Special Collections

Read Your Way Across the U. S. of A.

Description: Buckle up and hit the road with this collection of middle grade novels. Visit your home state or explore one you've never been to with these novels set all over America. Ages 8 to 13.


Showing 1 through 25 of 102 results
 

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

by Kristin Levine

The last thing Harry "Dit" Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. Proper -talking, brainy Emma doesn't play baseball or fish too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white.

But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Together Dit and Emma come up with a daring plan to save him from the unthinkable.

Set in 1917 and inspired by the author's true family history, this is the poignant story of a remarkable friendship and the perils of small-town justice.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Alabama

Inside Out and Back Again

by Thanhha Lai

No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, HÀ has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by...and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. HÀ and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, HÀ discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape...and the strength of her very own family.

This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

Newbery Honor Book

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Alabama

Ghosts in the Fog

by Samantha Seiple

Few know the story of the Japanese invasion of Alaska during World War II--until now.

GHOSTS IN THE FOG is the first narrative nonfiction book for young adults to tell the riveting story of how the Japanese invaded and occupied the Aleutian Islands in Alaska during World War II. This fascinating little-known piece of American history is told from the point of view of the American civilians who were captured and taken prisoner, along with the American and Japanese soldiers who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of hand-to-hand combat during the war.

Complete with more than 80 photographs throughout and first person accounts of this extraordinary event, GHOSTS IN THE FOG is sure to become a must-read for anyone interested in World War II and a perfect tie-in for the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Alaska

Williwaw!

by Tom Bodett

From humorist, storyteller, author, and the voice of Motel 6 commercials, here is an exciting middle-grade adventure novel set in rural Alaska.

Ivan and September Crane, ages 12 and 13, are left alone for a couple of weeks while their fisherman Dad is away at sea. In typical adolescent fashion, they quickly proceed to ignore his only two instructions--don't run down the batteries on the portable short-wave radio, their only means of communication, and don't cross the bay to town.

Through a series of bad decisions they find themselves crossing Bag Bay in their skiff when they are suddenly overtaken by a sudden and fierce autumn storm known as a williwaw. Ivan and September must use every ounce of strength, courage, and ingenuity they posses to keep themselves afloat until help comes.

Williwaw contains rich descriptions of Alaskan geography and wildlife. Its likable characters and taut suspense will keep readers riveted until the last page.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Alaska

A Diamond in the Desert

by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

Twelve-year-old Tetsu eats, sleeps and breathes baseball. It’s all he ever thinks about. But after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Tetsu and his family are forced from their home into an internment camp in the Arizona desert with other Japanese Americans, and baseball becomes the last thing on his mind. The camp isn’t technically a prison, but it sure feels like one when there’s nothing to do and no place to go.

So when a man starts up a boys’ baseball team, Tetsu is only too eager to play again. But with his sister suddenly falling ill, and his father taken away for questioning, Tetsu is forced to choose between his family and his love of the game.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Arizona

Saving Lucas Biggs

by David Teague and Marisa de los Santos

Perfect for fans of Margaret Peterson Haddix, When You Reach Me, and Savvy, this charming time-travel story from husband-and-wife team Marisa de los Santos and David Teague follows one girl's race to change the past in order to save her father's future.

Thirteen-year-old Margaret knows her father is innocent, but that doesn't stop the cruel Judge Biggs from sentencing him to death. Margaret is determined to save her dad, even if it means using her family's secret--and forbidden--ability to time travel.

With the help of her best friend, Charlie, and his grandpa Josh, Margaret goes back to a time when Judge Biggs was a young boy and tries to prevent the chain of events that transformed him into a corrupt, jaded man. But with the forces of history working against her, will Margaret be able to change the past? Or will she be pushed back to a present in which her father is still doomed?

Told in alternating voices between Margaret and Josh, this heartwarming story shows that sometimes the forces of good need a little extra help to triumph over the forces of evil.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Arizona

Philip Hall Likes Me. I Reckon Maybe.

by Bette Greene

Beth Lambert has a crush on Philip Hall, who is better than she is at just about everything--or is he? Philip Hall is the handsomest, smartest, fastest boy in Miss Johnson's class. He beats Beth Lambert in math, spelling, reading, sports... and she adores him.

