Middle School Books

Recommended Titles in your Library

Fiction

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Publisher Description: Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student. Teacher guide is available.


Lexile: 790

Awards and Honors: *Sunshine State Young Reader Award, Middle School, 2013-2014

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies, by Mick Cochrane

Publisher Description: Eighth-grader Molly's ability to throw a knuckleball earns her a spot on the baseball team, which not only helps her feel connected to her recently deceased father, who loved baseball, it helps in other aspects of her life as well.


Lexile: 750

Grade level: 6-9

Awards and Honors: *Sunshine State Young Reader Award, Middle School, 2013-2014

Okay for Now

Publisher Description: While Doug struggles to be more than the thug that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer, as they explore Audubon's art. Teacher guide is available.


Lexile: 850

Grade levels: 6-9

Awards and Honors: *Sunshine State Young Reader Award, Middle School, 2013-2014

Legend, by Marie Lu

Publisher Description: In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.


Awards and Honors: *Sunshine State Young Reader Awards, Middle School, 2013-2014

Starters, by Lissa Price

Publisher Description: Callie and her little brother, Tyler, have no one to protect them—their parents, like everyone else between the ages of 20 and 60, died from the pandemic, and they have no surviving grandparents to protect them. This older generation, the Enders, now run everything. Callie and Tyler scrounge for food, squat in abandoned buildings, and try to avoid getting taken to one of the infamous orphanages. But Callie has found out that some young people are renting out their bodies to Enders so that they can experience youth again, using a breakthrough technology. In spite of her suspicions, the pay is too much to resist and she signs a contract at the body bank. A neurochip is implanted in her head, and she disappears into dreams as an Ender takes over her body. But when Callie wakes up during the rental and begins communicating with her Ender, she finds herself in the midst of a terrifying murder plot. Callie races between the squalor of the Starters and the luxury of the Enders as she discovers that she's at the center of a more terrifying conspiracy than she could have ever imagined—and that there may be no way to keep Tyler safe.

With fully realized characters and high-tension plotting, this is a blockbuster series beginning.


Lexile: 550

Grade Levels: 7-9

Awards and Honors: *Sunshine State Young Reader Awards, Middle School, 2013-2014

The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Publisher Description: In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to be selected to impersonate the king's long-missing son in an effort to avoid a civil war.


Lexile: 710L

Grade Level: 5-8

Awards and Honors: *Sunshine State Young Reader Awards, Middle School, 2013-2014, New York Times Notable Children's Book, Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

Publisher Description: After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering disturbing facts about the children who were kept there.


Lexile: 890L

Grade Levels: 7-12

Prisoner B-3087, by Alan Gratz (Based on a true story by Ruth and Jack Gruener)

Publisher Description: When the Nazis invade Krakow, Poland, in 1939, things soon go from bad to worse for Yanek's Jewish family. First, Yanek and the other Jewish kids are forbidden from attending school, and his father's shop is forced to close. Then their neighborhood is turned into a ghetto, where everyone lives in fear of the Nazis coming and taking them away. After losing everyone he loves, Yanek himself is captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp.

There, Yanek struggles to avoid being noticed by the camp's sadistic commandant, who takes great pleasure in shooting prisoners at random. Over the course of the next six years, Yanek is sent to one nightmarish camp after another—ten camps in all, including Birkenau and Auschwitz. He survives a brutal death march, starvation, and torture as countless others are sent to their deaths around him.

All he knows is that he must survive…at any cost. But can he do that without losing his hope, his will—and most of all his sense of who he really is inside?


Lexile: 760L

Grade Levels: 6-8

Curriculum Connections: World History, Holocaust

Out of Reach

Publisher Description: Pressured by his agressively competitive father to play soccer, teenaged Pip McLeod secretly pursues a sport that he truly enjoys--indoor rock climbing


Lexile: 750

Grade Levels: 7-9

I Funny: A Middle School Story, by James Patterson

Publisher Description: Resolving to become the world's greatest stand-up comedian despite less-than-funny challenges in his life, wheelchair-bound middle school student Jamie Grimm endures bullying from his mean-spirited cousin and hopes he will be fairly judged when he enters a local comedy contest.


Lexile: 610

Grade level: 4-7

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Publisher's Description: "Sixteen-year-old Cinder isn't fully human. She isn't entirely machine, either. She's a hybrid—created in a lab—with technological abilities that make her useful to the dismal village of New Beijing. But she is still treated as an outsider. After learning of her skills, Prince Kai calls on Cinder to repair an old android with a mysterious secret. She hopes this will be the beginning of a change in her fate. But before Cinder can help the prince—and perhaps get to know him better—letumosis, the blue fever that has been raging worldwide, infects her beloved stepsister. Now her cruel stepmother is sending Cinder off as a cyborg "volunteer" for plague testing. Her only hope for survival is that her heightened mechanical sense will help her defeat this terrible disease. But even if she can, a bigger threat is at hand from an evil otherworldly queen. Smartly written, this fast-paced drama is a heart-pounding triumph of romance and technology."


