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Librarian’s recommended fiction books listed below are in alphabetical order by author’s last name. The summary for each book is from the Library of Congress or publisher.

Check back again as more titles are added. Send feedback and/or requests for more individualized recommendations to

Happy reading!


Birdsall Penderwick

Penderwicks books

Written by Jeanne Birdsall

(Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy  (2005, 262 p.)

Summary: “While vacationing with their widowed father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters, ages four through twelve, share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.”

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street  (2008, 308 p.)

Summary: “The four Penderwick sisters are faced with the unimaginable prospect of their widowed father dating, and so they hatch a plot to stop him.”

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette  (2011, 295 p.)

Summary: “When the three younger Penderwick sisters go to Maine with Aunt Claire and are separated from oldest sister Rosalind for the first time in their lives, an uncertain Skye is left in charge as the OAP–oldest available Penderwick.”

The Penderwicks in Spring  (2015, 256 p.)

Summary: “As spring arrives on Gardam Street, there are surprises in store for each Penderwick, from neighbor Nick Geiger’s expected return from the war to Batty’s new dog-walking business, but her plans to use her profits to surprise her family on her eleventh birthday go astray.”


Bradley War Saved











 The War that Saved My Life

Written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

(Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group, 2015, 316 p.)

Summary: “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.”


Underland Chronicles series

Written by Suzanne Collins


Titles and summaries of individual books:

Gregor the Overlander  (c2003, 311 p.)

Summary: “When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.”

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane  (2004, 312 p.)

Summary“. . . Eleven-year-old Gregor returns to the world beneath New York City to rescue his kidnapped sister, Boots, and fulfill a prophecy that will restore peace to the people, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders who populate the underworld.”

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods  (2005, 358 p.)

Summary: “Eleven-year-old Gregor and his younger sister, Boots, return to the Underworld beneath New York City to find the cure for a terrible plague that threatens the life of their mother, as well as the lives of the people, bats, and rats who populate the underworld.”

Gregor and the Marks of Secret  (2006, 343 p.)

Summary: “Twelve-year-old Gregor returns to the world beneath New York City, where he joins forces with Princess Luxa and Ripred the rat to defend the Underlanders and the Nibblers from the army led by the adolescent rat king, the Bane.”


Four sports mystery books

Written by John Feinstein

Titles and summaries of individual books:

Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery  (Knopf / Random House, c2005, 251 p.)

Summary: “After winning a basketball reporting contest, eighth graders Stevie and Susan Carol are sent to cover the Final Four tournament, where they discover that a talented player is being blackmailed into throwing the final game.”

Vanishing Act  (Yearling, 2008, 279 p.)

Summary: “Eighth-grade sports reporters Susan Carol and Stevie reunite at the U.S. Open tennis championships where they investigate the mysterious disappearance of a top Russian player.”

Cover-up: [Mystery at the Super Bowl]  (Yearling, 2008, 298 p.)

Summary: “Fledgling fourteen-year-old sports reporters Susan Carol and Stevie investigate suspicious activities at the Super Bowl after Stevie gets fired from his co-anchor job on a ground-breaking teen sports show.”

Change-up: Mystery at the World Series  (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, 308 p.)

Summary: “While covering baseball’s World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Boston Red Sox, teenage sports reporters Stevie and Susan Carol investigate a rookie pitcher whose evasive answers during an interview reveal more than a few contradictions in his life story.


Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series

Written by Nathan Hale. Graphic Novel format

(Amulet Books)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

One Dead Spy: The Life, Times, and Last Words of Nathan Hale, America’s Most Famous Spy  (2012)

Summary: “Nathan Hale, who was an officer and spy for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War, shares his story, from his unlucky days at Yale to his later unlucky days as an officer, with a hangman and British officer.

Big Bad Ironclad!: A Civil War Steamship Showdown  (2012)

Summary: “Revolutionary War spy Nathan Hale tells a hangman and British officer about the ironclad steam warships used in the Civil War.

Donner Dinner Party  (2013)

Summary: “The Reed family struggles to survive the wagon train journey from Illinois to California as members of the ill-fated Donner Party.

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood: A World War I Tale  (2014)

Summary: ““World War I set the tone for the 20th century and introduced a new type of warfare: global, mechanical, and brutal”

The Underground Abductor: An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman  (2015)

Summary: “Revolutionary War spy Nathan Hale tells a hangman and British officer about the life of Harriet Tubman and her life-risking dedication to helping runaway slaves find freedom.

