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5th Grade Summer Reading List 

Required Reading

Read one of the following:

DiCamillo, Kate Because of Winn Dixie

Kate DiCamillo’s first published novel, like Winn-Dixie himself, immediately proved to be a keeper — a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor winner, the inspiration for a popular film, and most especially, a cherished classic that touches the hearts of readers of all ages. It’s now available in a paperback digest format certain to bring this tale’s magic to an even wider circle of fans.

The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket--and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar.Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship—and forgiveness—can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.

DiCamillo, Kate Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller Kate DiCamillo. It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format—a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K.G. Campbell.

DiCamillo, Kate The Tale of Despereaux

From birth everyone recognizes that Despereaux is not your usual mouse. His huge ears, his love of music, his odd habit of reading rather than eating paper, and his tendency to rely on his own instincts rather than following the rules make him a misfit disowned by his parents. Will he end his days swallowed up by the castle's rat infested dungeon or will he save the lovely Princess Pea from dastardly doings?

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Armstrong, K.L. and Marr, M.A. Loki’s Wolves; Odin’s Ravens; Thor’s Serpent

In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters--wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds, all bent on destroying the world. The gods died a long time ago. Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history--because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids--led by Matt--will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.  Don’t miss the sequels Odin’s Ravens and Thor’s Serpent.

Balliet, Blue Chasing Vermeer

A famous Vermeer painting has disappeared. Two classmates at the University School in Chicago join forces to retrieve the painting when they discover that they have both been finding random clues related to the painter, the painting, and the theft. Two additional detective stories in this series, The Wright 3 and The Calder Game, which also involve the work of famous artists, are equally intriguing. The Danger Box is the newest mystery from Ms. Balliet.

Baptiste, Tracey The Jumbies

A spine-tingling tale rooted in Caribbean folklore that will have readers holding their breath as they fly through its pages.

Corinne La Mer isn't afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They're just tricksters parents make up to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest. Those shining yellow eyes that followed her to the edge of the trees, they couldn't belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market the next day, she knows something unexpected is about to happen. And when this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne's house, cooking dinner for Corinne's father, Corinne is sure that danger is in the air. She soon finds out that bewitching her father, Pierre, is only the first step in Severine's plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn't know she possessed to stop Severine and save her island home.

Barry, Dave and Ridley Pearson  Peter and the Starcatchers 

The pages fly by when reading this amusing, cliffhanging page-turner. The deftly plotted story does a good job of explaining how the Peter Pan of J.M. Barrie's classic tale came to be the perpetually young leader of a band of lost boys. Before Wendy and Capt. Hook, there was Molly, the mysterious headmaster's daughter, starstuff, and Black Stache. Any classic is a hard act to follow, but this quick-paced prequel is magical. Further adventures of Peter may be found in Peter and the Shadow Thieves and Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

Broach, Elise Shakespeare's Secret

Teased at her new school, Hero Netherfield makes friends with an elderly neighbor, who seems to know quite a bit about a mystery connected to the Netherfields' new house. According to local rumor, a former owner may have hidden a priceless diamond, linked to the true identity of Shakespeare, somewhere in the house. Is this all much to do about nothing, or as Hero hopes, is she just the person to discover the truth?

Bryan, Ashley Freedom Over Me

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.

Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as…a lantern.

You, an object. An object to sell.

In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN’T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you’ve seen.

Buyea, Rob Because of Mr. Terupt

It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.

Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone.

Columbus, Chris and Ned Vizzini The House of Secrets

The Walker kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . but everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by Denver Kristoff, a troubled writer with a penchant for the occult.

Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Walker family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.

Cooper, Susan  Over Sea, Under Stone 

The days of King Arthur live once more when three children go on holiday by the sea to visit with their beloved Uncle Merry. It all begins when Simon, Jane, and Barney discover a map, an ancient manuscript really, in the attic of Grey House while Uncle Merry is mysteriously absent. Intrigued, they begin to investigate the document. As they do, forces of evil build around them. The children realize the seriousness of their quest when Barney goes missing. This is the first title in The Dark Is Rising series. 

