Abbott, Tony. The Great Jeff. Thirteen-year-old Jeff’s life spirals downward into homelessness after his alcoholic mother loses her job.
Adler, David. Cam Jansen. (Series)A series of books following the exploits of a fifth grade female detective named Jennifer “Cam” Jansen and her best friend Eric. Nicknamed Cam for her photographic memory, the protagonist closes her eyes and says “click” at various points in a story, mimicking the noise of a camera while memorizing a scene in front of her. She later recalls these scenes to aid in solving a mystery.
Alexander, Kwame. The Crossover. Newbery Award Winner.This novel in verse follows the experiences of twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan, who struggle with challenges on and off the court while their father ignores his declining health.
Alpine, Rachele. You Throw Like a Girl. Staying at her grandmother’s house while her father is deployed overseas, Gabby is disappointed when the girl’s softball season is cancelled, a situation that forces her to choose between fighting to get on the boys’ team and competing in a beauty pageant.
Angleberger, Tom. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Sixth-grader Tommy and his friends describe their interactions with a paper finger puppet of Yoda, worn by their weird classmate Dwight, as they try to figure out whether or not the puppet can really predict the future.
Bauer, Joan. Soar. Moving to Hillcrest, Ohio, when his adoptive father accepts a temporary job, twelve-year-old Jeremiah, a heart transplant recipient, has sixty days to find a baseball team to coach.
Blume, Judy. Blubber. Jill goes along with the rest of the fifth-grade class in tormenting a classmate and then finds out what it’s like when she, too, becomes a target.
Blume, Judy. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Peter, who is tired of having to keep mischievous two-year-old Fudge out of trouble, discovers that his pet turtle is missing.
Cheng, Jack. See You in the Cosmos. Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski, along with his dog, Carl Sagan, makes big discoveries about his family on a road trip and he records it all on a golden iPod he intends to launch into space.
Child, Lauren. Clarice Bean Spells Trouble. (Series)Clarice Bean, aspiring actress and author, unsuccessfully tries to avoid getting into trouble as she attempts to help a friend in need by following the rules of the fictional, “exceptionordinarily” spy, Ruby Redfort.
Clarke, Cat. The Pants Project. Eleven-year-old Liv fights to change the middle school dress code requiring girls to wear a skirt and, along the way, finds the courage to tell his moms he is meant to be a boy.
Cleary, Beverly. Dear Mr. Henshaw. After his parents separate, Leigh Botts moves to a new town with his mother. Struggling to make friends and deal with his anger toward his absent father, Leigh loses himself in a class assignment in which he must write to his favorite author. When Mr. Henshaw responds, the two form an unexpected friendship that will change Leigh’s life forever.
Cleary, Beverly. Ramona. (Series)Ramona Quimby has a knack for getting into trouble, whether it’s dropping out of kindergarten, squeezing a tube of toothpaste down a sink, or cracking a hard-boiled egg on her head to show off (only to find her mom forgot to boil it).
Clements, Andrew. Lunch Money. Twelve-year-old Greg, who has always been good at moneymaking projects, is surprised to find himself teaming up with his lifelong rival, Maura, to create a series of comic books to sell at school.
Connor, Leslie. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook. Born and raised in a prison where is mother is incarcerated, Perry T. Cook is taken to live with a foster family, where he feels trapped and out of place, and works to find a way to be reunited with his mother.
Creech, Sharon. Moo. Follows the efforts of twelve-year-old Reena, who has recently moved to rural Maine, to adjust to a new environment while unexpectedly bonding with an ornery cow.
Dahl, Roald. Danny, Champion of the World. A motherless boy, who lives in a gypsy caravan behind his father’s filling station, records the adventures he shares with his beloved parent.
Davies, Jacqueline. The Lemonade War. (Series)Evan and his younger sister, Jesse, react very differently to the news that they will be in the same class for fourth grade and as the end of summer approaches, they battle it out through lemonade stands, each trying to be the first to earn one hundred dollars.
Dee, Barbara. Star-Crossed. When Mattie is cast as Romeo in an eighth-grade play, she is confused to find herself increasingly attracted to Gemma, a new classmate who is playing Juliet.
DiCamillo, Kate. Raymie Nightingale. Hoping that if she wins a local beauty pageant her father will come home, Raymie practices twirling a baton and performing good deeds as she is drawn into an unlikely friendship with a drama queen and a saboteur.
Fitzhugh, Louise. Harriet the Spy. Eleven-year-old Harriet keeps notes on her classmates and neighbors in a secret notebook, but when some of the students read the notebook, they seek revenge.
Gerber, Alyson. Focused. Twelve-year-old Clea wants to do her homework, follow instructions, pay attention in school, and play chess on the school team, but somehow she cannot focus on whatever is in front of her, and the other kids at school are starting to notice and make fun of her. When her worried parents take her to be tested she finds out that she has ADHD.
Graff, Lisa. The Great Treehouse War. Fifth-grader Winnie, with notes from her friends, writes of turning her treehouse into an embassy after her newly-divorced parents become unreasonable, where she is joined by nine others with complaints.
Kelly, Lynne. Song for a Whale. Twelve-year-old Iris and her grandmother, both deaf, drive from Texas to Alaska armed with Iris’s plan to help Blue-55, a whale unable to communicate with other whales.