Alamo All-Stars  (2016)

Summary: “Shares the Lone Star State’s bloody fight for independence from the Mexican government and features the exploits of historical legends, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett.”


Princess Academy series

Written by Shannon Hale

(Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

Princess Academy  (2005, 314 p.)

Summary: “While attending a strict academy for potential princesses with the other girls from her mountain village, fourteen-year-old Miri discovers unexpected talents and connections to her homeland.”

Palace of Stone  (2012, 321 p.)

Summary: “Miri returns to Asland and calls upon all of her knowledge of rhetoric and other useful lessons learned at the Princess Academy when she and the other girls face strong opposition while working for a new, fair charter.”

The Forgotten Sisters  (2015, 326 p.)

Summary“Miri is eager to return to her beloved Mount Eskel after a year at the capital, but the king and queen ask her to first journey to a distant swamp and start her own miniature princess academy for three royal cousins, but once there she must solve a mystery before she can return home.”


Full Cicada Moon

Written by Marilyn Hilton

 (Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group, 2015, 389 p.)

Summary: “In 1969 twelve-year-old Mimi and her family move to an all-white town in Vermont, where Mimi’s mixed-race background and interest in “boyish” topics like astronomy make her feel like an outsider.”



Written by Alice Hoffman

(Wendy Lamb Books, 2015, 199 p.)

Summary: “Twig, aged twelve, is practically ignored by classmates and other residents of Sidwell, Massachusetts, but gets along fine with just her mother and brother, whose presence must be kept secret, until descendants of the witch who cursed her family move in next door and want to be her friends.”


Roller Girl

Written by Victoria Jamieson. Graphic Novel format

(Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, 2015, 239 p.)

Summary: “For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid’s life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship.”


The Great Greene Heist

Written by Varian Johnson

(Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, Inc., 2014, 226 p.)

Summary: “Jackson Greene has a reputation as a prankster at Maplewood Middle School, but after the last disaster he is trying to go straight–but when it looks like Keith Sinclair may steal the election for school president from Jackson’s former best friend Gabriela, he assembles a team to make sure Keith does not succeed.


The Thing About Luck

Written by Cynthia Kadohata

(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013, 269 p.)

Summary: “Just when twelve-year-old Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong in a year of bad luck, an emergency takes her parents to Japan, leaving Summer to care for her little brother while helping her grandmother cook and do laundry for harvest workers.”


The Land of Forgotten Girls

Written by Erin Estrada Kelly

 (Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2016, 299 p.)

Summary: “Abandoned by their father and living in poverty with their heartless stepmother in Louisiana, two sisters from the Philippines, twelve-year-old Sol and six-year-old Ming, learn the true meaning of family.”


Calpurnia Tate books

Written by Jacqueline Kelly

(Henry Holt and Company)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate  (2009, 340 p.)

Summary: “In central Texas in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Vee 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.”

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate  (2015, 352 p.)

Summary: “In rural Texas in 1900, when a storm blows change into town in the form of a visiting veterinarian, twelve-year-old Callie discovers a life and a vocation she desperately wants. But with societal expectations as they are, she will need all her wits and courage to realize her dreams.”


Listen, Slowly

Written by Thanhha Lai

(HarperCollinsPublishers, 2011, 260 p.)

Summary: “Assisting her grandmother’s investigation of her grandfather’s fate during the Vietnam War, Mai struggles to adapt to an unfamiliar culture while redefining her sense of family.”


Beaumont Family books

Written by Ingrid Law

(Dial Books for Young Readers)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

Savvy  (c2008, 342 p.)

Summary: “Mibs Beaumont’s “thirteenth birthday has revealed her “savvy”—a a magical power unique to each member of her family—just as her father is injured in a terrible accident.”

Scumble  (c2010, 400 p.)

Summary:“Mibs’s cousin Ledge is disappointed to discover that his “savvy”–the magical power unique to each member of their family–is to make things fall apart, which endangers his uncle Autry’s ranch and reveals the family secret to future reporter Sarah.”

 Switch  (2015, 356 p.)

Summary:“When Gypsy Beaumont wakes up on her birthday, she finds that her magical ability is to see flashes of the future and past and that her mean non-magical grandmother is moving in with them.”


Enchanted books

Written by Gail Carson Levine


 Titles and summaries of individual books:

Ella Enchanted  (c1997, 232 p.)

Summary: “. . . based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her.”

The Two Princesses of Bamarre  (c2001, 241 p.)

Summary: “With her adventurous sister, Meryl, suffering from the the Grey death meek and timid Princess Addie sets out to find a cure.”

