Newbery Medal & Honor Books

The Newbery Medal became the world’s first children’s book award in 1922. Since then, the American Library Association annually awards the Newbery Medal to the author of the finest children’s book in American literature. The medal was named after John Newbery, an 18th-century British bookseller referred to as “The Father of Children’s Literature” for his dedication to creating a successful market for children’s books. This collection of study guides highlights fiction titles for middle-grade readers, including award winners and honorees.

Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: DisabilityTags Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction, Grief / Death, Depression / Suicide, Health / Medicine, Mental Illness, American Literature

Hattie Owen’s life changes the summer she turns 12 and meets the young uncle she never knew existed in Ann M. Martin’s middle-grade novel, A Corner of the Universe (2002). Uncle Adam has been kept a secret because of his mental problems. Adults have trouble handling his emotional extremes, but shy Hattie finds a true friend in her exuberant uncle. Adam teaches Hattie to explore life beyond the safety of her front porch. As Hattie... Read A Corner of the Universe Summary


Publication year 1964Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, American Civil War

Across Five Aprils (1964) is a young adult (YA) historical novel written by the American children’s book author Irene Hunt. A coming-of-age story, the novel follows young Jethro Creighton through four years of his life from the beginning to the end of the American Civil War. Irene Hunt based the novel largely on the experiences of her own grandfather who, like Jethro, was only nine years old when the Civil War began.The book was Hunt’s... Read Across Five Aprils Summary


Publication year 1942Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Action / Adventure, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages

Adam of the Road, published in 1942, was written by American author and librarian Elizabeth Janet Gray Vining and illustrated by Robert Lawson. Vining wrote many children’s books and holds the rare distinction of winning both the Newberry Medal and the Caldecott Medal, for her books Rabbit Hill and They Were Strong and Good, respectively. Adam of the Road is a historical fiction novel set in the 13th century that focuses on a child’s coming of... Read Adam of the Road Summary


Publication year 1979Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 is the best-known book by children’s author and educator Joan W. Blos. The novel is presented as the fictional journal of Catherine Hall, a young girl living in New Hampshire before the Civil War. Through Catherine’s journal entries, the novel portrays the daily life, challenges, and changes in a young girl’s world over two years, including personal loss, the complexities of friendship, and an encounter... Read A Gathering of Days Summary


Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Identity: Femininity, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Survival Fiction

A Girl Named Disaster (1996) is a novel by Nancy Farmer. At the start of the novel, 11-year-old Nhamo lives in her remote Mozambique village with her late mother’s family. When the local doctor, or muvuki, decides that Nhamo is to blame for her family’s recent misfortune, her aunt and uncle decide to marry her off in an arranged marriage. Desperate to avoid this fate, Nhamo flees the village and sets out in a boat... Read A Girl Named Disaster Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Teams, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Action / Adventure, Sports, History: Asian, Leadership/Organization/Management, Science / Nature, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Grandparents, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: NostalgiaTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Great Depression

Written by Richard Peck in 1998 and told as a series of related short stories, A Long Way From Chicago is a novel about two siblings and their adventures with their grandmother over the span of six summers from 1929 to 1935. The work was a Newbery Honor book in 1999, and its sequel, A Year Down Yonder, won the Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 2001. Richard Peck (1934-2018) was the award-winning American novelist... Read A Long Way from Chicago Summary


Publication year 1950Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Auto/Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Race / Racism

Amos Fortune, Free Man (1950) is a middle-grade biographical novel based loosely on the life of Amos Fortune (c. 1710-1801). The title not only refers to the person at the center of the book but also his status as a “freeman,” the term typically used to describe people of African descent who were formerly enslaved but acquired their freedom. In 1951, Amos Fortune, Free Man won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature.The... Read Amos Fortune, Free Man Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Health / Medicine, History: U.S., Politics / Government, Race / Racism, American Revolution

Published in 2003, Jim Murphy’s An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 is a historical nonfiction book for young adults that provides a detailed look into Philadelphia’s yellow fever epidemic of 1793. As Murphy documents how yellow fever emerged and spread throughout the city, he demonstrates how society operated in what was then the nation’s capital and largest city in the late 1700s. He focuses on urban... Read An American Plague Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Asian Literature, Realistic Fiction, Arts / Culture, History: Asian, Poverty, American Literature

A Single Shard (2001) is an award-winning, middle-grade historical novel by Korean American author Linda Sue Park. Park has written multiple children’s books, picture books, and volumes of poetry. Some of her better-known titles include A Long Walk to Water (2010), The Thirty-Nine Clues series in nine volumes (2010), and Prairie Lotus (2020). Much of her historical fiction is based on Korean history. A Single Shard is intended for readers in grades 5 to 7... Read A Single Shard Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Magical Realism, Asian Literature

Publication year 1977Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Identity: Masculinity, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Classic Fiction, Grief / Death, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Children's Literature, Poverty

