School, Friends, Family & Growing Up

Click on a grade below to see a list of suggested books featuring school, friends, family and the issues of growing up for that level.

New Books About School, Friends, Family & Growing Up

Death's Academy by Michael Bast

Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6

Midnight "Night" Smith is the son of the most infamous Death ever. Because of his father's bad reputation most other young hoodies (Deaths) are not allowed to associate with Night and he also cannot get a sponsor to help him practice for his entrance exams for Death's Academy. After being caught trying to illegally kill a chipmunk by a halo (Guardian Angel) Night ends up grounded. While sneaking out one evening Night accidentally stumbles across evil unicorns and overhears their plan to attack the Death's headquarters, but who will believe the son of a disgraced criminal?i

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The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett

Reading Level: Grades 3 and older

When the mythical Fray returns and destroys the Munrung's village with its terrible winds the entire tribe must make a perilous journey across the Carpet, battling the mouls who are said to control Fray, as they search for a safe new place to live. If you liked the Borrowers or the Littles you will enjoy this book about the microscopic beings that live in the wild jungle beneath your feet. (and it will make you look at your vacuum cleaner differently too.).

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The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheikin

Reading Level: Ages 10 - 14

On July 17, 1944, an explosion at the Port Chicago naval base in California killed over 300 people and sank two ships.  All the men loading bombs and ammunition onto ships were black.  All supervising officers were white.  Black sailors who had never received proper training in the handling of munitions were afraid and refused to go back to work on the docks.  Some gave in under pressure from the navy until only 50 men held fast.  They were brought up on charges of mutiny, a charge that could mean the death penalty.  Sheinkin has crafted another book that brings history to life.  You'll be outraged, but you'll cheer for 50 new heroes in the fight for equal rights.

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Enrique's Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario

Reading Level: grade 7 & up

Pulitzer Prize winning author, Sonia Nazario had adapted her adult book for teens.  It's the story of sixteen-year-old Enrique whose mother left her children in Honduras to come to the U.S. 12 years earlier with the promise she would return. When she doesn't, Enrique decides he will go to his mother.  The journey is fraught with danger as he rides the tops of trains while hiding from the authorities, thugs, and bandits.  Enrique's journeys across Central America and Mexico are a study in determination and the strength of love.  His story will give readers a new perspective on illegal immigration and some things to think about.  WARNING;  Nazario does not gloss over beatings, rapes, maimings, and even murder. 

 

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Duke by Kirby Larson

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

Set in Seattle, Washington in 1944, this is the home front story of Hobie Hanson, a fifth-grader whose father is flying B-24s in Europe. It's a time of great patriotism and sacrifice even for those at home.  Hobie is expected to step up and help at home, on the family fishing boat, and with his younger sister.  There are ration stamps for sugar, meat, and shoes.  Everyone is urged to do all they can to help in the war effort.  When Hobie learns about the real life organization called Dogs For Defense, he decides to donate his beloved German Shepherd, Duke. It never occurred to him that Duke might be sent into combat or that Duke might bond with his Marine handler.  Will his father and his dog survive?

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Other books by Kirby Larson