Easy to pick up and hard to put down, these middle grade verse novels are great for reluctant readers because there are fewer words on each page, and avid readers who enjoy complex, emotional stories. The books on this list would be rated G or PG if they were movies. Please note that some of the Australian titles may be hard to find in bookstores here in the states.
Booked - Kwame Alexander 2016
Twelve-year-old soccer player Nick deals with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams.
The Crossover - Kwame Alexander 2014
Josh and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court and can bust some serious rhymes. When misunderstandings and a girl come between them, only tradgedy can bring them back together. Newbery Medal Winner and Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner.
Bully on the Bus - Kathryn Apel 2015
AUSTRALIAN - When the bully on the bus taunts seven-year-old Leroy he turns to The Big Bad Book of Fairytales.
On Track - Kathryn Apel, June 2015
AUSTRALIAN - more to come
Home of the Brave - Katherine Applegate 2008
Kek, a Sudanese refugee, has moved to Minnesota to live with his aunt and cousin. Laugh and cry with Kek as he learns English and new ways of doing things. (For readers ages 9-12)
Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters – Jeannine Atkins, 2012
HISTORICAL - The stories of three extraordinary women and their daughters.
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science – Jeannine Atkins, 2016
HISTORICAL - The stories of Maria Merian who discovered the truth about butterflies and metamorphosis, Mary Anning who discovered fossils and changed what people thought of the earth's history, and Maria Mitchell who discovered a new comet.
Little Dog, Lost - Marion Dane Bauer 2012
Mark is a boy who needs a dog. Buddy is a dog that needs a boy. Mr. LaRue is a neighbor who needs a community.
Little Cat's Luck - Marion Dane Bauer 2016
Patches, an indoor cat, spots an autumn leaf floating down outside her window and goes to investigate.
Unbound - Ann E. Burg 2016
HISTORICAL - Grace and her family flee slavery and seek sanctuary in the Great Dismal Swamp.
Caminar – Skila Brown 2014
It's 1981 and Guatamala is in the midst of civil war. Word of rebel fighters has come to Carlos's Village, forcing him to flee.
Hugging the Rock - Susan Taylor Brown 2004
Rachel watches her family fall apart under the pressures caused by her mother's mental illness. When her father regains his footing, he takes an active role in helping Rachel put the pieces back together again. (For readers in grades 5 to 8.)
Pieces of Georgia - Jen Bryant 2005
Thirteen year-old Georgia writes in her journal to deal with the death of her mother and her love of art. (For readers in grades 6 to 9.)
Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial - Jen Bryant 2008
HISTOICAL - In 1925, in Dayton Tennessee, J.T. Scopes, a science teacher is arrested for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. (For readers in grades 6 to 9.)
The Trial - Jen Bryant 2004
HISTORICAL - Twelve-year-old Katie Leigh witnesses the famous 1930's trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the man arrested for kidnapping the Lindbergh's baby.
Serafina's Promise - Ann Burg, 2013
Serafina wants to go to school and become a doctor, but life in Haiti is plagued by natural disasters. (Readers ages 10-14)
All The Broken Pieces - Ann Burg 2009
Although a caring family in America has adopted 12-year old Matt Pin, he can't forget the terrible thing he lived through during the war in Vietnam. (Readers ages 9-12)
Eva of the Farm - Dia Calhoun and illustrated by Kate Slater, 2012
Twelve-year-old Eva DeHart knows her family’s farm is the most magical place in the whole world, but when blight stikes the orchard and the bank forcloses on the farm, Eva must save it.
Sweetgrass Basket - Marlene Carvell 2005
HISTORICAL - Two Mohawk sisters, Mattie and Sarah, are sent away to the Carlisle Indian School near the turn of the 20th century.
This Journal Belongs to Ratchet - Nancy Cavanaugh 2013
Homeschooled Ratchet wishes she could be a normal girl with a friend instead of helping her tree-hugging dad fix cars. A mix of poems and essays.