Since its 1977 publication, Bridge to Terabithia has become a classic children’s novel. The author, Katherine Paterson, wrote the novel after her son’s best friend was killed by lightning. The novel won a Newbery Medal and is beloved by readers all over the world. Bridge to Terabithia explores the transformative power of friendship, the power of childhood imagination, and the process of grief. Because Bridge to Terabithia deals with grief and death, it is best... Read Bridge To Terabithia Summary


Publication year 1999Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: ColonialismTags Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature, Race / Racism, Poverty, African American Literature

Bud, Not Buddy is a 1999 children’s realistic historical novel by American author Christopher Paul Curtis. Ten-year-old protagonist Bud Caldwell is an orphan living in Flint, Michigan in 1936. Four years after the death of his mother and after a series of abusive and neglectful foster homes, Bud sets out to find his father, whom he believes is the locally famous jazz musician Herman E. Calloway of Grand Rapids. Bud encounters a host of characters... Read Bud, Not Buddy Summary


Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: GratitudeTags Classic Fiction, Children's Literature, Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction

Publication year 1940Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: CommunityTags Classic Fiction, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Education, Animals, Relationships, Religion / Spirituality, American Literature

Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Religion / Spirituality, Class, Gender / Feminism, History: European, British Literature, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages

American author Karen Cushman’s middle grade novel, Catherine, Called Birdy, explores the life of a young woman in 13th-century England. Published in 1994, the book won the Newbery Honor the following year. It is currently being adapted for the screen by actor, writer, and director Lena Dunham. This detailed work of historical fiction immerses the reader in the very different world of medieval England, with its emphasis on religion as the organizing force behind daily... Read Catherine, Called Birdy Summary


Publication year 1952Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: Aging, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Animals, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: GratitudeTags Classic Fiction, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Children's Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Animals

Charlotte’s Web was written by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams, and first published in 1952. It is considered a quintessential American children’s fiction novel and has been adapted into two films (1973, 2006) and a stage musical. Over the years, Charlotte’s Web has been awarded the Newbery Honor Award for children’s books, the George C. Stone Center for Children’s Books Recognition of Merit Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the Massachusetts Children’s... Read Charlotte's Web Summary


Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Class, Depression / Suicide, History: European, Politics / Government, Poverty

Crispin: The Cross of Lead is a 2002 children’s historical fiction novel by Avi. Set in medieval England, the novel follows the adventures of a boy who goes on the run after he is falsely accused of theft and murder and explores themes related to poverty, education, choice, and freedom. Crispin won the Newbery Medal in 2003. A sequel, Crispin at the Edge of the World, was released in 2006, while a third novel, Crispin:... Read Crispin: The Cross of Lead Summary


Publication year 1983Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: FamilyTags Children's Literature, Realistic Fiction

Published in 1983 and winner of the 1984 Newberry Award, Beverly Cleary’s Dear Mr. Henshaw marks a departure for the novelist known for her books that celebrate the whimsy and adventurousness of childhood. Dear Mr. Henshaw is an epistolary novel, in which protagonist and aspiring author Leigh Botts narrates his story through letters and diary entries addressed to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. Leigh begins writing yearly letters to Mr. Henshaw in second grade but... Read Dear Mr. Henshaw Summary


Publication year 1985Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Action / Adventure, Animals, Realistic Fiction

Dogsong, first published in 1985, is a young adult novel by American author Gary Paulsen, who wrote Dogsong while he was training his dog sled team for his first Iditarod run. It was awarded the Newbery Honor Award in 1986. Paulsen, who was a popular author of young adult and children’s contemporary literature, is best known for books in the coming-of-age genre, often dealing with surviving the wilderness and embracing nature. He authored more than... Read Dogsong Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Fantasy, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Doll Bones (2013) is a middle grade novel written by Holly Black and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. It blends gothic, horror, and fantasy elements. The novel follows three friends, Zach, Poppy, and Alice, as their make-believe games take a turn for the supernatural, sending them on an eerie quest to return a haunted doll to a gravesite before it wreaks havoc on their lives. The novel explores the challenges of growing up and the strain... Read Doll Bones Summary


Publication year 1975Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Fathers, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: RaceTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Asian Literature

Originally published in 1975, Dragonwings is a children’s historical novel by Chinese American author Laurence Yep. The story was inspired by the life of Fung Joe Guey (Feng Ru), a Chinese immigrant who came to the United States in the early 1900s and earned acclaim for his work as a pioneer airplane designer and aviator. The book is part of Yep’s Golden Mountain Chronicles, a series of 10 novels that explore the long history of... Read Dragonwings Summary


Publication year 1997Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Fantasy, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Romance, Action / Adventure

Gail Carson Levine’s book Ella Enchanted was awarded the Newbery Honor in 1998 after its publication in 1997. In 2004, a film adaptation was released, though it received criticism for diverging from Levine’s story, including adding new key characters. Ella Enchanted was Levine’s debut. She also wrote Fairest, which retells Snow White’s story and is set in the same world as Ella Enchanted. Some of her other notable works include Dave at Night, The Wish... Read Ella Enchanted Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Society: CommunityTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature, Humor

