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  • 1001 Cranes

    By: Naomi Hirahara
    Recommended for grade(s): 5, 6, 7

    WHEN 12-YEAR-OLD ANGELA Kato arrives in L.A., the last thing she wants to do is spend the entire summer with her grandparents. But in the Kato family, one is never permitted to complain. Grandma Michi and Aunt Janet put Angela to work in their flower shop, folding origami and creating 1001 crane displays for newlyweds. At first, Angela learns the trade begrudgingly. But when her folding skills improve and her relationships with family and friends grow, Angela is able to cope with her troubles, especially her parents’ impending divorce. –From Yearling

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  • 27 Magic Words

    By: Sharelle Byars Moranville
    Recommended for grade(s): 4, 5

    An irrepressible ten-year-old must reconcile her fantasies with reality in this beautifully written novel about facing the future. Although eleven-year-old Kobi’s parents sailed into a storm at sea five years ago, she knows they are alive. If she says “Avanti!” she can see them. Now that her wealthy Parisian Grandmama is sending Kobi and her sister away to live with Uncle Wim in Iowa, she will need the magic words her mother left her more than ever. To fit in at her new American school , Kobi tells lies that soon catch up with her, and leans heavily on her magic. In a heart-wrenching climax, she must confront not only the untruths she has told others but the stories she has made herself believe. Only then will she be able to grieve for her parents and move on with her life. –From Holiday House

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  • A Ballad of the Civil War

    By: Mary Stolz
    Recommended for grade(s): 4, 5

    Tom Rigby didn’t think that anything could ever come between him and his twin, Jack. But things begin to change when Tom learns that they are not allowed to play with their friend Aaron anymore because he’s a slave. Tom is upset, but Jack doesn’t seem to care. All Jack cares about is playing soldier. Eleven years later, when war breaks out, Jack joins the Confederation army. But Tom can’t bring himself to fight for a cause he doesn’t believe in—slavery. So Tom rides north to —from the HarperCollins website

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 5

    Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival. Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake. Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet. And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong? Debut author Anna Meriano brings us the first book in a delightful new series filled to the brim with amor, azúcar, y magia. — From HarperCollins

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  • A Day for Vincent Chin and Me

    By: Jacqueline Turner Banks
    Recommended for grade(s): 4

    Sixth-graders Tommy, Angela, Faye, and the twins, Judge and Jury Jenkins, have been friends forever. Now they’re faced with new problems and need to find new solutions to them—even if it means breaking the law. How can they help prevent an inevitable accident on Tommy’s street, other than by trying to stop cars from speeding past Tommy’s young, deaf neighbor? Not only must the Posse mastermind a plan, but Tommy must confront his doubts about his mother’s participation in a rally to fight racism. The last thing Tommy wants is to be singled out as a Japanese American, so why does his mother insist on drawing attention to his family? – from the Scholastic website

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 4

    WARNING: DO NOT BELIEVE THE STORY YOU’RE ABOUT TO READ. Well, you can believe some of it. There is some real history. But also hijinks. Time travel. And famous figures setting off on adventures that definitely never happened—till now. Time is getting twisted, and it’s up to two kids to straighten things out. Abraham Lincoln may have returned to history books, but other historical figures saw what he did—and now they know they can escape from their times, too. When Abigail Adams decides there’s more to life than doing chores in the White House, she joins a crew of Caribbean pirates! Can siblings Abby and Doc set history straight? Or will they be the ones who need to be rescued? Abigail Adams, Pirate of the Caribbean, is a chapter book in the Time Twisters series by award-winning author Steve Sheinkin about what happens when a famous First Lady tires of life in the White House. Also check out Abraham Lincoln, Pro Wrestler! This title has Common Core Connections. — From Roaring Brook Press