Lexile: 7-12

Grade level: 790L

Awards and Honors: *Sunshine State Young Reader Awards, Middle School, 2013-2014

The Saturday Boy: A Novel by David Fleming

Publisher Description: Every school day seems to bring more trouble to eleven-year-old Derek, whose former best friend bullies him, while at home he deals with the long absence of his father, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and his mother's sudden moodiness.


Lexile: 710

Grade level: 5-8

Game Changers, by Mike Lupica

Publisher Description: When the coach's son, Shawn O'Brien, is chosen to play quarterback, eleven-year-old Ben McBain is not surprised--but when he tries to be a good teammate and help the inconsistent Shawn, he is startled to learn that his new friend does not really want the position.


Lexile: 870

Grade levels: 5-7

The Wild Girls

Publisher Description: Joan doesn't like living in California, until she meets Sarah, a "girl dressed in ragged jeans and a dirty T-shirt. . . . Her face was methodically streaked with red-brown clay." While Joan lives with her image-conscious, controlling parents, Sarah leads a free-wheeling life with her artistic father. The girls share common ground, though: Joan is afraid her parents may divorce, and Sarah worries that her absent mother will never return. Both girls also love writing, which they find helps them escape-and eventually, confront-their fears.


Lexile: 630L

Grade Levels: 6-9

Awards and Honors: Winner of the 2007 Christopher Award, Ages 10-12 , Book Sense Children 's Picks - Winter 2007/2008; VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers; 2009 ALA Best Books for Young Adults

Sensitive Areas: Mild language, alcoholism

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Publisher Description: Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.


* sensitive areas/not appropriate for every reader. Ask librarian for details.


Lexile: 600

Grade Level: 7-12

Awards and Honors: *National Book Award

Liar, Liar: The Theory, Practice, and Destructive Properties of Deception

Publisher Description: Fourteen-year-old Kevin is very good at lying and doing so makes life easier, but when he finds himself in big trouble with his friends, family, and teachers, he must find a way to end his lies forever.


Lexile: 940

Grade level: 6-8

The Different Girl, by Gordon Dahlquist

Publisher Description: "Veronika. Caroline. Isobel. Eleanor. One blond, one brunette, one redhead, one with hair black as tar. Four otherwise identical girls who spend their days in sync, tasked to learn. But when May, a very different kind of girl--the lone survivor of a recent shipwreck--suddenly and mysteriously arrives on the island, an unsettling mirror is about to be held up to the life the girls have never before questioned. A great jumping-off point for conversations about free will, the importance of information and education, and the mysterious circumstances in which the characters find themselves, this book absorbs readers into its world. The story is sure to linger in readers' minds long after the final page has been turned."


Grade level: 7-12

Lexile: 790L

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

Publisher Description: "Barely escaping as a murderer kills his family, a small baby crawls into a graveyard—and is miraculously rescued by an enchanting assortment of kind-hearted ghosts and supernatural protectors. Nobody Owens, known as "Bod" to his friends, grows up into a normal kid, albeit one with a mysterious guardian named Silas.

But there are things to discover and dangers to escape in the graveyard—the ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, and a strange and terrible menace called the Sleer. And the world beyond is no better. If Bod leaves the graveyard, will he be attacked by Jack, the man who killed his family?

Amid the darkness and adventure is powerful wisdom about the challenges of growing up and leaving home"


Grade Level: 6-8

Lexile: 820L

Awards and Honors: Newbery Medal Winner

Endangered, by Eliot Schrefer

Publisher Description: "In the summer before starting high school, Sophie visits her mother, as she does every summer, at her sanctuary for bonobo apes in the Congo. When her mother goes off to set some of the bonobos free, Sophie stays behind. A bloody coup erupts overnight. As a United Nations van drives Sophie to safety, she has one unshakable thought in her head: What hope does an innocent bonobo have amidst human violence and conflict? So she jumps out of the van to return to the sanctuary and rescue her beloved apes. What follows is an unforgettable tale of duty and survival as she leads the animals to the jungle, where they all must hide in order to live. Gripping, suspenseful, and beautiful, Eliot Schrefer's stirring novel will strike a chord in the hearts of readers."


Lexile: 900L

Grade Levels: 7-12

Awards and Honors: National Book Award Finalist

Big Nate: Game On! by Lincoln Peirce (graphic novel)

Publisher Description: Nate Wright, all-time record holder for detentions in school history, approaches sports with swagger, from fine-tuning his trash talk on the basketball court to his attitude on the soccer field.


