Cartboy and the Time Capsule
by L.A. Campbell

There is barely a mom alive today who is not part of something called “book club.”  For reasons my brain can’t begin to process, once a month they all get together at someone’s house to discuss a... Read More

Zebra Forest
by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

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P.S. Be Eleven
by Rita Williams-Garcia

The Gaither sisters – Delphine, who narrates their story, Vonetta, and Fern -- are returning to Brooklyn after spending the summer of 1968 with their (formerly) estranged mother,... Read More

Better Nate Than Ever
by Tim Federle

At home in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA, Nate Foster, 13, feels like a fish that flopped out of the Monongahela River and is gasping for air to survive. He is decidedly... Read More

Hokey Pokey
by Jerry Spinelli

Wholly original, completely familiar, this is an allegorical tale where childhood is not just a stage, it is a place called Hokey Pokey, totally separate from adults and adulthood. Grownups may be confused by the setting but that’s because... Read More

Navigating Early
by Clare Vanderpool

Navigating Early is a survival story in every sense, physically and emotionally.  Read More

The Candy Smash
by Jacqueline Davies

What’s fourth grade all about?  Friendships, secrets, classroom drama, and the start of figuring out who you are.  And, when it’s close to Valentine’s Day, fourth grade is about first romance. On top of that, Mrs. Overton, Jessie and Evan Treski’s teacher, has chosen this time of year for her... Read More

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit
by Tommy Greenwald

Charlie Joe Jackson is back with more wisdom to share with middle-schoolers.  As before, every bit of his advice is hard-won.  Readers know they can trust Charlie; he’s been there, done that.Early in the novel, we learn just why Charlie’s such an expert on “extra credit.’  His last report card... Read More

Glory Be
by Augusta Scattergood

Every summer, Glorianna June Hemphill (Glory) celebrates her Fourth of July birthday at the community pool, and she expects this summer to be no different.  But it’s the summer of 1964 in Hanging Moss, Mississippi, and change is coming.  To Glory’s dismay, the pool is closed “for repairs,” which is... Read More

Just a Dog
by Michael Gerard Bauer

Even kids who don’t love dogs will love this book.  Even if they don’t own a dog, they will want to own this book so that they can read it again and again, and loan it to their friends and persuade their teacher to read it aloud in class.When Corey... Read More

See You at Harry's
by Jo Knowles

At the center of See You at Harry’s is Fern, who is about to embark on her first year of middle school.   On the first pages of the novel, Fern reflects on a childhood memory of her mother reading to her from Charlotte’s Web. Once finished, her mother asks:      ... Read More

by Raina Telgemeier

There’s plenty of drama in Callie’s life – onstage and off! Callie is the set designer for her middle school play. She wants it to go off with a bang – literally – and is building a cannon that really “fires” for the show. If only she could add some... Read More

I Funny
by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, Illustrated by Laura Park

Jamie Grimm talks right to readers – his honesty and his humor making full impact on each of us -- putting us firmly in his fan club.  A good place to be.  Not just because Jamie Grimm is one of the most entertaining and likable characters you’ll ever meet in... Read More

Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888
by Ernest L. Thayer

In Christopher Bing's brilliant, Caldecott Honor-winning interpretation of Thayer's classic 1888 narrative poem, we are astonished, amazed, and awestruck at his multilayered, wondrous scrapbook, set up like an old 1888 newspaper. Baseball lovers of all ages will spend hours poring over the tickets, newspaper clippings, old baseball cards, a stereoscope... Read More

Love that Dog
by Sharon Creech

“I don’t want toBecause boys Don’t write poetry.Girls do.”   With this bold opening declaration about who can (and can’t) write poetry, we’re introduced to the engaging, opinionated voice of young Jack, a reluctant writer and the focus of award-winning author Sharon Creech’s funny and profound short novel. Jack tells his... Read More

Tua and the Elephant
by R. P. Harris

At ten years old, Tua navigates the open air night market as an expert.  She works her way through her Thai village, stopping under the string of lights and taking in the view.  Her favorite foods, papaya and cilantro salad, chocolate sauce and roti tempt her.   As she stops to... Read More