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  • Aces Wild

    By: Erica S. Perl
    Recommended for grade(s): 4, 5

    Zelly Fried has finally convinced her parents to let her get a dog, with the help of her grandfather Ace. Unfortunately, said dog (also named Ace) is a shoe-chewing, mud-tracking, floor-peeing kind of dog. Despite Zelly’s best efforts to drag Ace (literally!) to puppy kindergarten, his flunking report card says it all: “This Ace is wild.” Also wild is the other Ace in Zelly’s life. Grandpa Ace has decided to begin dating again and is dining and dancing every night, against his doctor’s orders. Determined to get both Aces under control, Zelly enlists the help of her two best friends, Allison and Jeremy (despite the fact that they don’t quite see eye to eye). They need to come up with a plan, fast. But how? It’s not like either Ace ever does what he’s told. —from the website at Penguin Random House

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 4

    Addy Walker is a proud, courageous girl growing up in 1864, during the midst of the Civil War. Addy’s stories tell of her daring escape with her mother from slavery, and the challenges they face afterward as they try to reunite their family. But Addy’s stories are about much more than hardship. They are full of the love and hope that help her get through the worst of times and keep her dreams alive!Addy starts her new life in Philadelphia. At school for the first time, she learns about reading and writing — and more. After arriving in Philadelphia, Addy Walker and her mother set out to build new lives for themselves, with Addy attending school for the first time and making new friends.   -From Pleasant Co

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  • After Tupac And D Foster

    By: Jacqueline Woodson
    Recommended for grade(s): 5, 6

    The day D Foster enters Neeka and her best friend’s lives, the world opens up for them. Suddenly they’re keenly aware of things beyond their block in Queens, things that are happening in the world—like the shooting of Tupac Shakur—and in search of their Big Purpose in life. When—all too soon—D’s mom swoops in to reclaim her, and Tupac dies, they are left with a sense of how quickly things can change and how even all-too-brief connections can touch deeply. A Newbery Honor Book. —from the website at Penguin Random House

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  • Ahimsa

    By: Supriya Kelkar
    Recommended for grade(s): 5, 6

    In this historical middle-grade novel, Gandhi asks for one member of each family to join the fight for independence from the British, and when Anjali’s mother is jailed for doing so, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother’s work.  –From Tu Books

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 5

    Moose Flanagan’s father is the assistant warden of Alcatraz–the roughest hard-time prison in America–so he and his family live on the island. It’s the summer before high school, and he is desperate to get on the baseball team. The problem? The captain will only let Moose and his best friend on if they get him something from Alcatraz–something impossible. Meanwhile, Moose must keep an eye on his fragile older sister, Natalie, as well as the warden’s two-faced, danger-loving daughter, Piper, who has a crush on him. He must learn to stand up to people- His parents. The warden. Piper. Even the most dangerous criminal in the country–Al Capone. And then Moose gets the pitch of a lifetime and delivers a hit no one on Alcatraz will ever forget. Don’t miss the rest of the Tales from Alcatraz series! Al Capone Does My Shirts Al Capone Shines My Shoes Al Capone Does My Homework — From Yearling

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 4

    To heartwarming cheer, Alan Cole came out to his school. But now what? In this follow-up novel to Alan Cole Is Not a Coward, Eric Bell deftly explores with nuance and humor how the first step to complete self-acceptance may mean actually putting your feet on the dance floor. This laugh-out-loud and poignant tale is perfect for fans of Gary Schmidt and Jerry Spinelli. Alan Cole has a problem: Ron McCaughlin. Ever since Alan revealed he’s gay, Ron has been bullying Alan with relentless fury. Alan can’t tell his parents why he’s really coming home with bruises—because they still don’t know the truth about him. Yet buoyed by the support of his classmates and with his friends Zack and Madison by his side, Alan thinks he can withstand the bullying and—just maybe—break through to Ron. But all things come to a head when Alan’s father asks that he take June Harrison to the upcoming Winter Dance. Never mind that Alan has two left feet, does not like girls, and might be developing feelings for a new boy at school. This resounding tale about friendship, family, and the many meanings of bravery will leave readers rooting for Alan and his gang of proud misfits once more. — From HarperCollins

