasy ... school
Publisher comments: Wilma Sturtz is invisible and miserable at school. So when an old lady on the subway offers her a wish, Wilma immediately asks for popularity — in fact, she asks to be the most popular kid at school. Suddenly, Wilma has more friends than she can keep track of, forty dates to the Grad Night Dance, and a secret admirer writing her love poems. Everything is great, until she realizes there's a loophole in her wish, and her time in the spotlight has almost run out.
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MAG
Seven Spiders Spinning (age 9-12)
by Gregory Maguire
traditions ... school ... humor
Publisher comments: It's the discovery of the century: seven baby Siberian snow spiders frozen in a glacier. But as the spectacular chunk of ice is being trucked for analysis, the tiny tarantulas defrost — and escape. And when their beady spider eyes open for the very first time, they spy the seven members of a girls' club, the Tattletales. Each spider picks a girl and falls instantly in love. But love begins to sour when one of the spiders is captured by the Tattletales' classmate, Pearl. Six alarmed arachnids set off one by one to rescue their sibling. And as they get bigger, they get meaner ... which means major trouble for Pearl, the Tattletales, and the rival boys' club, the Copycats. Because there's only one thing worse than a love bite from a poisonous snow spider — and that's the bite of love gone bad! Halloween story.
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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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ANG
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (age 9-12)
by Tom Angleberger
humor ... school ... mystery
Publisher comments: In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren't strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight's classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.
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Go Long! (age 9-12)
by Tiki Barber
school ... sports
Publisher comments: It's Tiki and Ronde's second year on their junior high school football team, the Hidden Valley Eagles. The eighth-grade season is here, and the boys have come together as a team. Now key starters, Tiki and Ronde are ready for a great season, and with hard work and determination, maybe they will even go all the way to the State Championship! But when Coach Spangler announces that he has been asked to move up to the high school team, and Mr. Wheeler, the science teacher, is tapped for the head coaching job, the season seems over before it begins. Sure, Coach Wheeler played college football until he was benched by an injury, but it just isn't the same. Tiki wants to give Coach Wheeler a chance, yet the team's loyalties are divided. What does a science teacher know about the game of football? Can the team work together, get behind their new coach, and play smart?
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Wild Card (age 9-12)
by Tiki Barber
school ... sports
Publisher comments: The Hidden Valley Eagles' eighth-grade season is looking strong, but the team's star kicker is put on academic probation for poor grades in biology and math. As Tiki and Ronde's mom always says, Grades come first. Maybe it's time to work together off the field as well as on.
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DOW
The Secret Language of Girls (age 9-12)
by Frances O'Roark Dowell
identity ... growing up ... school ... friendship
Publisher comments: In the old days, when Kate had no interest in romance, she never cared what other people thought. Now, it appeared, love was turning her into a rotten human being. Eleven-year-old Kate Faber wishes she could talk to her best friend, Marylin, about this. But Marylin is no longer her best friend. Or is she? Kate and Marylin were always the kind of best friends who lived on the same block for their entire lives, and who agreed on what kinds of boys were worth kissing and who should be invited to their sleepover. The kind of best friends who didn't need words to talk, but who always just knew. But lately Marylin has started to think that Kate can be a bit babyish. And Kate thinks Marylin is acting like a big snob. Somehow nothing is the same, but secretly Kate and Marylin both wish it could be.
sequel: The Kind of Friends We Used to Be
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BUN
Sixth-Grade Sleepover (age 9-12)
by Eve Bunting
growing up ... school
Catalog: Janey worries that the sixth grade Rabbit Reading Club's all-night sleepover will expose her fear of the dark, but it turns out that she is not the only member with a secret.
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EME
Carlos Is Gonna Get It (age 9-12)
by Kevin Emerson
school ... friendship ... growing up
Publisher comments: How strange is Carlos? REALLY strange. He scratches himself all the time, and he talks about aliens in this weird shaky voice, and he breaks up the class and gets everyone else in trouble when it's *his* fault he's such a freak. So Trina, Donte, Thea, Sara, and Frankie decide to use the upcoming 7th-grade class trip to "get" Carlos and scare him into acting normal. But when Trina has to work with Carlos on a class project, she discovers both his sweetness and the full extent of his troubles. Will she pull out of the plan or go through with it? And what will happen if--when--Carlos gets it?