Brushing Mom's Hair - Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Nicole Wong, 2009
Ann is fourteen when her mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. She dances and writes poetry and finds her way.
Shanghai Messenger - Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Ed Young, 2005
Eleven-year old Xiao Mei travels from Ohio to visit her extended family in Shanghai.
Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet - Andrea Cheng 2013
HISTORICAL, BIOGRAPHY - In South Carolina in the 1800's, Dave created jugs and jars on the potter's wheel. He also learned to read and write, even though laws prohibited it. Dave began to sign his work and carve short poems into his jars.
Where the Steps Were - written and illustrated by Andrea Cheng 2008
The third-graders in Mrs. D's class record their year at Pleasant Hill school—their last because the school will be torn down.
Frenchtown Summer - Robert Cornier 2001, Illustrated by David Krovitan
HISTORICAL - Set in 1944 in a French-Canadian town, 13-year-old Eugene hides a terrible secret about his uncle and a girl's murder. (Ages 11 and up.)
Farm Kid - Sherryl Clark 2005
AUSTRALIAN - Life on the family farm is the only life Zack knows—blue skies, cows, hay and the creek. But the drought could change everything. Won the 2005 New South Wales Premier's Literary Award - Patricia Wrightson Prize.
Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!) - Sherryl Clark 2007
AUSTRALIAN - All the grade 6 girls want to be super stylish--except Dawn. Problem is, Dawn doesn't what she wants, except for things to stay the same.
Motormouth - Sherryl Clark 2010
AUSTRALIAN - Chris has lost his best friend Dave. The new kid, Josh, is the envy of the class because of his racecar driving father. But Chris soon discovers that Josh is all talk.
Heartbeat - Sharon Creech 2004
Annie, 12, takes great pleasure in running. Max runs to escape his personal problems. Annie's learns that her mother is pregnant and her beloved Grandpa is slipping into dementia. (For readers in grades 4 to 7.)
Love That Dog - Sharon Creech 2004
Jack discovers poetry, a pastime for girls, and grieves his beloved dog. (For readers ages 8 to 12.)
Hate That Cat - Sharon Creech 2008
More poems by Jack. (For readers ages 8 to 12.)
Moo - Sharon Creech 2016
Twelve-year-old Reena moves to rural Maine and meets Zora, a stubborn cow.
The Weight of Water - Sarah Crossan 2012
Twelve-year-old Kasienka immigrates from Poland to London and finds her estranged father.
Somewhere Among - Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu 2016
Eleven-year-old Ema has always summers in California for as long as she can remember, but this year she and her mother are staying with her grandparents in Japan as they await the arrival of Ema’s baby sibling. (Grades 4 -7)
Under the Mambo Moon - Julia Durango 2011
HISTORICAL - Sway, salsa, and samba with Marisol as she helps at her papi's music store. (Grades 4 and up.)
Forest World - Margarita Engle 2017
Edver is shipped off to Cuba to visit his father now that travel to the island is possible. Edver anticipates a long, boring summer ahead, but doesn't expect to meet Luza, his sister.
Lion Island, Cuba's Warrior of Words - Margarita Engle 2016
HISTORICAL - Antonio Chuffat, a young man of African, Chinese, and Cuban descent becomes a champion of civil rights.
Mountain Dog - Margarita Engle 2013
When Tony’s mother is sent to jail, he must stay with a great uncle he has never met and a search-and-rescue dog named Gabe.
The Wild Book - Margarita Engle 2012
Fefa struggles with reading, but when her mother gives her a book with no words in it, Fefa grows her own garden of words. (Fifth grade and up.)
The Surrender Tree - Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom - Margarita Engle 2008
HISTORICAL - Following Rosa's life from 1850 to 1899, this award-winning book tells of the struggles for Cuban independence. (For readers ages 9 and up.)
Tropical Secrets - Holocaust Refugees in Cuba - Margarita Engle 2009
HISTORICAL - A complex tale narrated by a 13-year old Jewish Refugee, Daniel, and 12-year old Paloma, a Cuban girl whose father is the worst kind of criminal. (For readers ages 9 to 12.)
