Airgood, Ellen. Prairie Evers. (FIC AIR) Prairie Evers and her family have recently moved from the mountains of North Carolina to New York state. When Prairie learns that her grandmother, who has always home-schooled her, is moving back to North Carolina, Prairie is doubly devastated. Now she'll be losing her best friend AND have to go to a regular school. Prairie soon discovers that going to school means many changes, but making new friends can be the most complicated thing of all.
Amato, Mary. The Naked Mole Rat Letters. (FIC AMA) Frankie is shocked to learn that her father met someone on his trip to Washington, D.C. . To prevent the relationship from going further, Frankie sends e-mails to the woman that include lies about her father and brothers. While she’s trying to change her father’s life, Frankie’s own life is falling apart.
Anderson, John D. Ms. Bixby's Last Day. (FIC AND) When the best teacher they've ever had announces that she's very sick and won't be able to finish the year with her class, the students decide to make her last day at school special. Unfortunately, they soon discover that Ms. Bixby is already at the hospital and won't be back at all before the end of the year. That's when three of her sixth grade boys decide they'll do whatever it takes to let their teacher know just how important she's been in their lives--even if it means skipping school, upsetting their families, and putting themselves in danger. After all, it could be their last chance to show her what she means to them.
Bauer, Marion Dane. A Bear Named Trouble. (FIC BAU) Jonathan is feeling lonely after moving to Alaska with his dad who is a zookeeper, while his mom and sister stay in Minnesota until the end of the school year. When an injured bear cub starts showing up in the middle of the night, Jonathan goes against everything he has been taught about wild animals and follows the cub. Jonathan doesn’t realize that the consequences of his actions will affect himself, the cub, and a beloved goose. Other realistic fiction by this author: The Double Digit Club and On My Honor.
Bauer, Michael Gerard. Just a Dog. (FIC BAU) From the time he was a puppy all the way to his final days, Mister Mosely has proven himself to be so much more than just a dog. Each chapter could stand alone as a separate story, but you'll want to read them all as you get to know this lovable part of Corey's family.
Beatty, Andrea. Dorko the Magnificent. Realistic Fiction (FIC BEA) Robbie loves magic and wants to WOW the audience at his school talent show with his amazing tricks. Unfortunately, Robbie's skill as a magician needs some work, and the only person who can help is the crabbiest person he knows--Grandma Melvyn. Just when Robbie begins to question whether spending time with this cantankerous woman is really going to be worth it, he gets one of the biggest surprises of his life. 2016 Bluestem Nominee
Bowe, Julie. My Last Best Friend. (FIC BOW) Starting fourth grade seems extra hard for Ida May since her best friend moved away. The new girl seems like she would be a good friend, but Ida May is afraid to get too close to another person who might leave her. Will the new girl be worth the risk? Other books in this series: My New Best Friend and My Best Frenemy.
Bunting, Eve. The Summer of Riley. (FIC BUN) William has always wanted a dog, but soon after he finds the perfect one, he may lose him unless he can convince the town to let Riley stay with William.
Buyea, Rob. Saving Mr. Terupt. (FIC BUY) Mr. Terupt's students are moving on to junior high. As each students tries to find their way in new situations at their new school, there are a few bumps along the way that put their friendships in jeopardy. If they were still with Mr. Terupt, he would help them to come back together as friends. What the friends don't realize is that Mr. Terupt needs help just as much as they need it from him. Will their efforts be enough to save Mr. Terupt? Book 3 in the Mr. Terupt series.
Byars, Betsy. The SOS Files. (FIC BYA) What has been your biggest emergency? Think about how it compares to the examples from Mr. Magro's class.
