2nd through 6th grade
Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce – J Pei
Supremely confident middle school student Nate Wright manages to make getting detention from every one of his teachers in the same day seem like an achievement.
Clementine by Sara Pennypacker – J Pen
While sorting through difficulties in her friendship with her neighbor Margaret, eight-year-old Clementine gains several unique hairstyles and helps her father banish pigeons from the front of their apartment building.
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary – J Cle
In letters to his favorite author, ten-year-old Leigh reveals his problems coping with his parents' divorce, being new in school, and finding his place in the world.
Frindle by Andrew Clements – J Cle
When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.
Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry – J Low
Gooney Bird Greene entertains her fellow second graders with stories that are outlandish, but always completely true.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes – J Est
Wanda Petronski, a little Polish girl in an American school, is laughed at because she always wears a faded blue dress, until her classmates learn a lesson.
Ida B. and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan – J Han
Before Ida B.’s mother got cancer, she was happily homeschooled. Now, part of her family’s land is sold and she goes to school, which turns Ida B. from fun-loving to furious.
Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows – J Bar
When seven-year-old Bean plays a mean trick on her sister, she finds unexpected support from Ivy, the new neighbor, who is less boring than Bean first suspected.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos – J Gan
Joey has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his prescription medications wear off and he starts acting wired.
Junonia by Kevin Henkes – J Hen
Alice and her parents go to Sanibel Island every year, but this time some things have changed. Alice wishes things could be the same as always.
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies – J Dav
Evan and his younger sister Jesse compete with each other to earn $100 in their lemonade stands.
Me and Rolly Maloo by Janet S. Wong – J Won
In a story told through words and pictures, an unpopular girl cheats on a math test when the most popular girl in school asks her to give her answers.
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce – J Cot
Two brothers find a huge amount of money which they must spend quickly before England switches to the euro, but they disagree on what to do with it.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birsdall – J Bir
While vacationing with their father in the Berkshire Mountains, four lovable sisters share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright – J Enr
Four New York City siblings pool their resources so that each can do a special thing on the Saturday that is his turn to receive the combined allowance.
Ramona books by Beverly Cleary – J Cle
Spirited Ramona never means to cause trouble, but somehow, trouble always seems to find her.
Ten by Lauren Miracle – J Mir
The year she is ten, Winnie has many new experiences, from the high of visiting New York City, to the low of her two best friends suddenly becoming interested in boys. See also: Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen and Thirteen Plus One
6th through 9th grade
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier – T Cor
Refusing to sell chocolates for a school fundraiser doesn’t sound like a very serious act of rebellion, but it certainly throws Jerry Renault’s world off-kilter, and starts a chain of events that may change the school and its delicate social structure forever.
Crash by Jerry Spinelli – T Spi
Seventh-grader John "Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy and his grandfather's stroke make him consider the meaning of friendship and the importance of family.
Driver’s Ed by Caroline B. Cooney – T Coo
Three teenagers' lives are changed forever when they thoughtlessly steal a stop sign from a dangerous intersection and a young mother is killed in an automobile accident there.
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen – T Van
In alternating chapters, two teenagers describe how their feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have changed over the years.
Geek Charming by Robin Palmer - T Pal
As the most popular girl in school, Dylan makes the perfect subject for the film about popularity that resident film geek Josh is trying to make. They strike an agreement and begin an unlikely friendship, which is set up just in time for Dylan’s fall from popularity.
The Girls by Amy Goldman Koss – T Kos
Each of the girls in a middle-school clique reveals the strong, manipulative hold one of the girls exerts on the others, and the hurt and self-doubt that it causes them.
The Misfits by James Howe – T How
Four students who do not fit in at their small-town middle school decide to create a third party for the student council elections to represent all students who have ever been called names.
Nothing but the Truth by Avi – T Avi
A ninth-grader's suspension for singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" during homeroom becomes a national news story.
Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata – T Kad
Four sisters who all have different fathers are sent to live with them when their mother is in a terrible car accident. While some of the dads are actually pretty cool, others are worth getting away from, and so all four girls fight to get their family back together.
Playground by 50 Cent – T 50C
After beating up Maurice on the playground, Butterball is forced to see the school therapist.
A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie by Matt Blackstone – T Bla
Rene, a freshman with obsessive-compulsive disorder, feels responsible for saving his favorite teacher, dealing with his missing father, courting the beautiful Ariel, and pretending to be normal for the school psychologist.
Schooled by Gordon Korman – T Kor
Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Cap Anderson has never watched TV or tasted pizza. When his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap moves in with a guidance counselor and attends middle school. Nothing could prepare Cap for the politics of public school.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books by Anne Brashares – T Bra
This series follows four best friends through their summer vacations. Though they spend their summers apart, a shared pair of jeans keeps them close until they reunite.
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher – T Cru
Eric and Sarah have always been close because they are both bullied- Sarah for her childhood disfiguration, and Eric for being overweight. During their senior year, Eric loses the weight but stays fiercely loyal to Sarah, even after she is committed to a mental ward because she has suddenly stopped speaking.
Swallowing Stones by Joyce McDonald – T McD
Dual perspectives reveal the aftermath of seventeen-year-old Michael MacKenzie's birthday celebration during which he discharges an antique Winchester rifle and unknowingly kills the father of high school classmate Jenna Ward.