Curtis, Christopher Paul Mr. Chickee's Funny Money

Steven makes friends with a blind, elderly neighbor who is teased by other children in the neighborhood. Little does Steven expect that his kindness will be rewarded by a quadrillion dollar bill that Mr. Chickee gives to him. Could it possibly be real? The U.S. Government seems to think so.

Forrester, Victoria The Girl Who Could Fly

When homeschooled farm girl Piper McCloud reveals her ability to fly, she is quickly taken to a secret government facility to be trained with other exceptional children, but she soon realizes that something is very wrong and begins working with brilliant and wealthy Conrad to escape.

"Piper decided to jump off the roof. It wasn't a rash decision on her part. This was her plan: Climb to the top of the roof, pick up speed by running from one end all the way to the other. Jump off. Finally, and most importantly, don't fall. She didn't make plans in the event she did fall, because if you jump off the roof of your house and land on your head, you really don't need any plans from that point on. Even Piper knew that. So that's what she did. She jumped clean off her roof. But before we get to what happens next, you'll probably need to know a thing or two about a thing or two..."

Fox, Helen Eager; Eager's Nephew

The Bell family robot, Grumps, is showing his age. His worn out timer causes little but annoying problems like making tomato soup for breakfast. A family friend gives them a new robot to try out. EGR3 is one of a kind and can actually think. Gavin takes to the perky little robot, but his sister Fleur would have preferred a BDC4 like the one her friend Marcia owns, despite sensing something very sinister about this line of robots from LifeCorps.

George, Jean My Side of the Mountain

Sam Gribley leaves his home in New York City and heads off to the Catskill Mountains. He intends to live off the land, his house is a hollowed out tree, and his companions are some wildlife he befriends. His story continues in On The Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful's Mountain.

Healy, Christopher The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes #1)

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Debut author Christopher Healy takes us on a journey with four imperfect princes and their four improbable princesses, all of whom are trying to become perfect heroes--a fast-paced, funny, and fresh introduction to a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

Don’t miss The League of Princes #2: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle and The League of Princes #3: The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw.

Horvath, Polly Everything on a Waffle

An indescribably insane plot married to a winsome heroine and blessed with wacky characters, sprinkled throughout with honest-to-goodness recipes, all culminating in a heartwarming ending. What more can one ask for?

Ibbottson, Eva  The Dragonfly Pool 

Tally does not want to leave her father, a kindly physician, and her dear aunts for boarding school in the English countryside, but as the world prepares for World War II, it seems wise to send her out of London. A wonderfully progressive school is chosen and Tally is soon happily involved in creating a folk dancing performance for an international festival in Bergania. Once they arrive for the dance exhibition, Tally and her classmates become caught up in saving the crown prince of Bergania form the Nazis. The feel of this thrilling story is similar to The Sound of Music.

Juster, Norton  The Phantom Tollbooth 

This light-hearted fantasy, now a classic, features a boy named Milo who enters a world of magical chaos via a turnpike tollbooth he receives as an unexpected, anonymous present. 

Kelly, Jacqueline The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

In this Newbery Honor winning debut novel we follow Calpurnia in the summer of 1899. Calpurnia and her six brothers live in a sleepy Texas town where girls are expected to learn to sew and cook but Calpurnia has other ideas. With the help of her cantankerous grandfather, Calpurnia starts to study the natural world and studying the smallest of living creatures opens up a wider world to a girl at the turn of the twentieth century.

Konigsburg, E.L. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Feeling unappreciated by her parents Claudia disappears with her younger brother by camping out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She never expects to become obsessed with a statue, consumed by a mystery, and returned home in the chauffeur-driven limousine of a mischievous recluse.

Lerangis, Peter The Colossus Rise (Seven Wonders #1)

One Boy

Jack McKinley is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die.