Lexile: 500

Grade level: 6

Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (graphic novel)

Publisher Description: "Seventh grader Callie Marin loves drama. Ever since she saw her first play as a little girl, she's been crazy about the theater. And now she's in charge of set design for her school's spring production of Moon Over Mississippi! But Callie's got tons to deal with before opening night. The boy she's been crushing on since second grade is on again/off again with the play's leading lady. She's become besties with identical twin brothers. One is kind of cute; the other has his own boy crush. And the cannon she's built for the play's big moment just won't fire. What's a girl to do? With a focus on friendships, first crushes, and finding a place in the often confusing world of adolescence, this is a fast-paced and engaging story that will appeal to readers from all walks of middle-school life."


Grade Levels: 5-8

Lexile: 400L

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia

Publisher Description: "Eleven-year-old Delphine isn't happy when her father suggests she and her two younger sisters fly from their home in Brooklyn across the country to spend the summer with the mother who abandoned them. It's the summer of 1968 and Oakland, California, is the heart of the Black Panther movement. Their mother, Cecile, a poet and activist, has no interest in spending time with her girls, let alone nurturing them. Instead, she sends them out into the city to get the free breakfast at a community center run by the Black Panthers and orders them to stay out of her hair until evening. With Delphine looking out for her sisters as always, the girls' eyes are opened as they explore questions of revolution, independence, identity, and family.

Emotional and vibrant, this realistic fiction—with its waves of political drama—explores the power of healing broken ties."


Lexile: 750L

Grade Levels: 5-8

Awards and Honors: Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner, National Book Award Finalist, Newbery Honors, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Hunger Games

"In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss' skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place."


Lexile: 810

Grade levels: 5-12

House of the Scorpion

"In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patron, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States."


Lexile: 660

Grade levels: 6-10

Hitler's Secret

"In June 1941, Otto and Leni, two young refugees from the Nazis living in England, are sent on a secret mission to Bavaria to extract a young girl attending a summer camp, and who may hold the key to the war."


Grade level: 5-8

Stung, by Bethany Wiggins

When a vaccine to save endangered bees causes their sting to turn children into ferocious killer beasts, the uninfected build a wall to keep the beasts out, but Fiona wakes up on the wrong side of the wall.


Grade level: 8 and up

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

Percy, expelled from six schools for being unable to control his temper, learns the truth from his mother that his father is the Greek god Poseidon. He is sent to Camp Half Blood, where he is befriended by a satyr and the demigod daughter of Athena, who join him in a journey to the Underworld to retrieve Zeus's lightning bolt and prevent a catastrophic war.


Lexile: 740

Grade levels: 5-8

Freak the Mighty

At the beginning of eighth grade, learning disabled Max and his new friend Freak, whose birth defect has affected his body but not his brilliant mind, find that when they combine forces they make a powerful team.



Lexile: 1000

Grade level: 7-10

Ender's Game

A veteran of years of simulated war games, Ender believes he is engaged in one more computer war game when in truth he is commanding the last fleet of Earth against an alien race seeking the complete destruction of Earth.


Lexile: 780



Ungifted, by Gordon Korman

Publisher Description: "Donovan is a troublemaker, pure and simple—he's reckless, impulsive, and always up for a good prank. In fact, his middle-school classmates have voted him Most Likely to End Up in Jail two years running. And when Donovan's latest prank goes out of control, the school superintendent will stop at nothing to find the perpetrator. Donovan thinks he's doomed. But then a letter is sent to him by mistake…and it changes everything!

Thanks to the mix-up, Donovan is being sent to his town's school for gifted and talented students—a place filled with nerdy geniuses. It's the perfect place to hide out…if only he can figure out a way to fit in. While it soon becomes obvious that Donovan isn't as smart as the other students, he wins them over in other ways—from helping them in a robotics competition to showing them how to overcome their social awkwardness. But will his past finally catch up to him?

Told from alternating perspectives, this book will have readers cheering for Donovan and his classmates as they change each other's lives for the better!"


Lexile:730L

Grade Levels: 5-8


Confetti Girl, by Diana Lopez

Publisher Description: "Lina is a typical Mexican American middle schooler growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas. She loves science, enjoys playing volleyball, and has an impressive collection of colorful socks. But things just haven't been the same since her mother passed away. Lina's grades are dropping, and it seems like her dad spends more time reading books than talking to her. Lina's best friend, Vanessa, is coping with a loss of her own: her father recently walked out on the family. Vanessa's mother busies herself in the kitchen for hours each day, cursing her ex-husband and making cascarones, decorative eggshells filled with confetti. Sick of feeling ignored in their own homes, Vanessa and Lina come up with a plan to bring their parents together. But can Lina's distant father ever soften the hardboiled heart of Vanessa's mother? This tender, funny story serves as a realistic reminder that although life can be fragile, there's always something to celebrate among family and friends."


Grade Levels: 4-7

Lexile: 660L

Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli

Captures the hardships and cruelty of life in the ghettos of Warsaw during the Nazi occupation of World War II, through the eyes of a Jewish orphan who must use all his wits and courage to survive unimaginable events and circumstances.

