Recommended Reading

7th Grade

  • Intertribal Stories for Kids

    Brown Girl Dreaming

    by Jacqueline Woodson

    Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

    Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child's soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson's eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

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    Code Talker

    by Joseph Bruchac

    Although the mission school bans all that is Navajo, Ned secretly clings to his native language and culture. Proudly joining the U.S. Marines in 1943, he becomes a top-secret Navajo Code Talker. During bloody battles for Japanese islands, Ned and his brave band of code-talking brothers save thousands of lives using Navajo encryption the enemy never cracks.

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    Flying Lessons and Other Stories

    Edited by Ellen Oh

    Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology - written by the best children's authors - celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.

    In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children's publishing and popularity as New York Times best sellers.

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    Hurricane Child

    by Kacen Callender

    Twelve-year-old Caroline is a Hurricane Child, born on Water Island during a storm. Coming into this world during a hurricane is unlucky, and Caroline has had her share of bad luck already. She's hated by everyone in her small school, she can see things that no one else can see, and - worst of all - her mother left home one day and never came back.

    With no friends and days filled with heartache, Caroline is determined to find her mother. When a new student, Kalinda, arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, seems to see the things Caroline sees, too.

    Joined by their common gift, Kalinda agrees to help Caroline look for her mother, starting with a mysterious lady dressed in black. Soon, they discover the healing power of a close friendship between girls. Debut author Kheryn Callender presents a cadenced work of magical realism.

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    Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

    by Jason Reynolds

    This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—

    Talking about boogers. Stealing pocket change. Skateboarding. Wiping out. Braving up. Executing complicated handshakes. Planning an escape. Making jokes. Lotioning up. Finding comfort. But mostly, too busy walking home.

    Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.

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    Maybe He Just Likes You

    by Barbara Dee

    For seventh-grader Mila, it starts with some boys giving her an unwanted hug on the school blacktop. A few days later, at recess, one of the boys (and fellow trumpet player) Callum tells Mila it’s his birthday, and asks her for a “birthday hug.” He’s just being friendly, isn’t he? And how can she say no? But Callum’s hug lasts a few seconds too long, and feels…weird. According to her friend, Zara, Mila is being immature and overreacting. Doesn’t she know what flirting looks like?

    But the boys don’t leave Mila alone. On the bus. In the halls. During band practice—the one place Mila could always escape.

    It doesn’t feel like flirting—so what is it? Thanks to a chance meeting, Mila begins to find solace in a new place: karate class. Slowly, with the help of a fellow classmate, Mila learns how to stand her ground and how to respect others—and herself.

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    My Life As an Ice Cream Sandwich

    by Ibi Zoboi

    Twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace Norfleet has lived with her beloved grandfather Jeremiah in Huntsville, Alabama ever since she was little. As one of the first black engineers to integrate NASA, Jeremiah has nurtured Ebony-Grace’s love for all things outer space and science fiction - especially Star Wars and Star Trek. But in the summer of 1984, when trouble arises with Jeremiah, it’s decided she’ll spend a few weeks with her father in Harlem.  

    Harlem is an exciting and terrifying place for a sheltered girl from Hunstville, and Ebony-Grace’s first instinct is to retreat into her imagination. But soon 126th Street begins to reveal that it has more in common with her beloved sci-fi adventures than she ever thought possible, and by summer's end, Ebony-Grace discovers that Harlem has a place for a girl whose eyes are always on the stars.

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    Prairie Lotus

    by Linda Sue Park

    Acclaimed, award-winning author Linda Sue Park has placed a young half-Asian girl, Hanna, in a small town in America's heartland, in 1880. Hanna's adjustment to her new surroundings, which primarily means negotiating the townspeople's almost unanimous prejudice against Asians, is at the heart of the story. Told from the viewpoint of Hanna, the novel has poignant moments yet sparkles with humor, introducing a captivating heroine whose wry, observant voice will resonate with listeners.