Moon Over Tennessee: A Boy's Civil War Journey - Craig Crist-Evans 1999
HISTORICAL - A boy's journey into war. (Grades 4 and up.)
North of Everything - Craig Crist-Evans 2004
The unnamed boy moves from Florida to Vermont, where he gains a baby sister and loses his father to cancer. (For ages 9-12.)
Scout - Christine Ford 2007
Cecelia and Redbud, both 11, are best friends who enjoy exploring the nature preserve because it takes their minds off an abusive father and a mother's recent death. (For grades 5-7.)
When My Sister Started Kissing - Hellen Frost 2017
Claire's family is spending the summer at the lake house like they usually do, but her sister is off chasing boys and her stepmom is expecting a baby.
Applesauce Weather - Hellen Frost, ilustrated by Amy June Bates 2016
The first year without Aunt Lucy, and Uncle Arthur has lost the twinkle in his eye. But Faith might be able to get him to tell stories again.
Salt - Hellen Frost 2013
HISTORICAL - Anikwa and James, twelve years old in 1812, spend their days fishing, trapping, and exploring Indiana Territory on the brink of war.
The Braid - Hellen Frost 2006
HISTORICAL - Evicted from the Western Isles of Scotland in 1850, sisters are torn apart. Jeannie moves to Canada with her parents while Sarah hides so she can stay behind with Grandma. Before they separate, the sisters braid their hair together and cut it off -- each keeping half. (Grades 7 and up.)
Spinning Through the Universe - Hellen Frost 2004
Poems from a 5th grade classroom. There is also a section on poetic forms in the back. (For readers also in 5th grade.)
Diamond Willow - Hellen Frost 2008
Growing up in modern-day Alaska, 12-year old Willow loves her sled dogs. On her way to her Althabascan grandparent's home, she stumbles on adventure and old family secrets. Poems are written in diamond shapes and messages are found within the bold words. (For ages 9 to 12.)
Hidden – Helen Frost 2011
Darra's father steals a minivan, not knowing that eight-year-old Wren is hiding in the back. The days that follow change the lives of both girls. Years later, the girls meet at camp.
Libertad - Alma Fullerton 2008
When Libertad's mother is killed in an accident at the Guatemalan city dump where the family picks trash, Libertad and his little brother make the trip to the United States to find their father. (For ages 9 to 12.)
Rootbeer Candy and Other Miracles - Shari Green 2016
Eleven-year-old Bailey longs for miracles. She and her brother are spending a month on an island with their grandmother where Bailey meets Daniel, a boy with cystic fibrosis, and thinks about things she can and cannot change.
Macy McMillian and the Rainbow Goddess - Shari Green 2017
The end of sixth grade is coming soon, and Macy's life will change forever. Her house is for sale. Her mother is getting remarried. She is getting twin stepsisters. And she is an elderly neighbor move.
Planet Middle School - Nikki Grimes 2011
Twelve-year old Joy loves playing basketball with the boys, but Jake is suddenly acting weird and her other best friend is has taken up flirting. Then there is Santiago. How far will Joy go to get him to notice her?
Garvey's Choice - Nikki Grimes 2016
Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. He is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes.
Words With Wings - Nikki Grimes 2013
Gabby is a daydreamer, and words let her imagination soar. (For ages 8-12.)
What is Goodbye? - Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Raul Colon 2004
Jerilyn and Jesse grieve the death of their older brother. (For ages 8-12.)
Hold Me Tight - Lorie Ann Grover 2005
Essie is only 12 but she has a lot to deal with: a pregnant mom, a leaving father, and a kidnapped classmate. (For grades 5 and up.)
Loose Threads - Lorie Ann Grover 2002
Seventh-grader, Kay, is by her grandmother's side as she battles breast cancer. (For ages 9-12.)