Lexile: 510

Grades level: 6 and up


The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1)

Publisher Description: Brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane accidentally unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes the doctor to oblivion and forces his two children to embark on a dangerous journey, bringing them closer to the truth about their family and its links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.


Lexile: 650

Grade Levels: 5-9

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1)

Publisher Description: "When they're attacked by strange monsters during a field trip to the Grand Canyon, Jason, Piper, and Leo are rescued by some of Percy Jackson's pals and taken to Camp Half-Blood.

There, the teens discover the truth—they're demigods! But unlike the other campers, who have Greek gods and goddesses for parents, Jason, Piper, and Leo have Romangods and goddesses for parents!

Now the three are learning about their unique demigod abilities—and facing a deadly prophecy. It turns out that the goddess Hera has been kidnapped and it's up to these new demigods to save her!"


Lexile: 660L

Grade Levels: 4-8

Football Hero, by Tim Green

When twelve-year-old Ty's brother Thane is recruited out of college to play for the New York Jets, their Uncle Gus uses Ty to get insider information for his gambling ring, landing Ty and Thane in trouble with the Mafia.


Lexile: 840

The Darkest Path

Publisher's Description:
"A civil war rages between the Glorious Path—a militant religion based on the teachings of a former U.S. soldier—and what's left of the U.S. government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path's dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path's deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal's loyalties and end in a fierce battle that will determine the fate of the entire country." *Some mature content


Lexile: 810L

Reading Level: 8-10

Red Kayak

Publisher's Description: "Thirteen-year-old Brady Parks knows all about life on the water. He's grown up on the Chesapeake Bay, and as the son of a commercial fisherman, Brady knows the kind of respect a rushing river deserves.

So when he sees his wealthy new neighbors kayaking one stormy morning, he wants to warn them. He wants to shout out and tell them to go home. But he doesn't. His friends convince him that the privileged neighbors—the kind of people who have bought up property and changed the face of their community—should be able to fend for themselves.

But the day turns out much worse than Brady could have imagined. And he and his friends have played an integral part. What will Brady do with the truth he discovers?

This authentically told coming-of-age story about right and wrong keeps readers turning the pages with its thought-provoking and tense narrative."


Lexile: 800L

Grade Level: 7-9


Uglies

Just before their sixteenth birthdays, when they will will be transformed into beauties whose only job is to have a great time, Tally's best friend runs away and Tally must find her and turn her in, or never become pretty at all.


Lexile: 770

Jump into the Sky, by Shelley Pearsall

Publisher Description: Historically accurate details of everyday life in 1945 and a compelling first-person narrative enrich this coming-of-age story about an African American teen's first encounter with Jim Crow laws.


Grade Levels:5-8

Lexile: 940L

Tangerine, by Edward Bloor

Publisher Description: "Welcome to Tangerine County, Florida—where anything is possible. Once known for its citrus groves, Tangerine is now a barely inhabitable quagmire of muck fires and school-swallowing sinkholes. Still, 12-year-old Paul sees his family's move to Tangerine as a way to start anew—maybe even make a name for himself in middle-school soccer, despite his father's obsession with his high school–age brother Erik's future in football. Paul is visually impaired (without his Coke-bottle glasses), but it's everyone else who seems to be blind to Erik's dangerous nature. Written as a series of Paul's journal entries, Tangerine is a gut-wrenching coming-of-age novel about truth, memory, culture, courage, social consciousness, classism, the environment…and soccer. "


Grade Level: 6-9

Lexile: 680L


The Maze Runner

Publisher Description: Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.


Grade Level: 6-12

Lexile: 770L

Publisher Description: "Esperanza has lived a privileged life in post-revolutionary Mexico, but her luck changes when her father is murdered by bandits. The family ranch falls into the hands of her heartless uncle, who wants to marry Esperanza's mother and send Esperanza away.

To escape this fate, Mama, Esperanza, and their three faithful servants flee to California. After a long trip on a dirty train, they arrive at a migrant workers camp. The squalid, overcrowded cabin Esperanza and Mama must live in is more like a horse stall than a home, and Esperanza is miserable.

Then an intense dust storm strikes and Mama becomes very sick. Even though she's too young, Esperanza will have to work in the fields to earn money to pay for Mama's medical bills. The labor is backbreaking, and Esperanza lives in constant fear of being caught and sent back to Mexico. Fortunately, her will is strong, and so is the community she is growing to love.

But the risks keep mounting. A dangerous workers' strike looms, and Esperanza faces prejudice everywhere she turns. Can she endure her grueling new life? Will her mother recover?

The human spirit is dealt some harsh blows—but refuses to die—in this powerfully written book about struggle, survival, and family."


