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Instead of having fun with her friends, 12-year-old Carolina is spending the summer helping her family move her grandfather from his ranch in New Mexico into a memory-care facility. When Grandpa Serge begins to tell her a story of a magic tree that keeps people in the village safe, she wonders if the tale is true or if her grandfather is getting his memories mixed up as his mind slips away. The more stories he tells, the more she’s drawn into the tales of magical realism — and her family’s roots.
Seventh-graders will get swept away in the lush fables, strong characters and beautiful writing, and a plot twist midway through the book will keep them reading to see what happens next. The relationship between Carolina and Grandpa Serge will give readers an appreciation for their own family members and the wisdom they offer.
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This clever and captivating novel, perhaps best described as Harry Potter meets the “The Da Vinci Code,” features fantasy elements with a page-turning plot and interesting characters. Surprising twists will keep readers engaged as Elizabeth begins to unravel her unusual ties to Winterhouse, and how she ended up there is kept a secret until the very end. Word puzzles and word ladder games are layered into the story as readers solve the mystery of Winterhouse, and the book’s illustrations add to the foreboding atmosphere. Those who order the hardback edition will be impressed with the cutout cover design, which makes the story come to life.
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The main character, Clare, is still reeling from her mother’s death when her father, a doctor, decides to bring her with him to Malawi. As a 13-year-old American, she must learn to cope with her raw feelings amid new foods, smells and culture as she navigates her new home, school and environment. A new friendship teaches Clare about loss, family and finding joy again. Clare’s experiences are translated into a unique story that kids will find relatable — especially readers who are curious about the world around them.
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The warden has allowed 11-year-old Perry to live (mostly) alongside his mom inside of Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility, but a new district attorney discovers he’s living at the prison and sends him to a foster home. When his mother mysteriously misses parole and her visiting hours are restricted, Perry goes on a quest to help her, learning more about his mother’s crime and uncovering what really happened.
Memorable, richly-drawn characters populate this story, and themes of forgiveness and redemption are threaded through a tale that’s sometimes sad but lets humor shine through, too. By book’s end, Perry will have a special place in the hearts of readers of all ages.
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Prue, age 12, is in charge of her baby brother and pulls him to the library in a wagon behind her bike. (Yes, parents, this is already an unsafe situation!) Crows abscond with the baby, disappearing into the dreaded Impassable Wilderness across the river from the city of Portland, Oregon. Prue and a friend go to the forbidden forest to find her baby brother, and they end up discovering a society of peaceful mystics, powerful figures and warring creatures.
Author Colin Meloy, who is also the frontman of the band The Decemberists, weaves a whimsical world surrounding the city of Portland with two relatable characters in the middle of it all.
“Every seventh-grader has their own unique approach to reading books, and what sparks their interest today may not capture their imagination tomorrow,” Emily Watts says. “As a result, I recommend keeping multiple books on hand to meet their ever-changing likes, dislikes and whims — and keep them reading. The goal is to encourage the engagement, and make reading fun and not a chore.”