Cavanaugh, Nancy. This Journal Belongs to Ratchet. (FIC CAV) Eleven-year-old Ratchet is often embarrassed by her t-shirt wearing, city council ranting, clunker driving father. Ratchet is sure that if her mother hadn't died, she would have given Ratchet the advice she needed on how to look and act so that she'd be able to make all the friends she desperately wants instead of learning how to work in the garage and repair cars with her father. As Ratchet comes closer to learning the secrets her dad has been keeping, she also starts to see who she really is. Ratchet is hoping that she just might make a friend and that together they'll be able to save the world-- or at least the park that's about to be torn down.
Cheng, Andrea. The Year of the Book. (FIC CHE) Fourth grade is a time of adjustments for Anna. She's reluctantly starting Chinese School, her good friends parents are splitting up, and nothing seems to be going easy. When Anna's former best friend becomes less friendly, Anna turns to books for comfort and companionship, but can a book really take the place of a true friend? Sequel = The Year of the Baby
Connor, Leslie. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook. (FIC CON) Perry is just like any other other 11-year old boy. He goes to school, eats dinner with his mom, and loves running. Unlike other 11 year olds, Perry lives at a prison with his mom who is nearing the end of her sentence and is hoping to be released on parole. When the attorney assigned to her case discovers the unusual living arrangement, he takes Perry from prison which is the only home Perry has ever known and moves him into his house. Perry is determined to be reunited with his mom and to do anything he can to help her parole hearing go well. He's hoping to use a school assignment as a way to show others that growing up in prison with his mom has made him the person he is today, but in doing so Perry will have to hear why his mom was sent to prison all those years ago. Is he ready to face the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Creech, Sharon. The Boy on the Porch. (FIC CRE) When a young boy mysteriously turns up on their porch, John and Martha aren't sure what to do about him. His got a short note in his pocket that's full of misspelled words, but it doesn't really help explain anything. To make the situation even more challenging, the boy doesn't speak. Before they know it, John and Martha are so attached to the boy that they can't imagine a life without him, his wonderful energy, and amazing artistic talents. Sadly, someone wants to take the boy away, but John and Martha aren't ready or willing to let that happen.
Creech, Sharon. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup. (FIC CRE) Granny Torrelli is cooking up more than soup and pasta as she tries to keep best friends Bailey and Rosie from splitting up when some new children move into the neighborhood. Another realistic fiction title by this author: Heartbeat.
Davies, Jacqueline. Lemonade War. (FIC DAV) Evan was looking forward to summer until he got the news that his little sister would be skipping a grade and will be in his class next year. Now all he can think about is how angry and embarrassed he is by the whole situation. This leads to a lemonade war and many other battles over the summer. Sequels=Lemonade Crime, Bell Bandit. 2014 Bluestem Nominee
De los Santos, Marisa. Connect the Stars. (FIC DEL) Audrey's "unsuper power" is the ability to tell when someone is lying which makes it even more painful when she learns that her best friend is lying to her. Aaron has a great memory, but he's not very good at understanding people's feelings. Audrey and Aaron are sent to a wilderness camp in hopes of helping both of them create real friendships, but when the camp bully disappears under mysterious circumstances, they'll need to rely on each other and some unexpected allies to make it out alive.
DiCamillo, Kate . Because of Winn-Dixie . (FIC DIC) Moving to a new town is always difficult, but with a name like Opal Buloni, a preacher for a father, and a missing mother, Opal is having an especially tough time until she meets an unforgettable dog that opens new doors to friendship in Naples, Florida. 2014 Bluestem Nominee.
DiCamillo, Kate. Raymie Nightingale. (FIC DIC) After her father reads about Raymie's win in the local beauty pageant, he'll surely return home to Raymie and her mother; won't he? Unfortunately, Raymie knows nothing about how to win any kind of pageant and her competition looks pretty tough. It will be even tougher to take the title away from some of the competitors Raymie has come to see as friends and who all have good reasons for wanting the title. There must be a way to make all their dreams come true.
DiSalvo,DyAnne. The Sloppy Copy Slip-Up. (FIC DIS) Even though Brian didn’t turn in his sloppy copy, he does have quite a story to explain why. Will his teacher, the General, believe his tale?
