Fiction

Blue Balliett

  • Summary. Petra and Calder find themselves at the center of an art scandal. Everyone seems to be a suspect and Petra and Calder draw on their powers of intuition and problem solving skills to decipher the crime. This unique novel wraps the underlying mystery with pentomino puzzles and clues throughout the text and illustrations.

  • Reviews. Readers who also enjoy math love the clues and pentomino puzzles included throughout the book. A great read for students in middle school.

  • Scholastic Gold

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Linda Sue Park

  • Summary. An orphan Korean boy accidentally breaks a delicate piece of pottery and volunteers to work to pay for the damage. In time, he serves the master potter by embarking on a dangerous journey, which changes his life forever.

  • Reviews. This is a thought-provoking tale of relationships, life lessons and honor. A great read full of adventure and determination. While we categorize the book for grades 6 and up, many reviewers feel this book is appropriate for kids aged 9+.

  • Newbery Medal Winner

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Kate Messner

  • Summary. Three kids are stuck in an airport due to a storm. They band together and embark on a grand adventure to solve the mystery of who stole an American treasure.

  • Reviews. This entertaining mystery captivates the attention of young readers. It’s full of adventure despite being set in a single building. Moreover, students will learn about American history, which is presented in a way that blends seamlessly with the story line. A great book for middle school students.

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Clare Vanderpool

  • Summary. Abilene’s father sent her away to live with an old friend for the summer. Feeling abandoned, she hops off the train and sets out to learn more about her father’s past. During her quest, she finds mysterious letters that lead her and her new friends on a life changing spy hunt.

  • Reviews. Readers enjoy the development of the characters in this novel, which makes them relatable. A wonderful read for middle school kids and teens. Many reviewers read the book as an adult and went on to buy copies for their tween kids or grandkids.

  • Newbery Award Winner

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Rick Riordan

  • Summary. A collection of mystery and adventure books that follow Dan and Amy Cahill on their quest to find 39 clues hidden around the world. The clues offer ingredients to a serum that can create the most powerful person on Earth. The first book in the series is The Maze of Bones.

  • Reviews. The books are filled with excitement and adventure. Although it’s a long, multi-book series, readers are engaged and continue to enjoy the story line with every book. It’s a great series for kids who enjoy lots of action and a bit of mystery. Parents like the history and geography facts incorporated into the story line.

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Jennifer L. Holm

  • Summary. Various circumstances continue to get in the way of the big summer plans Penny and her cousin intended to enjoy. Set after World War II, this novel about family relationships, highlights how things can work out in unexpected ways.

  • Reviews. The author does a wonderful job of incorporating history into the story line. Many parents enjoy reading this with their kids and discussing the characters, events and story together. As the subject matter includes prejudice, this is a great opportunity to discuss the topic with children and work through social and emotional development.

  • Newbery Honor Book

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Lynda Mullaly Hunt

  • Summary. Ally puts forth great effort to disguise her inability to read and never asks for help. Her new teacher, however, recognizes her learning disability. He helps Ally understand dyslexia, develop self-confidence and discover a new view of her world.

  • Reviews. There are great characters in the book, including Ally as well as her teacher, brother and friends. It tackles the topic of dyslexia and the struggles some kids must overcome through a story that is wonderful and inspiring to read. Overall, very high positive reviews. However, some reviewers recommend parents read it first due to some use of self-deprecating language.

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Gordon Korman

  • Summary. Chase has completely lost his memory after falling off the roof. Different kids have different reactions to his return to school. And some kids are very angry at him. It’s time for Chase to not only figure out who he is, but to also figure out who he was.

  • Reviews. There are great characters in the book, including Ally as well as her teacher, brother and friends. It tackles the topic of dyslexia and the struggles some kids must overcome through a story that is wonderful and inspiring to read. Overall, very high positive reviews. However, some reviewers recommend parents read it first due to some use of self-deprecating language.

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Marguerite Henry

  • Summary. A classic story of Sham, a Godolphin Arabian thoroughbred, and the stable boy Agba. Their adventures together take them from the Sahara to the royal courts of France, to the green pastures of England.

  • Reviews. An excellent story crafted by a master storyteller. It’s a beautiful story about a magnificent horse that seems to bring back loving memories of reading it as a child. Horse lovers in particular will truly enjoy this book.

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