Fairest  (c2006, 326 p.)

Summary:In a land where beauty and singing are valued above all else, Aza eventually comes to reconcile her unconventional appearance and her magical voice, and learns to accept herself for who she truly is.”


Mister Orange

Written by Truus Matti. Translated from Dutch

(Enchanted Lion Books, 2012, 159 p.)

Summary:When Linus Muller takes over making deliveries for his family’s Manhattan grocery store in 1943, including bringing a crate of oranges every other week to an artist from Europe, the two become friends as they discuss war, the future, freedom, and imagination.”


Brave Story

Written by Miyuki Miyabe. Translated from Japanese

(VIZ Media, c2007, 816 p.)

Summary: “With a determined plan to reunite his mother and father, the 10-year-old boy named Wataru knowingly enters a fantasy realm inhabited by a goddess who has the power to change destiny. With the help of the Lizard Boy, the Cat Girl, and the Fire-breathing Dragon, Watau faces a series of seemingly insurmountable obtacles on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. One way or another, the young hero must reach the Tower of Destiny and bring his mother and father back together again.


Fablehaven series

Written by Brandon Mull

(Shadow Mountain)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

Fablehaven  (2006, 359 p.)

Summary: “When Kendra and Seth go to stay at their grandparents’ estate, they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures and that a battle between good and evil is looming.”

 Rise of the Evening Star  (c2007, 441 p.)

Summary: “The Society of the Evening Star is determined to infiltrate Fablehaven and steal an artifact of great power, which could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Kendra must learn to use her fairy gifts and Seth must stay out of trouble!”

Grip of the Shadow Plague  (c2008, 487 p.)

Summary: “After defeating one enemy and unveiling a traitor, Kendra and Seth plunge into the international world of magic. As Kendra travels to another refuge to locate an artifact of incredible strength, Seth faces another attack at Fablehaven. The creatures there are turning, not falling into evil like the fairies previously but actually turning into shadow– evolving into powerful and more threatening forms never seen before. Even those creatures known to be resistant to falling are changing and infecting those around them.”

 Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary  (c2009, 535 p.)

Summary: “The magical preserve Fablehaven provides refuge to numerous mystical species: centaurs, trolls, satyrs, ogres, Summary: fairies, minotaurs, brownies, imps, nymphs, and many others. But some beings are too large and powerful to be confined to regular enchanted refuges. These mightiest of creatures dwell inside the dragon sanctuaries.”

 Keys to the Demon Prison  (c2010, 591 p)

Summary: “Since ancient times, the great demon prison Zzyzx has protected the world from the most dangerous servants of darkness, including Gorgrog, the Demon King. After centuries of plotting, the Sphinx is on the verge of recovering the five artifacts necessary to open the legendary prison. To thwart the Sphinx’s designs and find a safe home for the five artifacts, Kendra, Seth, and the Knights of the Dawn must venture far beyond the walls of Fablehaven in a desperate struggle to control the keys to the demon prison.”


A Night Divided

Written by Jennifer A. Nielsen

(Scholastic Press, 2015, 317 p.)

 Summary: When the Berlin Wall went up, Gerta, her mother, and her brother Fritz are trapped on the eastern side where they were living, while her father, and her other brother Dominic are in the West–four years later, now twelve, Gerta sees her father on a viewing platform on the western side and realizes he wants her to risk her life trying to tunnel to freedom.


Ascendance Trilogy series

Written by Jennifer A. Nielsen

(Scholastic Press)

 Titles and summaries of individual books:

The False Prince  (2012, 342 p.)

Summary: “In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to be selected to impersonate the king’s long-missing son in an effort to avoid a civil war.”

The Runaway King  (2013, 331 p.)

Summary: “Young King Jaron has taken the throne of Carthya, but after enemies attempt to assassinate him, and a neighboring kingdom threatens invasion, he finds that he has no friends in the palace, not even his bride-to-be, princess Amarinda–and his regents think it would be better for Carthya if he just disappeared again.”

The Shadow Throne  (2014, 317 p.)

Summary: “Young King Jaron has had nothing but trouble with his advisors and regents since he ascended the throne of Carthya, and now King Vargan of Avenia has invaded the land and captured Imogen–and Jaron must find some way to rescue her and save his kingdom.


Mark of the Thief series

Written by Jennifer A. Nielsen

(Scholastic Press)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

Mark of the Thief  (2015, 352 p.)

Summary: “When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds himself in possession of an ancient amulet filled with magic once reserved for the Gods, and becomes the center of a conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and destroy Rome.”

