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Books for Kids (Ages 9-12)



By Deborah Wiles

(Juvenile Fiction; ages 9-12)

Revolution takes place in Greenwood, Mississippi in the summer of 1954: Freedom Summer, when large numbers of college students and other activists went south to help black citizens register to vote. Twelve-year-old Sunny is already struggling with the adjustment to a new step-mother and step-siblings when the “invaders” (as some townspeople refer to the activists) arrive in town. Meanwhile, Raymond, a young boy with a talent for baseball, is impatient for integration to open the town’s pool and ball field for everyone. The intertwining stories of Sunny and Raymond and the effect the summer’s events have on their lives are supplemented with historic photographs, song lyrics, and excerpts from newspapers, leaflets, and speeches of the time, firmly grounding the novel in the historic events of Freedom Summer. (Formats: Print; Book-on-CD)




Secrets of the Sky Caves: Danger and Discovery on Nepal’s Mustang Cliffs

By Sandra K. Athans

(Juvenile Non-fiction; ages 10 and up)

Adventure into the mountains of Nepal to discover the mysterious Sky Caves. Carved by humans, these caves have existed for thousands of years. Originally created as burial chambers, these caves became homes, it is believed, during a time of warfare. Some are single-story homes, others are multi-level colonies. With entrances as high as a ten-story building, these caves have no stairs or ladders. They are only accessible by climbing the sheer rock face.  Secrets of the Sky Caves follows an expedition team of scientists, scholars, mountain climbers, and two children as they explore and examine the amazing caves in the sky. (Format: Print)






By Raina Telgemeier

(Juvenile Graphic Novel; ages 8-12 years)

Uh-oh. A long road trip to a family reunion and back, stuck in a van with both of your younger siblings – that sounds like a recipe for a long summer.  In this excellent companion to her award-winning book Smile, Raina Telgemeier recalls a particularly trying adolescent memory: it’s the summer before she starts high school, her parents have been bickering, and she has to go to a family reunion full of people she hasn’t seen in ten years, dealing with her attitudinal little sister every mile of the way. For anyone who has ever had a sibling (of any gender), each panel of this clever book rings with humorous authenticity. (Format: Print)




The Greenglass House

By Kate Mitford

(Juvenile Fiction; ages 10-14 years)

Milo is looking forward to spending a quiet winter break at home with his parents – a home that doubles as a smugglers’ inn, which his parents run. Usually, the weeks surrounding Christmas mark a slow season for the inn, so when a gaggle of strange, unexpected guests mysteriously show up, separately, Milo is both unprepared and intrigued. He and his new friend, Meddy, start investigating, making it into a fantasy game as they go. The way that Milo and Meddy play their game and combine it with their real lives is especially convincing. Hand this book to any kid with an active imagination who enjoys mysteries and game playing. (Format: Print)




Better Nate than Ever

By Tim Federle

 (Juvenile Fiction; ages 9-13 years)

An eighth-grader who dreams of performing in a Broadway musical concocts a plan to run away to New York and audition for the role of Elliot in the musical version of "E.T." A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Publishers' Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Slate Favorite Book of the Year. (Formats: Print; Book-on-CD)




Hey Charleston!: The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band

By Anne Rockwell; illus. by Colin Bootman

(Juvenile Non-fiction; ages 8 and up)

Occasionally, you read a book and the information inside just blows you away. Sometimes, the information is really important, other times it’s simply a “who knew?” moment; the latter may be your experience while reading Hey Charleston!  This is the story of Reverend Jenkins, who took in a few homeless children one cold night, and next thing he knew, had to open an orphanage so as to care for all the orphans that came to him for help. To drown out the convicts from the prison next door, he taught the orphans to play instruments. Slowly, this musical training led these children to become The Jenkins Orphanage Band, which traveled the world and even escaped the attacks of Nazi Germany on London. The Jenkins Orphanage Band was also the inadvertent creator of the dance known as “The Charleston” – but you’ll have to read the book to find out how that came about. This is an excellent book for music students, history buffs, and those interested in African-American history and in dance. (Format: Print)




At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui 

 By Christine Liu-Perkins

(Juvenile Non-fiction; ages 10 and up)

In the early 1970’s, a tomb was discovered in southern China. Inside was found a well-reserved body of a woman, remains of other family members, and extraordinary amounts of artifacts and historical treasures. Unlike the dry, dusty mummies of Egypt, this mummy was soft, moist, and most importantly, completely intact.  Although this woman’s body had lain in the tomb for over 2000 years, scientists were able to perform an autopsy on the body. (They were even able to determine what she had eaten before she died!)  At Home in Her Tomb is filled with photographs, artwork, and details of the artifacts found in the tomb. (There are also photographs of the mummy and some of her entrails, which are both fascinating and gross.) This book would be an excellent choice for those with an interest in China, archaeology, mummies, and ancient cultures. (Format: Print)




Fighting Fire!  Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them

By Michael L. Cooper

 (Juvenile Non-Fiction; ages 10 - 14)

This book has it all: history, dramatic pictures, first-hand accounts, and a truly gripping topic. Each fire is placed squarely in historical context and explained in gripping, vivid detail. The author realistically describes the effect each fire has on human life, without crossing the line into goriness. Cooper seamlessly integrates the history of American firefighting into a page-turning series of disasters, from colonial fires in Boston and New York City, to the 2007 fires in California. Excellent for disaster enthusiasts, history buffs, heroes, and daredevils. (Format: Print)




The Great Greene Heist

By Varian Johnson

 (Juvenile Fiction; ages 10 - 14)

After getting caught in one of his schemes and alienating one of his best friends, Jackson Greene has sworn off rule-breaking. Until, that is, he discovers that his old school nemesis is running for class president opposite Jackson’s upset friend – the athletic and intelligent Gabriela de la Cruz. To make matters worse, said nemesis has bribed a school official into helping him win, and if he does win, he plans to cut the budget to almost every club in the school. Clearly desperate times call for desperate measures, and it’s up to Jackson to assemble a crack team to pull of the ultimate middle-school con. (Format: Print)




The Night Gardener: a Scary Story

By Jonathan Auxier

 (Juvenile Fiction; ages 10 years and up)

Victorian England is not a kind place for young Irish immigrants, siblings Molly and Kip. They’ve been separated from their parents and are so desperate to work that, when they arrive at the mysterious home of their new employers, they decide to stay even though every instinct is telling them to leave. The creepiness starts building from the first page: the inhabitants of their new home seem stricken with a strange illness that bleaches out their color and kindness; there is a humongous tree growing right into the house’s foundation; and worst of all, there is a mysterious figure the children see late at night, prowling the grounds and hallways. This deliciously suspenseful story asks two pertinent questions: what is the difference between a story and a lie? And which are better: the gifts that you want, or the ones that you need? (Format: Print)





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