Special Collections

High Interest Books for Young Readers

Description: High interest, low vocabulary books that will entice even the most book-averse. Ideal for elementary and middle grade readers. #kids


Showing 26 through 50 of 67 results
 

Heart of a Samurai

by Margi Preus

In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.

Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

2011 Newbery Honor Book

New York Times Bestseller

NPR Backseat Book Club pick

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

Winner of Pacific Northwest Library Association’s Young Reader’s Choice Intermediate Award

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Secret Saturdays

by Torrey Maldonado

An urban novel with the power and intensity of Walter Dean Myers's books Sean is Justin's best friend - or at least Justin thought he was. But lately Sean has been acting differently. He's been telling lies, getting into trouble at school, hanging out with a tougher crowd, even getting into fights. When Justin finally discovers that Sean's been secretly going to visit his father in prison and is dealing with the shame of that, Justin wants to do something to help before his friend spirals further out of control. But will trying to save Sean jeopardize their friendship? Should Justin risk losing his best friend in order to save him?

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Mountain Dog

by Margarita Engle and Aleksey Ivanov and Olga Ivanov

When Tony's mother is sent to jail, he is sent to stay with a great uncle he has never met in Sierra Nevada. It is a daunting move -- Tony's new world bears no semblance to his previous one. But slowly, against a remote and remarkable backdrop, the scars from Tony's troubled past begin to heal.

With his Tia and a search-and-rescue dog named Gabe by his side, he learns how to track wild animals, is welcomed to the Cowboy Church, and makes new friends at the Mountain School.

Most importantly though, it is through Gabe that Tony discovers unconditional love for the first time, in Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Jessica Darling's It List

by Megan Mccafferty

I hadn't even gotten to homeroom yet and I'd already discovered five hard truths about junior high:1. My best friend had turned pretty. 2. She didn't know it yet. 3. It wouldn't be long before she did. 4. That knowledge would change everything between us. 5. And there wasn't a thing I could do about it. It's the first day of seventh grade. Is Jessica Darling doomed for dorkdom? New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty's hilarious new novel will have you laughing, cringing, and cheering for Jessica Darling as she learns that being herself beats being popular, pretty & perfect any day.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel

by Diana Lopez

It's summer before eighth grade, and Erica "Chia" Montenegro is feeling so many things that she needs a mood ring to keep track of her emotions. She's happy when she hangs out with her best friends, the Robins. She's jealous that her genius little sister skipped two grades. And she's passionate about the crushes on her Boyfriend Wish list. And when Erica's mom is diagnosed with breast cancer, she feels worried and doesn't know what she can do to help.When her family visits a cuarto de milagros, a miracle room in a famous church, Erica decides to make a promesa to God in exchange for her mom's health. As her mom gets sicker, Erica quickly learns that juggling family, friends, school, and fulfilling a promesa is stressful, but with a little bit of hope and a lot of love, she just might be able to figure it out.Confetti Girl author Diana Lopez returns with this sweet, funny, and utterly honest story about being a girl in a world full of good (and bad) surprises.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Pickle

by Kim Baker

Using a bogus name, the League of Pickle Makers, sixth-grader Ben and three recruits start a prank-pulling club and receive funding from their middle school's PTA.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu

by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

A humorous and heartwarming debut about split cultural identities, and all the ways life fails to go according to plan for sixth-grader Lucy Wu.

Lucy Wu, aspiring basketball star and interior designer, is on the verge of having the best year of her life. She's ready to rule the school as a sixth grader, go out for captain of the school basketball team, and take over the bedroom she has always shared with her sister. In an instant, though, her plans are shattered when she finds out that Yi Po, her beloved grandmother's sister, is coming to visit for several months -- and is staying in Lucy's room.

Lucy's vision of a perfect year begins to crumble, and in its place come an unwelcome roommate, foiled birthday plans, a bully who tries to scare Lucy off the basketball team, and Chinese school with the annoying know-it-all Talent Chang. Lucy's year is ruined -- or is it?

A wonderfully funny, warm, and heartfelt tale about the ways life often reveals silver linings in the most unexpected of clouds.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Ungifted

by Gordon Korman

Donovan, whose real gift is getting into trouble, finds himself at an academy for gifted students! Donovan is definitely skilled... at getting into trouble. And when one of his thoughtless pranks accidentally destroys the school gym during the Big Game, with the superintendent watching, he knows he's in for it. Suspension at best, maybe expulsion. Either way, a lawsuit and paying for damages.