Durand, Hallie. Just Desserts. (FIC DUR) Inspired by class lessons about the American Revolution, Dessert starts a club to fight back against things that are annoying. Unfortunately, club members are ready for a Revolution of their own when they find our what Dessert has been doing with the dues they paid.
Frazier, Sundee Tucker. The Other Half of My Heart. (FIC FRA) Twins Keira and Minna don’t look alike. Minna looks like their white father while Keira looks more like their African American mother. When their grandmother enters them in the Miss Black Pearl Pre-Teen competition in North Carolina, they experience very different prejudices than what they’ve seen in their small town in the state of Washington. The girls will have to rely on themselves and each other to let others see what’s really important for all of them.
Gewirtz, Adini Rishe. Zebra Forest. Realistic Fiction (FIC GEW) Gran has raised 11-year-old Annie and her younger brother Rew in a cluttered house on the edge of the forest for as long as they can remember. From what Gran has told them, their mother left, and their father died. When an escaped prisoner breaks into their house in the summer of 1980, no one realizes how this stranger will impact their lives as family secrets begin to unfold. Rew's anger keeps him on one side of the issue, Gran's pain causes her to withdraw, and Annie is left to decide for herself how she will deal with the sudden changes in her life.
Graff, Lisa. Absolutely Almost. (FIC GRA) Ten-year-old Albie struggles at school and can quickly come up with a list of things he's not good at, but really struggles to think of even one thing he's good at. That might be why he is asked to leave the fancy private school he has been attending and must start at a new school without his best friend. When Calista starts coming over as his after school sitter, she helps Albie draw superheroes, takes him for doughnuts, and shows that she likes Albie for who he really is. Is that enough to help Albie through the tough times ahead? 2017 Bluestem Nominee
Graff, Lisa. The Thing About Georgie. (FIC GRA) Being the smallest person in the fourth grade hasn’t been too hard on Georgie because he’s always had his parents and his best friend for support. Now that his parents are expecting a baby and a new boy has started school, Georgie’s world seems to have turned upside down. 2013 Bluestem Nominee
Graff, Lisa. Umbrella Summer. (FIC GRA) After her brother dies suddenly, Annie can’t stop worrying about hidden dangers. She becomes so focused on her worries, that everyone starts to worry about Annie.
Grindley, Sally. Dear Max. (FIC GRI) Author D.J. Lucas gets some unexpected help writing her next novel from the ten-year-old who has become her penpal. In return, Max gets plenty of writing tips, helpful ideas on how to deal with bullies, and a few other fringe benefits from having a published author as a friend. Sequel: Bravo, Max.
Gutman, Dan. The Talent Show. (FIC GUT) Cape Bluff has been hit by another tornado, but they want to raise money and hope by putting on a talent show with a big prize. The only trouble is finding enough talented people to put on the show.
Hannigan, Katherine. Ida B....and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World. (FIC HAN) Ida B. has been happy to spend time being home-schooled by her parents at their apple orchard in Wisconsin, but when her mom gets very sick, Ida B. has to deal with many changes in her life--including going to 4th grade at the public school.
Hannigan, Katherine. True(--Sort Of) (FIC HAN) Delly Pattison is a creative, smart, funny, quirky, 11-year-old who loves Dellyventures and surpresents. She also has a way of finding trouble without even trying. Can her younger brother and her mysterious new classmate help Delly change for the better, or will she change them for the worse?
Henkes, Kevin. Junonia. (FIC HEN) Even though Alice is turning ten and can’t wait to try new things, she still wants her birthday to be like it’s always been--with family and friends on Sanibel Island, Florida. Unfortunately, this year’s birthday just won’t be the same.