Beth suspects Philip likes her too, only she can't quite get him to admit it. In fact, he won't even invite her to his birthday party because he's afraid the other boys will call him a sissy. But then Beth begins to wonder: Maybe Philip only wins because she's letting him. Maybe she could beat him at everything. That would show Philip Hall! Because if being friends with a girl is bad... getting beaten by a girl is much, much worse.

Newbery Medal Honor book

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Arkansas

The Lions of Little Rock

by Kristin Levine

Two girls separated by race form an unbreakable bond during the tumultuous integration of Little Rock schools in 1958

Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn't have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear - speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family.

But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn't matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Arkansas

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel

by Firoozeh Dumas

Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California's Newport Beach is her family's latest perch, and she's determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name--Cindy.

It's the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can't distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home.

A poignant yet lighthearted middle grade debut from the author of the best-selling Funny in Farsi.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: California

Al Capone Does My Shirts

by Gennifer Choldenko

Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here.

There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cooks or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it.

The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to.

A Newbery Honor Book

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: California

The Leanin' Dog

by K. A. Nuzum

More than anything, Dessa Dean needed a friend. A friend to love and confide in, a friend with whom she could share her heart.

A friend who would delight in all the beauty and joy and fun of Christmas, only four days away. Hope had just about run out, but then... there came a scratchin' at the door and Dessa Dean's life was forever changed.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Colorado

Phantoms in the Snow

by Kathleen Benner Duble

In this gripping journey, a fifteen-year-old pacifist must decide what he believes as he faces the reality of World War II.

The year is 1944, and fifteen-year-old Noah Garrett's parents have died from smallpox. Without any other family nearby, Noah is sent to live with his uncle, whom he has never met, in Camp Hale, Colorado.

There is one small problem with this decision: Noah has been raised a pacifist, and Camp Hale is a U.S. military base for a little-known division of winter warfare soldiers called Phantoms. Can a boy who's never seen snow and doesn't believe in war survive among these soldiers?

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Colorado

The Crossroads

by Chris Grabenstein

ZACK, HIS DAD, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history.

Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives.

He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since.

During a huge storm, lightning hits the tree, releasing the spirit, who decides his evil spree isn’t over . . . and Zack is directly in his sights.

Award-winning thriller author Chris Grabenstein fills his first book for younger readers with the same humorous and spine-tingling storytelling that has made him a fast favorite with adults.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Connecticut

Because of Mr. Terupt

by Rob Buyea

It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School.

There’s Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.

Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much ... until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything--and everyone.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Connecticut

Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware

by M. T. Anderson and Kurt Cyrus

It is a land of wonders. It is a land of mystery. It is a land that time forgot (or chose specifically not to remember).

Cut off from the civilized world for untold years by prohibitive interstate tolls at the New Jersey border, this land is called: Delaware.

It is into the mist-shrouded heart of this forbidden mountainous realm that our plucky and intrepid heroes, Jasper Dash: Boy Technonaut, and his friends Lily Gefelty and Katie Mulligan, must journey to unravel a terrible mystery in this third weird and wacky installment of M. T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales.

Date Added: 05/10/2018


Category: Delaware

A Light in the Storm

by Karen Hesse

Newbery Medal winner Karen Hesse's Civil War diary, A LIGHT IN THE STORM, is now back in print with a beautiful new cover!

In 1861, Amelia Martin's father is stripped of his post as a ship's captain when he is caught harboring the leader of a slave rebellion. Now he is an assistant lighthouse keeper on Fenwick Island, off the coast of Delaware -- a state wedged between the North and the South, just as Amelia is wedged between her warring parents.

Amelia's mother blames her abolitionist husband for their living conditions, which she claims are taking a toll on her health. Amelia observes her mother's hate and her father's admiration for Abraham Lincoln.

But slavery is the deeper issue separating the two sides. As the Civil War rages on, Amelia slowly learns that she cannot stop the fighting, but by keeping watch in the lighthouse each day, lighting the lamps, cleaning the glass, and rescuing victims of Atlantic storms, she can still make a difference.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Delaware

Wake Up Missing

by Kate Messner

Meet Quentin, a middle-school football star from Chicago; Sarah, a hockey player from Upstate New York; Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest; and Cat, an artistic bird watcher from California.

The four have little in common except the head injuries that landed them in an elite brain-science center in the wild swamps of Florida.

It's known as the best clinic in the world and promises to return their lives to normal, but as days pass, the kids begin to notice strange side effects and unexplained changes.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Florida

Turtle in Paradise

by Jennifer L. Holm

In Jennifer L. Holm's New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor winning middle grade historical fiction novel, life isn't like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple

She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida to live with relatives she's never met.

