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A
Defining Dulcie
By Paul Acampora "In Ohio, Dulcie, who does one of those "don't try this at home" kinds of things that make for good stories and drives her dad's pick-up truck across the United States alone, meets up with a tall, funny nun who knows a lot about Italy. In Kansas, she visits some fainting goats."

Midnight Is a Place
By Joan Aiken "Spooky novels about orphans who get kicked around by nasty people can be great!" "Joan Aiken ... wrote a book that anyone who really digs The Series of Unfortunate Events will love. And those of us who like a spooky Gothic or Dickensian novel but need a bit more grist than [Lemony] Snicket gives us will love it, too!"

Speak
By Laurie Halse Anderson "Have you ever had a friend turn against you? The protagonist of this novel (a high school freshman named Melinda) lost all of her friends."

B
Tuck Everlasting
By Natalie Babbit "Winnie Foster … [is] a girl who thinks about running away, but then ends up having an adventure that she doesn’t plan at all."

Chasing Vermeer
By Blue Balliett "You’ll ... learn a code language, which you’ll have to master (it’s not terribly hard to do that) if you want to find out what’s going on with the three-dimensional person who disappears. There’s also a two-dimensional person who disappears. But to find out more, you’ll have to find the book!"

The Wright 3
By Blue Balliett "If you enjoyed Chasing Vermeer as much as I did, you may like The Wright 3 even better. Calder and Petra, joined by Calder's old friend Tommy, discover another mystery right in their Chicago neighborhood."

Warriors Don't Cry
By Melba Beal "The year was 1957 and Melba, along with eight other black teenagers, was chosen to be the first to integrate Central High."

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
By Judy Blume "Margaret goes through many embarrassing moments that every girl experiences, but that you wouldn’t necessarily want to talk with anyone else about."

Then Again, Maybe I Won't
By Judy Blume "Tony Miglione's starting junior high, becoming a seventh grader. Boys tend to go through all sorts of changes around his age and Judy Blume isn't afraid to describe them."

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
By John Boyne "Would you become friends with someone on the other side of a fence? Would you do the things to or with your friend that Bruno does? Do you know why these two boys are on opposite sides of the fence?"

Everywhere
By Bruce Brooks "He's such a boy in how he deals with his emotions. I know I'm resorting to stereotypes, but I believe there's some truth in this one."

Kindred
By Octavia E. Butler "Reading novels set in difficult times sucks you right into those times, helping you understand aspects of what it meant to live then perhaps better than a history book can. Octavia Butler decided to take this even further, creating a contemporary of ours (Dana, who lives in California, in the 1970s, which may sound like a long time ago to you but because I was 10 then, seems more like "now" than like history to me) and having her mysteriously transported back to antebellum Maryland. "Ante" means before and the Latin word "bellum" means war. We use the word "antebellum" to refer to the time before the Civil War, when slavery was legal and a huge part of the American economy."

C
More Stories Julian Tells
By Ann Cameron "Julian, his little brother Huey, and his friend Gloria … hang around and get on each others’ nerves and without fail something really funny or exciting or scary happens and it’s just so much fun to read about!"

The House on Mango Street
By Sandra Cisneros "Your home is where you are and what you make of it, no matter what kind of house that happens to be. And I wonder if [Cisneros] also means that your crazy neighbors are also part of your home because they are a part of your life."

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
By Susana Clarke An amazing book for fantasy lovers who appreciate sophisticated writing. If you read J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Diana Wynne Jones, etc. with a passion a few years ago and find yourself wishing Charles Dickens had written about magic, this book's for you.

Frindle
By Andrew Clements Ever tried to drive a teacher completely crazy or secretly giggled while someone else did? Watch Nick not only drive his teacher nuts but get rich doing so.

Disgrace
By J.M. Coetzee "I knew that this book dealt with two issues that absolutely fascinate me: the relationship between whites and non-whites (in this case, between whites and blacks in post-apartheid South Africa) and the relationship between human and non-human animals (humans are animals, too, of course)."

Half-Moon Investigations
By Eoin Colfer "The story is about a 12 year old boy, Fletcher Moon, who doesn't exactly fit into the typical mold of a Saint Jerome's Elementary and Middle School student. Fletcher wants to be a detective, and Half-Moon Investigations is his detective agency."

Miss Rumphius
By Barbara Cooney "Miss Rumphius has … wonderful adventures … that you can share. She climbs snow-capped mountains, rides on the backs of camels, and makes friends with people who live on a tropical island."