Holmes, Sarah. Operation Yes. (FIC HOL) Bo has never really liked school and feels like he can't live up to his father's (commander of the air force base) expectations. When a new teacher named Miss Loupe comes along with her spiky hair and taped space stage, suddenly school doesn't feel like school anymore. Bo begins to enjoy and do well in school for the first time ever. When Miss Loupe's brother goes missing in Afghanistan, she must leave. Bo and his cousin Gari, whose mom has just been deployed to Iraq, organize something really big to help Miss Loupe's brother and all the injured veterans.
Hunt, Linda Mullaly . Fish in a Tree. (FIC HUN) Have you ever felt like you don't fit in? Ally always feels that way, but each time she gets a new teacher, she tries to hide the fact that she can't read by distracting the teacher with bad behavior. Mr. Daniels is different. He sees that Ally is smart in other ways and wants to help her learn in new ways. Ally will have to trust her teacher and herself to make that happen, but she's not sure that she can.
Hyde, Catherine Ryan. Pay It Forward. (FIC HYD) Trevor's extra credit assignment from his social studies teachers was to think of a way to change the world and try to make it happen seemed like an impossible challenge. Trevor's idea seemed simple. He would do something nice for three people, but instead of asking them to pay him back, he would ask them to pay it forward by doing something nice for three different people. Trevor figured that in no time, people all around the world would be doing something nice for others without expecting something nice in return. All actions have consequences, and some of those consequences are completely unexpected.
Jukes, Mavis. The New Kid. Realistic Fiction (FIC JUK) Carson has gone to the same school since preschool, but moving to Northern California with his dad means he’ll be the new kid. Both Carson and his dad face some fears as they try to decide the best way for each of then to fit in.
LaFleur, Suzanne. Love, Aubrey. (FIC LOR) After her sister and dad are killed in a car accident, Aubrey finds herself alone because her mother can’t cope with her sadness. Soon Aubrey’s grandmother takes her to Vermont to try and heal her own sadness.
Lean, Sarah. Hero. (FIC LEA) Most people see Leo as a quiet, polite boy... if they even notice him at all. In Leo's imagination he is a fierce gladiator, especially when he doesn't want to deal with reality. While taking care of a neighbor's dog, Jack Pepper, Leo does something he shouldn't have done, and the dog gets hurt. To cover his involvement and hopefully stay out of trouble, Leo claims that he rescued the dog. Before he realizes, Leo becomes the center of attention and everyone's hero. Leo's conscience tells him to do the right thing, but the story has spread and become so big that Leo isn't sure he is brave enough to set the record straight even if it means he's got a chance to become a real hero.
Lord, Cynthia . Half a Chance. (FIC LOR) Lucy and her parents have just moved to a house on a lake when her photographer father is called away on a photo shoot. Just before he leaves, he tells Lucy about a photography contest he is judging. Lucy and her friend Nate decide to enter the contest anonymously, one the photo of Nate's grandmother might be too personal to share. Lucy must make the right decision or she could lose more than a photography contest.
Lord, Cynthia. Rules. (FIC LOR) Catherine’s brother needs very specific rules because of his autism. She’s afraid that because of her brother’s needs, she won’t be able to have a “real” friend. However, it’s Catherine who needs to follow some of her own rules when she struggles with her relationship with a potential friend who has very special needs, too. 2012 Bluestem Nominee.
MacLachlan, Patricia. White Fur Flying. (FIC MAC) Zoe and her sister Anna live in a loud house with their dad who is a vet, their mom who takes in rescue dogs, a talking parrot, and 2-5 huge white dogs rescue dogs. When new people move in next door, the girls realize that the young boy doesn't speak. What will happen when he meets his boisterous neighbors who seem like his exact opposites?
Marino, Nan. Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace. (FIC MAR) Helping out at the Pancake Palace in rural New Jersey is the perfect hiding spot for Elvis Ruby, the most famous 11-year-old musician on the planet. He just needs a break from all the photographers and fans after his biggest flop on national TV when he froze during a performance. His new friend, Cecilia needs his help, but helping her could mean that his secret identity is revealed. Will the friendship be worth the risks?