On Pointe - Lorie Ann Grover 2004
Claire has a love for ballet and dreams of becoming part of the City Ballet Company when she is confronted with a family crisis. (For ages 9 to 12.)
Catching a Storyfish - Janice N. Harrington 2016
Keet has moved from Alabama to Illinois where she must find a new friend and her voice.
Grow - Juanita Havill 2008
Berneetha and Kate plant a community garden, but the lot is slated to become a parking garage. (For readers up to age 12.)
Downtown Boy - Juan Felipe Herrera 2005
HISTORICAL - Juanito follows his migrant-worker parents from town to town in 1950's California, often getting into trouble with his cousins and friends along the way. Great mix of English and Spanish--I know I would have loved using the Spanish I learned in class if I had read this book in middle school. (For grades 5 to 8.)
Catching a Storyfish - Janice N. Harrington 2016
When Keet starts school in a new town, it’s even worse than she expected, as the kids tease her about her southern accent.
Do-Wrong Ron - Steven Herrick, illustrated by Caroline Magerl 2003
AUSTRALIAN - Looking for a funny novel in verse? Ron always says or does the wrong thing, but his heart is in the right place. Set in Australia. (For readers under 12.)
Naked Bunyip Dancing - Steven Herrick, illustrated by Beth Norling 2008
AUSTRALIAN - Another funny book from Herrick. The students in Mr. Carey's class learn what they are good at--Jason at kissing, Anna at yoga, and Peter at making his bottom talk. (For readers ages 9-12.)
Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend - Steven Herrick 2012
AUSTRALIAN - The students in 6A keep Constable Dawe on his toes while learning the value of friendship.
Aleutian Sparrow - Karen Hesse 2005, illustrated by Evon Zerbetz
In 1942, Japanese forces attacked the Aleutian Islands. Within days, the natives were moved to relocation centers in Alaska where they endured illness and death. Vera survives to return home in April of 1945. (Grades 6 and up.)
Out of the Dust - Karen Hesse 1997
HISTORICAL - Set in 1934 in Oklahoma, you are transported into 14-year-old Billie Jo's tragic life amid the dust storms. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1998, Scott O'Dell Award, an ALA Notable Children's Book, an ALA "Best book for young adults", a School Library Journal "best book of the year", a Booklist "Editors' Choice" award, and more. (For 5th grade and up.)
Witness - Karen Hesse 1997
HISTORICAL - When the Ku Klux Klan moves into a quiet town in 1924 Vermont, everyone has something to say about it. (For readers 9 to 12.)
Full Cicada Moon - Marilyn Hilton 2015
HISTORICAL - Half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moves to Vermont in 1969 and dreams of becoming an astronaut. (For readers 8 to 12.)
Brains for Lunch, A Zombie Novel in Haiku - K.A. Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson, 2010
Loeb, a zombie in middle school, has a crush on Sibohan, a human. Things get interesting when the librarian encourages Loeb to read his poetry on open mike night.
Rhyme Schemer - K.A. Holt, 2014
Kevin has a real knack for rubbing people the wrong way—and he’s even figured out a secret way to do it with poems. But what happens when the tables are turned and he is the one getting picked on?
House Arrest - K.A. Holt, 2015
After getting in trouble, Timothy navigates life with a sick brother, a grieving mother, and one tough probation officer.
Addie on the Inside - James Howe, 2011
This novel is a companion to The Misfits and Totally Joe (so read them first) then read Addie’s poems from seventh grade as she struggles to find out who she really is and who she is going to become.
Soul Moon Soup - Lindsay Lee Johnson 1998
When 11-year-old Phoebe Rose's father leaves, she and her mother are homeless. (For readers 9 to 12.)
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup - Ron Koertge 2006
Baseball star, fourteen-year-old Kevin is forced to stay home sick with mono. He finds challenges in his father's book of poetry. Great examples of traditional poetic forms. (For readers grades 6-9.)
Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs - Ron Koertge 2010
More of Kevin's story. (For readers grades 6-9.)