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook
by Joanne Rocklin

Oona has a gift for telling whoppers, but her story about Zook is as real as they come and illustrates that it is possible to endure loss and still feel hope and love.Oona has a... Read More

Middle School: Get Me Out of Here!
by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, illustrated by Laura Park

If anybody could use a fresh start, it’s Rafe Khatchadorian, a seventh-grader with more than just the usual complement of adolescent problems on his plate. Rafe gets a chance to leave behind his troubled sixth grade year (chronicled in Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life) when the diner... Read More

by Jerry Spinelli

Throughout his earliest years at school, exuberant Donald Zinkoff smiles and laughs like crazy, even when a big kid steals his giant giraffe hat on the first day of first grade, and when his second grade teacher tells him his handwriting is atrocious and kicks him out of class just... Read More

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (The Penderwicks series)
by Jeanne Birdsall

If you haven't already met the four garrulous Penderwick girls in the first book, The Penderwicks, you'll want to stop right here and get a copy. If you have read it, then you already consider yourself a literary friend of motherly and sensible Rosalind (12), science and sports-minded... Read More

Dead End in Norvelt
by Jack Gantos

“Write what you know” is a maxim of the author’s trade so perhaps it was only a matter of time before Gantos, who has previously written the “Jack Henry” books based on his childhood diaries, would drop the pretense altogether and name a protagonist for perhaps the finest character he’s... Read More

by R.J. Palacio

It would be hard to overstate how special this book is – it is much more than just an exquisitely written story. This is a rare book that might – open a closed heart; it could make the world a better place. I don’t think I have ever written a sentence like that... Read More

Sideways Stories from Wayside School
by Louis Sachar

There are strange things afoot on the thirtieth story of Wayside School. The classroom’s first teacher, the wicked Mrs. Gorf, turned all her children into apples, but had to be replaced when they reversed her spell, turned her into an apple, and she accidentally was eaten by Louis, the schoolyard... Read More

Maniac Magee
by Jerry Spinelli

Jeffrey Magee, orphaned at three years old, runs away from his aunt and uncle's house once he hits eleven. And literally runs—he runs for days and finally slows down when he gets to the town of Two Mills, Pennsylvania. He wows the residents of Two Mills with his extreme athletic... Read More

Dave at Night
by Gail Carson Levine

After his adored father dies falling off a roof in 1926 and no one else in the family is able or willing to take him in, eleven-year-old troublemaker Dave is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys in Harlem, New York. At the HHB, nicknamed the Hellhole for Brats, Dave... Read More

Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World
by Katherine Hannigan

Ida B Applewood has a pretty perfect life, with her loving parents and her floppy-eared dog, Rufus. She's been home-schooled by her parents ever since the disastrous two weeks and three days she lasted in kindergarten class at the local public school. She's never missed having school friendships, as she... Read More

How to Eat Fried Worms
by Thomas Rockwell

Billy's friends Tom and Alan bet Billy fifty dollars that he can't eat fifteen worms.  Billy's going to need all the discipline and will-power he can muster if he has any chance to succeed.  It's not an easy bet for Billy: at one point he has a terrifying nightmare that... Read More

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
by Judy Blume

Peter Hatcher has an almost-three-year-old brother named Fudge, who not only receives all their parents' attention, but gets away with everything. The only time Peter likes him is when Fudge is sleeping, sucking his thumb and making a slurping sound. Peter walks home to his family's apartment on... Read More

When the Soldiers Were Gone
by Vera Propp

At the end of World War II, in 1945, eight-year-old Henk's Papa calls him into the front room of their Dutch farmhouse and introduces him to two strangers. Papa says, "Henk, I have something important to tell you . . . These people are your mother and father." No, they... Read More

Everything for a Dog
by Ann M. Martin

"My tale begins with a tail," begins Bone, a stray dog, in his first-person (first-dog?) narrative, recollecting his earliest memory. Starting at the age of 12 days, when he and his timid sister, Squirrel, first opened their eyes and became aware of their surroundings, he describes their mother and the... Read More

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself (Big Nate series)
by Lincoln Peirce

Often compared with Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid for its ability to make kids fall off the bed in hysterics, this series delivers its own fresh dose of cringe-worthy comics and comedy. Nate Wright may look like an average sixth grader, and he admits he’s... Read More