One Mission

Jack needs to find seven magic loculi that, when combined, have the power to cure him.

One Problem

The loculi are the relics of a lost civilization and haven’t been seen in thousands of years.

Seven Wonders

Because they’re hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Lord, Cynthia Rules

Although she often feels crowded out by the needs of her autistic brother, Catherine shows uncommon sensitivity toward him. As she copes with the difficulties he presents, Catherine expands her own world in ways that she could never have predicted.

Malone, Lee Gjersten The Last Boy at St. Edith’s

Seventh grader Jeremy Miner has a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. Four hundred and seventy-five of them. That's how many girls attend his school, St. Edith's Academy.

Jeremy is the only boy left after the school's brief experiment in coeducation. And he needs to get out. His mom won't let him transfer, so Jeremy takes matters into his own hands: He's going to get expelled.

Together with his best friend, Claudia, Jeremy unleashes a series of hilarious pranks in hopes that he'll get kicked out with minimum damage to his permanent record. But when his stunts start to backfire, Jeremy has to decide whom he's willing to knock down on his way out the door.

Marshall, Joseph In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

Jimmy McClean is a Lakota boy—though you would not guess it by his name: his father is a white man and his mother is Lakota. When he embarks on a journey with his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, he learns more and more about his Lakota heritage—in particular, the story of Crazy Horse, one of the most important figures in Lakota history. Drawing inspiration from the oral stories of the Lakota tradition and the Lakota cultural mechanism of the “hero story,” Joseph Marshall provides readers with an insider’s perspective on the life of Tasunke Witko, better known as Crazy Horse. Through his grandfather’s tales about the famous warrior, Jimmy learns more about his Lakota heritage and, ultimately, himself.

Mass, Wendy 11 Birthdays

Amanda and Leo were born on the same day in the same hospital. Just like a page torn from a storybook, an ancient town resident encourages the parents to celebrate the children's birthdays together. The parents promise, never intending to comply, but somehow they end up celebrating birthday number one in the same place at the same time. And so the birthdays are celebrated together until a misunderstanding at birthday party number ten causes a rift. That's when things really become strange. As birthday party eleven approaches, Leo and Amanda find themselves trapped in a time loop.

Patron, Susan  The Higher Power of Lucky

It is hard to imagine having a life so filled with hilarious goings on in a town the size of Hard Pan, California with its population of 43 permanent residents, but ten year old Lucky has never known a boring day, and that is just the problem when she is faced with the possibility of having to leave. In Lucky Breaks, the just released sequel, Lucky's eleventh birthday brings the possibility of a new friendship and a fervent wish of intrepidness. 

Philbrick, Rodman The Young Man and the Sea

Taking a page from Hemingway, this story stars twelve-year-old Skiff Beaman who is determined to turn his family's fortunes and ends up battling the sea. He raises his father's sunken fishing boat, fixes the planking, and searches for a way to earn enough to repair the engine. After a try at lobstering, he sets off in a ten-foot long dinghy with a small outboard motor to harpoon a tuna. The size of the task and the meagerness of the resources, sets the stage for a whale of a tale.

Reeve, Philip Larklight

This Jules Verne-like intergalactic thriller features the Mumby Family, who live in an orbiting mechanical wonder in an alternate universe, where Victorian Britain has colonized space. Attacked by an ancient tribe of evil white spiders, the children struggle to save their father, find their mother, protect the empire, and prevent the powerful mechanism hidden at the heart of their house from falling into the wrong hands. The series continues with Starcross and Mothstream.

Sachar, Louis Fuzzy Mud

"Be careful. Your next step may be your last."

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodbridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Wilson challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya reluctantly follows. They soon get lost, and they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined.

In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.

Selznick, Brian  The Invention of Hugo Cabret 

This winner of the Caldecott medal is a profusely illustrated chapter book about clockworks. Hugo, who has learned all about clockworks from his father and uncle, becomes obsessed with an automaton his father discovers in his work at a museum. The plot is itself an intricately plotted mechanism as the boy struggles to uncover the automaton's secrets. 