Grade Levels: 5-7

Lexile: 750L


Princess of the Silver Woods

Publisher Description: "When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor's 12 dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of Westfalin, she welcomes the change of scenery. But in order to reach Westfalin, Petunia must pass through a forest where strange two-legged wolves are rumored to exist. Wolves intent on redistributing the wealth of the noble citizens who have entered their territory. But the bandit-wolves prove more rakishly handsome than truly dangerous, and it's not until Petunia reaches her destination that she realizes the kindly grandmother she has been summoned to visit is really an enemy bent on restoring an age-old curse."


Grade Levels: 6-12

Lexile: 860L

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Publisher Description: "Bilbo Baggins is certain he is the victim of a case of mistaken identity when a company of dwarves arrives unannounced at his hobbit-hole. Reluctantly he answers the call to adventure and joins them on a quest to recover an ancient hoard of treasure protected by a dragon. Bilbo, they insist, is the "thief" of the party—the one who will actually steal back the gold. Can a mere hobbit, a "halfling" who's smaller than the smallest dwarf, outwit the dragon without getting roasted alive? The immortal Lord of the Rings fantasy saga had its beginnings in this brilliantly told story about a humble hobbit with dreams of proving himself in the wider world. The dark seeds of the longer adventure are all here in this exciting and often funny adventure tale about wizards, dwarves, and dragons."


Grade Level: 6-12

Lexile: 1000L


Poetry

Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems

A collection of poems capture the feelings and experiences of a girl in middle school.


19 varieties of gazelle: poems of the Middle East

Presents a collection of poems dealing with the Middle East, peace, and being an Arab-American in the United States.


Lexile: 910

Inside Out and Back Again: A Novel in Verse, by Thanhha Lai

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. Teacher guide is available.


The Taking of Room 114: a Hostage Drama in Poems

A story told by a series of poems reflecting the thoughts of various people involved in a hostage crisis involving a high school history teacher and his students.


Nonfiction

Navy Seal Dogs: My Tale of Training Canines for Combat, by Michael Ritland

Publisher Description: "This book presents the dramatic tale of how Mike Ritland discovered his passion and grew up to become the trainer of the nation's most elite military working dogs. Ritland was a smaller-than-average kid who was often picked on at school—which led him to spend more time with dogs at a young age. After completing BUD/S training—the toughest military training in the world—to become a SEAL, he was on combat deployment in Iraq when he saw a military working dog in action and instantly knew he'd found his true calling. Ritland started his own company to train and supply working and protection dogs for the U.S. government, the Department of Defense, and other clients. He also started the Warrior Dog Foundation to help retired Special Operations dogs live long and happy lives after their service. An exciting true story!"


Grade Levels: 7-12

Lexile: 1140L

Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town, by Warren St. John

Outside Atlanta, Georgia, a soccer team of refugee kids overcame zoning laws, lack of funds, and internal feuds to win something bigger than a championship.


Grade Levels: 6-8

Lexile: 980

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies

Sensitive Areas: War; Violence

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, by John Fleischman

Publisher Description: "It's September 13, 1848. A crew of railroad construction workers is blasting through granite bedrock in Vermont. The life of the foreman, Phineas Gage, changes forever: a botched explosion sends a metal rod through his cheekbone, behind his eye, through the front of his brain, and out the middle of his forehead. Miraculously, Phineas lives, but his personality and behavior undergo drastic changes. He is vicious, unreliable, and rude. Phineas's story stumps doctors and scientists all over the country. Two major theories are developed. Both are slightly right—but mostly wrong. Still, they revolutionize the study of the brain. Enter the intriguing world of neuroscience in this astonishing book about the mysteries and the wonder of the human body."


Grade Levels: 6-9

Lexile: 1030L

Curriculum Connections: Science

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe

Publisher Description: Without honeybees, the world would be a different place. There would be no honey, no beeswax for candles, and, worst of all, barely a fruit, nut, or vegetable to eat. So imagine beekeeper Dave Hackenburg's horror when he discovered 20 million of his charges had vanished. In this photographic nonfiction, Loree Griffin Burns profiles bee wranglers and bee scientists who have been working to understand colony collapse disorder, or CCD. Through this dramatic and enlightening story, readers explore the lives of the fuzzy, buzzy insects and learn what might happen to us if they were gone.


Lexile: NC1120L

Grade Levels: 4-8

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith, by Deborah Heiligman

Publisher Description: "When Charles Darwin proposed the theory of evolution, his revolutionary ideas seemed dangerous to many people in the 19th century—including his deeply religious wife, Emma. The couple struggled with this dilemma, and over the years, Darwin's science mixed (and sometimes clashed) with his wife's religious views. But throughout it all, the pair supported each other. Drawing on the couple's letters, diaries, and notebooks, this inspiring and thought-provoking biography chronicles the Darwins' long and fulfilling partnership—which lasted 43 years and produced 10 children. It shows how they were able to go beyond their differences, influence each other's beliefs—and make a successful marriage of science and religion."