Renowned Canadian/American author Polly Horvath published the middle-grade novel everything on a Waffle in 2001. Over two years, the book received numerous accolades, including Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Boston Globe Horn Book Award, the ALSC Notable Children’s Book, a Newbery Honor Medal, and the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. Written in the first person, 11-year-old narrator Primrose tells of her parents disappearing in a typhoon off the coast of British Columbia. Primrose discounts... Read Everything on a Waffle Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Humor, Children's Literature, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Animals

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is a middle-grade magical realism novel written by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K. G. Campbell, and originally published in 2013. DiCamillo is a renowned middle-grade author who also wrote Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux, among other books. Flora and Ulysses was the recipient of the John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children in 2014. It was also adapted into a... Read Flora And Ulysses Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, African American Literature, Race / Racism

Publication year 1967Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Classic Fiction, Children's Literature, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Action / Adventure

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a 1967 children’s novel by E. L. Konigsburg. With elements of mystery and adventure, the novel follows two children who run away from home to hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they are drawn into a mystery involving a newly acquired sculpture, even as they learn about themselves and the world around them. Praised for its humor and characters, the novel won... Read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Class, Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction, Race / Racism, Poverty, Addiction / Substance Abuse

Genesis Begins Again is a contemporary middle grade novel published in 2019 by Alicia Williams, a teacher and an author of children’s fiction and young adult books. Genesis Begins Again, Williams’s debut novel, was met with critical praise for exploring and adapting complex emotional themes such as colorism, addiction, and bullying for a younger audience. Genesis Begins Again was a finalist for the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature and the recipient of the... Read Genesis Begins Again Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Society: CommunityTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Survival Fiction, Japanese Literature

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature

Hello, Universe (2017) is the third novel by Filipino-American author Erin Entrada Kelly. It is intended for children aged 8 to 12. The title won the 2018 Newbury Medal, and its author has garnered other awards for previous novels, including a Golden Kite Award and an Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature. Kelly’s other books include Blackbird Fly (2015), The Land of Forgotten Girls (2016), You Go First (2018), and Lalani of the Distant Sea... Read Hello, Universe Summary


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Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: The PastTags Action / Adventure, Realistic Fiction

Louis Sachar’s 1998 children’s novel, Holes, tells the story of a boy accused of stealing. A judge sentences him to 18 months in a camp where a tyrannical warden has the boys digging holes that appear random. Holes was awarded the 1998 National Book Award and the 1999 Newbery Medal, and was adapted into a film by Disney.Plot SummaryStanley Yelnats IV is a 14-year-old boy whose family claims it is cursed due to his “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather”... Read Holes Summary


Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Realistic Fiction

Hope Was Here (2000) by Joan Bauer tells the story of Hope Yancey, a witty and optimistic 16-year-old coping with the complexities of growing up amid financial difficulty, social upheaval, and change in her family. Hope has been raised by her Aunt Addie after her mother surrendered custody of her at birth. As Hope and Addie traverse the country chasing jobs and running diners, Hope grapples with her identity and figuring out where to call... Read Hope Was Here Summary


Publication year 1965Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction

Elizabeth Borton de Treviño’s I, Juan de Pareja is a young adult historical fiction novel published in 1965. Its complicated portrayal of slavery, art, and self-expression earned it the Newbery Medal in 1966. In 1656, Spanish Golden Age painter Diego Velázquez unveiled his newest portrait: a simple study of one of his enslaved workers entitled Portrait of Juan de Pareja. Upon viewing the painting, de Treviño was inspired to imagine the story of this man... Read I, Juan de Pareja Summary


Publication year 1960Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Self Discovery, Natural World: Place, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Survival Fiction, Children's Literature

Originally published in 1960, Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins is a middle grade historical fiction/adventure novel. Karana, the protagonist and narrator, is only 12 when hunters land on her peaceful island home and kill many of her people, including her father. When the remaining villagers leave the island in search of a safe place to rebuild their lives, she stays behind and must learn to survive on her own. O’Dell drew inspiration from... Read Island of the Blue Dolphins Summary


Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Relationships: Siblings, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction

Jacob Have I Loved (1980) is the seventh book published by acclaimed American author Katherine Paterson. Set in the 1940s on a tiny crab-fishing island in the Chesapeake Bay, the coming-of-age novel tells the story of teenager Sara Louise Bradshaw as she navigates her contentious relationship with her twin sister, Caroline, and seeks identity and purpose in her village. The novel explores the theme of sibling rivalry and religious struggles. Jacob Have I Loved won... Read Jacob Have I Loved Summary


Publication year 1943Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: War, Society: Politics & Government, Self Discovery, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courageTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Action / Adventure, American Revolution