Beach
By Elisha Cooper "Have you used watercolors, drawn with pencils, or tried both together? Elisha Cooper did, while thinking about the different things people do at the beach. Looking at his pictures in Beach takes me right to the ocean."

Matilda Bone
By Karen Cushman "When Matilda gets sent to live in Blood and Bone Alley, where she's surrounded by medieval healers, she's completely miserable. People there use leeches and other strange methods to cure their patients!"

D
The Magic Finger
By Roald Dahl "Roald Dahl is a very funny writer and I would almost say that this book is just about the funny idea 'What would happen if a family of people switched places with a family of ducks?'"

Pyongyang
By Guy Delisle "Fans of graphic novels and, perhaps even more, those of you who are curious about countries very different from your own, should check out Guy Delisle's Pyongyang. Deslisle, an animator, worked briefly for an animation studio in North Korea's capital, Pyongyang. This book illustrates his time there."

Forged by Fire
By Sharon Draper "A young teenager … struggles to keep his head and stay safe when confronted by drunkenness, drugs, … abuse, … and neglect. He struggles to find dignity along with dinner and something clean to wear, all while facing the normal challenges of teenager-hood."

E
Incident at Hawk's Hill
By Allan W. Eckert "[Eckert] has an amazing knowledge of animals…. He describes some amazing behaviors, like how a badger is somehow able to locate a prairie dog den from above ground, dig down and catch an unsuspecting prairie dog for a meal."

Return to Hawk's Hill
By Allan W. Eckert "[Ben's] ability to understand and communicate with animals, even ferocious ones, allows him to have a special relationship with a nearby tribe of Metis Indians because they appreciate his respect for the animal world and they are amazed by his ability to calm dangerous animals."

Last Day in Vietnam
By Will Eisner For fans of graphic novels and comics interested in the experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam and Korea. Eisner's comics take you right to the difficulties human beings face while fighting wars.

F
Julia's Kitchen
By Brenda A. Ferber "If you hate reading really sad stories, don't read past the first page of Julia's Kitchen. But if you don't mind crying your way through a great book, find Brenda A. Ferber's first novel and read straight through it."

Harriet the Spy
By Louise Fitzhugh "If you’re someone who already likes to write, Harriet’s notebook is something you’ll enjoy. It makes you want to be just like her – to be and to sound just as sharp and funny yourself as she is on the page."

The Skin I'm In
By Sharon Flake "Maleeka thinks that she's a freak because she's skinny and poor and has very dark skin. Some of the other kids have even made up a rap song about her skin, and they sing it in the halls and on the bus. The kids in this book can be really mean to each other (and to their teachers!)."

The Half-A-Moon Inn
By Paul Fleischman "Aaron, the main character, meets up with a scary witch-like woman, a forest full of thieves, and a dangerous man who escaped from jail."

The Diary of Anne Frank
By Anne Frank "The book made me wonder how I would have handled living in her times. What would I do if I had to hide in an attic with my family and another couple? How would I keep busy? What kinds of things would I miss?"

Life is Funny
By E.R. Frank "How would you say people who face the kinds of problems Frank’s characters struggle with (the racism Eric encounters at every turn, Grace’s angry mom, Ebony’s dad, the way Drew’s father treats his mother, etc.) manage to survive?"

G
The Solitaire Mystery
By Jostein Gaarder "The Solitaire Mystery is … a novel about philosophy, but Gaarder manages to incorporate philosophical ideas into the text without any clunkiness (otherwise known as boring parts)."

My Father's Dragon
By Ruth Stiles Gannett "[This author] imagines a world as small as two islands and fills it with normal creatures, like alligators, tigers and tortoises, that talk and behave like very funny people."

Julie of the Wolves
By Jean Craighead George "Julie of the Wolves takes you to Alaska, where you'll learn about Eskimo communities and also about the arctic wilderness. You'll meet two girls in one (read the book to help me figure out what that means!): Miyax and Julie."

My Side of the Mountain
By Jean Craighead George "Sam faces the problem of keeping secret and surviving in the wild. I like everything about the story."

My Love, My Love
By Rosa Guy You’ll have to read My Love, My Love to figure out whether the gods of the island called the Jewel of the Antilles are good to an orphan who falls in love with a wealthy young man. He literally crashes into her world and then she travels many, many miles to join him in his."

