Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look
“Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters” is a continuation of the stories of Alvin Ho, a young boy who is afraid of most anything. In this installment, Alvin Ho must face one of his biggest fears, an upcoming camping trip with his father. Throughout the course of the book, Alvin faces and attempts to overcome all of the fears that he has about the outdoors. Alvin Ho is a great representation of overcoming fears by facing them and seeing that they might not be quite as bad as one would think. Apart from wild animals and the dark, Alvin Ho also sees that outdoor tasks can actually be fun.
The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz
During one of her midnight flights, a young fairy meets a bat in mid air. After a brief encounter with this bat, the fairy, young Flory, falls to the ground and is trapped in a strange garden. Angered with this turn of events, Flory makes her way through the garden, meeting other creatures nearby. Though she struggles to relate to the other characters in the garden, Flory works to make friends in this new environment. In the midst of adversity, Flory learns to accept the others for who they are, even though they are not like her. Flory learns lessons about curiosity, generosity and compassion.
Willow by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan
Though all of the other students in her art class draw things in a very unimaginative way, Willow closes her eyes to paint. What she sees in her head when nothing else distracts her is what she paints on the canvas. Even in the face of her rigid art teacher, Willow paints blue apples, exercising her imagination for her art. With her inspiration, other students and teachers of the class learn to paint and think like Willow. Showing great lessons in creativity and artistic ingenuity, Willow is a hero for the arts.
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Pippi Longstocking is a young girl with supernatural powers. In addition to the ability to heave a horse in one hand above her head, Pippi also has the ability to dupe adults and people that she meets. Using clever word play and a playful attitude, Pippi mocks pompous adults all over. In addition to being clever and free spirited, Pippi also works to prove that she can do big things, even though she is a small girl. In her world, Pippi is a hero among children and free-thinkers.
Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! By Grace Lin
Ling and Ting are twin sisters who stick with one another through thick and thin. Even though they look and sound alike, they are not quite as similar as most people think. Through the course of the stories, the sisters go react to many typical situations including getting haircuts and cooking dinner, we see that the two are actually very different.
The Fairy's Mistake by Gail Carson
Based on the Princess and the Pea, this story revolves around two sisters in a similar situation. Two sisters in a fictional kingdom both pine after the same young man. However, one of the sisters is sweet and the other is nasty. Through her efforts, the nasty sister tries to show the young man that the nice sister is not worthy of him. The nice sister uses her kindness to try and win his heart.
Snoring Beauty by Bruce Hale
The young daughter of a rich king and queen is doomed at birth. In this short classic, the young girl is stricken by a pie wagon and transmitted into a snoring dragon. She must wait for her “quince” to come and rescue her from this fate. In this fractured fairytale, the classic “Sleeping Beauty” is retold in a new, clever manner. With this new take, we learn about the importance of good humor in adversity.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
One of the earlier books of C.S. Lewis, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe tells the story of four siblings who stumble into a magical world. Having to face a wide variety of creatures, the four become enthralled in the mythical world of Narnia. However, it is not all fun, as an evil witch plans to destroy the world. The children must work with the good creatures of the world to bring peace back to the land.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
One of the better known classics in the world of literature, this book tells the story of a pair of siblings at home at night. When they state that they are bored, they find a strange cat who comes to their doorstep to rectify their plight. In this rhyming tale, the children must try and keep a lid on the chaos as the cat reveals all kinds of ways to have fun inside.
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
The docile happenings of a small town are disrupted when a tent appears in the middle of the market square with a fortune teller peddling her wares. Young Peter can think of only one question to ask- does his sister still live? The fortune teller gives him a very peculiar answer. In this story, Peter must overcome many obstacles to find his long lost sister and bring her home.
