Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls

Conditional Recommendation: An engaging tale of friendship and adventure shared by a boy and his two hound dogs.

Age: Middle Grade
Series: Stand Alone
Paperback: 249 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (1961)
Genre: Adventure, Animal

Awards: Massachusetts Children’s Book Award (1987), North Dakota Children’s Choice Award (1981). Continue reading

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

by Elizabeth George Speare

Unconditional Recommendation: Katherine “Kit” Tyler must learn to live in a Puritan community with her relatives but befriends the Witch of Blackbird Pond and risks being persecuted as a witch herself.

Age: Young Adult
Series: Stand Alone
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (1958)
Genre: Historical

Awards: Newbery Medal (1959), Dorothy Canfeld Fisher Children’s Book Award (1960) Continue reading

Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower #1)

by Jessica Day George

Conditional Recommendation: 11-year-old Princess Celie and her siblings strive together within their magical castle to protect themselves and their kingdom.

Age: Middle Grade
Series: Castle Glower, Book 1
Hardcover: 225 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury (2011)
Genre: Fantasy

Awards: Utah Book Award for Children’s (2011), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award for Grades 3-6 (2013), California Young Readers Medal for Intermediate (2015), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award (2015) Continue reading

Skybreaker (Matt Cruse #2)

by Kenneth Oppel

Conditional Recommendation: Matt Cruse’s adventures continue as he, Kate and a gypsy race to recover the ghost ship Hyperion and its treasures before falling prey to deadly high-altitude life forms and other sailors who seek its riches.

Age: Young Adult
Series: Matt Cruse, Book 2
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (2005)
Genre: Adventure

Awards: Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award for Adult Middle Reader (2006), OLA Forest of Reading Red Maple Award for Fiction (2006) Continue reading

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives

by Caitlin Alifirenka, Martin Ganda, with Liz Welch

Conditional Recommendation: A young American girl and a young Zimbabwean boy become pen pals and build a friendship through letters that changes both of their lives for the better.

Age: Young Adult
Series: Stand Alone
Hardcover: 392 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2015)
Genre: Memoir

Awards: The Magnolia Award for 9-12 (2017), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award (2018) Continue reading

The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia #4)

by C.S. Lewis

Unconditional Recommendation: Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb go to Narnia and on Aslan’s orders, embark on a journey to find the lost Prince Rilian of Narnia.

Age: Middle Grade
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 4 (original publication order)
Paperback: 243 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (Originally published 1953 by Bodley Head)

Genre: Fantasy/Christian Allegory Continue reading

The Sorcerer of the North (Ranger’s Apprentice #5)

by John Flanagan

Conditional Recommendation: Now a fully fledged ranger, Will is assigned to his own territory but it’s not long before he’s sent on a mission to unravel the mystery of the sorcerer of the north.

Age: Young Adult
Series: Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 5
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Philomel Books (2008)
Genre: Adventure/Fantasy Continue reading

Warriors: Into the Wild (The Prophecies Begin #1)

by Erin Hunter

Conditional Recommendation: A house cat joins a clan of wild cats and becomes a part of their traditions, opposing threats from neighboring clans, and their battle for survival.

Age: Middle Grade
Series: Warriors: The Prophecies Begin, Book 1
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Working Partners Limited (2003)

Genre: Fantasy/Adventure Continue reading

Little House in the Big Woods (#1)

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Unconditional Recommendation: Young Laura Ingalls and her family make a living working the land and hunting the woods in 1871 Wisconsin.

Age: Middle Grade
Series: Little House, Book 1
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (1932)

Genre: Historical Fiction Continue reading