Juvenile Fiction (7-12 year olds)

SELF-AWARENESS

MinniUnknown-1e McClary Speaks her Mind
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Ten year old Minnie is trying to figure out who she is. Her teacher is encouraging students to write about themselves in a journal and discusses the many sometimes controversial ways individuals are different. Minnie begins to gain confidence and ask critical questions about herself and others when her teacher is suspended. Now a whole new set of questions are raised about why she would be suspended and what Minnie really believes about her teacher and herself.

 

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The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter
by Kristen Tracy
Before the school year begins, eleven-year-old Bessica Lefter wants to reinvent herself but her plans for a new identity fall apart. She loses her best friend and doesn’t know how to make other friends. This is a comical look at a girl who is trying to leave her primary school self behind to transition into her middle school self with the start of the sixth grade but feels confused, unheard and misunderstood.

 

SELF-MANAGEMENT

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by Arthur Salm
At summer camp, twelve-year-old Max reinvents himself as daring and fearless. He comes home to return to school, his friends and his life and realizes that the fun he had over the summer was at the expense of others’ feelings. He acted like a bully and now, cannot be as risky with his friends at home. Max tries to figure what kind of person he really wants to be.

 

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Malcolm at Midnight
by W.H. Beck
Malcolm, a smaller than average rat, loves life at school and the secret society of classroom pets that keep children out of trouble. But the kids and adults view the rats as trouble. When an iguana disappears, Malcolm must use all of his persistence to prove his innocence and save her.

 

 

SOCIAL AWARENESS

UnknownMagic Tree House Series
by Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca
This is an excellent introduction for 6-8-year-olds to the world of chapter books. The stories offer grand adventures for a sister and brother traveling through time and space through a magical tree house and encountering places, cultures, historical events, mythologies and creatures throughout the world. There are 53 books in the series.

 

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Wonder
by R.J. Palacio
A boy was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school until now. He attempts to convince his new classmates that he’s just an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face.

 

 

The World According to Humphrey (Series) 
by Betty G. Birney
Laugh out loud at this heart-warming series while promoting perspective-taking as you view the world through the eyes of a classroom hamster. Go on adventures with Humphrey as he works to right wrongs, promote friendships and help out his pals in Classroom 26. Escaping through his cage door with a “lock that doesn’t lock” to pursue his adventures, Humphrey also offers opportunities for discussions about fairness, social groups, and repairing relationships when harm is caused.

 

 

 

 

RELATIONSHIP SKILLS

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No Talking
by Andrew Clements
The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a “no talking” contest. Communication is the social and emotional skill topic explored here.

 

 

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Blubber
by Judy Blume
The main character goes along with the rest of the fifth grade class in tormenting a classmate and then finds out what it’s like when she also becomes a target.

 

 

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The Liberation of Gabriel King
by K.L. Going
In Georgia in 1976, Gabriel, a bullied white boy, and Frita, an African-American girl facing prejudice, decide to overcome their fears together as they enter the fifth grade.

 

 

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Crash
by Jerry Spinelli
“Crash” Coogan has always been aggressive until his relationship with a Quaker boy and his grandfather’s stroke help him consider the meaning of friendship and family.

 

 

RESPONSIBLE DECISION-MAKING

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Big Whopper
by Patricia Reilly Giff
This book explores issues of honesty and integrity. When a girl cannot think of a discovery during Discovery Week at school, she makes up a story but finds she cannot keep pretending it’s true.

 

 

© Copyright, 2017, Jennifer Smith Miller. All rights reserved.

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