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
by Tom Angleberger

Tommy begins the first entry in his case file with this: "The big question: Is Origami Yoda real?... Does he really know things? Can he see the future?... Or is he just a hoax that fooled a whole bunch of us at McQuarrie Middle School?" To get solid answers and... Read More

The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman
by Ben H. Winters

Ms. Finkleman is not the most popular teacher at Mary Todd Lincoln Middle School; neither is she the least popular. In fact, the mousy music teacher sort of embodies the word "unremarkable." Meanwhile, in Social Studies, Mr. Melville announces "Special Projects," a class favorite. The assignment: solve a mystery in... Read More

Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters
by Rachel Vail; Illustrated by Matthew Cordell

His name is Justin Krzeszewski.  Not so easy to pronounce.  So he’s called Justin K.  Until some kids give him a nickname: Justin Case.  He doesn’t like that name, but it suits him.  He’s a kid who worries – all the time – about everything.  Spend third grade with Justin... Read More

Long Story Short
by Siobhan Parkinson

You don’t have to have seen the film, The Crying Game, to know it’s become shorthand for a story with a twist that turns a plot 180 degrees, undermining everything you thought you knew about what was going on. Parkinson, Ireland’s first laureate for children’s literature, uses the same device... Read More

Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life
by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, illustrated by Laura Park

Middle School doesn’t begin well for Rafe Khatchadorian. Between run-ins with the school bully, Miller “The Killer” and a book of rules that the school actually takes seriously, to say Rafe is disillusioned with the educational system would be understatement. And so it’s totally understandable when his best friend, Leonardo,... Read More

Fractions = Trouble!
by Claudia Mills

Numerator, denominator – What is that teacher talking about?  Wilson has no idea and would much rather be drawing pictures of Pip his pet hamster or thinking about his project for the science fair coming up in three weeks.  Yikes! That’s the same day as the big math test. In... Read More

When Life Gives You O.J.
by Erica S. Perl

In the just-before-she-turns-eleven summer, Zelly Fried’s facing lots of changes: the family has moved to Vermont from Brooklyn; her grandfather – Ace – is living with them after the death of Bubbles, Zelly’s beloved grandma; her best friend Allie is off to sleep-away camp; and a new friendship begins with... Read More

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading
by Tommy Greenwald

Tommy Greenwald’s new book Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to NOT Reading is a perfect book for the non-reader or reluctant reader in your life. Charlie Joe has made it all the way to Middle School without ever, EVER, reading a book cover to cover. It hasn’t been easy, but... Read More

Camo Girl
by Kekla Magoon

“Zachariah. Eleanor.These are not our real names. These are our shadow names, our armor, our cloaks.” Z and Eleanor – Ella in real life – hide behind their alter egos so bad things will bounce off them just like the peas thrown at them during lunch period. If she... Read More

Ten Rules for Living with My Sister
by Ann M. Martin

Being Lexie’s younger sister isn’t easy.  Pearl keeps a chart about just how unfair it is:                                  Lexie                                              PearlAge:                    13 going on 14                               9 (just barely)Friends:           Valerie (best friend);               Justine (neighbor/first-grader)                        Sophia, Polly, Chloe,                           Emma B., Emma F Has thrown                     No                                               Yesup in taxicab:  There’s more: Lexie wears a bra and lipstick,... Read More

Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face
by Paul Acampora

Fourteen years old may sound too young to need a fresh start, but after Zachary Beatrice’s mother abruptly decides to fulfill her lifelong dream of working on a cruise ship, Zachary and his father decide seeing mom’s hometown of Copper Lake, Colorado, in the rearview mirror would be healthy for... Read More

The Underdogs
by Mike Lupica

Touchdown!!!  From the title and vivid cover readers may guess that this is a book about a determined team of middle school football players struggling to beat odds stacked high against them.  Of course, you’re right, there is lots of realistic football-talk (no surprise from masterful sports writer Mike Lupica),... Read More