Selznick, Brian The Marvels

Caldecott Award winner and bookmaking trailblazer Brian Selznick once again plays with the form he invented and takes readers on a voyage!

Two seemingly unrelated stories--one in words, the other in pictures--come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.

Selznick, Brian Wonderstruck

From Brian Selznick, the creator of the Caldecott Medal winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret, comes another breathtaking tour de force.

Playing with the form he created in his trailblazing debut novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick once again sails into uncharted territory and takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey.

Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories -- Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures -- weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder. Rich, complex, affecting, and beautiful--with over 460 pages of original artwork--Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.

Snicket, Lemony The Bad Beginning and other titles in this series

  The Baudelaires, Violet, Klaus, and baby sister Sunny, are orphans in the guardianship of the wildly incompetent Mr. Poe, a family friend and executor of their parents estate. The children are in constant danger from a supposed distant relative, Count Olaf, who is interested only in their sizeable inheritance. The endless and incredible misfortunes of the children make for riveting reading. After you finish the series be sure to check out the television series on Netflix.

Stephens, John The Emerald Atlas

Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

Don’t miss the exciting sequel, The Fire Chronicle.

Torday, Piers The Last Wild

In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he's told there's something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he's finally gone a bit mad. But the animals have something to say... The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester's help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an over-enthusiastic wolf-cub, a spoilt show-cat, a dancing harvest mouse and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?

Wiles, Deborah The Aurora County All-Stars

Laugh out loud funny, and at times poignant, this story of a small town baseball team is a winner. The main character, House Jackson, the twelve year old pitcher, is the team's captain and equal to all the challenges he must suddenly face.

Wood, Maryrose The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Books 1 - 3: The Mysterious Howling; The Hidden Gallery; The Unseen Guest

Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.

Enjoy these three wonderful books as we follow the adventures of Miss Penelope Lumley and the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.

Woodson, Jacqueline Locomotion

In this story of courage and perseverance, Lonnie Collins Motion's world came apart when he was only seven. He has been trying to put it back together ever since. He is determined to make what is left of his family whole again.


Bolden, Tonya Maritcha

 Maritcha's parents own a boarding house in the mid nineteenth century in lower Manhattan. Forced to leave during the New York City Draft riots, her middle class black family flees to Providence, Rhode Island where they are determined to rebuild their lives and become affluent once more. Maritcha is determined to continue her education, eventually becoming the first African-American to graduate from Providence High School.

Bonner, Hannan  When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm 

This inviting look at life on earth before the dinosaurs is presented cartoon style. Packed with information about the Silurian and Devonian Ages, the text includes charts, timelines, diagrams, and fanciful illustrations where occasional jokes are tucked away. 

Collard, Sneed The Prairie Builders

European immigrants traveling west called it "The Great American Desert." The stretch of land from what is now Ohio to South Dakota, was anything but a desert. The twelve-foot tall grasses that covered the land were home to elk, deer, buffalo, birds, coyote, bears, and thousands of insects including hundreds of different kinds of butterflies. A bold experiment that draws on Native American techniques, is now attempting to return farmlands to their original state -- the tall grass prairie.

Davies, Nicola Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth

Using humor and engrossingly gross information this entertaining little book is packed full of facts about animals who have managed to adapt to the most severe conditions earth has to offer.

Delano, Marfe Ferguson Earth in the Hot Seat

Dan Fagre, a scientist with the US Geologic Survey, predicts that in 2030 Glacier National Park will be, for the first time in 7000 years, without its glacier. Reporting from the front lines of climate change as it is being experienced on planet earth, the author of this National Geographic publication explains the scientific findings behind the phenomena and the efforts to combat it.

Jackson, Donna M. Extreme Scientist

Flying into the eye of a hurricane, exploring the microbiology of earth's deepest caves, or spending your day in the canopy of the world's tallest trees are three scientific careers that take scientists into extreme situations. The three scientists profiled regularly risk severe conditions to collect scientific data that might make life better for all of us.