To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful - Shane Koyczan 2014
Illustrated by 30 artists from around the world, this is the book version of Koyczan's passionate anti-bullying poem. (For readers grades 6 and up).
Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai 2011
Ten-year-old Ha and her family are refugees from Vietnam during the war when they move to Alabama. (For readers ages 9-12.)
Stay- Katherine Lawernce 2017
Millie is eleven when her dad is diagnosed with cancer and moves out of the house. And her mom already has a boyfriend. The Year of Goodbyes: A True Story of Friendship, Family and Farewells - Debbie Levy 2011
HISTORICAL - Jutta is only twelve in 1938 when her loved ones scatter in the wind on the brink of the second World War.
Up From The Sea - Leza Lowitz 2016
Kai loses nearly everyone and everything he cares about in the 2011 Tsumani. When he’s offered a trip to New York to meet kids whose lives were changed by 9/11, Kai looks for his estranged American father. (Ages 12 and up)
Laurie Tells - Linda Lowry 1994
An illustrated story about sexual abuse told with emotional punch. (For mature readers grades 5-8.)
The Voyage of the Arctic Tern - Hugh Montgomery 2002, illustrated by Nick Poulis
HISTORICAL - A spine-tingling tale of pirates, ghost ships and mystery. (Ages 9-12)
Odette’s Secrets – Maryann MacDonald 2013
HISTORICAL - Inspired by the real story of Odette Myers, a young Jewish girl living in Paris during the Nazis occupation. Her father enlists in the French army and her mother joins the Resistance, and Odette is sent to the countryside.
Star Jumps - Lorraine Marwood 2009
AUSTRALIAN - Ruby lives on a dairy farm, doing chores, and witnessing birth, death and sacrifice. The family are devastated when they have to sell off some of their herd, but Ruby helps the family.
Sister Heart - Sally Morgan 2016
AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL - A young Aboriginal girl from the Stolen Generation is taken from the north of Australia and sent to an institution far away.
Pearl Verses The World - Sally Murphy, illustrated by Heather Potter 2011
AUSTRALIAN - Pearl doesn't feel particularly rhymey when her grandmother passes away.
Roses are Blue - Sally Murphy 2014
AUSTRALIAN - Amber Rose and her family are dealing with tragedy, change and a new mum (mom).
Toppling - Sally Murphy, illustrated by Rhian Nest James 2012
AUSTRALIAN - John loves the sound of dominoes toppling over, but when his friend, Dom, gets sick and ends up in the hospital, it feels like more than just dominoes are falling over.
Dust of Eden – Mariko Nagai 2014
In 1942, Mina and her Japanese-American family are sent to an internment camp in Idaho.
American Ace - Marylin Nelson 2016
Connor finds out that the man who raised his Dad was not his birth father, and the only clues to the man's identity are a class ring and a pair of pilot’s wings.
Carver, A Life in Poems - Marilyn Nelson 2001, with photographs
BIOGRAPHY/HISTORICAL - The life of George Washington Carver (1864-1943) educator and botanist. A Coretta Scott King Book Award winner.
Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem - Marylin Nelson 2004
NONFICTION – Poetry and historical documents about a slave named Fortune and his skeleton that was kept by his Master.
The Crazy Man - Pamela Porter 2005
Emaline, 12, is maimed in a freak farm accident. Her father shoots the dog and storms off and doesn't return. Her mother, in need of help around the farm, takes in Angus, a gentle giant from the mental hospital.
The Red Pencil - Andrea Davis Pinkney 2015
After losing nearly everything in her village in Sudan, Amira walks to the safety of a refugee camp. (Ages 9 - 12)
The Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds 2017
The second book in a series after Ghost, Petenia is eleven and holds her whole family together, cooking and taking care of the house in this story about gang retaliation. The whole book takes place in about a minute on an elevator.
May B. - Caroline Starr Rose 2012
HISTORICAL - Twelve-year-old May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead, fifteen miles from home. May gets trapped all alone by a blizzard without any way to let her family know and no neighbors to turn to.
