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6th Grade Summer Reading List

Required Reading

Palacio, R.J.   Wonder

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse. 

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels. Required reading.

We highly recommend the following.



Anderson, Jodi Lynn           My Diary from the Edge of the World

Spirited, restless Gracie Lockwood has lived in Cliffden, Maine, her whole life. She’s a typical girl in an atypical world: one where sasquatches helped to win the Civil War, where dragons glide over Route 1 on their way south for the winter (sometimes burning down a T.J. Maxx or an Applebee’s along the way), where giants hide in caves near LA and mermaids hunt along the beaches, and where Dark Clouds come for people when they die.

To Gracie it’s all pretty ho-hum…until a Cloud comes looking for her little brother Sam, turning her small-town life upside down. Determined to protect Sam against all odds, her parents pack the family into a used Winnebago and set out on an epic search for a safe place that most people say doesn’t exist: The Extraordinary World. It’s rumored to lie at the ends of the earth, and no one has ever made it there and lived to tell the tale. To reach it, the Lockwoods will have to learn to believe in each other—and to trust that the world holds more possibilities than they’ve ever imagined.

Anderson, John David                    Posted

In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.

In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

Avi      Crispin: Cross of Lead; Crispin: At the Edge of the World; Crispin: The End of Time

Living on the edges of a tiny village, a young boy knows himself only as Asta's boy until his mother dies. The village priest reveals that his name is Crispin and that his parents' backgrounds are mysterious. Framed for a murder he did not commit, Crispin runs for his life and is taken in by a juggler who tries to shield the boy from the dangers swirling around him.

Babbitt, Natalie        Tuck Everlasting

The Tuck family tries to hide their unusual discovery. When young Winnie Foster who has been kidnapped, discovers their secret, will she make the same choice as they have? Would you? This is a masterful tale from a consummate writer.

Barnhill, Kelly          The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

The acclaimed author of The Witch’s Boy has created another epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to become a modern classic.

Benjamin, Ali           The Thing About Jellyfish

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don't just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.

Black, Holly  Doll Bones

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

Boyce, Frank Cottrell          Cosmic

Liam Digby has a problem that is also an irresistible temptation. He is so tall that people think he is an adult. Actually, he is only twelve years old, but looking like an adult opens up so many tempting possibilities, like entering a competition to fly a rocket into space. Of course he wins. It's a dream come true for this devotee of video games, but you have to be careful what you wish for.

Chokshi, Roshani                Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet #1)

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she'll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru's doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don't believe her claim that the museum's Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it's up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

Choldenko, Gennifer           Al Capone Does My Shirts; Al Capone Does My Homework; Al Capone Shines My Shoes

Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz, the small island in San Francisco Bay that was a maximum security prison. Having the famous gangsters of the 1930s as neighbors may seem to give his life a little glamour, but it is balanced out by challenging family problems, the dangerous schemes of the warden's daughter, and the isolation of his life. Be sure to check out the sequels Al Capone Does My Homework and Al Capone Shines My Shoes.

Colfer, Eoin   Artemis Fowl

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories—they're dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.

Connor, Leslie          Crunch

Dewey Marriss is in charge of the family bicycle shop, his older sister is in charge of the family in general, and everyone is expected to pitch in to take care of the farm while their parents take a short anniversary trip to Maine. Suddenly there is an unexpected severe gasoline shortage. Now the parents are stuck in Northern Maine until gas stations reopen. All five children, even the little twins, are managing well, until important, expensive bicycle parts go missing from the shop. The repair jobs pile up and frantic customers overwhelm the store. Think Home Alone with a twist.

Cummings, Pat         Red Kayak

When an ill-considered prank goes awry, Brady Parks is caught in a moral dilemma. He is being hailed as a hero in the local newspapers, when deep inside he knows he is not. Should he tell what he knows about the accident? If he does, what will happen to his best friends? How can he admit to his parents and his small Eastern Shore community the evidence he has found and kept secret?

Dhami, Narinder      Bindi Babes

Jazz, Amber, and Geena think they have the perfect set-up: three adorable daughters manipulating one doting, very overworked Dad. Then one day Auntie, their father's younger sister, shows up to make them toe the line. As Auntie interferes and out manipulates them, they decide on the drastic measure of trying to marry her off.

