• Harry Potter -- any of the series

    by J. K. Rowling Year Published: 1997 - 2007

    The central character in the series is Harry Potter, a boy who lives in the fictional town of Little Whinging, Surrey with his aunt, uncle, and cousin – the Dursleys – and discovers, at the age of eleven that he is a wizard, though he lives in the ordinary world of non-magical people known as Muggles.[8] The wizarding world exists parallel to the Muggle world, albeit hidden and in secrecy. His magical ability is inborn, and children with such abilities are invited to attend exclusive magic schools that teach the necessary skills to succeed in the wizarding world.[9]

    Harry becomes a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a wizarding academy in Scotland, and it is here where most of the events in the series take place. As Harry develops through his adolescence, he learns to overcome the problems that face him: magical, social, and emotional, including ordinary teenage challenges such as friendships, infatuation, romantic relationships, schoolwork and exams, anxiety, depression, stress, and the greater test of preparing himself for the confrontation that lies ahead in wizarding Britain's increasingly-violent second wizarding war.[10]

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  • Ghost Boys

    by Jewell Parker Rhodes Year Published: 2018

    Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

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  • A Night Divided

    by Jennifer A. Nielsen Year Published: 2015

    With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can't help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.

    But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

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  • To Kill a Mockingbird

    by Harper Lee Year Published: 1960

    Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos.

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  • The Boys Who Challenged Hitler

    by Phillip House Year Published: 2015

    At the outset of World War II, Denmark did not resist German occupation. Deeply ashamed of his nation's leaders, fifteen-year-old Knud Pedersen resolved with his brother and a handful of schoolmates to take action against the Nazis if the adults would not. Naming their secret club after the fiery British leader, the young patriots in the Churchill Club committed countless acts of sabotage, infuriating the Germans, who eventually had the boys tracked down and arrested. But their efforts were not in vain: the boys' exploits and eventual imprisonment helped spark a full-blown Danish resistance. Interweaving his own narrative with the recollections of Knud himself, here is Phillip Hoose's inspiring story of these young war heroes.

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  • The White City

    by John Claude Bemis Year Published: 2011

    The year is 1893. From all across the globe, thousands travel to visit Chicago’s World’s Fair. It is a place of wonders: the White City, with its gleaming buildings modeled on the ideals of ancient Greece; an enormous mechanical wheel designed by Mr. Ferris; and the Hall of Progress—a building of the future where clockwork men operate mysterious machines…

    Ray and his friends are at the fair, too, but they haven’t come to celebrate. The Gog has somehow survived the destruction of his Pitch Dark Train, and his infernal Machine is nearly complete, hidden in the Gloaming near the fair. To make matters worse, the Gog now holds the Nine Pound Hammer, the only weapon that can destroy the Machine. Ray and his friends will have to bring all their powers to bear and sacrifice much as they face the Gog and his army, and confront a Darkness beyond imagining.

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  • The Wolf Tree

    by John Claude Bemis Year Published: 2010

    o asks the sickly stranger who staggers into Peg Leg Nel’s birthday party. Before the man dies, he tells Ray and his friends of a Darkness spreading like wildfire across Kansas, turning good people bad and poisoning anyone who tries to escape. It’s clear that though the evil Gog is dead, his devilish machine has survived and is growing stronger.

    Now a full-fledged Rambler, Ray leads his friends on a mission into the heart of darkness. Vital to their success is tracking down the legendary Wolf Tree, rumored to be a pathway to the spirit world. Only with one of the tree’s limbs can the Nine Pound Hammer be repaired and the Gog’s terrible machine finally destroyed. The search for the Wolf Tree grows desperate as the Darkness spreads, threatening Ray, his friends, and all of humanity.

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  • The Nine Pound Hammer

    by John Claude Bemis Year Published: 2010

    Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, whom Ray swears could speak to animals. Now an orphan, Ray jumps from a train going through the American South and falls in with a medicine show train and its stable of sideshow performers. The performers turn out to be heroes, defenders of the wild, including the son of John Henry. They are hiding the last of the mythical Swamp Sirens from an ancient evil known as the Gog. Why the Gog wants the Siren, they can’t be sure, but they know it has something to do with rebuilding a monstrous machine that John Henry gave his life destroying years before, a machine that will allow the Gog to control the will of men and spread darkness throughout the world.

     

    Favorite quote from page 156:  But for a person to grow to greatness, they need vast spaces.  Wide openness.  It's there the heart and mind and spirit can expand to greatness, not a-shackled to the Gog's grid" (a.k.a. machines)."  The machines are "nothing but walls that we get shackled to."

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  • The Westing Game

    by Ellen Raskin Year Published: 2004

    A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

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  • The Lie Tree

    by Frances Hardinge Year Published: 2015

    When Faith's father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Searching through his belongings for clues, she discovers a strange tree. A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets.

    But as Faith's untruths spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter...
     