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MAR
Boys Are Dogs (age 9-12)
by Leslie Margolis
humor ... school ... friendship ... growing up
Publisher comments: Middle-school boys act like wild animals. Thats what Annabelle discovers on her first day in her brand-new life. Birchwood Middle School is totally different from her old all-girls elementary. In fact, lots of things in Annabelles life are totally different now that shes back from summer camp. There's mom's new boyfriend, a new house, new friends; even a new puppy that likes to chew on Annabelles clothes. Well, at least the puppy comes with a leash and a training manual! If only she could say the same for the boys . . . Featuring Annabelles hilarious take on friendship, boys, and her all-new life, this novel / survival guide perfectly captures the joy and agony of junior high school. And it might just teach you how to tame the wildest beast of all, the teenage boy.
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MYR
Ten (age 9-12)
by Lauren Myracle
school ... realistic ... humor ... friendship ... growing up
Publisher comments: Winnie Perry is turning ten and ten is BIG. It means double digits, more responsibility, and being an almost-middle-schooler. Ten means that Winnie can handle anything, even a three-year-old baby brother and a practically teenage (and acting like it) older sister. And with her best friend, Amanda, by her side, Winnie plans on enjoying every last second of her last year in grade school.
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Two-Minute Drill (age 9-12)
by Mike Lupica
friendship ... sports ... school
Publisher comments: Chris Conlan is the coolest kid in sixth grade...the golden-armed quarterback of the football team and the boy all the others look up to. Scott Parry is the new kid, the boy with the huge brain, but with feet that trip over themselves. These two boys may seem like an odd couple, but each has a secret that draws them together, and proves that the will to succeed is even more important than raw talent.
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MAR
Belle Teal (age 9-12)
by Ann M. Martin
school ... family ... illness/loss ... historical
Publisher comments: Belle Teal's life isn't easy, but she gets by. She lives with her mother and grandmother far out in the country. They don't have much money, but Belle Teal feels rich with their love. As school begins, Belle Teal faces unexpected challenges. Her best friends are up against some big problems. And there are two new students in Belle Teal's class: a shy boy caught in the town's furor over desegregation, and a snob who has problems of her own. As her world falls apart, Belle Teal discovers the importance of sticking together.
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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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SHA
Mysteriously Yours, Maggie Marmelstein (age 9-12)
by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
authorship ... school
Named the mystery column writer for the school newspaper, Maggie revels in the power she can exert.
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The Great Gradepoint Mystery (age 9-12)
by Barbara Bartholomew
math/science/technology ... school ... mystery
When the grades of twelve-year-old Ricky and his friends inexplicably drop at the beginning of junior high, they suspect someone may be tampering with the school computer during a competition with a rival junior high.
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WOO
Feathers (age 9-12)
by Jacqueline Woodson
growing up ... school
"Hope is the thing with feathers" starts the poem Frannie is reading in school. Frannie hasn't thought much about hope. There are so many other things to think about. Each day, her friend Samantha seems a bit more "holy." There is a new boy in class everyone is calling the Jesus Boy. And although the new boy looks like a white kid, he says he's not white. Who is he? During a winter full of surprises, good and bad, Frannie starts seeing a lot of things in a new light: her brother Sean's deafness, her mother's fear, the class bully's anger, her best friend's faith, and her own desire for "the thing with feathers."
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WIN
Adam Canfield of the Slash Series (age 9-12)
by Michael Winerip
mystery ... authorship ... school
Late for math club, late for jazz band, late for soccer...Adam Canfield has to be the most overprogrammed middle-school student in America. So when super-organized Jennifer coaxes him to be coeditor of The Slash, Harris Elementary/Middle School's student newspaper, he wonders if he's made a big mistake. Not only do editors get stuck with assigning stories (like an investigative report on the edibility of cafeteria food), but they also have to deal with annoying third graders like Phoebe, always pushing for a front-page slot. But when Phoebe's article on Eddie the janitor leads to a much bigger scoop, an eccentric woman's mysterious gift to the school, Adam and Jennifer rise to the challenge, risking their principal's wrath to uncover some shocking secrets.
title: Adam Canfield of the Slash
title: Adam Canfield, Watch Your Back!