H
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night
By Mark Haddon "Because Christopher’s a math whiz, interested in astronomy, physics, and logic, people drawn to scientific and mathematical ways of thinking will probably like this book. It’s a detective novel, with a couple of mysterious turns and twists, so folks who enjoy that kind of plot should also dive into this little red book with a dead dog on the cover."

Geography Club
By Brent Hartinger "Under social pressure (to reject certain people in order to be more popular; to seem “straight” even if you're not for the same reason and also to keep yourself safe and your school out of trouble with religious and political authorities), how can a teenager behave with integrity?"

I
J
The Seeker Chronicles
By Betsy James "Katyesha, who tells us her story, is smart, complicated, often unpredictable, not your standard heroine."

Charmed Life
By Diana W. Jones "I have secretly wished I had Cat's room in Chrestomanci castle. I would love to live in a turret with 'a soft green carpet, like grass in the dewy morning.'"

The Known World
By Edward P. Jones "What did being owned, being freed, and owning someone else mean for the folks who experienced these different states? Edward P. Jones forces his readers to look hard at human property, seeing just how human that property is even as we discover what can happen to a human being understood to belong to someone else."

The Phantom Tollbooth
By Norton Juster "While Milo has a few important things he needs to do in a strange land where words, numbers, noises and thoughts can be seen touched and even eaten, when I finished the book I was ready to go deeper, look more carefully, to go through the Phantom Tollbooth myself, all the time."

K
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
By Judith Kerr "Many kids want to learn about Hitler, the Holocaust, the Nazis, and World War II. This book’s a good way to start. It’s also a good story about ... a family that starts out comfortable, even wealthy, and ends up with less money and without even a place to live."

Alabama Moon
By Watt Key "Would you like to try living on your own? What would you do if you did … to survive and for fun? Can you imagine eating snakes? Killing deer? If you could pick part of Alabama Moon and jump into the story, which part would join?"

The Secret Life of Bees
By Sue Monk Kidd "If you have any curiosity about the Civil Rights movement, the American South, racism, bees, honey production, or teenaged girls, read this book!"

The Book of Story Beginnings
By Kristin Kladstrup "If you're a huge Harry Potter fan, I bet you'll love the bright blue magic potion, strange movements of time, and great adventures. If you prefer realistic stories, maybe it's Lucy's and Oscar's lives in Iowa and the realistic characters you'll like best. "

Silent to the Bone
By E.L. Konigsburg "Konigsburg's not shy about showing us how adolescents really feel about divorce, their parents' second marriages, flirtatious babysitters, and each other."

The View From Saturday
By E.L. Konigsburg "The View from Saturday is about four sixth-graders who for different reasons are not quite in the mainstream of their school."

L
Catwings
By Ursula K. Le Guin "If you like books about animals, you'll probably enjoy Catwings. It's about some very unusual kittens: they're born with wings!"

A Wizard of Earthsea
By Ursula K. Le Guin "[LeGuin] tells a story full of the intense action of a life-and-death chase that keeps you on the edge of your seat and weaves deep life lessons about facing your fears and turning an angry life to positive ends."

Dave At Night
By Gail Carson Levine "You'll find out about rent parties and learn a bit of Yiddish when you climb out to a tree branch near Dave's bedroom window, slide down the rope he strings up, and follow him onto the streets of Harlem."

Two Boys Kissing
By David Levithan "Six hours and ten minutes into Harry and Craig's kiss, a popular blogger with hair an even brighter pink than Avery's posts about Harry and Craig and tells the world to get behind what they're doing."

M
Vegan Virgin Valentine
By Carolyn Mackler "Mackler reminds me of Judy Blume. Both women write intensely fun, absorbing books about girls growing up. Both sweep you up in the romance as well as the ickier, stickier aspects of adolescence."

Eclipse
By Stephenie Meyer "I have been hooked on the Twilight series since last year, when I first read it and New Moon. This book was the most intense by far! I found myself waking up at night just to read one more chapter of it! "

Feeling Sorry for Celia
By Jaclyn Moriarty "It makes sense that we’d include this book (a novel told in letters) on RPP, because Elizabeth’s friends and family seem for a long time to be more pen pals than companions."

The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie
By Jaclyn Moriarty "Not sure whether to read this book? Check it out for Moriarty’s sense of humor. She’s very, very funny."