Grade Levels: 8-12

Lexile: 1020L

Curriculum Connections: Science, Social Studies

Awards and Honors: National Book Award Finalist, Printz Award Honors

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March

Publisher Description: "In 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, was a city divided. Local politicians fought to keep the city segregated, with laws that made it illegal for African American and white citizens to share the same schools and experiences. Police officers beat and sometimes even killed African Americans, becoming a source of fear rather than protection. Just when things seemed at their worst, an unexpected group of peaceful soldiers came forward: the African American children and teens of Birmingham. While adults were finding it hard to take action because of fears that they would lose their jobs or put their families at risk, young people around the city signed pledges of nonviolence and got friends involved. In a series of marches at the beginning of May, thousands of young people were arrested. Following four students through these empowering and dangerous days, readers discover harrowing details, such as the techniques that young protestors used to withstand the blasts of fire hoses. The students also share memories of triumphantly eating ice cream at lunch counters and attending movie theaters for the first time after desegregation. Historic photographs support the text and bring the time period to life. This fascinating account of a little-known chapter of the civil rights movement was a finalist for the 2013 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults!"


Grade Levels: 4-7

Lexile: 1020L

Curriculum Connections: American History, Social Studies

Nelson Mandela: "No Easy Walk to Freedom," by Barry Denenberg

Publisher Description: From his humble beginnings in rural South Africa to his death at the age of 95 in 2013, Nelson Mandela's life is a tale of inspiration and courage.

Barry Denenberg explores the history of South Africa and its often violent struggle for civil rights, while tracing Mandela's role in that history. As a lawyer, a leader of the African National Congress, a political prisoner who spent 26 years in jail, a president—no one else has had such enormous influence on his fellow South Africans. Even beyond South Africa, Nelson Mandela influenced freedom fighters everywhere.


Grade Levels: 5-8

Lexile: 950L

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies (Prejudice and Racism, Equality, Culture and Diversity, Fairness and Justice)

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, by Jim Murphy

Publisher Description: Gruesome, suspenseful, and informative, this gripping nonfiction account of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 is illustrated with historical prints, pictures, and documents.
Grade Levels: 6-8

Lexile: 1130L

Curriculum Connections: American History (American Revolution)

Awards and Honors: National Book Award Finalist, Newbery Honors

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery

Publisher Description: "Typically, one word comes to mind when hearing the name Benedict Arnold: traitor. History books, popular discussion, and folklore have long labeled this infamous man in a one-dimensional way. But maybe there's more to his story? As it turns out, there's much more. Benedict Arnold was a smart, motivated, hardworking family man. He was a proud and loyal patriot, a man known in his day as an incredibly brave war hero. So what drove this complex man to betray the country he fought so hard to liberate? Approachable—yet chock-full of details and surprises—this amazing book is a captivating selection for anyone interested in U.S. history."


Grade Levels: 6-9

Lexile: 990L

Curriculum Connections: American History, Social Studies

Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II, by Martin W. Sandler

Publisher's description: "As World War II raged abroad, fear and suspicion toward Americans of Japanese descent swept the country. Culling information from extensive, previously unpublished interviews and oral histories of Japanese American internment camp survivors, Martin W. Sandler gives an in-depth account of their lives before, during, and after their imprisonment. Bringing readers inside life in the internment camps, this in-depth look at a troubling period of American history sheds light on the prejudices in today's world and provides the historical context that can help prevent similar abuses of power from happening in the future."


Grade Levels: 5-12

Lexile: 1240L

Sensitive Areas: *Some mature content

Awards and Honors: YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist

Lincoln's Grave Robbers, by Steve Sheinkin

Publisher Description: "In the late 19th century, counterfeiting is a major problem in the United States—and arresting counterfeiters and keeping them behind bars is proving difficult for the Secret Service. But agents catch a break when they capture Benjamin Boyd—one of the country's most talented counterfeiters and a threat to the nation's entire economic system. Desperate to get Boyd back, his counterfeiting ring comes up with a plan—they'll steal President Lincoln's body out of its tomb and hold it for ransom until Boyd is released! But a Secret Service agent named Patrick Tyrrell gets wind of their plan—and he's determined to put a stop to it. Tyrrell uses an undercover agent to learn the details of the scheme, and the plot moves toward a wild climax as robbers and lawmen converge at Lincoln's tomb on election night: November 7, 1876. Ideal for fans of Chasing Lincoln's Killer, this true crime thriller offers fascinating glimpses into the inner workings of counterfeiting, grave robbing, detective work, and the early days of the Secret Service."


Grade Levels: 6-9

Lexile: 930L

Curriculum Connections: American History, Social Studies

Awards and Honors: National Book Award Finalist

The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, by James L. Swanson

Publisher Description: "In his young-adult book on the Kennedy assassination, James Swanson transports readers back to one of the most shocking, sad, and terrifying events in American history. Through Swanson's riveting ticking-clock pace, unprecedented eye for dramatic details, and impeccable historical accuracy, readers experience the story of the JFK assassination as if they are there. Archival photos, diagrams, source notes, a bibliography, a list of places to visit, and an index complete this excellent historic resource."