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Faith, Hope, and Ivy June. (FIC NAY) When Catherine and Ivy June participate in a student exchange program, they expect to find differences between living in the city and living in a remote part of a coal mining community in the mountains. What they didn’t expect to find were all the ways they are the same. 20112 Bluestem Nominee
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Saving Shiloh. + Others in the Shiloh series.(FIC NAY) Sixth-grader Marty and his family try to help their rough neighbor, Judd Travers, change his mean ways, even though their West Virginia community continues to expect the worst of him.
O'Connor, Barbara. How to Steal a Dog. (FIC OCO) After their father leaves, Georgina, her mom and brother must live in their car until they can make enough money for a place to stay. Convinced that the only way she can make money is to steal a dog to get reward money, Georgina sets her plan in motion. However, the results are not exactly what she expected. More realistic fiction by this author: Fame and Glory in Freedom Georgia.
O'Connor, Barbara. On the Road to Mr. Mineo's. (FIC OCO) A one-legged pigeon flies into Meadville, SC, and the whole town wants to catch it. One person notices how it keeps watch over an orphaned dog, another wants it for a pet, and the town liar just wants to prove that he’s telling the truth about the pigeon landing on his head. Who will end up with the bird, and what mischief will occur along the way?
O'Dell, Kathleen. Agness Parker--Girl in Progress. (FIC ODE) Facing the school bully in sixth grade becomes an even greater challenge for Agnes when they both want the attention of the new boy. Which girl will the new boy choose? More realistic fiction by this author: Agnes Parker—Happy Camper, and Ophie out of Oz.
Palacio, R.J.. Wonder. (FIC PAL) Starting a new school is hard enough on anyone, but it’s especially difficult for August Pullman.Because of a genetic disorder, Auggie’s face remains misshapen even after having 27 surgeries. He’s been home schooled, but he’s about to enter 5th grade at a regular school. How will everyone react when they see him? Will anyone be able to really see and accept Auggie for who he is or will everyone be too distracted by what his face looks like? 2014 Bluestem Winner
Pennypacker, Sara. Summer of the Gypsy Moths. (FIC PEN) Staying with her great aunt at the Linger Longer Cottages she helps run in in Cape Cod has given Stella some stability in her life even though a foster girl named Angel acts like the opposite of her name. When Aunt Louise dies unexpectedly, Stella and Angel will have to find a way to stick together and keep things running smoothly or they'll be shipped off to another foster home. How long will they be able to keep their secret, especially when the owner of the cottages keeps trying to check in on Louise, and what will happen when their secret is finally revealed?
Rodke, Geoff. The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other). (FIC ROD) Whether you side with Reese (who believes the war began when his twin sister Claudia ate his toaster pastry) or Claudia (who is sure the war began when Reese called her the most embarrassing thing ever in front of everyone in the lunch room), you'll have plenty of opportunities to see the war escalate when both sides try to have the final say. You may be shocked by some of the poor choices these siblings make as they attempt to one up each other in a war with no real winner--except for the reader.
Schindler, Holly. The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky. (FIC SCH) Going to a shiny new school has Auggie excited and nervous. Meeting new people can be fun, but one person in particular is making things extremely difficult. Not only does Auggie feel like she's losing her best friend, she and her neighbors might really be losing their homes because of the new House Beautification Committee. What right does the committee have to say what BEAUTY really is? That's what Auggie wants to know, and she won't give up until she has an answer. 2016 Bluestem Nominee
Sovern, Megan Jean. The Meaning of Maggie. (FIC SOV) Maggie's memoir begins with the "Beep, beep, beep," of the machines at the hospital where her father is seriously ill. How did this happen? How can she help? Why hasn't anyone told her the reasons her funny, cool, good-looking dad hasn't been able to work since he's been in a wheelchair and is now fighting for his life?