The Spell Book of Listen Taylor
By Jaclyn Moriarty "So if you read Feeling Sorry for Celia or The Murder of Bindy McKenzie and, like me, you would therefore read pretty much anything Moriarty produces, check this novel out. It's slow going at first. I set it aside a few times and dipped into other books. But once I reached a point about a third of the way through I found it difficult to put it down for meals, a party for my son's baseball team, nights of sleep. "

Dairy Queen
By Catherine Gilbert Murdock "Dear Readers,
A shy girl meets the popular quarterback of a rival high school and falls for him. Sounds familiar? If that were all I knew about Dairy Queen, I probably would have left it on the shelf at the bookstore. The cover photo (two teenagers lying head-to-head in the grass, a couple of puffy white clouds decorating the aqua blue sky above them) and title fit with that description and didn't grab me, either. But Jaclyn Moriarty, one of my favorite young adult authors, has a blurb on that cover ('"I absolutely loved it'") and if she loved it, I figured it was worth a good look."


N
The Enchanted Castle
By Edith Nesbit "One sister and two brothers … meet a princess, and she shows them all kinds of magical jewels, and there is a ring which the oldest boy puts on his finger, and which promptly turns him invisible."

O
The Things They Carried
By Tim O'Brien "We called the enemy ghosts. 'Bad night,' we’d say, 'the ghosts are out.'" Meet the ghosts the war in Vietnam created for author Tim O'Brien and you'll feel like a young soldier yourself."

Animal Farm
By George Orwell "Orwell fills this little story with the kind of biting sarcasm that you will either love or hate, because he tells a truly brutal story about the animals on a farm that is meant to reflect the behavior of people in societies."

The Magic Tree House (series)
By Mary Pope Osborne "Jack and Annie, a brother and sister living in Frog Creek, PA ... discover a magic tree house in the woods near their house."

P
The Collected Poems of Kenneth Patchen
By Kenneth Patchen "With his direct language and his interest in jazz, Patchen (1911-1972) was an early influence on the Beat Generation of writers."

The Magic Goose
By Daniel Pinkwater "If you could have any person or animal or imaginary character from a book or movie or t.v. show or machine or anything at all appear magically in your room one evening and invite you on an adventure, would you choose this magic goose that Seymour met?"

The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death
By Daniel Pinkwater "Picture me laughing out loud on the subway while I read. People riding to and from work or to the movies or whatever probably thought I was as crazy as Rat's family."

The Golden Compass
By Philip Pullman "Pullman's at least as imaginative, creative, and interesting as J.K. Rowling [who writes the books about Harry Potter]."

Q
R
The Westing Game
By Ellen Raskin "If you are reading this book for the first time, I would suggest you keep a pencil and notepad nearby—there are all sorts of clues you might want to keep track of while you try to figure out who keeps setting off bombs or how the creepy old lady is related to the dead body."

Friedrich
By Hans Peter Richter "Germans don't talk about WWII and the Holocaust much with their families. Germany has very strict laws to prevent hate crimes, but few families discuss the past. This story seems to be one about a typical family. It dares to tell about a "normal" family when most "normal" families won't utter a single word about this huge tragedy that they were a part of."

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
By J.K. Rowling "Do you ever wish you could take revenge on certain teachers or other adults who make too many rules for you?"

Mr. Putter & Tabby Paint the Porch
By Cynthia Rylant "Mr. Putter seems to love animals so much that it feels like we're enjoying their antics right along with him."

S
Holes
By Louis Sachar "I loved the way Sachar kept filling in holes in the plot, one by one, by skipping back and forth between the present and the past, the previous generations and Stanley's camp experience"

There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom
By Louis Sachar "It's going to be hard for me to read anyone but Louis Sachar this summer. I love his style!!! I can hardly believe that he's not around Bradley's age: he understands the ways kids think and feel so well."

Someday Angeline
By Louis Sachar "Have you read Matilda, by Roald Dahl? Or have you ever felt bored in school? Do your parents ever mystify you? Do you ever mystify them? Do you enjoy going to the aquarium? If any of these questions make you think “Yes,” you will probably relate to Angeline."

The Cardturner
By Louis Sachar "Do you think that friends should never steal each other's boy/girlfriends? Or should any friend whose friend does that be able to forgive and forget? Your answers may affect your opinions of Alton and his friend Cliff. And they may reflect how you feel about rules in general (which would affect your opinion of bridge...)."

Iron & Silk
By Mark Salzman "If you're interested in martial arts (kung fu, tai chi, etc., all of which are spelled differently in this book!) or what it's like to live in China today, you should check [this work of nonfiction] out."

