A 12 year-old boy moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment, missing his friends and playing baseball, while caring for his autistic sister. RL 4.0
Silver Dollar Girl
In 1885, unhappy living with her aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh, Valentine Harper disguises herself as a boy and runs away to Colorado determined to find her father who has gone there in search of gold.
Dan Gutman deftly interweaves themes such as overcoming blindness, a grandmother’s death, and poetry with young athletes competing to win ‘million-dollar’ contests in various sports.
RL 4.3 – 5.4
The Door to Time
After moving from London to an old mansion on the English coast, 11 year-old twins Jason and Julia discover that their new home has twisting tunnels, strange artifacts from around the world, and a mysterious, locked door. Translated from the Italian. RL 4.2
Similar to Rowling’s Harry Potter, Charlie Bone attends Bloor's Academy for magically endowed children, where he has many adventures and must use his wits and magical powers to help others.
Odd & The Frost Giants
Fantasy Fiction /
Young Odd runs away from his Viking village where he befriends a talking eagle, bear, and fox, who reveal themselves to be none other than Norse Gods Odin, Thor, and Loki. Odd and his new friends set out to the hidden realm of Asgard to vanquish the Frost Giants and return the three to their original shapes. RL 4.5
Dear America Series
…too many titles to list.
Written in a diary format, each historical novel is extensively researched from actual letters and diaries, allowing readers to experience the daily lives of girls from different times in American history. RL 4.8 – 6.5
Starting middle school in a new town, brainy Jerry Flack changes his image from "dork" to "cool kid," only to discover that he'd rather be himself. A humorous tale of learning important priorities.
Among the Hidden
Shadow Children Series…
Too many titles to list.
In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family’s farm, until another “third” convinces him that the government is wrong. A thought provoking series loaded with suspense and fear. RL 4.6 - 6.0
A View From Saturday
Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition. A Newbery Award Winner. RL 4.8
The Grimm Sisters
…too many titles to list.
Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother that they have always believed to be dead and begin many adventures solving mysteries in the fairy-tale realm.
RL 4.8 – 5.9
The Landry News
The Report Card
Two excellent stories about school, classmates, and teachers. Both feature kids who navigate the joys and challenges of their fifth grade year. RL 5.0 – 6.0
Seventh-grader John "Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy and his grandfather's stroke make him consider the meaning of friendship and the importance of family. RL 4.8
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Edward Tulane, a cold-hearted and proud toy rabbit, loves only himself until he is separated from the little girl who adores him and travels across the country, acquiring new owners and listening to their hopes, dreams, and histories. RL 4.8
After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee’s life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his contemporaries. Living ‘on the run’ Maniac is a window into the racially divided town of Two Mills hoping to bring change and understanding. RL 5.0
Nancy Drew Series
…too many titles to list
The ‘original’ teenage sleuth. Though language and situations are dated, these books still interest and excite mystery lovers. The young Nancy Drew was, and still is, a symbol of the modern, assertive female. RL 4.8 - 6.9
Number the Stars
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. A Newbery Award winner. RL 4.9
Nory Ryan’s Song
Patricia R. Giff
When a terrible blight attacks Ireland's potato crop in 1845, 12 year-old Nory Ryan's courage and ingenuity helps her family and neighbors survive. Giff meticulously re-creates the Great Hunger as she traces a 19th-century Irish girl's struggle to survive. RL 4.9
Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The start to a great reading adventure!
RL 5.3 – 6.0
As further evidence of his family’s bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a brutal correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself. An inventive story that is both humorous and poignant.
Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow
Drawn mysteriously into a land where Mayans, Vikings, Romans, Neanderthals, and dinosaurs coexist, Jake and his sister struggle to make friends and to return home. Rollins mixes science and natural history with large doses of excitement to create an extravagantly slapdash adventure. RL 5.1
Comeback Kids Series, etc.
Safe at Home
Two Minute Drill
Million Dollar Throw
Taking over where Matt Christopher left off, Mike Lupica writes engaging sports stories that are a blend of exciting game action and the challenges that young athletes face in various sports and life. RL 4.8 - 5.6
Hoot & Flush
In Hoot, Roy, who is new to his small Florida town, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. In Flush, with their father jailed for sinking a river boat, a brother and sister gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is polluting the protected waters around their Florida Keys home. Both books carry a pro-environmental message.
RL 5.0 – 5.1
The stories focus on five girls who attend the same middle school and come from varied backgrounds. They are meant to be an alternative to the many books that promote popular youth culture and encourage girls to ‘grow up’ before their time. The author consults with various specialists on issues for girls before writing each new installment. RL 4.3 -5.5
Eccentric Aunt Sally comes from Canada to babysit the Anderson children while their parents are on a trip. Each night, the bedtime story adds another piece to a very suspicious family history. A surprisingly poignant undercurrent adds even greater depth to this skillfully written comic novel.