Interest Grade Level: 6-9

Lexile: 1080L

Curriculum Connections: American History, Social Studies

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

Publisher Description: "Weaving together the voices of Titanic survivors and witnesses of the disaster, critically acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson brings the horrors of that terrible voyage to life for today's students. Readers will meet various passengers and crew members—from nine-year-old Frankie Goldsmith to the brave seaman William Murdock. They will also discover:


  • Photos of the ship and its passengers
  • Glossary, timeline, and survivor bios and letters
  • Tips on how to be a Titanic researcher"


Grade Levels: 4-7

Lexile: 1040L

Awards and Honors: 2013 Sibert Informational Book Award Honor, YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults finalist

Ten True Tales: Kid Pirates: Their Battles, Shipwrecks, & Narrow Escapes

Publisher Description: Some volunteered. Others were forced into service. But all ten of these young people sailed with the world's most feared pirates—from the notorious Blackbeard and Captain Kidd to Henry Morgan. Some fought side by side with pirates; others tried to escape. You'll never forget their incredible true stories.

Each book in this thrilling nonfiction series from best-selling author Allan Zullo rips true stories right from the pages of history or the daily news—presenting unforgettable characters in bite-sized stories that take only a few minutes each to read.


Lexile: 940L

Grade Levels: 4-7

Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement, by Rick Bowers

Publisher Description: "This is the compelling story of how state spies tried to block voting rights for African Americans during the Civil Rights era, shedding new light on one of the most momentous periods in American history. Author Rick Bowers has combed through primary-source materials and interviewed surviving activists named in once-secret files. Readers get firsthand accounts of how neighbors spied on neighbors, teachers spied on students, ministers spied on churchgoers—and spies even spied on spies."


Interest Grade Levels: 6-10

Lexile: 1290L

Curriculum Connections: American History, Social Studies

Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917

Publisher Description: Shortly before nine o'clock on the morning of December 6, 1917, the residents of Halifax, Nova Scotia, were just beginning an ordinary day in their busy harbor town. Some were already working, others were eating breakfast, and children were on their way to school. Then something completely unexpected and terrible happened.

Two ships (one carrying explosives and weapons to World War I soldiers in Europe, the other picking up medical supplies) collided, causing the largest man-made explosion in recorded history before the atom bomb. Every structure for two square kilometers along the shores of Halifax and nearby Dartmouth was completely obliterated by a blast that created a tsunami in the harbor and a pressure wave that snapped trees, bent metal, and hurled fragments of the ships for miles through the air. Then, on top of this devastating tragedy, a giant blizzard struck, leaving rescue workers in a desperate race against time to find survivors before those buried beneath the snow were lost forever.


Interest Grade Level: 5-8

Lexile: 1100L

Curriculum Connections: World History, Social Studies

Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Soloman Northrop, Free Black Man

Recounts the experiences of Solomon Northup, an African American man who was kidnapped into slavery and suffered through twelve years of bondage before being rescued from the Louisiana cotton plantation by friends from New York. Teacher guide is available.


Interest grade level: 5-8

Curriculum Connections: American History, Social Studies

The Great Fire, by Jim Murphy

Publisher Description: "It all began one Sunday evening when a small fire broke out inside the O'Learys' barn. Panic was slow to build, people ignored the danger signals, the fire department was unable to locate the fire, and everything went terribly wrong from there. In time, wild flames fueled by a steady wind engulfed everything in their path. By the time the fire was contained, a new kind of drama was beginning. Nearly 100,000 people were homeless and searching through the scorched rubble for their families. Drawing on firsthand accounts, acclaimed author Jim Murphy investigates the Great Fire of 1871, one of the most tragic disasters in American history. The blaze transformed the flourishing city of Chicago into a smoldering wasteland within hours. The damage was so profound that few people believed the city could ever rise again. But even in a time of deepest despair the people of Chicago found the courage and strength to build their city once again. This engrossing narrative captivates readers with the details of one of history's most tragic fires and features photos, engravings, and newspaper clippings on nearly every page."


Grade Levels: 5-9

Lexile: 1130L

Curriculum Connections: American History, Social Studies

Awards and Honors: Newbery Honors

Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America, by Jim Murphy

Publisher Description: Snow began falling over New York City on March 12, 1888, but after one of the warmest winters on record no one expected that in a few hours the storm would bury the city in nearly 21 inches of snow and bring it to a standstill. The blizzard of 1888 devastated cities all along the East Coast. This captivating recreation of the historic storm shows how people survived and what they endured in the aftermath.

Filled with period illustrations and photos, this fascinating nonfiction book is also an extraordinary trip back in time to life in a 19th-century city.

Lexile: 1080L

Grade Levels: 5-9

Leaving Glorytown: One Boy's Struggle Under Castro

The author, a child of Fidel Castro's Cuba, recounts his boyhood and chronicles the conditions that led him to leave behind his beloved extended family and his home for a chance at a better life in the United States. Teacher guide is available.