Fast Food Nation
By Eric Schlosser "Schlosser visits with slaughterhouse workers, tastes chemically-produced burger (and other) flavors in New Jersey, pays close attention to the spread of e-coli and other diseases apparently inadvertently promoted by the fast food industry, and talks with high school students who work in fast food restaurants."

Mrs. Crump's Cat
By Linda Smith "'Found one sneaky finicky troublesome WET yellow cat with FLEAS.' That's the sign Mrs. Crump puts up after a cat shows up on her doorstep. Read Linda Smith's book if you love pets (and maybe if you hate them)."

Flygirl
By Sherri L. Smith "For Ida Mae, also known as Jonesy, the challenges of being a female pilot at a time when people didn’t expect to see one were just part of the struggle. Sherri Smith’s protagonist also has to choose between loyalty to her family and friends back home in Slidell, Louisiana and her love of flying."

Crash
By Jerry Spinelli "John's an unreliable narrator and also sort of a jerk … but he's a lonely, spirited guy who loves football, his grandfather, and his friend Mike."

Maniac Magee
By Jerry Spinelli "Spinelli really likes to write about sports, but in unusual ways. What do you think of the scenes in this book that describe people playing and talking about baseball, football, and running?"

Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?
By Jerry Spinelli "The brother and sister who narrate Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush? really and truly hate each other."

Under the Persimmon Tree
By Suzanne Fisher Staples Read this book to learn more about life today in Afghanistan and Pakistan or just to enjoy a good story, one which walks a woman (Nusrat) and a girl (Najmah) through some horrifying experiences without losing its beauty.

Shabanu
By Suzanne Fisher Staples Can you imagine what it might be like to grow up in a Pakistani desert? Picture yourself traveling by camel, running out of water before the rainy season begins, and marrying at an age most of us would consider very young...

Treasure Island
By Robert Louis Stevenson "If suspense, pirates, or a search for buried treasure sound good to you, read this book."

Marcelo in the Real World
By Francisco X. Stork If you're interested in law, autism, love, the differences between life in the city and in the country, animals, or just how to get through the hard parts of life or cope with pushy parents, you've got to read this book. It's amazing.

The Wave
By Todd Strasser "I think what I liked the most about this book is that it's based on something that actually happened, at a high school in California."

T
The Hobbit
By J. R. R. Tolkien "The H0bbit is a great book because it captures your interest so much that you never want to stop reading it and you feel disappointed when it ends."

Stuck in Neutral
By Terry Trueman "I used this book with my 7th grade class and found that all of them loved it!"

U
V
Be More Chill
By Ned Vizzini "Ever wish you could get your hands on a rule book or wise person to guide you through high school and make you cool? I'm guessing you didn't imagine that the voice behind the rules would be just like Keanu Reeves's voice. Or maybe you did."

It's Kind of a Funny Story
By Ned Vizzini "I (who can’t manage to read a short story in a week) tackled this book on a school night and a weekend. It’s one of those books that you really can’t put down."

W
Specials
By Scott Westerfeld "Tally's usually deeply confused about who's right about things. It's never clear which side her friend Shay's really on. Which leaders will guide them with wisdom: the beautiful, fun-loving ones? The smartest? The strongest? The most able to live on their own in nature? Or the ones best at protecting the wild?"

Stuart Little
By E.B. White "When I first came in contact with E.B. White’s Stuart Little (I think it was my mother who read it to me) I didn’t know it was fiction. I was 6 or 7 years old. I thought it really happened."

True Believer
By Virginia Euwer Wolff "Sequels can be terribly disappointing and at first I worried that this one might be....But not only does Jolly stay in touch with LaVaughn in this book, the new characters Wolff introduces turn out to be as interesting and, in their different ways, mysterious."

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun
By Jacqueline Woodson "When [Melanin's mom] brings home a new friend for him to meet, his adolescent whining is so realistic and cute, you almost have no idea that she is going to spring such a bombshell on him soon."

Hush
By Jacqueline Woodson "… the story of a family that is forced to go into the witness protection program as a result of the father's decision to testify in a trial."

X
Y
Z
Elsewhere
By Gabrielle Zevin "Did you ever wonder what would happen if you suddenly died? Liz finds out. One morning, she wakes on a boat heading for Elsewhere."

The Pigman
By Paul Zindel "Learning how to care for the Pigman teaches them the more important lesson: how to care for each other."

Reading level guide
1st grade and up
4th grade and up
7th grade and up
high school
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