Advanced Readers (8-12)
Longer, more involved stories, few or no pictures: signs of a strong, independent reader. Isn't it great to get lost in a good book? Harry Potter, anyone?
A hilarious update of The Parent Trap, this book is told solely through the emails, texts, and instant messages of two very different twelve-year-olds: Avery (“Night Owl”) and Bett (“Dogfish”). When their dads fall in love and send them to the same summer camp without their knowledge, anxious, bookish Avery has to figure out how to coexist with outgoing, fearless Bett. The two girls are sure that they're going to have the worst summer ever, but a grudging friendship begins to form, each email exchange more outlandish than the last. Full of vivid, quirky characters with memorable voices, this book will have you laughing and cheering for Avery and Bett's highjinks. --Abbe and Caroline
Twelve-year-old Iris loves fixing things. From old radios to computers, she understands tech better than she understands people. As the only Deaf person in her school, Iris finds it nearly impossible to fit in. But when she learns about Blue 55, a whale who cannot sing the songs of other whales, she feels an instant connection. So Iris, with her radio knowledge, decides to create a song that Blue 55 will be able to hear, so he will know that he isn't alone. In the following adventure, which takes Iris far from home, Iris sees that Blue 55 is not the only one who has been waiting for someone to hear him. This is a heartwarming story about finding your place in the world, about speaking out in your own unique way, and about hearing people in the way they need to be heard. --Abbe and Caroline
This sweet novel has all the elements of a great read - a plucky main character (Lucy, aka Lightning Girl - she was struck by lightning that made her a little OCD and a LOT brilliant at math), a secret (she doesn't want anyone at her new middle school to know she's Lightning Girl), new friend drama, understanding adults, and rescued dogs that need to be adopted. A quick read about how everyone has something unique about them that true friends will appreciate. Ages 8+ -Broche
I love books about kids making mistakes and struggling until theymake things right. And boy does Ghost, a.k.a. Castle Crenshaw, make some BIG ones. What this young track runner must realize ishe'll always be running until he deals with his anger, his fears, thepast. Great for both sports-lovers and non-lovers.-MICHELLE
Deeplydrawn characters—sinister, daring, enchanting, and endearing. A thickly satisfying plot, threaded with magic, love, and millions of paper birds, making it an unforgettable read. And there's magic. REAL magic. The kind that touches your heart and seeps into your soul. Newbery medal winner, best for patient readers ages 10+
We can all sympathize with Karma's troublesnavigating everchanging 6th grade friendships and discovering that she's got 17 hairs growing above her lip. Reads like a modern day Judy Blume novel, especially reassuring for girls journeying through puberty. A bodypositive book, great for ages 8+.-MICHELLE
A compelling read. Henrietta is a strong, inspiring heroine. She is confident in her own sense of right and wrong even when the “grown-ups” disagree. In the summer of 1919, Henry and her family leave London to relocate to the English countryside, hoping for a fresh start. The family is trying to recover from a tragic fire that took the life of Henry's older brother. The author sensitively deals with themes of grief, guilt and mental illness. (I read it in one sitting!) For 9+ -ABBE
This touching story of family devotion and sacrifice is an oasis of compassion in today's landscape of conflict and self-centeredness. Set in China during the Cultural Revolution, it is the tale of a simple poor family whose mute son wants nothing more than to comfort and care for the orphaned daughter of an artist father who has disappeared and is feared dead. A celebration of the essential goodness of people, especially those who appear to have the least, made my heart happy. A wonderful choice for readers looking for a book that is honest yet uplifting. Perfect for fans of Grace Lin and Linda Sue Park. Ages 9+
Three gutsy protagonist, three continents, three different time periods. Refugee tells the struggles of those who have and who continue to flee areas where oppression, hunger, and violence reign for the chance to have the life so many of us take for granted. An enlightening book that brings a heartfelt perspective to the immigration issues being faced in today's world. For ages 10+. -MICHELLE
The mystery of this story – nine children living alone on an island with no memories of their past and no knowledge of their future – immediately intrigued me. The green boat will once again appear on the horizon, bringing a new child to this isolated place and taking the eldest away. A tale about growing up, Orphan Island explores the emotional roller coaster of saying good-bye to childhood and facing the risks of life's future. With characters whose thoughts, emotions, and conflicts reflect the challenges of choosing the path each will follow, Orphan Island is an intriguing book that will leave you with as many questions as answers. A wonderful choice for fans of Kate DiCamillo and Lauren Wolk. Ages 10+. - Cindy
If I ruled the world, I would require every adult to read this uplifting novel with a young person.
This is the story of two boys, one is a 13 year old, white American from an upper-middle class family and the other is a 14 year old Syrian refugee who has lost his entire family. Both boys are struggling when they meet and become friends. There is plenty of action and intrigue to qualify this novel as a riveting page-turner (especially the second half). These young characters are brave, empathetic, kind and have a strong moral compass. An important and inspiring book. --Abbe
For fans of Roald Dahl!
Rupert, age 10, is one of A LOT of children in an extremely poor and highly unusual family. One Christmas morning, he finds himself almost electrocuted and hurled onto the lawn of the richest family in town, the Rivers (another exceedingly odd family). The Rivers invite Rupert in for Christmas Dinner (served at 9 am) and the kooky adventures begin. Rather wonderful. --Abbe
After reading this book, I want to be best friends with Hilda-- and you will too! In this first adventure, vivid illustrations follow the brave little adventurer as she meets a deer-fox, goes camping in the rain, deals with a rude but wise neighbor made of wood, practices her drawing skills, and escapes from a rock troll. Hilda is optimistic, endlessly curious, and able to make friends with every creature. She is a true role model for anyone-- kids and adults alike! --Kalee C.
Determined 12-year-old Aidan and friend Sally are the daring characters in this historically accurate novel about Operation Dynamo, the civilian rescue of British troops in Dunkirk in May of 1940. Inspired by a call to service in a radio broadcast, and defying his parents wishes, Aidan sets sail in his family's fishing boat to retrieve his brother George and other soldiers surrounded by Nazi units. You will be turning pages rapidly to discover the outcome for these young heroic figures. For ages 8-12. --Mz Linda
Harold the dog and Chester the cat think the new addition to the Monroe family is a little bit odd. But what's so strange about a bunny with glowing eyes and a widow's peak found at a Dracula movie on a stormy night? Then something really weird happens to all the vegetables in the house. This “rabbit tale of mystery” is charming, funny, and only a little bit scary. --Tony