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SCH
4 Kids in 5-E and 1 Crazy Year (age 9-12)
by Virginia Frances Schwartz
letters/journal ... humor ... school ... authorship
Told in four voices, this heartfelt and sometimes hilarious story chronicles the ups and downs of a unique group of city kids learning to cope with their complicated lives.
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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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My Big Sister Is So Bossy: She Says You Can't Read This Book (age 9-12)
by Mary Hershey
humor ... friendship ... school
Ten-year-old Effie, bursting with secrets since her best friend moved leaving her without a confidante, tries to deal with her problems on her own, certain there is no help to be found in her big sister, Maxey.
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COL
Medusa Jones (age 9-12)
by Ross Collins
adventure ... humor ... school ... folklore
In ancient Greece lived a little girl called Medusa Jones. Medusa was a Gorgon, but apart from that, pretty normal. So she has snakes for hair instead of gorgeous blond ringlets like Cassandra. So her best friend is half horse. Is that any reason for the popular kids to be SO mean? Medusa's sure the school camping trip is going to be a nightmare. But a rock fall puts the popular kids in peril, and Medusa's the only one who can help. Will she be a hero ... or is her monster side finally going to come out?
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BAN
Looking for Bapu (age 9-12)
by Anjali Banerjee
school ... illness/loss ... family
Anu's beloved grandfather Bapu moved from India to Anu's home in the Pacific Northwest when Anu was small, and Anu is devastated when Bapu dies. But when he is visited by Bapu's ghost, he knows that there must be a way to bring him back to life ... he's just not sure how. Anu enlists his friends Izzy and Unger to help him. From shaving his head to making up fortunes in the hope of becoming more holy, Anu tries everything. He even journeys to the island of the Mystery Museum. Perhaps there, Karnak the Magician will be able to help?
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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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Crossing Over (age 9-12)
by Sandra Love
school ... family
When Megan, thirteen, and Kevin, ten, go to spend a school year with their divorced father, now a teacher at a military school, they find life a bit different than with their easygoing mother.
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PEC
The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp (age 9-12)
by Richard Peck
fantasy ... school ... friendship ... spooky
Blossom, not the most popular member of her freshman class in 1914, travels ahead seventy years, and returns in time to make Halloween a memorable night for her classmates and teachers.
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PEC
Ghosts I Have Been (age 9-12)
by Richard Peck
school ... fantasy ... friendship ... spooky
Blossom Culp is the outspoken outcast of Bluff City, always getting into trouble. No one wants to cross her, especially now that she's revealed that she can see the Unseen. Then Blossom herself is stunned, because her lie turns out to be truth. She actually does have second sight . . . and she is "on board" the sinking Titanic.
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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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DAN
The Cat Ate My Gymsuit (age 9-12)
by Paula Danziger
growing up ... humor ... school
When the unconventional English teacher who helped her conquer many of her feelings of insecurity is fired, a junior high student uses her new found courage to campaign for the teacher's reinstatement.
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MCK
Stargone John (age 9-12)
by Ellen Kindt McKenzie
authorship ... school
Six-year-old John, emotionally withdrawn and resistant to traditional teaching methods, experiences ridicule and punishment at his one-room schoolhouse, until an old retired teacher reaches out from her blindness to share with him the world of reading and writing.
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MOR
The Butterfly Lion (age 9-12)
by Michael Morpurgo
animals ... school ... adventure
Trying to run away from boarding school in England, a boy encounters a mysterious old woman who tells him the story of her late husband Bertie and the beautiful white lion cub that he rescued as a boy.
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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?
title: Agnes Parker, Keeping Cool in Middle School
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PAT
Colder Than Ice (age 9-12)
by David Patneaude
school ... action ... friendship
Josh isn't happy to be starting at a new school. But maybe it's a chance to be somebody--not so easy for a kid who's been pretty average and is overweight besides. So when big-shot Corey Kitchens wants Josh to join him and his friends for ice hockey on Poor Rooney's pond, Josh is pumped. He can see himself out there, with the cool seventh graders, a natural success for the first time in his life. He can hardly wait for the ice to get thick. But why is it that Skye, the girl with the warm smile, doesn't trust Corey? And why does Mark, the strange kid who has Asperger syndrome (a form of autism), put up an umbrella to protect himself from the snow?