But through a strange chain of events, his name gets put on the list for the local school for gifted students: the Academy for Scholastic Distinction. Donovan knows he's not a genius, but he can't miss this chance to escape. Now, he has to figure out a way to stay at ASD -- and fit in with the kids there. And who knows, maybe his real gift will come to light. . .

A new story from the master of middle-grade and YA humour Gordon Korman, Ungifted is a funny exploration of the special (and often surprising) talents that make each of us gifted in our own way.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Swindle

by Gordon Korman

Ocean's 11 . . . with 11-year-olds, in a super stand-alone heist caper from Gordon Korman! After a mean collector named Swindle cons him out of his most valuable baseball card, Griffin Bing must put together a band of misfits to break into Swindle's compound and recapture the card. There are many things standing in their way -- a menacing guard dog, a high-tech security system, a very secret hiding place, and their inability to drive -- but Griffin and his team are going to get back what's rightfully his . . . even if hijinks ensue. This is Gordon Korman at his crowd-pleasing best, perfect for readers who like to hoot, howl, and heist.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Out of My Mind

by Sharon Draper

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school--but no one knows it.

Most people--her teachers and doctors included--don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows . . . but she can't, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind--that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice . . . but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.

From multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper comes a story full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you'll never, ever forget.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Loki's Wolves

by M. A. Marr and K. L. Armstrong

"The runes have spoken. We have our champion...Matthew Thorsen."

Matt hears the words, but he can't believe them. He's Thor's representative? Destined to fight trolls, monstrous wolves and giant serpents...or the world ends? He's only thirteen.

While Matt knew he was a modern-day descendent of Thor, he's always lived a normal kid's life. In fact, most people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. No big deal.

But now Ragnarok is coming, and it's up to the champions to fight in the place of the long-dead gods. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team, find Thor's hammer and shield, and prevent the end of the world.

In their middle grade debut, K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr begin the epic Blackwell Pages series with this action-packed adventure, filled with larger-than-life legends, gripping battles, and an engaging cast of characters who bring the myths to life.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

The Unwanteds

by Lisa Mcmann

When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination. It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé.

There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation. But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artimé that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Timmy Failure

by Stephan Pastis

Meet "detective" Timmy Failure, star of the kids’ comedy of the year. Created by New York Times best-selling cartoonist Stephan Pastis.

Take Timmy Failure — the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation.

Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total.

Throw in the Failuremobile — Timmy’s mom’s Segway — and what you have is Total Failure, Inc., a global enterprise destined to make Timmy so rich his mother won’t have to stress out about the bills anymore.

Of course, Timmy’s plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered.

And it doesn’t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into "Stanfurd" that he can’t carry out a no-brainer spy mission.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Nightmare Academy

by Dean Lorey and Brandon Dorman

Join Charlie Benjamin on a "fast-paced, action-packed" adventure. When Charlie's nightmares bring monsters to Earth, Charlie gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn to control his powers at the incredible Nightmare Academy. "marvelous creatures" greet Charlie and his new friends as they embark on "a straight-forward thrill ride" of "rip-roaring monster slayings" in a debut novel that's "pure entertainment."

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Half-Moon Investigations

by Eoin Colfer

Fletcher Moon has never been like other kids. For one thing, he has had to suffer the humiliating nickname "Half Moon" because of his short stature. But the real reason Fletcher is different is that ever since he was a baby, he's had the nose for sniffing out mysteries. And let's just say, it's not a skill that has been appreciated by many people, including his own family. That doesn't bother Fletcher, though. After graduating at the top of his Internet class, he is officially certified as the youngest detective in the world. He even has a silver-plated detective's badge to prove it. Everything is going along fine until two things happen: a classmate hires him to solve a crime, and his prized badge is stolen. All signs point to the town's most notorious crime family, the Sharkeys. As Fletcher follows the clues, evidence of a conspiracy begins to emerge. But before he can crack the case, Fletcher finds himself framed for a serious crime. To clear his name, he will have to pair up with the unlikeliest of allies and go on the run from the authorities. Fletcher has twelve hours to find the guilty party -- or he is the guilty party.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Middle Grade

How to Train Your Dragon

by Cressida Cowell

Read the New York Times bestselling book that inspired the hit movies!