Dowell, Frances O'Roark    Shooting the Moon

Jamie Dexter's family has a long military tradition. It is their identity and even within their family her father is called "The Colonel." It is disconcerting to watch "The Colonel" suddenly attempt every ploy to dissuade her brother TJ from enlisting to serve in the Vietnam War. TJ's letters home are perfunctory but the film canisters he sends to Jamie, which she learns to develop into darkroom proofs, tell a more complex story. 

Enzensberger, Hans            The Number Devil

Robert hates math, but it's surprisingly un-nightmarish when a red devil, a veritable maestro of numerical magic, haunts his dreams. It is a not very well kept secret that a certain former WES Middle School director is particularly enamored of this book!

Fitzmaurice, Katherine       A Diamond in the Desert

For Tetsu, baseball is so much more than just a game

On December 6, 1941, Tetsu is a twelve-year-old California boy who loves baseball. On December 7, 1941, everything changes. The bombing of Pearl Harbor means Tetsu's Japanese-American family will be relocated to an internment camp.

Gila River camp isn't technically a prison, but with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no time frame for leaving, it might as well be. So when someone has the idea of building a baseball diamond and starting a team, Tetsu is overjoyed. But then his sister gets dangerously sick, forcing him to choose between his family and his love of the game. This is an impeccably researched, lyrical story about baseball, honor, and a turbulent period in U.S. history.

Feinstein, John        Last Shot; Vanishing Act; The Rivalry

They've both won the contest for the best sports writing by a middle school student. Their prize is a trip to the final four to shadow professional sports writers and cover the games for their local newspapers. They overhear a player being blackmailed to throw a critical game. The duo reunite in "Vanishing Act" to solve the mysterious disappearance of a star tennis player. In The Rivalry the duo once again face a mystery but this time it is at the annual Army-Navy game.

Frederick, Heather Vogel   The Mother-Daughter Book Club

The book club is about to get a makeover....

Even if Megan would rather be at the mall, Cassidy is late for hockey practice, Emma's already read every book in existence, and Jess is missing her mother too much to care, the new book club is scheduled to meet every month.

But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can't help but wonder: What would Jo March do?

Acclaimed author Heather Vogel Frederick will delight daughters of all ages in a novel about the fabulousness of fiction, family, and friendship. The series continues with Much Ado About Annie, Dear Pen Pal, Pies and Prejudice, Home for the Holidays and Wish You Were Eyre.

Fry, Jason      The Hunt for Hydra (Jupiter Pirates #1)

In this swashbuckling new sci-fi adventure series from New York Times bestselling author Jason Fry, three siblings in a family of privateers must compete to decide who will be the next ship captain, all while battling space pirates, Earth diplomats, and even treachery from within the family.

The relationship between Tycho Hashoone, his twin sister, Yana, and their older brother, Carlo, isn't your average sibling rivalry. They might be crew members together aboard the Shadow Comet, but only one of them can be the next ship captain. So when the Hashoones find themselves in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy, each sibling is desperate to prove his or her worth. The only trouble is if they don't work together, none of them may make it out alive.

Perfect for fans of fantasy adventures like Ranger's Apprentice and such space-age epics as Star Wars, The Jupiter Pirates: Hunt for the Hydra is a wholly original saga about a galaxy on the brink of war and one unforgettable family caught in the cross fire.

Gantos, Jack Dead End in Norvelt; From Norvelt to Nowhere

Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is "grounded for life" by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack's way once his mom loans him out to help a feisty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launched on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air. Jack’s story continues in the sequel From Norvelt to Nowhere.

Gidwitz, Adam          The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.

Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor's Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed.

Beautifully illustrated throughout! Includes a detailed historical note and bibliography.

Giff, Patricia Reilly  Eleven 

Sam has great difficulty reading, but he shows enormous talent in his grandfather's woodworking shop. Hunting for the presents he knows he will receive for his eleventh birthday, Sam sneaks into the attic where he spies a newspaper article he can only partially decipher, but which prompts vague and troubling memories that bring into question his past. With the help of Caroline, a new friend at school, they search for answers as they build an intriguing miniature castle for a class project. 

Grimes, Nikki           Garvey’s Choice

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports.

Grimes, Nikki           Words with Wings

Gaby daydreams to tune out her parents’ arguments, but when her parents divorce and she begins a new school, daydreaming gets her into trouble. Her mother scolds her for it, her teacher keeps telling her to pay attention, and the other kids tease her...until she finds a friend who also daydreams and her teacher decides to work a daydreaming-writing session into every school day. With a notebook “thick with daydreams,” Gaby grows more confident about herself and her future. This verse novel poignantly celebrates the power of writing and the inspiration a good teacher can deliver.