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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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WIL
Bad Girls (age 9-12)
by Jacqueline Wilson
friendship ... school ... humor
Mandy White is a good girl whom the bad girls like to pick on, until a bigger, badder girl makes her her special friend. Tanya is a foster child across the street, and she's nothing like good little Mandy. She's fun and she's tough and she wears really cool clothes. Of course, Mandy's overprotective mother wants her precious little daughter to have nothing to do with the new neighbor.
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COL
Weirdo's War (age 9-12)
by Michael Coleman
friendship ... school
Publisher comments: Daniel is known as Weirdo because he enjoys doing things at school that others think strange, like working out mathematical formulas for everything and being on his own. Tosh couldn't be more different - hanging around with his 'friends' who use him as a butt of their jokes and picking on others, such as Daniel. So when they find themselves sharing lodgings on a school trip neither is too happy.
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CLE
Mitch and Amy (age 9-12)
by Beverly Cleary
school ... family
Publisher comments: Mitch and Amy both think being twins is fun, but that doesn't stop them from squabbling. Amy is good at reading. Mitch is a math whiz. Amy likes to play pretend. Mitch would rather skateboard. They never want to watch the same television show. And they always try to get the better of each other. Then the school bully starts picking on Mitch and on Amy, too. Now the twins have something rotten in common: Alan Hibbler. This twosome must set aside their squabbles and band together to defeat a bully!
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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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BUT
Tank Talbott's Guide to Girls (age 9-12)
by Dori Hillestad Butler
school ... humor ... authorship
Publisher comments: Tank's summer is not shaping up the way he'd hoped. It's bad enough that his three stepsisters will be sharing his cramped house for the summer vacation. Then he finds out that he has to work with a math tutor every day and fill a big notebook with his writing--just to pass fifth grade! Tank wishes he could just sell his friend Jason's movie script to Hollywood. After all, Tank is Jason's agent. But passing fifth grade is a big deal too and soon, inspired by his brother's breakup with Jason's sister, Tank realizes he can fill his notebook writing a guide to girls. It will be a bestseller! See also, "Trading Places With Tank Talbott".
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BUT
Trading Places With Tank Talbott (age 9-12)
by Dori Hillestad Butler
school ... humor ... friendship ... identity
Publisher comments: When dorky Jason Pfeiffer, who hates to swim, and athletic Tank Talbott, who hates ballroom dancing, trade places, the mismatched pair learn some surprising things about friendship and courage. See also, "Tank Talbott's Guide to Girls".
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BAW
Granny the Pag (age 9-12)
by Nina Bawden
school ... family
Originally abandoned by her actor parents to be raised by her unconventional grandmother, twelve-year-old Cat (Catriona Brooke) wages a spirited campaign against their efforts to regain custody.
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CAR
The Basketball Player (age 9-12)
by Roch Carrier
growing up ... sports ... school
Away from home and off to a seminary boarding school for the first time, Roch finds he is expected to play basketball. It's seen as an important tool for facing life's challenges if he is to go very far on the road of life. And so begins the latest in Roch's sports misadventures as fear of failure sends him running into the night and terrors worse than those on the basketball court. It all leads to a surprise ending as he finds his own way of making his mark.
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CAS
Lucie Babbidge's House (age 9-12)
by Sylvia Cassedy
family ... school ... growing up
Having found a dollhouse full of dolls in the orphanage where she leads an unhappy existence, Lucie creates a secret life for herself.
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YAT
Prudence Crandall: Woman of Courage (age 9-12)
by Elizabeth Yates
bigotry ... school ... historical
This is the story of a Quaker schoolmistress who in 1833 opened her school to Negro girls and fought to maintain this stand despite the intolerance and abuse of her neighbors.
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WAR
Catty-Cornered (age 9-12)
by Cheryl Ware
growing up ... letters/journal ... school ... family
Writing in her diary, twelve-year-old Venola Mae Cutright describes her trials and tribulations as she is forced to go live with her grandmother while she starts the seventh grade.
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WAR
Dog Years (age 9-12)
by Sally Warner
authorship ... friendship ... school
After his father is imprisoned, twelve-year-old Case switches to a new school, where he makes some important discoveries about friendship and honesty.