Blue Birds - Caroline Starr Rose 2015
HISTORICAL - It's 1587 on Roanoke island in the New World, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two don’t even speak the same language, they form a special bond.
Running with Trains - Michael J. Rosen 2012
HISTORICAL - It's 1969 and Perry is frequent passenger on the train that crosses Steve's family farm. The two meet in an incident that will change both of them forever.
Looking for Me - Betsy R. Rosenthal 2012
HISTORICAL - One of twelve children, Edith struggles to find her identity.
Serendipity and Me – Judith Roth 2013
Middle schooler, Sara, adopts a kitten to help her family heal from a devastating loss.
Yellow Star - Jennifer Roy 2006
HISTORICAL NON-FICITON - Twelve children survived the Lodz Ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland. Sylvia was one of them. This is her true story as she told it to her niece. (For readers 11 and older.)
God Went to Beauty School - Cynthia Rylant
Rylant's collection of poems isn't really a novel, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. (Grades 4 to 8.)
Eddie's War - Carol Fisher Saller 2011
HISTORICAL - World War II suddenly feels much closer to Ellisville, Illinois when Eddie's big brother enlists.
Judy Scuppernog - Brenda Seabrook 1990
HISTORICAL - Three friends meet in 1950's Georgia. (Grades 5 -9.)
Under the Pear Tree - Brenda Seabrook 1997
HISTORICAL - The continued story of Stacy, Deanna and Lala in 1950's Georgia. (Grades 5 -9.)
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary - Laura Shovan 2016
With bulldozers parked outside Ms. Hill's classroom, students write poems to make their voices heard.
The Way the Door Closes - Hope Anita Smith, illustrated by Shane W. Evans 2003
Thirteen-year-old C.J. witnesses his father losing his job and walking out the door. A story of extended family and hard times. (Ages 9 to 12)
Keeping the Night Watch - Hope Anita Smith, illustrated by E. B. Lewis 2008
C.J.'s story continues. (Ages 9 to 12)
Red Butterfly - A.L. Sonnichsen illustrated by Amy June Bates 2015
Kara, a modern-day Chinese girl, is abandoned by her birth mother and taken in by an American woman. (Ages 8 to 12)
Fearless Fernie: Hanging Out with Fernie and Me - Garry Soto 2002
A story of friendship that begins at birth and continues through the trials of sixth grade. (For grades 4 to 6.)
World's Apart: Fernie and Me - Garry Soto 2005
Travel the world with Fernie and his friend. (For grades 4 to 6.)
Another Day as Emily - Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff 2014
Eleven-year-old Suzy sees a kindred spirit in Emily Dickinson, the subject of her summer project and emulates the poet's life of solitude.
Dancing Pancake - Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff 2011
Eleven-year old Bindy and her family--along with a cast of cousins and classmates--struggle through the recession with the support of the community that surrounds their new restaurant.
Summerhouse Time - Eileen Spinelli 2008
I loved this book! Great summer reading for readers 8-12. Laugh and cry as Sophie, her extended family, and her cat, Orange, rent a summerhouse on the beach for the month of August.
Where I Live - Eileen Spinelli 2007
Another one I just love! Diana loves where she lives, especially her best friend, Rose. But moving changes everything. (For readers 8-12.)
Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie - Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell 2012
Eleanor's favorite babysitter moves away and she has to face the summer without her.
Like Bug Juice on a Burger - Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell 2013
Eleanor is off to Camp Wallumwahpuck this summer.
Carrot Juice on a Cupcake - Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell 2014
Eleanor and her best friend, Pearl, have a new student in their class and Eleanor has a part in the school play.
The Lonely Ones - Kelsey Sutton 2016
Fain escapes from reality into a fantasy world she rules as Queen of monsterous creatures. (grades 6-9)
Forget Me Not - Ellie Terry, coming 2017
Calliope struggles to keep her Torrette Syndrome in check while she navigates new friendships.