Originally published in 1943, Esther Forbes’s Johnny Tremain is a classic middle-grade historical fiction/adventure novel. After a prideful accident ends 14-year-old Johnny Tremain’s promising career as a silversmith, his search for a new trade leads to his direct involvement in the early events of the American Revolution. The novel won a Newbery Medal and explores themes of self-sacrifice, humility, and change. Citations in this study guide refer to the 2018 eBook edition released by Houghton... Read Johnny Tremain Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Siblings, Society: Class, Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Historical Fiction, Grief / Death, Asian Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, History: U.S., Parenting, Race / Racism, American Literature

Cynthia Kadohata’s first novel, Kira-Kira (2004), is a historical coming-of-age novel for middle-grade readers. The novel tells the story of the Japanese American Takeshima family, who live in the Chesterfield, Georgia, in the 1950s. The protagonist and first-person narrator is the younger daughter, Katie. The narrative spans seven years, involving the family’s move from Iowa to the South, where Katie’s parents become workers in the poultry industry. The narrative follows Katie as she awakens to... Read Kira-Kira Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Relationships: Family, Society: ImmigrationTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Immigration / Refugee, Military / War, History: European, WWI / World War I

Karen Hesse’s young adult historical novel Letters from Rifka (1992) takes place between 1919 and 1920 and follows a young Jewish girl, Rifka, and her family as they escape persecution in Russia and begin a new life in America. The novel takes the form of letters Rifka writes, but cannot send, to her cousin in Russia, composed in the blank spaces of a volume of poetry by Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. The work thus combines... Read Letters from Rifka Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Historical Fiction, American Literature, Grief / Death, Race / Racism, Religion / Spirituality

Gary D. Schmidt’s Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (2004), an historical novel for young adults, received the Newbery Honor in 2005. It is based on actual events occurring on Malaga Island, Maine in 1912, when the government of Maine placed the residents of the island in a mental hospital and tore down their homes.Turner Buckminster is the son of a reverend living in Phippsburg, Maine in 1912. Turner has just relocated to Phippsburg from... Read Lizzie Bright And The Buckminster Boy Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 1990Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Identity: Race, Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Realistic Fiction

Published in 1990, Maniac Magee is a Newbery award–winning middle grade novel by renowned children’s author Jerry Spinelli. After his parents die, 11-year-old Jeffrey Lionel Magee runs away from his guardians and a year later ends up in the racially divided Pennsylvania town of Two Mills. Jeffrey, a white boy, finds a home with a Black family, but racial tension and threats send him back on the run. By accepting a host of challenges with... Read Maniac Magee Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Aging, Identity: Gender, Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature, Class, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Merci Suárez Changes Gears (2018), a contemporary middle-grade novel by Meg Medina, centers on a young girl facing major changes to her family dynamics. The book won numerous awards, including the 2019 Newbery Medal. Medina, a founding member of the “We Need Diverse Books” movement, has written many picture books, young adult books, and middle-grade novels about strong girls who overcome adversity and step up to challenges.Plot SummaryEleven-year-old Merci Suárez is the child of Cuban... Read Merci Suárez Changes Gears Summary


Publication year 1956Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Siblings, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: AnimalsTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 1947Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: FamilyTags Children's Literature, Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Animals

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Community, Society: Class, Society: Economics, Society: Immigration, Society: Education, Society: War, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Moon Over Manifest is a 2010 novel by author Claire Vanderpool. It relates the story of 12-year-old Abilene Tucker, a drifting girl in search of her father, a home, and a sense of belonging. When the novel starts, her father, Gideon Tucker, has just sent Abilene to the Kansas town of Manifest, claiming that he can’t take her to Iowa, where he is allegedly taking a railroad job. It is 1936, and the Great Depression... Read Moon Over Manifest Summary


Publication year 1971Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Mothers, Natural World: Animals, Relationships: Family, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: The Future, Society: Education, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Action / Adventure, Animals, Technology, Grief / Death, Agriculture, Parenting, Science / Nature, Philosophy, Sociology

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is a children’s science fiction novel written in 1971 by Robert C. O’Brien. It tells the story of a field mouse whose son becomes ill as moving day approaches, so she enlists the help of a group of highly intelligent experimental rats for help. Robert C. O’Brien was inspired to write the Rats of NIMH after a visit to the National Institute of Mental Health’s experimental rat compound... Read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Summary


Publication year 1974Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Historical Fiction, American Revolution, Military / War

My Brother Sam Is Dead tells the story of the Tim Meeker and his family during the years of the American Revolutionary War. Published in 1974, the novel won many awards, including a Newbery Honor, an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book designation, and National Book Award nomination. James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier, the authors, are brothers who together wrote a series of historical novels for young adults. James, a journalist, wrote most of... Read My Brother Sam Is Dead Summary


Publication year 1948Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Children's Literature, Classic Fiction, Animals

In Ruth Stiles Gannett’s classic children’s adventure, My Father’s Dragon (1948), nine-year-old Elmer Elevator runs away to rescue a baby dragon held captive by the animals of Wild Island. Elmer must navigate a dense jungle and outwit fearsome adversaries, including tigers, a rhinoceros, and a lion in his expedition and, hopefully, realize his own dream of flying. As Elmer follows his quest, Gannett explores themes of courage, cleverness, and social sensitivity. My Father’s Dragon received... Read My Father's Dragon Summary