Kramer, Stephen Hidden Worlds: Looking Through a Scientist's Microscope

When Dennis Kunkel was ten years old he received a gift that changed his life. From the day he started figuring out how to use his first microscope he became a microscopist. He is now a scientist who studies small objects using microscopes so sophisticated and powerful that the photographs of what he sees seem taken out of science fiction rather than real life.

Marrin, Albert Saving the Buffalo

This tour de force history of the buffalo covers the central role buffalo played in the life of the Plains Indians, the importance of the buffalo in the ecology of the grasslands, the near extinction of the buffalo, and the efforts to return buffalo to the American West. The illustrations are particularly noteworthy.

Martin, Jacqueline B. The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish

In 1913 a group of Canadian scientists sailed north in the Arctic to study plant and animal life and the indigenous peoples. They invited an Inupiaq family, with children and a cat, to travel along, knowing that the family's survival skills would be critical to the success of the expedition. In August when the boat became mired in ice, every effort from that point on was focused on survival.

Montgomery, Sy The Snake Scientist; Search for the Golden Moon Bear

Would you volunteer to stuff handfuls of slithering snakes into pillowcases? Bob Mason, snake scientist, recruits people from all over, to do just that. Evolutionary scientist Gary Galbreath travels to Cambodia to find and research what might be a new species of bears with golden fur that has never been described in any scientific papers anywhere in the world.

Nelson, Kadir We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

Nelson writes and illustrates this spectacular book about the Negro Leagues. The paintings bring alive stars such as Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. Nelson tells the story of the Negro Leagues from their start in the 1920s to their decline once Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier. Readers will see the discrimination the players faced just to play a game that they loved. The text and beautiful illustrations bring to life a lost era.

Rosen, Michael J. The Cuckoo's Haiku

Lovely watercolor illustrations give this book the look of an artist's notebook. Each double page spread features a common American bird and contains an insight about that bird expressed in the form of haiku poetry.

Silvey, Anita The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth

Driven by an all-consuming passion, the plant hunters traveled around the world, facing challenges at every turn: tropical illnesses, extreme terrain, and dangerous animals. They battled piranhas, tigers, and vampire bats. Even the plants themselves could be lethal! But these intrepid eighteenth- and nineteenth-century explorers were determined to find and collect new and unusual specimens, no matter what the cost. Then they tried to transport the plants—and themselves—home alive. Creating an important legacy in science, medicine, and agriculture, the plant hunters still inspire the scientific and environmental work of contemporary plant enthusiasts.

Working from primary sources—journals, letters, and notes from the field—Anita Silvey introduces us to these daring adventurers and scientists. She takes readers into the heart of their expeditions to then-uncharted places such as the Amazon basin, China, and India. As she brings a colorful cast of characters to life, she shows what motivated these Indiana Jones–type heroes. In The Plant Hunters, science, history, and adventure have been interwoven to tell a largely forgotten—yet fascinating—story.

Walker, Sally M. Secrets of a Civil War Submarine

P.T. Barnum, of circus fame, offered a $100,000 reward for the submarine's recovery, but for 131 years the H.L. Hunley lay buried beneath the ocean floor. Built to break the Union blockade, the ship mysteriously vanished. In 1995, divers found the submarine, sparking a ten-year archeological study to piece together the ship's story.

Woodson, Jacqueline Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.   A novel in verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Graphic Novels

Brown, Don The Great American Dust Bowl

A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence.

On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up millions upon millions of these specks of dust to form a duster—a savage storm—on America's high southern plains.

The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains derailed, and electricity coursed through the air. Sand and dirt fell like snow—people got lost in the gloom and suffocated . . . and that was just the beginning.

Don Brown brings the Dirty Thirties to life with kinetic, highly saturated, and lively artwork in this graphic novel of one of America's most catastrophic natural events: the Dust Bowl.