Lexile: 730

Interest grade level: 7-10

Curriculum Connections: World History, World Cultures, American History

Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert

Describes the rescue of thirty-three miners trapped in a copper-gold mine in San Jose, Chile and how experts from around the world, from drillers, to astronauts, to submarine specialists, came together to make their remarkable rescue possible.


Lexile: 1070

Interest grade level: 5-8

Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees

Provides interviews with twenty-three young Iraqi children who have moved away from their homeland and tells of their fears, challenges, and struggles to rebuild their lives in foreign lands as refugees of war.


Lexile: 860

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies

Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War

Children in Afghanistan, ranging in age from ten to seventeen, talk candidly about their lives since the fall of the Taliban.


Lexile: 800

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies

Solving Crimes with Trace Evidence (Nonfiction- Graphic Novel Format)

Looks at the techniques investigators use to find and collect trace evidence at crime scenes, and provides graphic novel accounts of famous cases in which trace evidence led to the apprehension of a killer.


Curriculum Connections: Science

Meltdown! The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and our Energy Future

On March 11, 2011, the Great Tohuku Earthquake struck, causing a tsunami that devastated Japan and led to a nuclear emergency at the Fukushima power plant.


Lexile: 1000

Curriculum Connections: Science, Social Studies

Black Gold: The Story of Oil in our Lives

A history of the slick and foul-smelling substance that drives our existence and that becomes scarcer as our dependence on it grows. Teacher guide is available.


Curriculum Connections: Science, Social Studies

The skull in the rock: how a scientist, a boy, and Google Earth opened a new window on human origins

Chronicles the story behind one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of all time, explaining its significance for understanding human evolution and how it is shaping the thinking of the scientific community. Teacher guide is available.


Level: 1140L

Curriculum Connections: Science, Geography, Social Studies

Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates

Discusses the discoveries of four hominins including Turkana Boy, Lapedo Child, Kennewick Man and Iceman, offering insight into how archaeologists analyzed the remains of each to further their understanding of ancient human behavior.


Lexile: 1010

Curriculum Connections: Science, Social Studies

Propaganda: World War II Sourcebook

"Describes the documentation published by different groups during World War II that was used to persuade civilians, soldiers, and even the enemies to support that group's cause"--Provided by publisher.


Lexile: 1060

Curriculum Connections: World History, Social Studies

The plant hunters: true stories of their daring adventures to the far corners of the Earth

Presents the experiences and contributions of early adventurers, explorers, and scientists responsible for discovering and documenting new types of plants, showing how their often dangerous voyages help establish the field of botany. Teacher guide is available.


Lexile: 1170

Curriculum Connections: Science

I.M. Pei: Architect of Time, Place, and Purpose

Looking at the stories behind six of his most celebrated buildings, this biography follows I. M. Pei’s life and charts the development of his aesthetic.


Lexile: 1070

Grade Levels: 5-8

Awards & Honors: Booklist 2011 Editors' Choice, Books for Youth, Nonfiction, Older Readers; Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2011; Booklist Top 10 Biography Books for Youth: 2012; Booklist Top 10 Books for Youth 2012, Arts

Curriculum Connections: Art (Architecture)

The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman

World War I introduced to modern warfare such weapons of mass slaughter as long-range artillery, machine guns, poison gas, flamethrowers, and tanks, resulting in the deaths of twenty million people. It also brought about revolutions, caused empires to fall, and saw the birth of new nations.


Grade Levels: 5-8

Lexile: 1220L

Awards and Honors: Horn Book Fanfare, Best Books of 2010, Nonfiction; Kirkus Reviews 2010 Best Books for Teens; Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Books 2010, Nonfiction;School Library Journal Best Books 2010: Nonfiction; YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Nomination, 2010; Children's Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Children's Choices - Best Books of 2011, Special Interests, History; BCCB Blue Ribbon 2010, Nonfiction

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, by Steve Sheinkin

Publisher Description: "In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb."


Grade Levels: 7-12

Lexile: 920L

Awards and Honors: 2013 Sibert Informational Book Award, 2013 Newbery Honor, 2013 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

The Iranian Revolution, by Brendan January

Publisher Description: "The 1979 revolution left Iran "torn by drastic social changes, invasion, bombing, executions, and assassinations. The Iranian Revolution would also bring Iran and the United States to the brink of war." The events of 1979 were the result of complicated dynamics, both within Iran and internationally. From the CIA-engineered overthrow of prime minister Mosaddeq to the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini to the hostage crisis, Iran's revolution is a compelling story."


Grades levels: 5-8

Lexile: 1020L

Lafayette and the American Revolution, Russell Freedman.

Publisher Description: Presents a biography about the French nobleman who assisted the American colonists in their struggle for freedom from England during the Revolutionary War.


Grade Levels: 5-8