The Mighty Miss Malone
by Christopher Paul Curtis

“Historical fiction” is not a phrase one can use to tempt every kid to a particular book, but Curtis has honed a method of making the events of yesteryear read like contemporary stories. His kids are flawed, funny, and real; he does not look away... Read More

by Helen Frost

A story that could have been taken from the headlines grabs readers from the first lines and never lets them go.  Wren was just eight years old when she was unknowingly abducted by the man who stole her mother’s car. She had been waiting in the backseat while her mother... Read More

Mick Harte Was Here
by Barbara Park

In an affecting novel almost too heartbreaking to read out loud, though it alternates between tragic and comical, eighth grader Phoebe takes us through the harrowing days following her adored brother's death in a bicycle accident. Mick, only ten months younger than Phoebe, was a funny kid and Phoebe recalls... Read More

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything
by Uma Krishnaswami

Eleven-year-old Dini adores Bollywood movies, those entertaining Hindi musicals set in India and filled with grand production numbers, adventure, and romance.  But as summer vacation begins, Dini’s life is upended when she learns that instead of the two weeks of Bollywood dance camp with her best friend Maddie that she... Read More

The Luck of the Buttons
by Anne Ylvisaker

If only there were more characters like Tug Buttons!  She’s a firecracker of a girl, a tomboy who speaks her mind (which is not always a good thing). It is the summer of 1929, a summer of change for twelve- year-old Tugs.  She’s chosen by Aggie Millhouse for the Independence... Read More

The Year Of Miss Agnes
by Kirkpatrick Hill

Ten-year-old Fred loves being a student in the one-room schoolhouse in her remote Alaskan village on the Koyukuk River, where she lives with her grandfather, widowed Mama, and twelve-year-old deaf sister, Bokko. It's October, 1948, and yet another teacher has just quit. Fred's worried when Sam the pilot tells her... Read More

A Week in the Woods
by Andrew Clements

You remember Frindle, of course, and fifth grader Nick Allen who invents a new word for the word "pen"? Natalie Nelson, a sixth grader who wants to get published in School Story? Greg Kenton writing and selling his own comics at school in Lunch... Read More

Bud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis

Ten-year-old Bud Caldwell awakens, that first night in his new foster home, feeling like something is stuck in his nose. Opening his eyes, he sees Todd Amos, the bullying son of his latest set of foster parents, holding a #2 Ticonderoga pencil and exclaiming, "I've never gotten it in as... Read More

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Wimpy Kid series)
by Jeff Kinney

The surprise hit of the year, this easy-to-read first person expose of middle school life told by sixth grader Greg Heffley through cartoons and hand-written journal entries has sold more than a million copies. It's throw-yourself-on-the-floor-and-roll-around-howling hilarious, and boys, especially, are inhaling this book. All those 97-pound weaklings out there... Read More

How to Steal a Dog
by Barbara OConnor

Sometimes you pick up a book and it just says, “Read me.” This one has an irresistible cover, a compelling title, and a most unexpected first line that will hook readers and keep them riveted: “The day I decided to steal a dog was the same day my best friend,... Read More

The Lemonade War
by Jacqueline Davies

Evan Treski has been feeling angry and humiliated ever since he found out that his little sister Jessie will be skipping third grade. “You ruin everything . . . I hate you,” he tells her, even though he really doesn’t. Evan has always been her friend and protector, and Jessie... Read More

Moving Day (Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls series)
by Meg Cabot

"Rule #1: Don't Stick a Spatula Down Your Best Friend's Throat." That's the first of Allie Finkle's many engaging chapter headings and rules, along with her explanations of each one, which she's been recording in a notebook. There’s "Never eat anything red." Which is partly to blame for her little... Read More

No Talking
by Andrew Clements, Illustrated by Mark Elliott

Meet fifth grader Dave Parker, a known loudmouth who is in the middle of his fourth hour of not talking. In spite of being called on to give his oral social studies report on India, he is determined to stick with his experiment of staying silent for an entire day.... Read More

The Road to Paris
by Nikki Grimes

When eight-year-old Paris and her ten-year-old brother Malcolm run away from their abusive foster family in New York City, they hope their grandmother will take them in. She doesn't want them. Instead, Paris is taken by Children's Services to a new foster home with the Lincoln family in upstate New... Read More