Publication year 1959Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: CommunityTags Action / Adventure, Classic Fiction

My Side of the Mountain is a 1959 adventure novel by Jean Craighead George. It is the first in a five-book series, though George’s sequel, On the Far Side of the Mountain, was not published until 1990. As discussed in the Author’s Preface, My Side of the Mountain is inspired largely by George’s own experiences as a child. Growing up, George loved nature and attempted to run away from home to live in the outdoors... Read My Side of the Mountain Summary


Publication year 1989Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Children's Literature

Number the Stars is a 1989 middle-grade novel by Lois Lowry. A work of historical fiction, it focuses on the experiences of Annemarie Johansen, a 10-year-old Danish girl, living in Copenhagen during World War II. The book follows Annemarie and her family as they attempt to save their Jewish friends, the Rosens, from being sent to a Nazi concentration camp. The novel was critically acclaimed at the time of its release and won the 1990... Read Number the Stars Summary


Publication year 1986Genre Novella, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Realistic Fiction, Relationships

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer is a middle grade and young adult novel published in 1986. It was a Newberry Honor winner in 1987 and was also named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Bauer is a prolific writer who has written more than 80 books for young readers. In this novel, written in third-person omniscient point of view, she uses sparse language to deliver a profound message about honor... Read On My Honor Summary


Publication year 1937Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Natural World: Environment, Society: Community, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Children's Literature, American Literature

Publication year 2019Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: RaceTags Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Immigration / Refugee, Diversity, Race / Racism, American Literature

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Disability, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Disability

Paperboy by American author Vince Vawter explores themes of The Acceleration of the Civil Rights Movement, The Treatment of People With Speech Disorders, and Independence in Childhood through its singular voice. Published in 2013, Paperboy was a Newbery Medal Honor Book in 2014. Vawter, who worked for more than 40 years in the newspaper business, wrote Paperboy as a lightly fictionalized version of his own childhood, which contributes to the text’s authenticity. This guide references... Read Paperboy Summary


Publication year 1981Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Children's Literature, Realistic Fiction, Humor, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Ramona Quimby, Age 8, (1981) is the sixth book in Beverly Cleary’s middle-grade Ramona series. It follows spirited and curious Ramona as she balances her excitement about entering the third grade with her trepidation over the Quimby family’s financial struggles. Through her misadventures, Ramona learns her place in the family and how to stand up for herself at school using determination and creativity. Known for realistic fiction, Cleary organizes the novel in a series of... Read Ramona Quimby Age 8 Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Identity: RaceTags Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, History: Asian

Publication year 2015Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Realistic Fiction, Sports, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 1976Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Race / Racism

Mildred D. Taylor’s semi-autobiographical Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a middle grade novel first published in 1976. The novel received the 1977 John Newbery Medal and was recognized by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. With more than 6.5 million copies in print, the novel anchors Taylor’s “Logan saga,” a series of novels about the same family. A 1978 TV movie of the novel was nominated for two Emmy Awards. This guide references... Read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Summary


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Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Disability, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Realistic Fiction, Disability, Diversity

Rules was the first novel published by Cynthia Lord. Rules is a book for middle-grade readers that has remained popular and in print from the time of its initial publication. The Scholastic paperback version summarized here first appeared in 2018. For a debut novel, Rules was immediately accepted by young readers and by the literary community. The book won a prestigious Newberry Honor Book award and received the Schneider Family Book Award. It was named... Read Rules Summary


Publication year 1985Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature

American children’s writer Patricia MacLachlan published her first novel, Sarah, Plain and Tall, in 1985. The novel won the Newberry Medal in 1986, the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and the Golden Kite Award. MacLachlan loosely based the story off a woman her mother knew who moved from Maine to the prairie to become a wife and mother. Using this premise, the novel explores themes of The Beauty of New Beginnings, A Child’s Desire... Read Sarah, Plain and Tall Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Self Discovery, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: SiblingsTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Savvy, by Ingrid Law, is a fantasy-adventure novel for middle-grade readers about a girl from a psychic family who discovers her mental superpower and tries to master it quickly to use it to save her comatose father. First published in 2008, Savvy was a New York Times bestseller; it won a Newbery Honor and has appeared on more than 30 best book lists. The novel has two sequels, Scumble and Switch. Law’s books have been... Read Savvy Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Identity: Disability, Natural World: AnimalsTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Animals, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1988Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Society: Class, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, African American Literature

Scorpions is a young adult, coming-of-age novel written by best-selling children’s author Walter Dean Myers. Like many of Myers’s works, the book is based on his experience of growing up in New York City’s historically African American Harlem neighborhood. Exploring themes of brotherhood and masculinity, love and loyalty, race, class, and curtailed opportunity, the narrative follows 12-year-old Jamal Hicks as he is confronted with a life-changing dilemma: whether or not to step into the shoes... Read Scorpions Summary