Almost Forever - Maria Testa 2007
HISTORICAL - In 1967, a girl says goodbye to her father as he goes off to fight the Vietnam War. (For readers in grades 4 and up.)
Becoming Joe DiMaggio - Maria Testa 2005, Illustrated by Scott Hunt
HISTORICAL - Growing up listening to the triumphs of Joe DiMaggio on the radio (1940's and 1950's), Joseph Paul learns to dream. (Grades 4 to 7.)
Something About America - Maria Testa 2005
The 13-year old narrator comes to America to escape war in Kosovo where she was burned. (Grades 6 to 8.)
Falling into the Dragon's Mouth - Holly Thompson, illustrated by Matt Huynh, 2016
Jason is an American sixth grader living in Japan. Bullied by his classmates, he finds refuge in the practice of Aikido.
Girl Coming in for a Landing - April Halprin Wayland, illustrated by Elaine Clayton 2004
One of my favorites! Between fall and spring, the main character goes from an imaginary boyfriend to a real one to the loss of that boyfriend. (For readers about 12 years old.)
Won Ton, a Cat Tale Told in Haiku - Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin 2012
For cat lovers of all ages, this illustrated picture book is told with lots of voice (and haiku).
Won Ton and Chopstick, a Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku - Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin 2014
Won Ton's purrfect life with his boy is changed forever when the family adopts a (gasp!) dog.
Zorgamazoo - Robert Paul Weston 2008
Part Roald Dahl, part Dr. Seuss, this rhyming novel tells the story of Katrina, Morty, and the missing Zorgles. (For readers ages 8 to 11.)
Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff - Robert Paul Weston 2013
Another part Roald Dahl, part Dr. Seuss, rhyming novel from Weston. (For readers ages 8 to 11.)
You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen - Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford 2016
NONFICTION - The story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the pioneering African-American pilots of WWII.
Gone Fishing - Tamara Will Wissinger, Illustrated by Matthew Cordell 2015
Siblings Sam and Lucy embark on a fishing adventure.
Gone Camping - Tamara Will Wissinger, Illustrated by Matthew Cordell 2017
Siblings Sam and Lucy are off on a camping trip.
Minn and Jake - Janet S. Wong, Illustrated by Genvieve Cote 2008
Tall Minn and small Jake are fifth-graders that form a friendship despite the fact that they reject each other at first sight. (For readers ages 8 to 11.)
Minn and Jake's Almost Terrible Summer - Janet S. Wong, Illustrated by Genvieve Cote 2008
Now ten, Minn and Jake must spend the summer apart--until Minn visits Jake in L.A. and makes thing worse. (For readers ages 8 to 11.)
Running Back to Ludie - Jacqueline Woodson 2001
The unnamed narrator meets her mother for the first time. (For readers 9-12.)
Locomotion - Jacqueline Woodson 2004
Lonnie Collins Motion is a New York City fifth grader who lost his parents in a house fire. Coretta Scott King Honor book. (For readers 10 and up.)
Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson 2014
MEMOIR/HISTORICAL - Woodson's love of stories created the first sparks of the writer she was to become. Coretta Scott King Award, Newbery honor, and National Book Award.
Little Green, Growing up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution - Chun Yu, with photos 2005
MEMOIR/HISTORICAL - Xiao Qing is ten when Chairman Mao dies and her family experiences the upheaval of the revolution first hand. (For readers ages 10 and up.)
42 Miles - Tracie Vaughn Zimmer 2008
JoEllen is turning 13 and it's time to take a stand. She's tired of the 42 miles that divide her life into that of both the city mouse and country mouse. (For readers ages 9 to 12.)
Reaching for the Sun - Tracie Vaughn Zimmer 2007
Another favorite! Bulldozers are carving up Josie's farm as she tries to concentrate on the complexities of 7th grade. Josie has cerebral palsy, a loving grandmother, a neighbor boy, and problems with her mom. (For readers ages 9 to 12.)