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    by Alan Gratz

    A tour de force from acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087), this timely and powerful novel tells the story of three different children seeking refuge.

    Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world....

    Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America....

    Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe....

    All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers - from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.

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    The Best at It

    by Maulik Pancholy

    Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather, Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at and become the best at it. 

    Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Miller will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. 

    With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge.... But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything? 

    Funny, charming, and incredibly touching, this is a story about friendship, family, and the courage it takes to live your truth.

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    The Magic Fish

    by Trung Le Nguyen

    Tien and his mother may come from different cultures—she’s an immigrant from Vietnam still struggling with English; he’s been raised in America—but through the fairy tales he checks out from the local library, those differences are erased.
    But as much as Tien’s mother’s English continues to improve as he reads her tales of love, loss, and travel across distant shores, there’s one conversation that still eludes him—how to come out to her and his father. Is there even a way to explain what he’s going through in Vietnamese? And without a way to reveal his hidden self, how will his parents ever accept him?
    This beautifully illustrated graphic novel speaks to the complexity of family and how stories can bring us together even when we don’t know the words.

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    The Other Half of Happy

    by Rebecca Balcarcel

    Quijana is a girl in pieces. One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana's Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn't know more about her family's heritage. One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she's found true friends. But she can't help the growing feelings she has for Jayden. One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what's going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother. In the course of this immersive and beautifully written novel, Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole. This lyrical debut from Rebecca Balcárcel is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.

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    The Prince and the Dressmaker

    by Jen Wang

    Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

    Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

    Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

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    Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

    by Author

    Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Kwame Mbalia's epic fantasy, a middle grade American Gods set in a richly-imagined world populated with African American folk heroes and West African gods.

    Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he's going to spend on his grandparents' farm in Alabama, where he's being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie's notebook. Tristan chases after it--is that a doll?--and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature's hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price.

    Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?


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    by Robert Nye

    Not a literal translation, but a retelling of the old epic that captures the spirit of the original in language accessible to young readers

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    Catherine, Called Birdy

    by Karen Cushman

    Medieval England is the background for this story of a spirited girl. Narrated in diary form.

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    Charles and Emma

    by Deborah Heiligman

    Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. Nearly 150 years later, the theory of evolution continues to create tension between the scientific and religious communities. Challenges about teaching the theory of evolution in schools occur annually all over the country. This same debate raged within Darwin himself, and played an important part in his marriage: his wife, Emma, was quite religious, and her faith gave Charles a lot to think about as he worked on a theory that continues to spark intense debates.

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    Children of the River

    by Linda Crew

    Sundara fled Cambodia with her aunt's family to escape the Khmer Rouge army when she was thirteen, leaving behind her parents, her brother and sister, and the boy she had loved since she was a child. Now, four years later, she struggles to fit in at her Oregon high school and to be "a good Cambodian girl" at home.

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    First Crossing

    Edited by Donald Gallo

    This collection of biographies sheds light on the experience of teenage immigrants in America. Each shares their story with unflinching honesty and gives real insight into the experience from a teenager's point of view.

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    Flowers for Algernon

    by Daniel Keyes

    Charlie Gordon is chosen by a team of scientists to undergo an experimental surgery designed to boost his intelligence. Alice Kinnian, Charlie’s teacher at the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults, has recommended Charlie for the experiment because of his exceptional eagerness to learn. The directors of the experiment, Dr. Strauss and Professor Nemur, ask Charlie to keep a journal. The entire narrative of Flowers for Algernon is composed of the “progress reports” that Charlie writes.

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    A Girl Named Disaster

    by Nancy Farmer

    Eleven-year-old Nhamo lives in a traditional village in Mozambique, where she doesn't quite fit in. When her family tries to force her into marrying a cruel man, she runs away to Zimbabwe, hoping to find the father she's never met. But what should have been a short boat trip across the border turns into a dangerous year-long adventure, and Nhamo must summon her innermost courage to ensure her survival

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    The Giver

    by Lois Lowry

    The Elders of the Committee choose Jonas to be the person responsible for receiving and keeping all the memories of the past—a huge task for this exceptional boy.