Publication year 1991Genre Novella, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Children's Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realism

Eleven-year-old Marty Preston fights to save an abused beagle from its cruel owner in Shiloh (1991). Marty bonds with the dog, Shiloh, and learns more about himself and others as he struggles to reconcile the letter of the law with what he knows in his heart is right. Acclaimed children’s author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor based Shiloh on a poignant, personal encounter with a mistreated dog. Marty’s character struggles with the same issues that troubled Naylor... Read Shiloh Summary


Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Grandparents, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Siblings, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Realistic Fiction, Humor

Surviving the Applewhites is a children’s novel written by American author Stephanie S. Tolan and was first published in 2002.The narrative follows Jake Semple, a troubled teenager forced to move in with the unconventional and eccentric Applewhite family following an incident at school. Jake struggles to fit in at first but gradually sheds his past transgressions and undergoes a transformative journey toward self-discovery and redemption. The novel touches on Personal Growth and Transformation, Individuality Versus... Read Surviving the Applewhites Summary


Publication year 1947Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: EconomicsTags Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Historical Fiction, Finance / Money / Wealth, History: World, Natural Disaster, Politics / Government, Science / Nature, Technology, Post-War Era

Publication year 1967Genre Novella, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: ClassTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Relationships, Religion / Spirituality, American Literature

American author Scott O’Dell’s The Black Pearl is a young adult novel and bildungsroman (coming-of-age story) that was first published in 1967. The Black Pearl was a runner-up for the Newbery Medal, which recognizes distinguished American children’s literature. The work’s literary influences include Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and John Steinbeck’s The Pearl—another novel set among the pearl divers of La Paz. Scott O’Dell is best known for historical children’s fiction and his novel Island of... Read The Black Pearl Summary


Publication year 1954Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Indigenous, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Mothers, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, American Literature

The Courage of Sarah Noble, written by Alice Dalgliesh and published in 1954, follows the experience of young Sarah as she accompanies her father to Connecticut. It is based on a true story that took place in 1707, though Dalgliesh admits in the “Author’s Note” that she has “had to imagine many of the details” of Sarah’s story; thus, this is a work of historical fiction and not a biography or nonfiction text.Dalgliesh was a... Read The Courage of Sarah Noble Summary


Publication year 1960Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Music, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Self Discovery, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: PlaceTags Children's Literature, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Animals, Diversity, Science / Nature

Trapped in a picnic basket, Chester Cricket travels from his peaceful Connecticut home to the bustling Times Square subway station in George Selden’s classic children’s novel, The Cricket in Times Square (1960). There, Chester makes three good friends who help him navigate—and enjoy—his new city life: Mario Bellini, a young boy whose parents run a struggling newsstand; Tucker, a sociable mouse; and Tucker’s best friend, the cultured Harry Cat. Mishaps in the newsstand set Mama... Read The Cricket In Times Square Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Sports, Children's Literature

The Crossover, by award-winning children’s book author and poet Kwame Alexander, was published in 2014 and won the 2015 Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award Honor for children’s literature. Rebound, a prequel to The Crossover, was published in 2018. 12-year-old African American Josh Bell narrates The Crossover in verse; his stories and rhymes dribble down the page in much the same way he and his twin brother, Jordan, dribble the ball down the basketball... Read The Crossover Summary


Publication year 1973Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Fantasy

The Dark is Rising is a 1973 contemporary fantasy novel for young adult readers by English author Susan Cooper, and the second book in The Dark is Rising Sequence. It is preceded by Over Sea, Under Stone and followed by Greenwitch, The Grey King, and Silver on the Tree. The series, published between 1965 and 1977, focuses on eleven-year-old Will Stanton, who learns on his birthday that he is what is known as an “Old... Read The Dark Is Rising Summary


Publication year 1949Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, Classic Fiction, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Children's Literature, Fantasy, Disability

Publication year 1967Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: CommunityTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Fantasy, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

The Egypt Game (1967) is a children’s book by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. It is the first title in a two-book set. The sequel is entitled The Gypsy Game (1997). Snyder was a prolific author of children’s and young adult adventure and fantasy novels. An elementary school teacher by profession, she wrote 46 books between 1964 and 2011, passing away at the age of 87 in 2014. Like her protagonists in The Egypt Game, Snyder lived... Read The Egypt Game Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Flora/plants, Relationships: Grandparents, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Science / Nature

Published in 2009, Jacqueline Kelly’s The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a middle grade novel that follows the life of a young Calpurnia as she explores her love for science in the highly patriarchal society that dominated Texas in the late 19th century. The novel received praise from both readers and critics for its thematic emphasis on discovery and personal growth, earning it the Newbery Honor Award in 2010. This guide refers to the 2011... Read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Friendship, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Fantasy

Publication year 1958Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Society: ClassTags Historical Fiction, Poverty, Holidays & Occasions