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 5

    Perfect for fans of Tim Federle and Gary Schmidt, this is a hilarious and poignant tale about the trials of middle school when you’re coming of age—and coming out. Alan Cole can’t stand up to his cruel brother, Nathan. He can’t escape the wrath of his demanding father, who thinks he’s about as exceptional as a goldfish. And—scariest of all—he can’t let the cute boy across the cafeteria know he has a crush on him. But when Nathan discovers Alan’s secret, his older brother announces a high-stakes round of Cole vs. Cole. Each brother must complete seven nearly impossible tasks; whoever finishes the most wins the game. If Alan doesn’t want to be outed to all of Evergreen Middle School, he’s got to become the most well-known kid in school, get his first kiss, and stand up to Dad. Alan’s determined to prove—to Nathan, to the world, to himself—that this goldfish can learn to swim. May the best Cole win. — From HarperCollins

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 5

    There are two sides to every story. Dan is angry. Nothing has been the same since his big brother left, and he’s taking it out on the nearest and weakest target: Alex. Alex is struggling. His severe OCD makes it hard for him to leave the house, especially when Dan and his gang are waiting for him at school . . . Then the boys’ mums arrange for them to meet up and finish building the raft that Dan started with his brother. Two enemies stuck together for the whole of the school holidays – what could possibly go wrong? — From Simon and Schuster

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  • All’s Faire in Middle School

    By: Victoria Jamieson
    Recommended for grade(s): 4, 5

    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 mindÑshe’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. A Charlotte Huck Recommended Book, 2018.  –From the website at Penguin Random House

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  • Almost Paradise: A Novel

    By: Corabel Shofner
    Recommended for grade(s): 5

    Twelve-year-old Ruby Clyde Henderson’s life suddenly changes the day her mother’s boyfriend holds up a convenience store and her mother is wrongly imprisoned for assisting with the crime. Ruby and her pet pig, Bunny, terrified and very much alone, find their way to her estranged Aunt Eleanor’s home. Aunt Eleanor is a nun who lives on a peach orchard called Paradise and has turned away from their family long ago. Ruby Clyde believes that she’s the only one who can find a way to help heal old wounds to save her mother and bring her family back together again. But in the end, she learns that being in a family means that everyone has to work together to support each other. — From Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)

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  • Amalee

    By: Dar Williams
    Recommended for grade(s): 5, 6

    Amalee’s world is all out of order. She’s used to chaos, because of the frequent presence of her father’s bantering, bickering group of fun friends. But when Amalee’s dad becomes seriously ill, the chaos takes new forms — and the ways of coping come from some very unexpected places. With clear-eyed, tender, funny prose, Dar Williams gives us a child’s eye view of a world under pressure, with everyone rising to the occasion in his or her own unique way. Both moving and wise, this marks the debut of a major middle-grade talent. –From Scholastic

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 4

    To Anastasia Krupnik, being ten is very confusing. For one thing, she has this awful teacher who can’t understand why Anastasia doesn’t capitalize or punctuate her poems. Then, there’s Washburn Cummings, a very interesting sixth-grade boy who doesn’t even know she is alive. Even her parents have become difficult. They insist she visit her 92-year-old grandmother who can never remember Anastasia’s name. On top of that, they’re going to have a baby — at their age! It’s enough to make a kid want to do something terrible. Anastasia knows that if she didn’t have her secret green notebook to write in, she would never make it to her eleventh birthday. —from the website at Penguin Random House

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  • Anya and the Dragon

    By: Sofiya Pasternack
    Recommended for grade(s): 5, 6, 7

    Anya and the Dragon is the story of fantasy and mayhem in tenth century Eastern Europe, where headstrong eleven-year-old Anya is a daughter of the only Jewish family in her village. When her family’s livelihood is threatened by a bigoted magistrate, Anya is lured in by a friendly family of fools, who promise her money in exchange for helping them capture the last dragon in Kievan Rus. This seems easy enough, until she finds out that the scary old dragon isn’t as old—or as scary—as everyone thought. Now Anya is faced with a choice: save the dragon, or save her family.  –From Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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  • Anything But Typical