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Using a unique narration style, this book tells the story of a young girl going through a difficult time. When Miranda and her best friend Sal decide not to be friends, Miranda is tossed into chaos. This is further expressed when she is caught in a wrinkle in the space/time continuum, allowing her to retrieve letters that predict the future. Overcoming the obstacles and puzzles that are in her wake, Miranda must work to bring normality back to her life.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (Books 1-4)
In the first four books of the Harry Potter series, we learn about a fasinating world of wizards. During his meaningless life living as a squatter at his uncle’s home, Harry Potter learns that he is a wizard. He travels to the wizarding school where he learns that he has a destiny far greater than himself. In these favorites, Harry must fight to survive as well as protect the ones he loves from an evil entity who may be more like him than he could imagine. This selection of books contain the first four years of Harry’s stay at the wizarding school.
Lunch Money by Andrew Clements
Young Greg Kenton has always had a penchant for cash. During his sixth grade year, Greg decides to make and sell mini-comic books. However, his nemesis in the class starts competing with him. This book tells the story of the two rivals as they clash, trying to make money. With tongue and cheek humor, this book provides fantastic characters and unique situations.
Monster Hunters: Nightmare Academy By Dean Lorey
Young Charlie Benjamin’s nightmares have always been a problem for him. However, when they start bringing monsters to life, it becomes a far greater problem than imagined. Charlie must work to stifle his own nightmares to try and save the world. In this short novel, Charlie attends the Nightmare Academy to learn to control his fears in attempts at stopping his nightmares.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Taking the narration of a young child keeping a diary, this book tells the story of Greg, a bullied and reserved child. In the book, we hear a firsthand account of the dangers of being a physically weak child in a fast-paced school. This book reveals truths about a child’s life in school through a series of anecdotes and stories.
The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck
In a comedic take on the school houses of the 1900s, this book tells the story of Russell and his younger brother. With the school year drawing near, the school teacher dies unexpectedly, leaving no teacher to teach the class of six students. However, instead of being allowed to stop taking school lessons, the school board hires Russell's bossy older sister. Russell must learn to cope with these new circumstances with his wit and intelligent comedic timing.
The Beautiful Stories of Life: Six Greek Myths, Retold by Cynthia Rylant
Taking the classic stories of several Greek heroes and gods, this book revisits the golden age in a more contemporary style. The book itself is actually split into six different stories of ancient mythology. The stories of Pandora, Persephone, Pygmalion, Narcissis, Orpheus and Psyche are retold, retelling their stories of love, betrayal and triumph. Classical elements of Greek mythology are revisited and restored in an easily relatable way of the 21st century setting.
Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire SÃ¡enz
18 year old Zach is an alcoholic and a stress-addicted young man. However, he has decided to commit himself to a rehabilitation facility to help him overcome these shortcomings. In the course of his stay, he goes through a metamorphosis, leaning more about who he is. All the while, Zach is guided by a wise and caring therapist. The story is told in a series of flash backs and various narration styles.
Serendipity Market by Penny Blubaugh
Mama Inez has a supernatural ability. She can’t fly and she can’t read minds, but she does have a penchant for getting into other people’s lives through mysterious and subtle ways. Through the course of the story, Mama Inez brings a small group of very different people together. Once together, she tells several short stories, each one pertaining to each member of the group in some way. Each member takes something valuable away from the encounter, bringing enrichment to their lives.
Harry Potter J.K. Rowling (Books 5-7)
In the second half of the series, Harry's world delves into a darker set of events. With her writing style evolving, JK Rowling gears the next novels for an aging generation to keep up with her audience. Harry and his friends must face the evil wizard who seeks to destroy all for power. Teaming up with various wizard masters and magical creatures, Harry and co. fight and scheme to save the wizarding world from Voldemort in a final showdown.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Four young friends do everything together. When their summer leads the friends in different directions, they purchase an old pair of thrift shop jeans to take turns wearing them. Though it starts as a game, the girls soon realize that the jeans fit each of them perfectly somehow. Upon realizing this, they decide to mail the pants back and forth between each of them during the summer. This allows them to feel more together, even when they are oceans apart.