The Family Under the Bridge is a work of realistic historical fiction set in Paris in the early 1900s. It was originally published in 1958 and then reprinted in 1989. The author, Natalie Savage Carlson, is an American of French-Canadian descent who spent many years living in Paris. The book, which follows an unhoused man as he meets and befriends a young family, won a Newbery Honor Award in 1959 and a Horn Book Fanfare... Read The Family Under The Bridge Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Fantasy, Children's Literature

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a 2016 fantasy novel for middle school readers by American author Kelly Barnhill. The story follows a young girl named Luna, who is accidentally enmagicked as a baby. As Luna grows, she struggles to recover important things she has lost: her memories, her mother, and her magic. With rich, lyrical language and gentle humor, Barnhill creates a fairytale-like world very different from ours, but one that faces similar... Read The Girl Who Drank the Moon Summary


Publication year 1993Genre Novel, FictionTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Children's Literature

The Giver is a work of young adult fiction. It is the first installment in The Giver Quartet, which also includes Gathering Blue (2000), Messenger (2004), and Son (2012). Author Lois Lowry received a 1994 Newbery Medal for her dystopian novel, although the text, with themes considered possibly too dark for the reader's age group, was challenged throughout the 1990s. The Giver takes place in the future, in a carefully-designed community that is extremely safe... Read The Giver Summary


Publication year 1961Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Historical Fiction, Children's Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Arts / Culture, Ancient Egypt

Young Ranofer’s dreams of becoming a goldsmith seem impossible because of his abusive half-brother’s influence unless he can prove the man is a thief in Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s esteemed middle-grade historical mystery, The Golden Goblet (1961). As Ranofer struggles to escape from Gebu’s evil control, he learns valuable lessons about friendship, courage, and the importance of doing the right thing. Vivid historical details of life in 1400 BC Egypt and a thrilling puzzle complement powerful... Read The Golden Goblet Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Fate, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Fantasy, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Children's Literature

In The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, an orphan boy is raised by ghosts in a cemetery, where he learns how to become invisible, haunt people’s dreams, and face his destiny against those who want to kill him.Published in 2008, this fantasy-adventure novel for middle-grade and young-adult readers became a #1 New York Times best seller. It won the Newbery and Carnegie medals for best children’s book, the first time a work has received both... Read The Graveyard Book Summary


Publication year 1978Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature

The Great Gilly Hopkins is a children's novel by Katherine Paterson. It is a work of realistic fiction and was published in 1978. The novel won the US National Book Award in 1979 and was named a Newberry Honor Book. The edition used in this guide is the Harper Trophy edition published by Harper Collins in 1978.Plot SummaryThis book is set in Thompson Park, Maryland in the 1970s. The protagonist is Gilly Hopkins, an 11-year-old... Read The Great Gilly Hopkins Summary


Publication year 1984Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Animals, Relationships: Family, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Fantasy, Romance, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Disability

Written by Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown is a 1984 fantasy novel that acts as a prequel to McKinley’s 1982 novel, The Blue Sword. The Hero and the Crown focuses on the life and exploits of Aerin Dragon-Killer, the legendary wielder of the titular blue sword Gonturan, which first appeared in the previous novel. The Hero and the Crown focuses on Aerin’s personal development into a hero and a queen, emphasizing the physical... Read The Hero and the Crown Summary


Publication year 1944Genre Novella, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Classic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature, Bullying

The Hundred Dresses is a children’s book by Eleanor Estes that was originally published in 1944. It includes pen-and-ink illustrations by Louis Slobodkin. In 1945, it was awarded the Newbery Honor, and it continues to be a popular book in elementary schools. A 2004 survey of third-grade teachers found that the book was a popular choice for reading aloud in the classroom, and a 2007 survey by the National Education Association named it one of... Read The Hundred Dresses Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: The Future, Society: CommunityTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Children's Literature, Diversity

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Fathers, Society: Class, Society: Colonialism, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Asian Literature

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Action / Adventure, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Race / Racism, Class

The Living by Matt de la Peña is a young adult novel that is in equal parts thriller, adventure, coming-of-age story, and commentary on the social divides of race and class in American culture. The Living was published in 2013 and received the Pura Belpré Award, a US literary prize for young people’s literature that represents the Latino cultural experience. A sequel to The Living, called The Hunted, was published in 2015. This guide is... Read The Living Summary


Publication year 1995Genre Novel, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Children's Literature, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages

The Midwife’s Apprentice was written by Karen Cushman and published in 1991 by Houghton Mifflin. A young adult historical fiction novel set in medieval England, the story follows a young unhoused girl with no ambitions or sense of belonging as she experiences kindness and learns to have confidence in herself and find her place in the world through midwifery. The book won the John Newbery Medal in 1996, an honor also given to Cushman’s 1995... Read The Midwife's Apprentice Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature

The One and Only Ivan is a children’s novel by Katherine Applegate, first published in 2012. Winner of the John Newbery Medal, the highest honor for US children’s literature, the novel received starred reviews in Kirkus and the School Library Journal and was a New York Times bestseller.The One and Only Ivan is based on the true story of a gorilla named Ivan, who was captured from the Democratic Republic of Congo and spent 27... Read The One And Only Ivan Summary