Hale, Nathan Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad; The Donner Dinner Party; The Underground Abductor; Alamo All-Stars

Each of the books in Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales has elements of the strange but true and is presented in an engaging, funny format, highlighting the larger-than-life characters that pop up in real history. Big Bad Ironclad! covers the history of the amazing ironclad steam warships used in the Civil War.

From the ship’s inventor, who had a history of blowing things up and only 100 days to complete his project, to the mischievous William Cushing, who pranked his way through the whole war, this book is filled with surprisingly true facts and funny, brave characters that modern readers will easily relate to.

Hatke, Ben Mighty Jack

Jack might be the only kid in the world who's dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's boring, too, because Maddy doesn't talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk—to tell Jack to trade their mom's car for a box of mysterious seeds. It's the best mistake Jack has ever made.

What starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon.

Holm, Jennifer Sunny Side Up

Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer.  At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is the home of Disney World, after all.  But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park.  It’s full of . . . old people.  Really old people.
Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around.  She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors.  But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place?  The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .

Kibuishi, Kazu Amulet Volume 1: The Stonekeeper

Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot---and two ordinary children on a life-or-death mission.

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves. Don’t miss the sequels: The Stonekeeper’s Curse; The Cloud Searchers; The Last Council; Prince of the Elves and Escape from Lucien.

Lieberman, A.J. The Silver Six

A group of orphans on the run search for a new home among the stars.

When a group of orphans discover they have a common connection, plucky heroine Phoebe leads them in a daring escape from their orphanage to an uninhabited moon. But their idyllic paradise is shattered when the powerful corporate boss who caused the deaths of their parents sends a relentless henchman to track them down. Now, with nowhere left to turn and tired of being on the run, these resourceful kids decide there's only one thing left to do: Fight back!

Phelan, Matt Around the World

A Scott O’Dell Award-winning graphic novelist follows three dauntless adventurers on a Jules Verne-inspired challenge: circling the world, solo!

As the nineteenth century wound down, a public inspired by the novel Around the World in Eighty Days clamored for intrepid adventure. The challenge of circumnavigating the globe as no one ever had before—a feat assuring fame if not fortune—attracted the fearless in droves. Three hardy spirits stayed the course: In 1884, former miner Thomas Stevens made the journey on a bicycle, the kind with a big front wheel. In 1889, pioneer reporter Nellie Bly embarked on a global race against time that assumed the heights of spectacle, ushering in the age of the American celebrity. And in 1895, retired sea captain Joshua Slocum quietly set sail on a thirty-six-foot sloop, braving pirates and treacherous seas to become the first person to sail around the world alone. With cinematic pacing and deft, expressive art, acclaimed graphic novelist Matt Phelan weaves a trio of epic journeys into a single bold tale of three visionaries who set their sights on nothing short of the world.

Phelan, Matt Bluffton

In the summer of 1908, in Muskegon, Michigan, a visiting troupe of vaudeville performers is about the most exciting thing since baseball. They’re summering in nearby Bluffton, so Henry has a few months to ogle the elephant and the zebra, the tightrope walkers and — lo and behold — a slapstick actor his own age named Buster Keaton. The show folk say Buster is indestructible; his father throws him around as part of the act and the audience roars, while Buster never cracks a smile. Henry longs to learn to take a fall like Buster, "the human mop," but Buster just wants to play ball with Henry and his friends. With signature nostalgia, Scott O’Dell Award–winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan visualizes a bygone era with lustrous color, dynamic lines, and flawless dramatic pacing. After reading the book, be sure to check out some of Buster Keaton’s silent film classics.


Janeczko, Paul B.  A Poke in the I 

This playful book of poetry will poke your creative spirit and your funny bone. Here the shape of a poem, the way it is illustrated, and its placement on the page are as important to its meaning as the words. 

McKissack, Patricia Never Forgotten

This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, here is a lyrical story-in-verse about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, which will remind children that their slave ancestors should never be forgotten, and that family is more important than anything else.

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