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TOL
Save Halloween! (age 9-12)
by Stephanie S. Tolan
traditions ... identity ... authorship ... folklore ... school
Eleven-year-old Johnna, who is deeply involved in the sixth grade Halloween pageant although her family views it as a celebration of an un-Christian holiday, decides that she must follow her own beliefs.
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SHA
Getting Something on Maggie Marmelstein (age 9-12)
by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
school ... realistic ... humor ... friendship
After Thad embarrasses Maggie and she retaliates by embarrassing him even more, he plots revenge.
sequel: Maggie Marmelstein For President
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SAC
Dogs Don't Tell Jokes (age 9-12)
by Louis Sachar
friendship ... humor ... school
Twelve-year-old jokester Gary Boone knows he was born to be a comedian, it's the kids in his class who think he's just a goon. Winning the school talent show would be Gary's dream come true, but on the big night his dream nearly backfires--with hilarious results.
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ROS
A School for Pompey Walker (age 9-12)
by Michael J. Rosen
historical ... school
Pompey Walker dreams of going to school, but as a slave in the 1830s, this is only a dream, until slavery-hating Jeremiah Walker, son-in-law of the plantation owner, buys Pompey's freedom. Together, they devise and carry out a plan to get money to found a school for black children.
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GOR
The Miraculous Makeover of Lizard Flanagan (age 9-12)
by Carol Gorman
humor ... school ... friendship ... growing up
As she enters middle school, athletic twelve-year-old Lizard is dismayed to see her friends change into weird strangers and struggles with her own transition from tomboy to "girly-girl."
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WAL
Ferret in the Bedroom, Lizards in the Fridge (age 9-12)
by Bill Wallace
friendship ... school ... humor ... animals
Liz's house is like a zoo. Thanks to her dad, a zoologist, there are turtles in the kitchen, an ibex in the backyard, a hawk in the shed, a sun porch full of lizards, and Fred the ferret. Liz has had enough! At school, her nickname is Lizard. Her classmates think she's weird and her friends are afraid to go to her house. With problems like those, how is she ever going to win the election for class president? Liz tries her hardest, but she runs into one disaster after another. So she makes the startling decision, the animals must go. Even Fred, her pet ferret. That will make all the difference in the world...won't it?
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DUF
Utterly Yours, Booker Jones (age 9-12)
by Betsy Duffey
authorship ... school ... family
Middle school student and aspiring author Booker Jones is evicted from his bedroom when his grandfather moves in, creating problems both at home and at school.
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CLE
The Janitor's Boy (age 9-12)
by Andrew Clements
family ... school
It was the perfect crime. Unfortunately, it also led to the perfect punishment. When Jack Rankin gets busted for defacing a school desk with a huge wad of disgusting, watermelon bubble gum, the principal sentences him to three weeks of after-school gum cleanup for the chief custodian. The problem is, Jack's anger at the chief custodian was the reason for his gum project in the first place. The chief custodian happens to be Jack's dad. But doing time in the school basement after hours reveals some pretty surprising things: about the school, about Jack's father, and about Jack himself.
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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 Burning Questions of Bingo Brown (age 9-12)
by Betsy Cromer Byars
school ... family ... friendship ... growing up
When Bingo has to keep a notebook for school, all he can come up with are questions. Like how could I fall in love with three girls in three minutes? But not even his teacher, Mr. Mark, has the answers. In fact Mr. Mark has been acting pretty weird lately, and he's getting weirder. Is there more wrong with Mr. Mark than Bingo can handle?
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BAN
Alice by Accident (age 9-12)
by Lynne Reid Banks
identity ... family ... school ... authorship
It's Just so stupid, asking us to write our life for homework. It's not even a weekend! Alice Williamson-Stone doesn't see how she can write her life story as a class assignment. What's interesting in her life is not the "family and pets" stuff her teacher asked for. Her pets have died, and the only family she has is her mother. Until recently she had a beloved, interfering grandmother--Gene--but she's gone from Alice's life. Besides, as Alice discovered ages ago, she was born by accident, and that's the sort of private thing you don't write about for school. Alice does the assignment but she thinks it's pretty boring, until in doing it she discovers a need to write about her true life--the exciting, complicated, private parts.
