What it’s about: almost-6th-grader Lety Muñoz is eager to become the “shelter scribe” at the Furry Friends Animal Shelter, writing profiles for the each of the animals (and improving her English while she’s at it). The only problem? Grouchy classmate Hunter wants the job too.
You might also like: author Angela Cervantes’ earlier book Gaby, Lost and Found, which features another Latina heroine who finds her strength and her voice while volunteering at the same animal shelter.
What it’s about: With their father’s clock shop failing, Oliver and Lucy Tinker know that their family has no choice but to accept a very strange offer: move to Blackford House in Watch Hollow so that their dad can fix its gigantic -- and possibly supernatural -- cuckoo clock.
Read it for: page-turning tension, magical clockwork, lurking evil, and an eerie, enchanted forest.
For fans of: Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Gardener.
What it’s about: Elodee and her family have just moved to Eventown, where it’s always sunny, the air tastes like blueberries, and everyone is perfectly content...everyone except Elodee.
Why you might like it: The further you read in this suspenseful, bittersweet story, the more curious you’ll become about what lies beneath Eventown’s polished perfection, and what happened to Elodee’s family that made them move there.
What it’s about: Moving to New York City was supposed to be a fresh start for Rain’s family after her brother died, but Rain feels more stuck than ever: the city is loud and crowded, her parents are a mess, and her new neighbor Frankie does NOT want a new friend.
Why you might like it: You’ll feel for Rain as she grieves for her brother and tries to find her footing, both at school and at home.
What it’s about: In 1966, things are looking up for Jewish Cuban immigrant Ruthie -- she's the hopscotch queen of Queens, her English is getting better, and her Papi finally lets her have a pair of go-go boots. Then, a car accident leaves her stuck in a full-body cast for a year.
Is it for you? If you like bittersweet, realistic stories about surviving tough situations, you don't want to miss Lucky Broken Girl.
Starring: strong-willed Ada, who has a limp due to a clubfoot; Jamie, her little brother; and Susan, the prickly woman who takes them both into her home after they flee World War II-era London.
Why you might like it: After surviving years of abuse from her cruel mother, Ada is a tough character, but you’ll be drawn in by her anger, frustration, and eventual joy as she learns to trust in herself and her new home.
Award buzz: winner of the 2016 Schneider Family Book Award.
What it’s about: While visiting his grandparents in rural Virginia, Brooklyn-born worrywart Genie has to deal with heat, no Internet access, a strict Grandma, and a Grandpop who carries a gun even though he’s losing his eyesight.
Is it for you? If you love characters who feel so real that it’s like you know them, don’t miss this standalone book from author of the popular TRACK series.
Award buzz: honored in 2017 by the Coretta Scott King Award (and several others, too!).
Introducing: eight-and-a-half-year-old Cilla, who’s destined to be a big-name author someday. That means she’s got to start writing her life storynow, before it's turned upside down by "The Blob," the new baby her mom is expecting.
Who it’s for: Anyone who's ever felt both loved and annoyed by their family will want to root for Cilla in this funny 1st book in a series.
Award buzz: honored in 2018 by the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award.
Who it’s about: You might not know his name, but you may have seen José Guadalupe Posada's bones. Known as Don Lupe, he transformed calaveras -- those smiling skeletons you see during Día de los Muertos -- into an art form that's still used today.
Art alert: the chunky, eye-catching illustrations in this biography contain examples of Don Lupe's own art.
Award buzz: honored in 2016 by the Pura Belpré Award.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!