Kelly, Erin Entrada              Blackbird Fly

Future rock star, or friendless misfit? That’s no choice at all. In this debut novel, twelve-year-old Apple grapples with being different; with friends and backstabbers and following her dreams.

Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to Louisiana from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods, makes mistakes with her English, and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” It becomes unbearable in middle school, when the boys—the stupid, stupid boys—in Apple’s class put her name on the Dog Log, the list of the most unpopular girls in school. When Apple’s friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show how special she really is.

Kirby, Matthew        The Lost Kingdom

In this extraordinary adventure story, Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Traveling in a flying airship, the members of the expedition find their lives frequently endangered in the untamed American West by terrifying creatures, a party of French soldiers hot on their trail, and the constant threat of traitors and spies. Billy will face hazards greater than he can ever imagine as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America.

Korman, Gordon     Schooled

Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of school.

Lai, Thanhha Listen, Slowly

This remarkable novel from Thanhhà Lại, New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning and Newbery Honor Book Inside Out & Back Again, follows a young girl as she learns the true meaning of family.

A California girl born and raised, Mai can't wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, though, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai's parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn't know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

Perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia and Linda Sue Park, Listen, Slowly is an irresistibly charming and emotionally poignant tale about a girl who discovers that home and culture, family and friends, can all mean different things.

Landy, Derek            Skulduggery Pleasant 

Skulduggery Pleasant is a man, or was a man, or is still partially a man, although mostly he is a skeleton. When Stephanie inherits her uncle's estate, Skulduggery saves her from agents of Mevolent and becomes her ally. Her beloved uncle, an author, moved between the world of normal human beings and a parallel world full of magic and evil. When he died he controlled something that Skulduggery and others in this other world very badly want. This wonderfully witty fantasy, a sure-fire read, will soon have a sequel entitled Playing With Fire. 

Paver, Michelle        Gods and Warriors

From a time of myths and ancient magic will come the legend of the lost city of Atlantis, tales of gods and warriors – and the rise of a hero.

His sister is missing. His dog has been killed. High in the Greek mountains, Hylas is running for his life.

The mysterious black warriors want Hylas dead. So begins his quest across land and sea with only a girl and a dolphin by his side. But the warriors are relentless. Why are they hunting Hylas – and how will he survive?

Perfect for fans of epic, action-packed adventures from Pirates of the Caribbean to The Lord of the Rings. Don’t miss this brand new series from the internationally acclaimed Michelle Paver, author of Wolf Brother.

Pennypacker, Sara   Pax

Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax.

Philbrick, Rodman Freak the Mighty

Max is big for his age. Burdened with a difficult past he is unable to do well in school. Kevin is brilliant, but trapped in a body that does not grow. Together they feel invincible. With Kevin on Max's shoulders, no quest seems too difficult for them, until they must face the issues that first brought them together.

Pullman, Philip        The Golden Compass

Although she is an indifferent student, Lyra has the curiosity and independence needed to solve the mystery of what has happened to missing children, including her best friend. She lives on a planet in a distant universe, in a place not unlike Victorian London, a fantasy world where everyone has a supernatural animal spirit to serve them.

Raskin, Ellen             The Westing Game

In this breezy murder mystery, the will of Sam Westing only distributes clues, unless one of the heirs can figure out which one of them is the eccentric millionaire's murderer.

Reynolds, Jason       As Brave as You

When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally.

Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and—being a curious kid—Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).

How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.

Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?

Riordan, Rick            The Red Pyramid; The Lost Hero

Rick Riordan is back with two new blockbuster series. The Red Pyramid follows brother and sister Carter and Sadie Kane as they deal with the disappearance of their father, a distinguished Egyptologist. Mixing in Egyptian mythology and breakneck action this book is hard to put down. Look for book two, The Throne of Fire, and book three, The Serpent’s Shadow.  The Lost Hero brings us back to Camp Half Blood but Percy is missing and a new set of demi-gods take up the challenge of saving earth from destruction. You can continue the series with book two, The Son of Neptune, and book three, The Mark of Athena, book four, The House of Hades and book five The Blood of Olympus.