When seemingly unrelated and strange events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal. RL 5.4
Patricia R. Giff
Lily is looking forward to summer, but her beloved father has enlisted to fight in WWII; her best friend is moving away; and Albert, a seemingly unfriendly war refugee from Hungary, intrudes on her private space. Details are woven with great effect into this World War II homefront story.
The Mysterious Benedict Society Series
The Mysterious Benedict Society is real flashlight-under-the-bedclothes material. Four gifted children face danger and discovery, and their own mortal weaknesses as they confront kidnappers and mind-control criminals. RL 5.6
When twelve-year-old evil genius Artemis Fowl tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll. RL 5.5
The Princess Tales Series
The Fairy’s Mistake
The Fairy’s Return
Princess Sonora & the Long Sleep
The Princess Test
Levine has written humorous retellings of popular fairy tales in these charming short chapter books.
RL 5.5 – 6.0
Bud, Not Buddy
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. A Newbery and Coretta Scott-King Award winner.
Peter & The Starcatchers
Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
Peter, an orphan boy, and his friend Molly fight off thieves and pirates in order to keep the secret safe away from the diabolical Black Stache and his evil associate Mister Grin. The books offers humor and thrills for a young audience in this prequel to Peter Pan. RL 5.6
The Inheritance Cycle
In Aagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters. The Inheritance Cycle continues in Eldest and Brisingr. RL 5.8 -7.0
Looking for excitement, Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others. RL 5.5
The Warrior Series
Into the Wild, etc.
Rusty, a bored house kitten, is apprenticed by the ThunderClan and must struggle to fit in when the group of feral cats is threatened by the enemy ShadowClan. In this series, four clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to laws laid down by powerful ancestral clans and fight for hunting rights and survival. RL 5.1 – 6.6
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Magicians Nephew
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Horse and his Boy
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader The Silver Chair
The Last Battle.
Classic fantasy stories which are set in a fantastic world filled with mythic creatures. Three young English children stumble through an old wardrobe in their caregiver’s estate and take part in and lead an epic battle between good and evil.
RL 5.4 -6.8
The Higher Power of Lucky
Fearing that her legal guardian plans to abandon her to return to France, ten-year-old aspiring scientist Lucky Trimble determines to run away while also continuing to seek the Higher Power that will bring stability to her life. Newbery Award Winner. Some mature themes. RL 5.8
The recently orphaned Baudelaire children are pursued, by an evil uncle who wants to steal their inheritance. Darkly humorous and macabre. RL 6.0 – 6.9
Realistic Fiction /
After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the wilderness, learning to survive with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning to accept his parents' divorce. Some scenes of violence. RL 6.0
The Ghost of Fossil Glen
Mystery Fiction / Ghost Stories
Allie knows it's not her imagination when she hears a voice in the local cemetery and sees in her mind's eye the face of a girl who seems to be seeking Allie's help. The book is a ghost story with just the right touch of today's technology. Allie and Dub use the Internet to research the name of a young girl and solve the mystery. RL 6.6
Jacques expertly recreates life in a medieval abbey whose animal characters must often battle the nasty rats and weevils for survival. His stories resound with wit and the plots are filled with action, drama, and larger-than-life heroics where good conquers evil. RL 6.0 -6.7
As she starts in the sixth grade, Agnes faces challenges with her old best friend, a longtime bully, a wonderful new classmate and neighbor, and herself. RL 6.9
The Thief Lord
Orphaned brothers Prosper and Bo, having run away from their cruel aunt and uncle, decide to hide out in Venice where they fall in with the Thief Lord, a thirteen-year-old boy who leads a crime ring of street children. RL 6.8
The Secret of Platform 13 - Odge Gribble, a young hag, accompanies an old wizard, a gentle fey, and a giant ogre on their mission to rescue the king son who had been stolen as an infant.
The Ghosts Rescue - A family of ghosts protects a British orphan from the diabolical plans of his evil guardians.
The Beasts of Clawstone Castle - Humphrey the ghost enlists the help of a sympathetic schoolboy in finding a solution to the growing problem of homeless ghosts who have lost their haunted houses to highways and other modern "improvements." RL 5.9 - 7.5
Accompanied by her daemon (an animal protector), Lyra sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North. This is a rich, complex fantasy. Readers will appreciate its originality and the resourceful female protagonist. Continued in The Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
In central Texas in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Tate is instructed to be a lady by her mother, learns about love from the older three of her six brothers, and studies the natural world with her grandfather, the latter of which leads to an important discovery. RL 7.5