King, Wesley. OCDaniel. A thirteen-year-old boy’s life revolves around hiding his obsessive compulsive disorder until a girl at school, who is unkindly nicknamed Psycho Sara, notices him for the first time and he gets a mysterious note that changes everything.
Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a Wimpy Kid. (Series) Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship.
Kline, Christina Baker. Orphan Train Girl. Presents a young reader’s version of a story in which Molly, close to aging out of the foster care system, takes a position helping an elderly woman named Vivian and discovers that they are more alike than different as she helps Vivian solve a mystery from her past.
Korman, Gordon. Slacker. When eighth-grader Cameron Boxer creates the Positive Action Group at school he intends it as a diversion to fool his parents, teachers, and sister into letting him continue to concentrate on his video-gaming–but before he knows it other kids are takingit seriously, and soon he finds himself president of the P.A.G., and involved in community service, so the boy who never cared about anything is now the center of everything, whether he likes it or not.
Lowry. Gooney Bird. (Series)There’s never been anyone like Gooney Bird Greene at Watertower Elementary School. What other new kid comes to school wearing pajamas and cowboy boots one day and a polka-dot t-shirt and tutu on another?
Lupica, Mike. Last Man Out. Twelve-year-old Tommy Gallagher, the bravest and toughest football player on the field, faces his biggest battle ever when his father, a Boston firefighter, is fatally injured while rescuing a child.
Marcionette, Jake. Just Jake. (Series) Jake and his family have moved to a new state and now Jake must start at the bottom of the social ladder, but he is determined to make friends and get back on top with his box of “kid cards.”
McDonald, Megan. Judy Moody. (Series) Third grader Judy Moody is in a first day of school bad mood until she gets an assignment to create a collage all about herself and begins creating her masterpiece, the Me collage.
O’Connor, Barbara. Wish. A story about a girl who, with the help of the dog of her dreams, discovers that family doesn’t always have to be related–they are simply people who love you for who you are.
O’Connor, Jane. Nancy Clancy. (Series) This is a series of chapter books that feature an older Nancy Clancy from the Fancy Nancy series. She is now in third grade and she and her friend Bree fancy themselves detectives, like their fictional hero, Nancy Drew.
Palacio, R.J. Wonder. Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities, 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.
Patterson, James. Jacky Ha-Ha. Twelve-year-old Jacky “Ha-Ha” Hart is a class clown with a penchant for pranking–and when she’s required to act in the school play to appease her frustrated teachers, she must conquer her stutter.
Pennypacker, Sara. Clementine. Armed with attitude, individuality, and a penchant for disaster, Clementine, a wonderfully wacky girl who is the inventor of the world’s first pair of bologna glasses, makes her first appearance in this hilarious chapter book.
Pennypacker, Sara. Pax. After being forced to give up his pet fox Pax, a young boy named Peter decides to leave home and get his best friend back.
Pla, Sally J. The Someday Birds. Charlie, twelve, who has autism and obsessive compulsive disorder, must endure a cross-country trip with his siblings and a strange babysitter to visit their father, who will undergo brain surgery.
Ramée, Lisa. A Good Kind of Trouble. After attending a powerful protest, Shayla starts wearing an armband to school to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but when the school gives her an ultimatum, she is forced to choose between her education and her identity.
Russell, Rachael Renee. Misadventures of Max Crumbly. (Series) Questioning his resolve to attend public school after being homeschooled when he is targeted by a bully, Max aspires to become like his favorite comic book heroes and finds an unexpected opportunity to be the hero his middle school needs.
Sacher, Louis. Holes. Newbery Award Winner. As further evidence of his family’s bad fortune attributed to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a horrible correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.
Sloan, Holly Goldberg. Short. Very short for her age, Julia grows into her sense of self while playing a munchkin in a summer regional theater production of The Wizard of Oz.
Standiford, Natalie. The Only Girl in School. In a story told in letters, when Claire’s best friend moves away just before the start of fifth grade, Claire becomes the only girl in her tiny island elementary school–and suddenly boys she has been friends with her whole life turn into resentful, bullying strangers.
Stone, Phoebe. Paris for Two. Twelve-year-old Petunia is used to living in the shadow of her fourteen-year-old half-sister, Ava, their mother’s favorite, but now that the whole family has moved to Paris for a year, Pet finds herself stepping into the light, making new friends, uncovering secrets, and, inspired by the classic French dolls she has found, revealing an unexpected talent for designing dresses–and her beautiful sister does not take it well.
Sumner, Jamie. Roll With It. Twelve-year-old Ellie, who has cerebral palsy, finds her life transformed when she moves with her mother to small-town Oklahoma to help care for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s Disease.
Weeks, Sarah. Save Me a Seat. Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems–but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives.
Woodson, Jacqueline. Harbor Me. When six students are chosen to participate in a weekly talk with no adults allowed, they discover that when they’re together, it’s safe to share the hopes and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world.
Yang, Kelly. Front Desk. Recent immigrants from China and desperate for work and money, ten-year-old Mia Tang’s parents take a job managing a rundown motel in Southern California, even though the owner, Mr. Yao is a nasty skinflint who exploits them.