Sanderson, Brandon           Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz #1)

On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. It is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them, using the only weapon he has: an incredible talent for breaking things.

"In this original, hysterical homage to fantasy literature, Sanderson's first novel for youth recalls the best in Artemis Fowl and A Series of Unfortunate Events." -VOYA

Shurtliff, Liesl          Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin

In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

Skelton, Matthew    Endymion Spring 

In this riveting blend of fantasy and historical fiction, Blake Winter, the son of an American scholar at Oxford, is chosen by a 15th century printer's devil to save a magical blank book. Many have searched for the book, which is thought to contain priceless wisdom and knowledge, and the ruthless hunt continues into the present day. Written on dragon skin paper, words that appear and disappear could only be read by Endymion Spring, and now centuries later, by Blake. It is interesting to compare the setting described here to Pullman's view of Oxford in The Golden Compass.

Sloan, Holly Goldberg         Counting by 7s

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life... until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

Sonnenblick, Jordan           Zen and the Art of Faking It 

There are many things in San Lee's life that make an easy transition to middle school in a new town unlikely. When confronted with an unexpected opportunity to reinvent himself as a master of all things cool, especially Zen, he jumps at the chance. When his new persona endangers his budding friendship with the girl he most wants to impress, he is forced to re-evaluate. 

Springer, Nancy        The Enola Holmes Mystery Series

The younger sister of Sherlock Holmes is not about to be tied down by her brother's dated opinions on the role of women. In fact, she decides to out-do him in the detective business. She manages to escape, avoid detection, and quickly solve mysteries her older brother once thought he was the only one  clever enough to unravel. The Missing Marquess begins this delightful series that includes five additional titles: The Case of the Left-Handed Lady, The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets, The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, and The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye.

Stewart, Trent Lee   The Mysterious Benedict Society

After a series of ever more intriguing tests, Reynie and three other gifted children discover that they have been recruited to infiltrate a school which is suspected of being a front for a sinister project to seize control of peoples' minds worldwide. With little time to spare, the children must gather information and evidence so that their leader can derail the scheme. A website published in conjunction with the book can be reached by a link attached to the author's name.

Tarshis, Lauren        Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree

Seventh-grader Emma-Jean Lazarus lives in a state of isolation from her peers. Her brilliant, curious, deductive mind, which incisively dissects everything, including her classmates, sets her apart until the day in the girl's bathroom at school when an distraught classmate begs her assistance.

Tolan, Stephanie      Surviving the Applewhites

Jake Semple has one last chance. Expelled from every school he has attended, sent to live with a grandfather who can't cope with him, Jake ends up at the Applewhite's Creative Academy on a farm called Wit's End. Is this budding juvenile delinquent ready for a zany clan of artistic, self-absorbed, temperamental, eccentrics? Actually the results of this placement are hilarious.

Turnage, Sheila        Three Times Lucky

A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime

Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.

Urban, Linda The Center of Everything

For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug.  That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?


Aronson, Marc         The Griffin and the Dinosaur

Growing up in South Dakota, Adrienne Mayor was the quiet girl who never raised her hand in class. Instead, she loved to wander the prairie seeking wonders and filling her mind with stories.

When she found herself in Athens, Greece, she plunged into reading the original versions of ancient myths--especially descriptions of the fabled griffin. As she read, an exciting idea took shape in her mind. Scholars had long treated accounts of the griffin as made-up fantasies. But to Mayor, they seemed to describe something ancient people had actually seen. What could that have been?

Mayor's quest to solve that mystery led her from books to ruined temples, from museums to the graves of great tattooed warriors. Finally, after poring over formerly top secret maps, she located the forbidding desert where nomadic gold hunters once entered the lair of the griffin--and she came face-to-face with her quarry.

Here is the story of Mayor's detective work, which has helped create a new science in which experts match myths and fossils and begin to see the world through our ancestors' eyes.

Belloli, Andrea         Exploring World Art

Art is given its best and widest interpretation in this nicely illustrated survey of paintings, sculpture, and artifacts from all the world's cultures.

Burns, Loree Griffin            Tracking Trash

Oceanographer, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, tracks trash. His career took this interesting turn when a ship carrying goods from Korea to the U.S. lost twenty-one cargo containers in a storm. Five of the containers were packed with sneakers that began washing up on shores worldwide. Dr. Ebbesmeyer realized that this was an amazing opportunity to better understand, and perhaps protect, the oceans.