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    The House on Mango Street

    by Sandra Cisneros

    A series of descriptive vignettes about the author’s Mexican-American childhood.

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    Journey to Jo'burg, A South African Story

    by Beverly Naidoo

    Separated from their mother by the harsh social and economic conditions prevalent among blacks in South Africa, 13-year-old Naledi and her younger brother make a journey over 300 kilometers to find her in Johannesburg.

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    by Monica Furlong

    A fantasy story about young Princess Juniper, whose training in the arts of herbal lore and magic is challenged in a life and death struggle for power.

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    Land I Lost

    by Huynh Quang Nhuong

    Fifteen true stories of the author’s childhood in Vietnam.

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    The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen

    by Lloyd Alexander

    Chinese-inspired tale of a young prince whose quest to deliver six objects to a mystical king leads him out of boyhood and into triumph.

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    by Walter Dean Myers

    Two friends, a young African-American and a young Puerto Rican, face the horrors of a New York ghetto gang.

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    So Far from the Bamboo Grove

    by Author

    A fictionalized autobiography in which eight-year-old Yoko escapes from Korea to Japan with her mother and sister at the end of the Second World War

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    by Suzanne Fischer Staples

    When eleven-year-old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father’s wishes

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    The Sign of the Chrysanthemum

    by Katherine Paterson

    An adventure story about a boy’s search for his father in the Japan of the Samurai era.

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    The Storyteller's Beads

    by Jane Kurtz

    This harrowing story set in Ethiopia during the 1980s features an unexpected friendship between two girls of different religious backgrounds. Threatened by war, famine, and drought, Sahay and her uncle set out from their small Kemant village to find safety in the Sudan. Rahel, a blind Jewish girl, and her brother also flee the country as part of a group of Beta-Israel planning to make an aliyah to Jerusalem. As part of the same band of refugees, the girls make a long, difficult trek across the mountains. When the men are turned back at the border, Rahel and Sahay are left on their own to finish the journey.

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    Touching Spirit Bear

    by Ben Mikaelsen

    At the beginning of the novel, Cole Matthews, a fifteen-year-old juvenile delinquent from Minneapolis, Minnesota, arrives on a barren island near the city of Drake in Southeastern Alaska in handcuffs. He is accompanied by two men of Tlingit Indian origin, named Edwin and Garvey, who are instructing him on the terms of his banishment to the island. In the first few chapters, we learn through flashbacks about why Cole has been sent to the island. After years of violence and trouble with the law, Cole took his criminal streak a step too far.

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    African Folktales

    by Roger Abrahams

    Nearly one hundred African folktales dealing with universal concerns.

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    Among the Volcanoes

    by Omar Castañeda

    Can Isabel achieve her dream of becoming a teacher and weather the disapproval of her family in a small Guatemalan village?

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    At the Bottom of the River

    by Jamaica Kincaid

    A prize-winning collection of stories about life in the Caribbean. Written by the author of Annie John.

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    The Clay Marble

    by Minfong Ho

    In the late 1970s twelve-year-old Dara joins a refugee camp in war-torn Cambodia and becomes separated from her family.

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    The Contender

    by Robert Lipsyte

    Alfred Brooks joins a boxing club in Harlem as an alternative to crime and drugs.

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    The Cow-Tail Switch And Other West African Stories

    by Harold Courlander

    Seventeen short stories gathered in the Ashanti region of Africa depicting the origins of folk sayings and customs, animal ingenuity and trickery, and clever, as well as not so clever people.

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    Druids, Gods and Heroes from Celtic Mythology

    by Ann Ross

    The myths, legends and stories of the Celts from the most ancient Irish tales to the Arthurian saga. Illustrated.