Rise of the Wolf  (2016, 341 p.)

Summary: “Now a driver in the chariot races, Nic is still a target of the Praetors because of the magical amulet he found, and they will do anything to get their hands on it–and meanwhile Atroxia is beginning to wake up.”


The Red Pencil

Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney

(Little, Brown and Company, 2014, 308 p.  Novel in verse)

Summary: “After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.”


Words in the Dust

Written by Trent Reedy

(Arthur A. Levine Books, c2011, 266 p.)

Summary: “Zulaikha, a thirteen-year-old girl in Afghanistan, faces a series of frightening but exhilirating changes in her life as she defies her father and secretly meets with an old woman who teaches her to read, her older sister gets married, and American troops offer her surgery to fix her disfiguring cleft lip.”


Trials of Apollo series

Written by Rick Riordan

(Disney-Hyperion, 2016, 376 p)

The Hidden Oracle: “After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. He must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor.”


Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series

Written by Rick Riordan


Titles and summaries of individual books:

The Sword of Summer  (2015, 497 p.)

Summary: Magnus Chase, a homeless boy living in Boston, finds out he is the son of a Norse god.

The Hammer of Thor  (coming in Oct., 2016)


Harry Potter series

Now is a good time to read or re-read independently, or to read aloud with family in anticipation of  2016 releases of a new “Harry Potter” book and a new movie (starring Eddie Redmayne)

Written by J.K. Rowling

(A.A. Levine Books / Scholastic)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone  (1998, 309 p.)

Summary: “After he is rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches.”

Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets  (1999, 341 p.)

Summary: “When the Chamber of Secrets is opened again at the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, second-year student Harry Potter finds himself in danger from a dark power that has once more been released on the school.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  (1999, 435 p.)

Summary: “During his third year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter must confront the devious and dangerous wizard responsible for his parents’ deaths.”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire  (2000, 734 p.)

Summary: “Fourteen-year-old Harry Potter joins the Weasleys at the Quidditch World Cup, then enters his fourth year at Hogwarts Academy where he is mysteriously entered in an unusual contest that challenges his wizarding skills, friendships and character, amid signs that an old enemy is growing stronger.”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  (2003, 870 p.)

Summary: “When the government of the magic world and authorities at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry refuse to believe in the growing threat of a freshly revived Lord Voldemort, fifteen-year-old Harry Potter finds support from his loyal friends in facing the evil wizard and other new terrors.”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince  (2005, 652 p.)

Summary: “Sixth-year Hogwarts student Harry Potter gains valuable insights into the boy Voldemort once was, even as his own world is transformed by maturing friendships, schoolwork assistance from an unexpected source, and devastating losses.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  (2007, 759 p.)

Summary: “Burdened with the dark, dangerous, and seemingly impossible task of locating and destroying Voldermort’s remaining Horcruxes, Harry, feeling alone and uncertain about his future, struggles to find the inner strength he needs to follow the path set out before him.”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child  (coming July 31, 2016)


Echo: A Novel

Written by Pam Munoz Ryan

(Scholastic Press, 2015, 583 p.)

Summary: “Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica–and decades later three children, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California find themselves caught up in the same thread of destiny in the darkest days of the twentieth century, struggling to keep their families intact, and tied together by the music of the same harmonica.”


Three novels in words and pictures

Written and illustrated by Brian Selznick


Titles and summaries of individual books:

The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures  (2007, 533 p.)

Summary: “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.”

Wonderstruck: A Novel in Words and Pictures  (2011, 637 p.)

Summary: “Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City, and meets there Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures.”

The Marvels  (2015, 665 p.)

Summary: “In 1766, a boy, Billy Marvel, is shipwrecked, rescued, and goes on to found a brilliant family of actors that flourishes in London until 1900–and nearly a century later, Joseph Jervis, runs away from home, seeking refuge with his uncle in London, and is captivated by the Marvel house, with its portraits and ghostly presences.”


Enola Holmes Mystery series

Written by Nancy Springer

(Philomel Books)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery  (2006, 216 p.)

Summary: “Enola Holmes, much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, must travel to London in disguise to unravel the disappearance of her missing mother.

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady: An Enola Holmes Mystery  (2007, 234 p.)

Summary: “Pursued by her much older brother, famed detective Sherlock Holmes, fourteen-year-old Enola, disguised and using false names, attempts to solve the kidnapping of a baronet’s sixteen-year-old daughter in nineteenth-century London.

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets: An Enola Holmes Mystery  (2008, 170 p.)