Curlee, Lynn Parthenon

With exquisitely precise acrylic paints and clear, concise text, the author discusses all the aspects of ancient Greek culture and society that came into the building, and later the restoration, of the Parthenon. He covers the ongoing controversy surrounding the Elgin Marbles, now housed in the British Museum, but once an integral part of the finest accomplishment of Greek art and architecture.

D'Aulaire, Edgar Parin and Ingri   D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths

This oversized, lavishly illustrated collection of Greek myths is a long-time favorite. It provides a solid, unforgettable, easily attained knowledge of Mt. Olympus and its inhabitants. This is highly recommended background reading for the sixth grade curriculum.

Deem, James M.       Bodies From the Ice

In 1991, mountain climbers in the Italian Alps came across a body uncovered by the melting of a glacier. First thought to be from the 1800s - a long missing hiker perhaps. Scientific investigation revealed that the person was actually 5,300 years old. Beginning with this fascinating story, the author looks at how the melting of glaciers is revealing a previously unknown historical record.

Freedman, Russell  The Adventures of Marco Polo 

Just who was Marco Polo? Was he a man of a million lies or did he actually find his way from his home in Venice, across the roof of the world, to China and the court of Kublai Khan? His experiences as penned by a cell mate were too much for many in his day to believe. Russell Freedman, one of the best historical writers for young people, recounts Polo's travels in a beautiful volume illustrated with period artwork. 

Hawass, Zahi            Curse of the Pharaohs

The author, who is the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, takes readers behind the scenes to share his many adventures and discoveries. His fascinating narrative is organized around a discussion of the belief that those who touch ancient tombs run the risk of retribution.

 Hawass, Zahi           Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King

The author, an esteemed archeologist, who has directed several excavations in Egypt, draws on impressive first-hand experience, including his own research at Tutankhamun's tomb, to write a compelling biography of the boy king. Extraordinary photographs and archival materials enrich the narrative.

Montgomery, Sy       Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot

The kakapo (KAR-ka-poe) is perhaps the strangest parrot in the world. This endangered bird lives on a few islands in New Zealand. The worlds largest parrot cannot fly and smells of honey. This Robert Sibert Medal winner tells the story of the dedicated scientists working to save the kakapo from extinction. It also includes the amazing photographs of Nic Bishop.   

Murphy, Jim             Blizzard!

Today we take for granted a vast system of weather tracking and long-range reports until the predictions fail us. In 1888, the U.S. Army Signal Corps, a forerunner of today's National Weather Service, was tracking two storms, but no one stopped to consider what might happen should there be some change.

Salkeld, Audrey        Climbing Everest

An experienced climber and acknowledged expert on Mt. Everest describes in documentary style the attempts throughout history to conquer the world's highest mountain. The photographs, maps, glossary, list of resources, timeline, capsule biographies, and taut writing make this a thrilling and informative read.

Schyffert, Bea Uusma          The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon

While the attention of the world is on the two astronauts walking on the moon, Michael Collins circles the moon fourteen times in the crew's spacecraft. Whenever he slips behind the moon he is completely out of touch with earth. During his twenty-eight hour solo flight he executes 850 computer commands by pushing buttons in precise sequences. Don't miss this amazing inside story of the Apollo 11 Mission.

Sutcliff, Rosemary   Black Ships Before Troy

Primarily known for her historical fiction, the author applies her considerable gifts for recreating another time to a retelling of the Trojan War. Those who love legend and myth will find the storytelling absorbing.

Graphic Novels

Craft, Jerry    New Kid

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

Jamieson, Victoria  All’s Faire in Middle School

Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she's eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she'll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind--she'll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it's not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don't) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family's unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.

O’Connor, George    Zeus: King of the Gods; Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess; Hera: The Goddess and her Glory; Hades: Lord of the Dead; Poseidon: Earth Shaker; Aphrodite: Goddess of Love

George O’Connor brings to life Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades, Poseidon and Aphrodite in these stunning graphic novels. The tale of how Zeus defeats the Titans is retold using brilliant illustrations as are five of Athena’s adventures. These books take full advantage of the graphic novel format and make these oft told tales must-read once again.

Stevenson, Noelle    Lumberjanes #1: Beware the Holy Kitten; Lumberjanes #2: Friendship to the Max


At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together... And they're not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.
Telgemeier, Raina   Ghosts

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake - and her own.


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