Florida's like nothing Turtle's ever seen before though. It's hot and strange, full of rag tag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure!

Before she knows what's happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she's spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways.

Filled with adventure, humor and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls with love.

Includes an Author's Note with photographs and further background on the Great Depression, as well as additional resources and websites.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Florida

The Ethan I Was Before

by Ali Standish

Life can be transformed in one moment, but does that one moment define you for life?Lost in the Sun meets The Thing About Jellyfish in Ali Standish’s breathtaking debut. A poignant middle grade novel of friendship and forgiveness, The Ethan I Was Before is a classic in the making.

Ethan had been many things. He was always ready for adventure and always willing to accept a dare, especially from his best friend, Kacey. But that was before. Before the accident that took Kacey from him. Before his family moved from Boston to the small town of Palm Knot, Georgia.

Palm Knot may be tiny, but it’s the home of possibility and second chances. It’s also home to Coralee, a girl with a big personality and even bigger stories. Coralee may be just the friend Ethan needs, except Ethan isn’t the only one with secrets. Coralee’s are catching up with her, and what she’s hiding might be putting both their lives at risk.

The Ethan I Was Before is a story of love and loss, wonder and adventure, and ultimately of hope.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Georgia

Kira-Kira

by Cynthia Kadohata

kira-kira (kee' ra kee' ra): glittering; shining

Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem.

The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop them on the street to stare.

And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future.

Luminous in its persistence of love and hope, Kira-Kira is Cynthia Kadohata's stunning debut in middle-grade fiction.

Newbery Medal Winner

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Georgia

Good Job, Kanani

by Sarah Davis and Lisa Yee

Kanani is excited about selling shave ice to raise money for a cause she cares about. But she also cares about her best friend, Celina-and she promised they would take surfing lessons together.

When Kanani can't make time for Celina, their friendship begins to unravel, and she finds herself spending summer days alone. Will Kanani find a way to make things right?

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Hawaii

Calvin Coconut

by Jacqueline Rogers and Graham Salisbury

Hawaii boy Calvin Coconut has come up with the best idea ever for his sister Darci's birthday party. But a huge tropical storm hits the islands and threatens everything. It rains and rains. And rains.

The river next to Calvin's house rises high. When Calvin's friend Willy falls into the raging water, Calvin grabs his skiff to save him. As Willy is swept into the bay, Calvin struggles in the wild waves. What happens next shows Calvin what heroes are made of.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Hawaii

The King of Slippery Falls

by Sid Hite

While on a single-minded quest to catch an elusive giant trout, sixteen-year-old Lewis Hinton's life in a small Idaho town is turned upside down when he learns that he is adopted and might be a descendant of French royalty.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Idaho

Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus...

by Kristen Tracy

Fair: just, equitable, what is right.

Unfair: the life of Camille McPhee.

Imagine being Camille McPhee.

She has low blood sugar, so she carries extra food in a cooler. Would you want to do that? Didn't think so.

And you wouldn't want to fall under the school bus. That happened to Camille, too!

Her cat, Checkers, is lost. And her best friend, Sally, moved to Japan. It would be hard to stay optimistic, right? But Camille is what her mom calls hopeful. Because really?

There are plenty of things to be positive about: gifted reading, a nonsqueaky mattress, eating banned foods, the big blue butterfly. Even making a new friend. Imagine that!

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Idaho

Hold Fast

by Blue Balliett

From NYT bestselling author Blue Balliett, the story of a girl who falls into Chicago's shelter system, and from there must solve the mystery of her father's strange disappearance.

Where is Early's father? He's not the kind of father who would disappear. But he's gone . . . and he's left a whole lot of trouble behind.

As danger closes in, Early, her mom, and her brother have to flee their apartment. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to move into a city shelter. Once there, Early starts asking questions and looking for answers. Because her father hasn't disappeared without a trace. There are patterns and rhythms to what's happened, and Early might be the only one who can use them to track him down and make her way out of a very tough place.

With her signature, singular love of language and sense of mystery, Blue Balliett weaves a story that takes readers from the cold, snowy Chicago streets to the darkest corner of the public library, on an unforgettable hunt for deep truths and a reunited family.

Date Added: 04/26/2018


Category: Illinois


Showing 1 through 25 of 102 results