The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
Young Sophie and Josh’s lives are turned upside down when a mysterious man comes to their store for a magical book. Upon talking to him, they realize that the man is none other than Nicholas Flamel, an immortal being who is being kept alive by a magical elixir. Sophie and Josh soon learn that Nick and his wife Perry can use magic. They go on an adventure with Nick and his wife to find the source of the immortality again and renew their lives.
Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
Young Charlotte was always invisible in life. No one paid her any attention or mind. However, she still had loving feelings towards a boy in her class. Tragically, she dies before she can act on her feelings. With her affairs left out of order, Charlotte returns to the land of the living as a ghost to try and accomplish in death what she never could in life.
Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
Bella is a quiet girl who never wanted anything else than to just get by. However, this all changes when she moves north to live with her father. Going to a new school, Bella meets a group of vampires who are living a life of leisure without having to take anyone’s life. She falls in love with one of them, starting a romance story for the ages. Facing evil vampires and werewolves from a nearby reservation, Bella must learn to adapt to these new circumstances.
Pretty Face by Mary Hogan
16 year old Hayley hates hearing that her face is pretty. To her, this is a reminder that her body isn’t quite what she would like. She is surrounded with beautiful, thin women, reminding her of what she does not have. However, this does not stop her from pursuing her school crush. After a disastrous encounter, her parents decide to send her to Italy for a year to go to school; an adventure that would change her life.
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Ruby has always been alone. At a young age, her mother abandoned her, leaving her to fend for herself. However, she doesn’t let this get her down. Instead, she decides to make it on her own. She decides to get a job and pursue her dreams. However, this is interrupted when her long lost sister comes into her life. Ruby must then learn to deal with her own affairs while taking care of her mysterious sister.
Slam by Nick Hornby
Sam is an English skateboarder who was born to a teen mother. His mother still acts like a teenager, as she lost most of her teenage years birthing and caring for him. This being the case, Sam must fend for himself, pursuing a young woman that he has fallen for. Leaving his mother, Sam sets out on his own to pursue his love and make a life for himself.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Miles Halter is leaving home to go to school in Alabama. However, when he leaves, he finds that he loves his home much more than he thought. Starting school, Miles meets a strange man as well as a young woman with whom he falls deeply in love. Going through the trials and tribulations of independent life, Miles learns many valuable lessons about himself and the company that he keeps.
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Series) by George R.R. Martin
The beginning of an epic fantasy tale, this book tells the story of many diverse characters who are each related in some way. Taking a contemporary approach to classical fantasy elements, knights clash with kings who fight with magicians and other magical beasts. In this first of six projected novels, we learn of the peril of Westeros that must be saved before being consumed by an omnipresent evil from the north, the Others. When an ancient Pact with the northerners finally expires, the continent of Westeros is threatened to be torn apart by war. Heroes must arise to save the day.
We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenager Who Died in the Holocaust by Jacob Boas
Boas himself survived the terror of the Holocaust, surviving long enough to gather the journals and diaries of teenagers he was imprisoned with. Taking these stories and compiling them into a memoir, the Five Diaries were born. With tear-jerking stories of tragedy and triumph, these stories are filled with history and emotion. While imprisoned together, we see how each of the teenagers related to one another through different perspectives. With various narration styles, this book reveals many truths about the holocaust and human triumph over adversity.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
The boring and normal lives of the teenagers at Mica Area High School are flipped upside down with the arrival of stargirl. A strange girl wearing stranger clothes, stargirl challenges the normal lives of the teenagers in the school. Infuriated with her carefree attitude, the students of Mica go on the war path, trying their best to embarrass and shame stargirl into leaving. However, all of their attempts are thwarted by her good nature. In the process, the students learn something about normality.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
In a small town of an unknown state, Charlie, an otherwise unnamed individual writes letters to an unnamed friend. Charlie has just begun a full scholarship of football at a large university, but keeps his emotions in check by writing to his friend. Charlie, whose best friend has recently died, is in emotional turmoil. During his time at school, Charlie learns to cope with his feelings by writing to his friend. He adapts to his situation and learns something about life.
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