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    Fabled Cities, Princes and Jinn from Arab Myths and Legends

    by Khairat Al-Saleh

    Forty myths, legends and fantasy tales from Arabia. Includes the stories from the Arabian Nights.

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    Gods and Heroes from Viking Mythology

    by Brian Branston

    Twenty-eight stories first told hundreds of years ago by the Vikings. Included are an illustrated family tree of the major gods and goddesses, an index and a guide to the symbols in the illustrations.

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    by Suzanne Fisher Staples

    Shabanu falls in love in this story of a woman’s struggle against the tyranny of tradition in Pakistan. Sequel to Shabanu.

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    I, Juan de Pareja

    by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino

    The story of Juan, a slave, willed to the great Spanish painter Velazquez, and how their relationship changed from master/slave to equal/friend. A Newbery Medal Winner and ALA Notable book.

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    Kings, Gods and Spirits from African Mythology

    by Jan Knappert

    Myths from many African cultures retold and illustrated.

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    Master Puppeteer

    Katherine Paterson

    Set in feudal Japan, this is the story of a young boy who is drawn into the magical and mysterious world of the puppet-theater

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    Midwife’s Apprentice

    by Karen Cushman

    A homeless girl is taken as an apprentice by a midwife in the Middle Ages.

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    Of Nightingales That Weep

    by Katherine Paterson

    The young daughter of a samurai finds her comfortable life ripped apart when opposing warrior clans begin a struggle for imperial control of Japan.

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    The Pearl

    by John Steinbeck

    A beautiful story about the disaster which a giant pearl brings to a poor man and his family.

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    The Ramsay Scallop

    by Frances Temple

    In 1299, fourteen-year-old Elenor has been betrothed to eighteen-year-old Thomas, but they are strangers to each other. To help them get to know each other, their village priest sends them on a pilgrimage to Spain.

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    Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom

    by Katherine Paterson

    Abducted by bandits, fifteen-year-old Wand Lee is rescued from slavery by a girl who introduces him to a secret society dedicated to overthrowing the Manchu government.

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    Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

    by Barbara Cohen and Bahija

    Lovejoy A tale about an Arabian girl who disguises herself as a boy to earn money for her family.

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    by Jerry Spinelli

    From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal.

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    by Mark Goldblatt

    Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.

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    Warriors, Gods and Spirits from Central and South American Mythology

    by Douglas Gifford

    Major mythological tales from Mexico to South America.

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    Annie John

    by Jamaica Kincaid

    Annie John grows from a precocious, fearless, ten-year-old living in a Caribbean paradise into a young woman who realizes she must leave Antigua to escape her mother’s shadow.

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    by Scott O’Dell

    A young girl relates her feelings and experiences as a participant in the battle of San Pasqual during the last days of the war between the Californians and the North Americans.

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    Different Beat

    by Candy Dawson Boyd

    An acting student faces a prejudicial teacher who could ruin her school career.

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    Flash Fire

    by Caroline B. Cooney

    Young people must free themselves from a raging fire in a California canyon.

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    The Girl Who Owned A City

    by O.T. Nelson

    A survival novel about a ten-year-old girl who assumes leadership after a plague has destroyed all persons over twelve years of age.

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    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

    by C. S. Lewis

    Four children travel to Narnia through a wardrobe, and while there, they meet Aslan, a great lion, and help in his battle with an evil witch.

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    Maizon At Blue Hill

    by Jacqueline Woodson

    Maizon gets a scholarship to a boarding school where she confronts questions about her friends, her family, racism and her African-American heritage.

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    My Name Is Not Angelica

    by Scott O’Dell

    Relates the experiences of a young Senegalese girl brought as a slave to the Danish owned Caribbean island of St. John as she participates in the slave revolt of 1733-1734.

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    Where the Red Fern Grows

    by Wilson Rawls

    A simply written, moving story of the love between a young boy and his two dogs.

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    by Scott O’Dell

    Poignant sequel to The Island Of The Blue Dolphins, in which Zia and her Aunt Karana are reunited, but not for long.