Publication year 1983Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Masculinity, Self Discovery, Society: ColonialismTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, History: U.S., Race / Racism, American Literature

Published in 1983, The Sign of the Beaver is a historical adventure novel for middle grade readers written by Elizabeth George Speare. Based on a true story that took place in 1760s Colonial America, the book follows the adventures of a young English boy who, while living alone in the Maine wilderness, befriends a local Penobscot boy who teaches him how to survive. The experience changes his views of himself, his family and fellow colonists... Read The Sign of the Beaver Summary


Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Historical Fiction, Mythology

Publication year 1990Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Identity: Gender, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure

Published in 1990, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by children’s book writer Avi, tells the story of a teenage girl who travels from England to America aboard a sailing ship filled with intrigue, mutiny, and murder; she learns to be a sailor, withstands a hurricane, and thwarts the captain’s attempts to kill her. Written for middle-grade readers, the book won several awards, including the Newbery in 1991. Plot SummaryThirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle, at school in... Read The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Flora/plants, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Animals, Science / Nature

Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Teams, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Relationships: Friendship, Natural World: AnimalsTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature, Disability

The View From Saturday by American author Elaine Lobl Konigsburg was published in 1996 and won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature in 1997—Konigsburg’s second Newbery Medal. She is one of only six writers to win the award twice (her first was awarded for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in 1968). Prior to becoming a writer of children’s and young adult fiction and publishing over 20 works from... Read The View From Saturday Summary


Publication year 1978Genre Novel, FictionTags Children's Literature

The Westing Game, by American children’s author and illustrator Ellen Raskin, is a mystery novel first published in 1978. The novel, marketed as children’s literature, won the John Newbery Medal, although it is also considered a work of YA fiction. The narrative tells the story of a group of strangers bizarrely brought together to solve the mystery of Samuel Westing’s death and pursue a great fortune. At the opening of the book, a mysterious letter... Read The Westing Game Summary


Publication year 1986Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FriendshipTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Children's Literature

The Whipping Boy is a middle grade historical novel written by American author Sid Fleischman and published in 1986. The novel won the Newbery Medal (awarded by the American Library Association) in 1987. When it was published, Fleischman had already written many books for both young and adult readers, often incorporating his interest in history, and setting books in different locales and time periods. In 1994, the novel was adapted into a film called Prince... Read The Whipping Boy Summary


Publication year 1958Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: Colonialism, Natural World: PlaceTags Historical Fiction

Elizabeth George Speare was a well-known author of children’s books during the mid-twentieth century. Her second novel, The Witch of Blackbird Pond (1957), earned her a Newbery Medal in 1959. She won another in 1962 for The Bronze Bow (1961), as well as a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1989 for her lifetime contribution to children’s literature. Her other novels include Calico Captive (1957) and The Sign of the Beaver (1984). Speare’s books are often... Read The Witch Of Blackbird Pond Summary


Publication year 1968Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: NationTags History: U.S., Race / Racism

To Be a Slave is a nonfiction children’s book written by Julius Lester and published in 1968. In 1969, the book was named a John Newbery Honor Book in recognition of its important contribution to children’s literature.The book focuses on the history of enslavement in the United States. Julius Lester compiled slave narratives and wrote his own historical commentary to accompany them. Lester was writing in the context of the civil rights movement of the... Read To Be a Slave Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: GenderTags LGBTQ, Fantasy, Relationships, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Gratitude, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Food, Society: Community, Society: Economics, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Grandparents, Relationships: MothersTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Children's Literature, Great Depression, Animals

Turtle in Paradise is a 2010 historical fiction children’s novel by Jennifer L. Holm. Set in the Florida Keys during the Great Depression, the novel follows an 11-year-old girl’s struggles and successes as she visits her aunt and cousins in the town where her mother grew up. The novel won the Golden Kite Award and is a Newbery Honor Book as well as a Junior Library Guild selection.This guide refers to the 2010 Random House... Read Turtle in Paradise Summary


Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: MothersTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature

Walk Two Moons is perhaps the most famous work of Sharon Creech, a celebrated author of young adult fiction. The novel blends elements of both a coming-of-age narrative and a road story, and is set in the same literary universe as several of Creech’s other works, including Absolutely Normal Chaos (1990) and Chasing Redbird (1997). Following its 1994 publication, Walk Two Moons won numerous awards, including the 1995 Newbery Medal and the 1995 Children’s Book... Read Walk Two Moons Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Bullying, Parenting, Race / Racism, Relationships, American Literature

When You Reach Me (2009) is a middle-grade novel by Rebecca Stead. It won the Newbery Medal and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for fiction and has been included in numerous best book lists for young adult readers. This summary is based on the 2019 Yearling 10th Anniversary Edition. The story follows the adventures of Miranda Sinclair, a 12-year-old female protagonist who tries to solve the mystery of who might be coming to save her... Read When You Reach Me Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Magical Realism, Fantasy