    By: Nora Raleigh Baskin
    Recommended for grade(s): 4

    Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does. Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to meet her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is. By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy’s struggles-and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in. Winner of Schneider Family Book Award, 2010. — From Simon and Schuster

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 4, 5

    George and Harold won’t be able to participate in this year’s science fair. That’s because they glued Principal Krupp to his chair at last year’s science fair. But that won’t stop them from messing with the science projects. So the electric dog washer shoots out black ink, the model volcano blows out butterscotch pudding, and the boys end up in detention. With time to kill, they create a new Captain Underpants episode, this one with attacking toilets. But when the school science genius turns the cartoon into reality, it’s time for Mr. Krupp to transform into everyone’s favorite underwear-wearing superhero! —from the Scholastic website

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  • Ava and Pip

    By: Carol Weston
    Recommended for grade(s): 4, 5

    Meet outgoing Ava Wren, a fun fifth grader who tries not to lose patience with her shy big sister. When Pip’s 13th birthday party turns into a disaster, Ava gets a story idea for a library contest. But uh-oh, Ava should never have written “Sting of the Queen Bee.” Can Ava and her new friend help Pip come out of her shell? And can Ava get out of the mess she has made? —From Sourcebooks

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  • Baby

    By: Patricia MacLachlan
    Recommended for grade(s): 4, 5

    Larkin’s family welcomes Sophie into their home, caring for her and teaching her games and new words. They come to love this baby as their own, all the while knowing that eventually Sophie’s mother will return one day to take her from them. —from the website at Penguin Random House

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  • Bat and the Waiting Game

    By: Elana K. Arnold
    Recommended for grade(s): 5

    In the tradition of Clementine and Ramona Quimby, meet Bat. Author Elana K. Arnold returns with another irresistible story of friendship in this widely acclaimed series starring an unforgettable boy on the autism spectrum. For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life is pretty great. He’s the caretaker of the best baby skunk in the world—even Janie, his older sister, is warming up to Thor. When Janie gets a part in the school play and can’t watch Bat after school, it means some pretty big changes. Someone else has to take care of the skunk kit in the afternoons, Janie is having sleepovers with her new friends, and Bat wants everything to go back to normal. He just has to make it to the night of Janie’s performance. . . . — From HarperCollins

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  • Because of Winn Dixie

    By: Kate DiCamillo
    Recommended for grade(s): 4

    One summer’s day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries – and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie. Featuring a new cover illustration by E. B. Lewis. A Newbery Honor Book. –From Candlewick

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  • Black Brother, Black Brother

    By: Jewell Parker Rhodes
    Recommended for grade(s): 5

    Framed. Bullied. Disliked. But I know I can still be the best. Sometimes, 12-year-old Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, most of the students don’t look like him. They don’t like him either. Dubbing him “Black Brother,” Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter-skinned brother, Trey. When he’s bullied and framed by the captain of the fencing team, “King” Alan, he’s suspended from school and arrested for something he didn’t do. Terrified, searching for a place where he belongs, Donte joins a local youth center and meets former Olympic fencer Arden Jones. With Arden’s help, he begins training as a competitive fencer, setting his sights on taking down the fencing team captain, no matter what. As Donte hones his fencing skills and grows closer to achieving his goal, he learns the fight for justice is far from over. Now Donte must confront his bullies, racism, and the corrupt systems of power that led to his arrest. Powerful and emotionally gripping, Black Brother, Black Brother is a careful examination of the school-to-prison pipeline and follows one boy’s fight against racism and his empowering path to finding his voice.  –From Little, Brown

