For Young Readers

Booked

by Kwame Alexander

Sports, novel in verse
Ages 10 and up

Kwame Alexander has a way with words, and his style makes books accessible and exciting for all readers. This one follows 12-year-old Nick as he learns lessons on and off the soccer field. Important issues like bullying and divorce.

Also check out The Crossover and Rebound by Kwame Alexander

I Will Always Write Back

by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda

Nonfiction
Ages 10 and up

A touching dual narrative that will inspire everyone who reads it! Caitlin's classmates each received a pen pal from a different country, and she was excited to learn about Zimbabwe. When Martin received her letter, neither of them know this would be the start of a life-changing friendship.

Wishtree

by Katherine Applegate

Magical realism
Ages 8 and up

Told from the perspective of Red, an oak tree, this story has a timely lesson of acceptance. For generations, the people of the neighborhood have written down their wishes and tied them to Red's branches. But when a new family moves in, not everyone is welcoming, so Red and her wisdom are needed now more than ever.

Be sure to read The One and Only Ivan and Crenshaw, also by Katherine Applegate

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

Fantasy, historical fiction
Ages 9 and up

Nan Sparrow is an orphan and the best chimney climber in Victorian London. This reads like a fairy tale from the world of Charles Dickens, and made me laugh, cry, and cheer out loud. Sweep is the most charming and whimsical story I’ve read in a long time, with an important theme of speaking out against child labor and dangerous work conditions.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

by Kelly Barnhill

Fantasy
Ages 10 and up

Every year, people of the village leave a baby  to appease Xan, the witch who lives in the woods. But Xan is actually kind and gentle, and rescues the abandoned children, giving them to welcoming families on the other side. An enchanting story with incredible imagery.

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

by Ashley Herring Blake 

Realistic fiction
Ages 9 and up

After a tornado destroys Ivy's home, her sketchbook goes missing, and she fears her greatest secret will be revealed. When her drawings begin turning up in her school locker, Ivy’s fear comes true: someone knows.

Insignificant Events

in the Life of a Cactus

by Dusti Bowling

Realistic fiction
Ages 9 and up

Aven was born without arms, but she is resilient and quickly learns to adapt. When her parents suuddenly decide to move to Arizona, Aven is not looking forward to the stares and questions she fears she will face at her new school. An inspiring read with a fun mystery.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus

by Ann Braden

Realistic fiction
Ages 10 and up

Zoey has her hands full at home, looking after her siblings while their mom is at work. When Zoey learns how to build a argument in debate club, she pushes her mother to start standing up for herself. An eye-opening portrayal of poverty, emotional abuse, and gun culture.

The War the Saved My Life

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Historical fiction
Ages 9 and up

Ada lives in London, but she has never left her apartment because her mother is too embarrassed by her clubfoot to let her outside. When children are evacuated to escape the bombing at the start of WWII, Ada escapes with her younger brother to start a new life in the country.

The Wild Robot

by Peter Brown

Science fiction
Ages 8 and up

When a robot is shipwrecked, she must learn to adapt to life in the wild instead of the factory she was designed for. Chapters are very short and many pages are illustrated, and it's fun to read out loud.


Finish the rest in The Wild Robot Escapes

Walking with Miss Millie

by Tamara Bundy

Historical fiction
Ages 9 and up

Alice is unhappy at first when she has to move in with her ailing grandmother. When she makes an unexpected friend in Miss Millie, the 92-year-old woman who lives next door, Alice finally opens up about her dad who left, and begins to see the racism of their Alabama town in a whole new light.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

by Pablo Cartaya

Realistic fiction
Ages 10 and up

Arturo's family has run a Cuban restaurant for generations, but now the business is being threatened by a fancy downtown development. The Zamoras are determined to fight for their future, and for the community they want to preserve.

See You in the Cosmos

by Jack Cheng

Realistic fiction
Ages 10 and up

Inspired by his hero Carl Sagan, Alex and his dog embark on a life-changing journey as they head from Colorado to New Mexico for a high-altitude rocket festival. Tough topics include parental neglect and mental illness.

Hour of the Bees

by Lindsay Eagar

Magical realism
Ages 10 and up

Carolina isn't excited to spend her summer caring for a grandfather she's never met. But she soon finds herself fascinated by his stories about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. The thin line between magic and reality starts to blur in this beautiful story about family roots.

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

by Dan Gemeinhart

Realistic fiction
Ages 9 and up

Coyote and her dad have been driving around the country on an old school bus ever since the accident that claimed the lives of her mom and two sisters. But when she learns that their old neighborhood park is going to be torn down, she must race against the clock to retrieve the time capsule she and her sister buried.

Space Case 
by Stuart Gibbs

Mystery
Ages 10 and up

Dash was excited to move to the moon with his family. But unfortunately, he soon discovers that life on the moon is boring. Until one night when he overhears a cryptic conversation... and when everyone wakes to find out that a murder took place overnight, Dash realizes that he alone holds all the clues.

Refugee

by Alan Gratz

Historical fiction
Ages 10 and up

Josef flees Nazi Germany in 1939, Isabel attempts to escape Cuba in 1994, and Mahmoud is forced to leave Syria after his home is destroyed by bombs in 2015. These stories have parallel themes and tie together in a heartbreaking way at the end, proving that history really does repeat itself.

Slider

by Pete Hautman

Realistic fiction
Ages 10 and up

When David accidentally spends $2,000 on his mom's credit card, he decides that winning a competitive eating contest is the only way to earn the money to pay her back.

Full Cicada Moon

by Marilyn Hilton

Historical fiction, novel in verse
Ages 10 and up

I absolutely loved this story about Mimi, a half Japanese, half Black girl living in Vermont in 1969. Mimi loves science and wants to be an astronaut... and won't take no for an answer when people tell her she can't accomplish her goals.

The Night Diary

by Veera Hiranandani

Historical fiction
Ages 9 and up

Filled with gorgeous language and vivid imagery, this is the story of one family after the partition of India in 1947. Nisha's father is Hindu and her late mother was Muslim, leaving Nisha feeling torn when conflict between the two religions intensifies. The home she has always known is now part of Pakistan, which Nisha and her family must risk everything to leave.

Fish in a Tree

by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Realistic fiction
Ages 9 and up

Most people look at Ally and just see a behavior problem, but not Mr. Daniels. He sees through her stubborn exterior and helps find the creative girl hiding inside, and teaches Ally to cope with the undiagnosed dyslexia she has been struggling with her whole life. Every kid deserves to have a "Mr. Daniels" in their lives! This should be required reading for all teachers... and parents... and human beings.

The Parker Inheritance

by Varian Johnson

Mystery

Ages 9 and up

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes an intriguing puzzle she can't get out of her head. So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues.

You Go First

by Erin Entrada Kelly

Realistic fiction
Ages 10 and up

Charlotte feels like she's being left behind by her best friend. Ben struggles to find someone to eat lunch with. When events turn both of their lives upside down, Charlotte and Ben develop a friendship playing Scrabble online, and realize how important it is to talk to someone, even if they live 1,000 miles away.

 
 

©2020 Clare Lund, Librarian on the Loose. All views are my own.