Crenshaw / Katherine Applegate
When Jackson and his family face living in their minivan, Jackson’s imaginary cat Crenshaw returns to help him.
The One and Only Ivan / Katherine Applegate
When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.
Ivy and Bean / Annie Barrows (Book 1 of Ivy and Bean Series)
When seven-year-old Bean plays a mean trick on her sister, she finds unexpected support for her antics from Ivy, the new neighbor, who is less boring than Bean first suspected.
Doll Bones / Holly Black
Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.
The War that Saved my Life / Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.
Flora & Ulysses / Kate DiCamillo
Rescuing a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner, comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates astonishing powers of strength and flight after being revived.
The City of Ember / Jeanne DuPrau (Book 1 of the Book of Ember Series)
In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions.
How to Survive Middle School / Donna Gephart
When thirteen-year-old David Greenberg’s best friend makes the start of middle school even worse than he feared it could be, David becomes friends with Penny, who shares his love of television shows and posts one of their skits on YouTube, making them wildly popular–online, at least.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library / Chris Grabenstein (Book 1 of Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Series)
Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by his hero (the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello), with other students but finds that come morning he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape.
A Handful of Stars / Cynthia Lord
When her blind dog slips his collar, twelve-year old Lily meets Salma Santiago, a young Hispanic girl whose migrant family are in Maine for the blueberry-picking season, and, based partly on their mutual love of dogs, the two forge a friendship while painting bee boxes for Lily’s grandfather–but as the Blueberry Queen pageant approaches Lily and Selma are confronted with some of the hard truths of prejudice and migrant life.
Auggie & Me / R.J. Palacio
These stories are an extra peek at Auggie, a boy born with extreme facial abnormalities, before he started at Beecher Prep and during his first year there. Readers get to see him through the eyes of Julian, the bully; Christopher, Auggie s oldest friend; and Charlotte, Auggie s new friend at school.
Wonder / R.J. Palacio
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / J.K. Rowling (Book 1 of the Harry Potter Series)
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 Invention of Hugo Cabret / Brian Selznick
When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized.
Goodbye Stranger / Rebecca Stead
As Bridge makes her way through seventh grade on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her best friends, curvacious Em, crusader Tab, and a curious new friend–or more than friend–Sherm, she finds the answer she has been seeking since she barely survived an accident at age eight: “What is my purpose?”.
When You Reach Me / Rebecca Stead
As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, “The $20,000 Pyramid,” a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.
The Mysterious Benedict Society / Trenton Lee Stewart (Book 1 of the Mysterious Benedict Society Series)
After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
Charlotte’s Web / E.B. White
The story of Wilbur, the pig, smallest of the litter, who is raised by the farmer’s daughter, and who finds a friend in Charlotte, the spider.