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  • Black Radishes

    By: Susan Lynn Meyer
    Recommended for grade(s): 5

    Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner Black Radishes is a suspenseful WWII/Holocaust story, in which one boy learns what it means to be Jewish and French at a time when everything is changing. It is March of 1940. The French believe that their army can protect them from Nazi Germany. But is Paris a safe place for Jews? Gustave’s parents don’t think so. Forced to leave behind his best friend, the mischievous Marcel, and his cousin Jean-Paul, Gustave moves with his mother and father to Saint-Georges, a small village in the countryside. During April and May, Nazi Germany invades one country after another. In June, the French army is defeated, and Paris is occupied. Saint-Georges is still part of the free zone, but the situation there is becoming increasingly precarious. Then Gustave meets Nicole, a Catholic girl who works for the French Resistance. Along with her father, Nicole tries to find a way to smuggle Jean-Paul, Marcel, and their families into Free France so that they can all escape to America. It is Gustave, however, who comes up with a plan that just might work. But going into Occupied France is a risky thing to do when you are Jewish. Inspired by her father’s experiences as a Jewish child living in France during World War II, Susan Lynn Meyer tells the story of a family’s day-to-day struggles in a country that may not be able to keep its promise of “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.” And don’t miss Skating with the Statue of Liberty, the gripping and poignant companion to Black Radishes, which follows Gustave as he embarks on new adventures in New...

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  • Blended

    By: Sharon M. Draper
    Recommended for grade(s): 5

    Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves. Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole? It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the pol...

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  • Bob

    By: Wendy Mass, Rebecca Stead
    Recommended for grade(s): 5

    It’s been five years since Livy and her family have visited Livy’s grandmother in Australia. Now that she’s back, Livy has the feeling she’s forgotten something really, really important about Gran’s house. It turns out she’s right. Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit, didn’t forget Livy, or her promise. He’s been waiting five years for her to come back, hiding in a closet like she told him to. He can’t remember who—or what—he is, where he came from, or if he even has a family. But five years ago Livy promised she would help him find his way back home. Now it’s time to keep that promise. Clue by clue, Livy and Bob will unravel the mystery of where Bob comes from, and discover the kind of magic that lasts forever. Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, two masterminds of classic, middle-grade fiction come together to craft this magical story about the enduring power of friendship. — From Feiwel & Friends

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  • Bronze and Sunflower

    By: Cao Wenxuan
    Recommended for grade(s): 4, 5

    A beautifully written, timeless tale by Cao Wenxuan, best-selling Chinese author and 2016 recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award. Sunflower is an only child, and when her father is sent to the rural Cadre School, she has to go with him. Her father is an established artist from the city and finds his new life of physical labor and endless meetings exhausting. Sunflower is lonely and longs to play with the local children in the village across the river. When her father tragically drowns, Sunflower is taken in by the poorest family in the village, a family with a son named Bronze. Until Sunflower joins his family, Bronze was an only child, too, and hasn’t spoken a word since he was traumatized by a terrible fire. Bronze and Sunflower become inseparable, understanding each other as only the closest friends can. Translated from Mandarin, the story meanders gracefully through the challenges that face the family, creating a timeless story of the trials of poverty and the power of love and loyalty to overcome hardship. — From Candlewick Press

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  • Caleb and Kit

    By: Beth Vrabel
    Recommended for grade(s): 5

    From award-winning author Beth Vrabel comes a powerfully moving story about a magical friendship, coping with disability, and the pains of growing up and growing apart. Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit–a vibrant, independent, and free girl–and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him–or her. — From Running Press

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  • Calico Captive

    By: Elizabeth George Speare
    Recommended for grade(s): 4, 5

    In the year 1754, the stillness of Charlestown, New Hampshire, is shattered by the terrifying cries of an Indian raid. Young Miriam Willard, on a day that had promised new happiness, finds herself instead a captive on a forest trail, caught up in the ebb and flow of the French and Indian War. Miriam and her companions finally reach Montreal, a city of shifting loyalties filled with the intrigue of war, and here, by a sudden twist of fortune, Miriam meets the prominent Du Quesne family, who introduce her to a life she has never imagined. Based on an actual narrative diary published in 1807, Calico Captive skillfully reenacts an absorbing facet of history. —from the website at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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9 pages