Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl DreamingSummary:  Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

Nancy Paulsen

May B.: a novel, by Caroline Starr Rose

Summary:  When a failed wheat crop nearly bankrupts the Betterly family, Pa pulls twelve-year-old May, who suffers from dyslexia, from school and hires her out to a couple new to the Kansas frontier.

Schwartz & Wade

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Addie on the Inside, by James Howe

Summary: Outspoken thirteen-year-old Addie Carle learns about love, loss, and staying true to herself as she navigates seventh grade, enjoys a visit from her grandmother, fights with her boyfriend, and endures gossip and meanness from her former best friend.


Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, by Julie Sternberg

Summary:  When nine-year-old Eleanor’s beloved babysitter Bibi moves away to care for her ailing father, Eleanor must spend the summer adjusting to a new babysitter while mourning the loss of her old one.


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Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai

Summary:  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.


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Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse, by Marilyn Singer

Summary:  A collection of short poems which, when reversed, provide new perspectives on the fairy tale characters they feature. 32 p., Dutton.

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Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards

Summary:  Sixteen-year-old Celestia is a wealthy member of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, where she meets and falls in love with Peter, a hired hand who lives in the valley below, and by the time of the torrential rains that lead to the disastrous Johnstown flood of 1889, she has been disowned by her family and is staying with him in Johnstown.

293 pages. Knopf

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The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba, by Margarita Engle

Summary:   Draws on little-known Cuban history to tell a stirring story in poetry. Based on the diaries and letters of Swedish suffragist Fredrika Bremer, who spent three months in Cuba in 1851, the story focuses on oppressed women, the privileged as well as the enslaved, in three alternating free-verse narratives.  151 p., Henry Holt.

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Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Color by Joyce Sidman

red singsSummary: The names of colors are woven into unrhymed poems that celebrate the seasons. 32 p., Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.

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Brushing Mom’s Hair by Andrea Cheng

brushingSummary: A fourteen-year-old girl, whose mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment have affected every aspect of their lives, finds release in ballet and art classes. 59 p., Wordsong.

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Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself by Eileen Spinelli and Jerry Spinelli

todaySummary: Daily verses of inspiration, advice, and hope are compiled in this lively book for middle readers designed to help develop self-esteem and other important values needed to live a meaningful life.  384 p., Alfred A. Knopf.

Grow: A Novel in Verse by Juanita Havill

Summary: Two misfit children and other members of a Minneapolis, Minnesota, neighborhood are brought together by a woman creating a community garden. 159 p., Peachtree.

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Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech

Summary: Jack is studying poetry again in school, and he continues to write poems reflecting his understanding of famous poems and how they relate to his life. 153 p., Joanna Cotler Books.

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Where The Steps Were by Andrea Cheng

Summary: Verse from the perspectives of five students in Miss D.’s third grade class details the children’s last year together before their inner city school is to be torn down. 143 p., Wordsong.

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