Spinelli, Jerry. Jake and Lily. (FIC SPI) The first time Jake and realized their special twin connection was the night they woke up at a train station after they both sleepwalked there without knowing it. Turning eleven brings many changes for the twins. Jake seems to be pulling away, and Lily doesn't like his new friends or the way Jake acts when he's with them. Their grandpa thinks that Lily needs to get a life of her own, but she doesn't want to lose her connection to her twin in the process of finding herself. What happens this summer will shape the kind of people Jake and Lily will become, but Lily isn't convinced she's going to like those people after all the changes.
Sternberg, Julie. Like Bug Juice on a Burger. (FIC STE) Eleanor is off to summer camp and finds icky bugs, terrible food, and a swim class where she feels like the worst swimmer there. Will it ever get better, or is Eleanor in for the worst summer ever? Novel in Verse
Stout, Shawn K.. Penelope Crumb. (FIC STO) Penelope has always thought that her grandfather was "graveyard dead" just like her father, but when a school project leads her to the discover that he is not dead at all, Penelope sets out to find the man with a nose just like hers. Unfortunately, not everyone wants Grandpa Crumb to be found.
Trueit, Trudy. Julep O'Toole: Confessions of a Middle Child. (FIC TRU) Julep has always craved attention, but not the kind she gets after her private journal is read over the microphone in the lunch room or when she throws up in gym. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, her brother suffers a life threatening asthma attack. Julep would be willing to face the embarrassment every day if only her brother would get better. More realistic fiction by this author: Julep O’Toole: Miss Independent.
Urban, Linda. A Crooked Kind of Perfect. (FIC URB) Zoe desperately wants to take piano lessons, but her family can only afford a small organ. The organ is just the first step. Zoe will still need the support of her overworked mom and her nervous father.
Urban, Linda. The Center of Everything. (FIC URB) Ruby has always done what she's supposed to do but feels terrible about what happened the day her beloved grandmother died. What if there were a way to go back and undo what she did? If she's got any chance of making things right, Ruby believes it will be by making a special wish during the Bunting Day celebration in her hometown. Unfortunately, her plan seems to have made her best friend very angry with her.
Van Draanen, Wendelin. Flipped. (FIC VAN) It’s a classic case of boy’s side versus girl’s side. But you’ll decide which side you’re on after hearing both Julianna’s and Bryce’s versions of what it’s been like growing up together.
Wallace, Bill. Coyote Autumn. (FIC WAL) Adopting an orphaned coyote pup isn’t as easy as Brad had hoped, especially when he is trying to raise a new puppy, too.
Weeks, Sarah . Honey. Realistic Fiction (FIC WEE) Melody's life turns upside down after she hears her widowed father call someone "Honey" on the phone and begins humming "You Are My Sunshine." It wouldn't be such a big deal if that weren't the exact song her teacher has been humming, and now her teacher says she's getting married! Bee-Bee, the owner of the new nail salon, wants to help, but Melody doesn't think new nail polish can solve her problems.
Weeks, Sarah. Save Me a Seat. (FIC WEE) Ravi was at the top of his class at his school in India, but after moving to the U.S., he's not sure where he fits in. Joe has always lived in the same town in New Jersey but has never felt like he fits in either because of his learning difficulties. Both boy could use a real friend, especially when the class bully uses each of them as a target. Unfortunately, first impressions are difficult to overcome.
Weston, Carol. Ava and Pip. (FIC WES) Ava's story in the writing contest was supposed to help her very shy sister, but she never expected it to hurt someone else. What's worse is that the story is being sent out over the internet and could hurt someone even more. How can Ava undo what she's done and still help her sister?
Wiles, Deborah. Each Little Bird That Sings. (FIC WIL) Comfort Snowberger’s family runs a funeral parlor, but even though she’s well acquainted with death, Comfort is having a hard time accepting the loss of her favorite aunt. To make matters even more difficult, Comfort has to look after her annoying cousin Peach. More realistic fiction by this author: Love Ruby Lavender