5th - 8th Grade

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick

Since her dad returned from his last tour in Afghanistan, nothing in the lives of the Lovejoys has been the same. After losing a limb, her father’s career is over. He moves the family to his hometown of Pumpkin Falls to take over his parents’ bookstore. While helping clean up at the bookstore, Truly finds a mysterious, un-mailed letter inside a signed first edition of Charlotte’s Web.

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

In 1901, two boys become friends in eastern Canada.  Benji is a black youth who intends to become a newspaperman.  His pal is a red-haired Irish boy named Alvin.  Alvin wants to become a scientist.  The duo met at a forensics competition. Benji has landed an apprenticeship with a local newspaper and is always thinking of his next story. Alvin lives with his father and Grandma. While exploring the woods, they encounter the “Madman of Piney Woods,” who turns out to be a Civil War veteran who has become a hermit.

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner

Three seventh graders, Anna, Jose, and Henry, meet when they are snowed in at the Washington, D.C. airport. They discover that each of them has a connection to the Silver Jaguar Society, a secret society dedicated to protecting the world’s artifacts. When the flag that inspired The Star Spangled Banner is stolen from the Smithsonian, the kids figure out the flag is at the airport and go after it and the thieves.

Knightly & Son by Rohan Gavin

Darkus Knightley’s dad has been in a coma for four years. During that time Darkus has kept himself busy dad by studying his detective dad’s case files at night.  Darkus is certain that there must be some clue to explain both his father’s current state, and the recent increase in crime.  Mr. Knightley suddenly wakes, which seems somehow related to the release of a book called The Code. He fears that the freaky things The Code makes readers do is the work of a shadowy evil group called The Combination.  Mr.

Under the Egg by Laura Marz Fitzgerald

Theodora Tenpenny’s grandfather Jack was an artist, as well as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon his death he whispers to Theo to “look under the egg” where he promises she will find a letter and a treasure. The “egg” he mentioned is a painting that he made, which has hung over the fireplace for as long as Theo can remember. Taking the painting down, Theo accidently spills alcohol on it and exposes another painting underneath.

Bird by Crystal Chan

Jewel never knew her brother John. Jewel’s grandfather nicknamed her brother Bird, and encouraged him to pretend he could fly. Bird jumped off a cliff and died the day Jewel was born. No one talks about Bird or how he died, and her grandfather doesn’t speak at all. One night Jewel climbs her favorite tree and discovers someone else is already there, and his name is John. The two become fast friends, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future. 

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Seraphina is about to be crowned heir to the mermaid throne, when suddenly both of her parents are killed in an attack on her city. Sera goes on the run. Nightmares plague her and drive her and five other mermaids to try to stop an ancient evil that wants to destroy mermaid-kind. Seraphina must deal with a lot to save all and become the mermaid heir.

The Secrets of Tree Taylor by Dandi Daley Mackall

It’s the summer of 1963 and the summer before high school for Tree Taylor. She has set two goals for herself: to experience her first kiss and to write an article important enough to earn her a reporter’s spot on the school newspaper. When a shooting takes place at the Kinney place right next door, Tree sees it as an opportunity to hone her writing skills. But to begin, Tree has to unearth the facts of the so-called “accidental shooting.” Everyone she interviews, including her dad, the local doctor, stonewalls her efforts to get to the truth.

West of the Moon by Margi Preus

After Astri’s mother dies, her father decides to leave Norway to seek his fortune in America.  He sends Astri and her sister Greta to live with their aunt and uncle. Her aunt sells Astri to a mean goat herder who abuses hardworking Astri until she runs away. Astri returns to her aunt and uncle’s house to get Greta so they can follow their father. They travel to the coast and find a boat bound for America. Astri pays for her passage and Greta stows away. The voyage in steerage is treacherous with rough seas and disease.

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