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans, tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan by catching and training a dragon. Can Hiccup do it without being torn limb from limb?

Join his adventures and misadventures as he finds a new way to train dragons--and becomes a hero. This action-packed, hilarious, and perfectly illustrated novel is a modern classic beloved by millions across the globe.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Elementary

Liberty Porter, First Daughter

by Julia Devillers

Meet Liberty Porter. She's a regular nine-year-old girl with a lot going on. First of all, her dad has just started a new job. And she has to move to a house in a new city. Oh, and the really big thing? Her dad? His new job is president of the United States. That's right. So the house is the White House, and the city is Washington, D.C. That means Liberty Porter is going to be First Daughter and she is super-excited! This is the start of an amazing adventure for Liberty, for the Secret Service who follow her everywhere (ha!), and for her dog, Franklin, who makes life in the big White House more exciting -- especially when he's barking at tourists. Join Liberty as she turns life in Washington (and the rest of the country) upside down in this fresh and funny novel from Julia DeVillers, author of How My Private Personal Journal Became a Bestseller and coauthor of Trading Faces.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Elementary

The Penderwicks

by Jeanne Birdsall

This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.

The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will—won’t they? One thing’s for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.

Deliciously nostalgic and quaintly witty, this is a story as breezy and carefree as a summer day.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Elementary

Midnight for Charlie Bone

by Jenny Nimmo

A magical fantasy that is fast-paced and easy-to-read. Charlie Bone has a special gift- he can hear people in photographs talking.

The fabulous powers of the Red King were passed down through his descendants, after turning up quite unexpectedly, in someone who had no idea where they came from. This is what happened to Charlie Bone, and to some of the children he met behind the grim, gray walls of Bloor's Academy.

Charlie Bone has discovered an unusual gift-he can hear people in photographs talking! His scheming aunts decide to send him to Bloor Academy, a school for genius's where he uses his gifts to discover the truth despite all the dangers that lie ahead.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Elementary

The Mysterious Benedict Society

by Trenton Lee Stewart and Carson Ellis

Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children-two boys and two girls-succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Elementary

Hook's Revenge

by Heidi Schulz

Twelve-year-old Heidi dreams of becoming every bit as feisty as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her constrained into the role of the perfect society lady. When Jocelyn recieves a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she sets off for the high seas with not a thought for the consequences.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Elementary

Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times

by Emma Trevayne and Glenn Thomas

In nineteenth-century England, a boy is about to discover a mysterious mechanical world he may never escape.Ten-year-old Jack Foster has stepped through a doorway and into quite a different London. Londinium is a smoky, dark, and dangerous place, home to mischievous metal fairies and fearsome clockwork dragons that breathe scalding steam. The people wear goggles to protect their eyes, brass grill insets in their nostrils to filter air, or mechanical limbs to replace missing ones. Over it all rules the Lady, and the Lady has demanded a new son--a perfect flesh-and-blood child. She has chosen Jack. His only hope of escape lies with a legendary clockwork bird. The Gearwing grants wishes--or it did, before it was broken--before it was killed. But some things don't stay dead forever. Fans of books like Splendors and Glooms and Goblin Secrets will find Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times irresistible!

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Elementary

The Wishing Spell

by Chris Colfer

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change.

When the twins' grandmother gives them a treasured fairy-tale book, they have no idea they're about to enter a land beyond all imagining: the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real.

But as Alex and Conner soon discover, the stories they know so well haven't ended in this magical land - Goldilocks is now a wanted fugitive, Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom, and Queen Cinderella is about to become a mother!

The twins know they must get back home somehow. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell brings readers on a thrilling quest filled with magic spells, laugh-out-loud humour and page-turning adventure.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Elementary

The Year of the Dog

by Grace Lin

It's the Chinese Year of the Dog, and as Pacy celebrates with her family, she finds out that this is the year she is supposed to "find herself." Universal themes of friendship, family, and finding one's passion in life make this novel appealing to readers of all backgrounds. This funny and profound book is a wonderful debut novel by a prolific picture book author and illustrator and has all the makings of a classic.

Date Added: 08/08/2017


Category: Elementary


Showing 26 through 50 of 67 results