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  • A Corner of the Universe

    by Ann M. Martin Year Published: 2005

    Hattie Owen enjoys peaceful Millerton summertimes with houses nodding in the heavy air, being in charge of Miss Hagerty's breakfast tray at her parents' boardinghouse, and drinking lemonade on the porch after supper. Yet this year, it's different -- Hattie's uncle Adam is coming home. Returning from a Chicago school that's just closed and whose existence is kept quiet by adult family members, Adam is a 21-year-old man with a child's mind, having a knack for talking quickly, a savant-like ability for remembering weekdays, and a passion for I Love Lucy. Hattie and Adam wind up spending precious time together -- including a visit to the recently arrived carnival with Hattie's new friend, Leila -- which makes her feel soulfully connected to her uncle, especially when he declares that she's one of the people who can lift the corners of our universe. But when Hattie takes Adam on the Ferris wheel one night, it sets off dramatic events that lead Hattie's family to strengthen its bonds and changes her life's outlook forever.

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  • Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America

    by Teri Kanefield Year Published: 2017

    The America that Alexander Hamilton knew was largely agricultural and built on slave labor. He envisioned something else: a multi-racial, urbanized, capitalistic America with a strong central government. He believed that such an America would be a land of opportunity for the poor and the newcomers. But Hamilton's vision put him at odds with his archrivals who envisioned a pastoral America of small towns, where governments were local, states would control their own destiny, and the federal government would remain small and weak. The disputes that arose during America's first decades continued through American history to our present day. Over time, because of the systems Hamilton set up and the ideas he left, his vision won out. Here is the story that epitomizes the American dream-a poor immigrant who made good in America. In the end, Hamilton rose from poverty through his intelligence and ability and did more to shape our country than any of his contemporaries.

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  • The Fire Chronicle series (3 books)

    by John Stephens Year Published: 2011 - 2015

    These three siblings have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage. Yet they are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.
    Until now.
    Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world . . . a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And--if an ancient prophecy is correct--their actions have the power to change history. It is up to them to set things right.

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  • Serafina and The Splintered Heart

    by Robert Beatty Year Published: 2017

    Something has happened to Serafina. She has awoken into a darkness she does not understand, scarred from a terrible battle, only to find that life at Biltmore Estate has changed in unimaginable ways. Old friends do unthinkable things and enemies seem all around.

    A mysterious threat moves towards Biltmore, a force without a name, bringing with it violent storms and flooding that stands to uproot everything in its path. Serafina must uncover the truth about what has happened to her and find a way to harness her strange new powers before it's too late.

    With only days to achieve the impossible, Serafina fights to reclaim herself as the Guardian of Biltmore, friend of Braeden, daughter of her Pa, and heroine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the folk and creatures that call it home.

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  • Serafina and the Twisted Staff

    by Robert Beatty Year Published: 2016

    Serafina's defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the catamount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she's too wild for Biltmore's beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin.

    Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she's convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise.

    Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina's role as Biltmore's protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina's best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees.
    Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore—and discovers its reach is far greater than she'd ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.
     

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  • Wonder

    by R.J. Palacio Year Published: 2012

    August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

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  • Out of My Mind

    by Sharon M. Draper Year Published: 2010

    Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom - the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she's determined to let everyone know it - somehow.

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  • Greenglass House

    by Kate Milford Year Published: 2014

    A rambling old inn, a strange map, an attic packed with treasures, squabbling guests, theft, friendship, and an unusual haunting mark this smart middle grade mystery in the tradition of the Mysterious Benedict Society books and Blue Balliet's Chasing Vermeer series.

    It's wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler's inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo's home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House-and themselves.

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  • A Monster Calls

    by Patrick Ness Year Published: 2015

    Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don't quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It's ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

    Fantasy book with great illustrations about a boy whose mother is dying, and a yew tree comes to life and tells him stories to guide him through a traumatic time in his life.

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  • Cinder

    by Marissa Meyers Year Published: 2012

    CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.

    Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future. First book of a series.

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  • One Crazy Summer

    by Rita Williams-Garcia Year Published: 2010

    In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

    Historical fiction about 3 sisters spending the summer in California with a mother they don't know.  She is a poet working with the Black Panthers in the mid-1900s.

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  • Everlost

    by Neal Shusterman Year Published: 2006

    Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident...

    ...but their souls don't exactly get where they're supposed to get either. Instead, they're caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It's a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

    When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he's found a home, but Allie isn't satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the "Criminal Art" of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

    A fantasy about 2 children who get waylaid in an in-between place on their way to the afterlife.  They must learn to navigate their way through this in-between world and learn who they can trust, each finding their own purpose.

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  • The Girl Who Drank The Moon

    by Kelly Barnhill Year Published: 2016

    Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. 

    One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.
     

    Fantasy novel about a baby raised by a grandmotherly witch who accidentally gave her the gift of magic when she was a baby.  Together, they save their world.

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  • Crossover

    by Kwame Alexander Year Published: 2014

    "With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.

    Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
     

    Rap-like poetry detailing the relationships between a middle school boy and basketball, his brother, and his father.  We use this book in class to learn about figurative language.

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  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

    by Dusti Bowling Year Published: 2017

    Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.

    Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all . . . even without arms.

    One of the books on the BOB list this year, this realistic fiction book is about a girl born without arms who finds her place after her parents move their family to a Wild West show in the desert.

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  • Serafina and the Black Cloak

    by Robert Beatty Year Published: 2015

    Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate. There’s plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.

    But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity... before all of the children vanish one by one.

    Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

    The first in the series of 3 books, "Serafina and the Black Cloak" follows the magical adventures of Serafina in the mountains of Appalachia.  

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