Summary: Fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes, disguised as a beautiful woman, finds clues in floral bouquets as she searches for the missing Doctor Watson, a companion of her famous older brother, Sherlock.

The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan: An Enola Holmes Mystery  (2008, 183 p.)

Summary: While fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes endeavors to save her friend Lady Cecily Alistair from an unwelcome arranged marriage, she meets with some assistance from her older brother, Sherlock, and interference by the eldest, Mycroft.

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline: An Enola Holmes Mystery  (2009, 160 p.)

Summary: In late nineteenth-century London, fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes, much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, turns to Florence Nightingale for help when her investigation into the disappearance of a Crimean War widow grows cold.

The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye: An Enola Holmes Mystery  (2010, 166 p.)

Summary: After fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes seeks the missing Duquessa Del Camp in the seedy underbelly of nineteenth-century London, she finally reaches an understanding with her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft.



Written by Ronald L. Smith

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015, 208 p.)

Summary: “In 1930s Alabama, twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher is the only member of his family who seems unable to practice folk magic, but when a mysterious man called the Stranger puts the entire town at risk from his black magic, Hoodoo must learn to conjure to defeat him.”



Liar & Spy

Written by Rebecca Stead

(Wendy Lamb Books. c2012, 180 p.)

Summary: “Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father’s efforts to start a new business, his mother’s extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.”


Mikis and the Donkey

Written by Bibi Dumon Tak

(Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014, 93 p.)

Summary: “Mikis is thrilled when his grandfather buys a new donkey, but soon begins to worry that he is overworking the animal.”


Queen’s Thief books

Written by Megan Whelan Turner

(Greenwillow Books)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

The Thief  (c1996, 219 p.)

Summary: “Gen flaunts his ingenuity as a thief and relishes the adventure which takes him to a remote temple of the gods where he will attempt to steal a precious stone.

The Queen of Attolia  (2000, 279 p.)

Summary: “Forsaken by the gods and left to his own devices, Eugenides, Royal Thief of Eddis, summons all his wit and wiles in an attempt to conquer the rival Queen of Attolia.

The King of Attolia  (c2006, 387 p.)

Summary: “ugenides, still known as a Thief of Eddis, faces palace intrigue and assassins as he strives to prove himself both to the people of Attolia and to his new bride, their queen.

A Conspiracy of Kings  (c2010, 336 p).

Summary: “Kidnapped and sold into slavery, Sophos, an unwilling prince, tries to save his country from being destroyed by rebellion and exploited by the conniving Mede empire.



Written by Anne Ursu

(Walden Pond Press, 2011, 312 p.)

SummaryHazel and Jack are best friends until an accident with a magical mirror and a run-in with a villainous queen find Hazel on her own, entering an enchanted wood in the hopes of saving Jack’s life.


One Crazy Summer books

Written by Rita Williams-Garcia

(Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Titles and summaries of individual books:

One Crazy Summer  (c2010, 218 p.)

Summary:In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.”

P.S. Be Eleven  (c2013, 274 p.)

Summary: “Eleven-year-old Brooklyn girl Delphine feels overwhelmed with worries and responsibilities. She’s just started sixth grade and is self-conscious about being the tallest girl in the class, and nervous about her first school dance. She’s supposed to be watching her sisters, but Fern and Vonetta are hard to control. Her uncle Darnell is home from Vietnam and seems different. And her pa has a girlfriend. At least Delphine can write to her mother in Oakland, California, for advice. But why does her mother tell her to ‘be eleven’ when Delphine is now twelve?”

Gone Crazy in Alabama  (2015, 213 p.)

Summary: “Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles’s half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven’t spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.”


Been There, Done That: Writing Stories from Real Life

Written by Mike Winchell

(Grosset & Dunlap, 2015, 279 p.)

Summary: “Where do authors get their ideas? And how do they turn those ideas into stories? This anthology looks at the process of taking real-life experiences and turning them into works of engaging fiction. The collection features award-winning and bestselling middle-grade authors who provide both original fictional short stories as well as the nonfiction accounts that inspired them. The contributing authors include Julia Alvarez, Karen Cushman, Margarita Engle, Dee Garretson, Nathan Hale, Matthew Kirby, Claire Legrand, Grace Lin, Kate Messner, Linda Sue Park, Adam Rex, Gary Schmidt, Alan Sitomer, Caroline Starr Rose, Heidi Stemple, Rita Williams-Garcia, Tracy Edward Wymer, Lisa Yee, and Jane Yolen.”