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HAN
Ida B: and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World (age 9-12)
by Katherine Hannigan
illness/loss ... humor ... school ... growing up
Who is Ida B. Applewood? She is a fourth grader like no other, living a life like no other, with a voice like no other, and her story will resonate long after you have put this book down. How does Ida B cope when outside forces (life, really) attempt to derail her and her family and her future? She enters her Black Period, and it is not pretty. But then, with the help of a patient teacher, a loyal cat and dog, her beloved apple trees, and parents who believe in the same things she does (even if they sometimes act as though they don't), the resilience that is the very essence of Ida B triumph...and Ida B. Applewood takes the hand that is extended and starts to grow up.
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STO
The Noonday Friends (age 9-12)
by Mary Stolz
humor ... school ... friendship ... realistic
Eleven-year-old Franny Davis and her best friend share school and family problems in this realistic, often humorous story set in New York's Greenwich Village.
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ROW
The Harry Potter Series (age 9-12)
by J. K. Rowling
fantasy ... adventure ... family ... school ... magic
As the first book, Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal, opens, all Harry Potter knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley, a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry (and anyone who reads about him) will find unforgettable. Spanish translations.
title: Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal
title: Harry Potter y la Camara Secreta
title: Harry Potter y el Prisionero de Azkaban
title: Harry Potter y el Caliz de Fuego
title: Harry Potter y la Orden del Fenix
title: Harry Potter y el Misterio del Principe
title: Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte
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ROW
The Harry Potter Series (age 9-12)
by J. K. Rowling
fantasy ... adventure ... family ... school ... magic
As the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone opens, all Harry Potter knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley, a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry (and anyone who reads about him) will find unforgettable.
title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
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PIN
Mister Fred (age 9-12)
by Jill Pinkwater
humor ... school
The children of class 6-A suspect their new teacher of being a telepathic space alien.
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KOR
Something Fishy at MacDonald Hall (age 9-12)
by Gordon Korman
humor ... mystery ... school
Just as the Headmaster of Macdonald Hall is on the verge of retirement, a wave of practical jokes hits the school, and roommates Bruno and Boots become prime suspects. Will they find the real culprit? Or will these two known jokers take the fall?
sequel: This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall
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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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COV
Aliens Ate My Homework (age 9-12)
by Bruce Coville
science fiction ... humor ... school
``I cannot tell a lie,'' says Rod Allbright. And it's the truth. Ask him a question, and he's bound to give you an honest answer. Which is why when his teacher asks what happened to last night's math assignment, Rod has to give the only answer he can: ``Aliens ate my homework, Miss Maloney!'' Of course, no one believes Rod this time, so they don't bother to ask him why the aliens are here, which is just as well, since he is sworn to silence about their secret mission; and the fact that he has been drafted to help them.
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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: Starting With Alice
title: Lovingly Alice
title: Alice in Blunderland
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YOL
Wizard's Hall (age 9-12)
by Jane Yolen
fantasy ... magic ... school
Poor Henry. It's not enough that his mother has sent him away from home to learn magic. It's not enough that everyone at his new school calls him Thornmallow because he's ``prickly on the outside, squishy within''. It's not enough that the only talent he shows at Wizard's Hall is an ability to make messes of even the simplest spells. He finds himself with more responsibility than he knows how to bear.
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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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NIM
Children of the Red King (Charlie Bone) Series (age 9-12)
by Jenny Nimmo
adventure ... fantasy ... school
This series chronicles Charlie's mysterious adventures at Bloor's Academy.
title: Midnight for Charlie Bone
title: Charlie Bone and the Beast
title: Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors
title: Charlie Bone and the Hidden King
title: Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy
title: Charlie Bone and the Time Twister
title: Charlie Bone and the Shadow
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KOR
The Zucchini Warriors (age 9-12)
by Gordon Korman
humor ... school ... sports
Roommates Bruno and Boots find obstacles in their way as they attempt to lead the Macdonald Hall Zucchini Warriors to a victorious football season and earn the reward of a new recreation center.
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DEJ
The Wheel on the School (age 9-12)
by Meindert DeJong
school ... nature ... animals ... enterprise
Why do the storks no longer come to the little Dutch fishing village of Shora to nest? It was Lina, one of the six schoolchildren who first asked the question, and she set the others to wondering. And sometimes when you begin to wonder, you begin to make things happen. So the children set out to bring the storks back to Shora. The force of their vision put the whole village to work until at last the dream began to come true.
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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.

Sat Aug 25 11:55:25 2012
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