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Best Books for 9-11 Year-Olds, Part 1

It’s not fair!  You never let me do anything! 

Sound familiar? 

If so, you probably have a 9-11 year-old living in your house.  This stage is a time of transitions and learning, of trying out those wings and testing boundaries.   Great books can expand your tween’s way of thinking, transporting your budding boy to an alternate universe, or introducing your growing girl to characters who have the same questions and issues she may face.  You may not be her BFF, but your child will appreciate you being available to answer questions about the changes this age will bring.

And remember, your Richland Library staff is always happy to help—from volunteer opportunities, book clubs or more books in that series he loves, we’re here to help you and your family.  


Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
Amazon Says: After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sur more...
Amazon Says: After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences? In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it. less...
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The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
Amazon Says: There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road. A calico cat, about to have kittens, h more...
Amazon Says: There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road. A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath...as long as they stay in the Underneath. Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten's one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love -- and its opposite, hate -- the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises. less...
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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Amazon Says: Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller, this stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformati more...
Amazon Says: Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller, this stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself. Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.The One and Only Ivan was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon, demonstrating it is a true classic in the making. In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan's unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. An author's note depicts the differences between the fictional story and true events.Supports the Common Core State Standards less...
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Amazon Says: Acclaimed naturalist and illustrator Jim Arnosky helps birds and imaginations take glorious flight in this breathtaking nonfiction picture book with six giant gatefolds. Arnos more...
Amazon Says: Acclaimed naturalist and illustrator Jim Arnosky helps birds and imaginations take glorious flight in this breathtaking nonfiction picture book with six giant gatefolds. Arnosky will draw out kids' inner explorer as he explains why there are no feathers on a vulture's head, which bird is the deep-diving champ, what makes an owls's wings perfectly silent in flight, and much more. Readers can use this gorgeously illustrated book to bring the wilderness right into their rooms-or as a guide on their next expedition. less...
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Doll Bones by Holly Black
Amazon Says: Discover the Newbery Honor winner Doll Bones, from Holly Black, the cocreator of the Spiderwick Chronicles. A Kirkus Reviews Best Book. A School Library Journal Best Book. A B more...
Amazon Says: Discover the Newbery Honor winner Doll Bones, from Holly Black, the cocreator of the Spiderwick Chronicles. A Kirkus Reviews Best Book. A School Library Journal Best Book. A Booklist Editor’s Choice Books for Youth. A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book. A NYPL “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing.” A 2013 Goodreads Choice award nominee. A People Magazine “Best New Kids Book.” Six starred reviews! Winner of a 2014 Newbery Honor Medal. Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her. But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave. Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches? Doll Bones is a winner of the Newbery Honor, is the recipient of six starred reviews, was on four Best Book lists, and was called "perfect" by The New York Times. less...
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The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Amazon Says: Ephraim Appledore-Smith is an ordinary boy, and up until his father's stroke he lived an ordinary life. But all that changes when his family moves to the Water Castle-their an more...
Amazon Says: Ephraim Appledore-Smith is an ordinary boy, and up until his father's stroke he lived an ordinary life. But all that changes when his family moves to the Water Castle-their ancestral home in the small town of Crystal Springs. Mallory Green's family has always been the caretakers of the Water Castle-and the guardians of its secrets. She has been raised to protect the legendary Fountain of Youth, hidden on the estate grounds. But ever since her mom left, she's stopped believing in magic.Will Wylie's family has been at war with the Applegates for generations, all because of the Water Castle's powerful secrets. But Will has rejected legend and magic, putting all his faith in science. When Ephraim learns of the Fountain, he's sure finding it can cure his dad. With Mallory and Will's help, the trio embarks on a mission that brings them deep into their families' shared history, through every secret room in the Water Castle, and on a quest that will blur the lines of magic and science, creativity and discovery, leaving readers left to wonder: Do you believe in the unbelievable? less...
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The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Amazon Says: From the best-selling author of Cosmic and Millions comes an evocative immigration tale about two brothers trying to survive- a daring story that miraculously defies belief more...
Amazon Says: From the best-selling author of Cosmic and Millions comes an evocative immigration tale about two brothers trying to survive- a daring story that miraculously defies belief. When two Mongolian brothers inexplicably appear one morning in Julie's sixth grade class, no one, least of all Julie, knows what to do with them. But when Chingis, the older of the two brothers, proclaims Julie as their "Good Guide" - a nomadic tradition of welcoming strangers to a new land - Julie must somehow navigate them through soccer, school uniforms, and British slang, all while trying to win Shocky's attention and perhaps also an invitation to her friend Mimi's house. At times funny, this moving and simply told novella tugs at the heart-a unique story of immigration both fierce in its telling and magical in its characters. less...
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Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Amazon Says: The untold story of Thomas Jefferson's slave children Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston are Thomas Jefferson's children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, and whi more...
Amazon Says: The untold story of Thomas Jefferson's slave children Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston are Thomas Jefferson's children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, and while they do get special treatment - better work, better shoes, even violin lessons - they are still slaves, and are never to mention who their father is. The lighter-skinned children have been promised a chance to escape into white society, but what does this mean for the children who look more like their mother? As each child grows up, their questions about slavery and freedom become tougher, calling into question the real meaning of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Told in three parts from the points of view of three of Jefferson's slaves - Beverly, Madison, and a third boy close to the Hemings family - these engaging and poignant voices shed light on what life was like as one of Jefferson's invisible offspring. less...
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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Amazon Says: What secrets lie behind the doors at Misselthwaite manor? Recently arrived at her uncle's estate, orphaned mary Lennox is spoiled, sickly, and certain she won't enjoy living t more...
Amazon Says: What secrets lie behind the doors at Misselthwaite manor? Recently arrived at her uncle's estate, orphaned mary Lennox is spoiled, sickly, and certain she won't enjoy living there. Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier. Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty--unaware that she is changing too. But Missalthwaite hides another secret, as Mary discovers one night. High in a dark room, away from the rest of the house, lies her young cousin Colin, who believes he is an incurable invalid, destined to die young. His tantrums are so frightful, no one can reason with him. If only, Mary hopes, she can get Colin to love the secret garden as much as she does, its magic wil work wonders on him. From the Trade Paperback edition. less...
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Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close
Amazon Says: This fascinating, interactive autobiography presents Chuck Close’s story, his art, and a discussion of the many processes he uses in the studio. The question-and-answer form more...
Amazon Says: This fascinating, interactive autobiography presents Chuck Close’s story, his art, and a discussion of the many processes he uses in the studio. The question-and-answer format is based on real kids’ inquiries about Close’s life and work, and his answers to them. Close, who is wheelchair-bound and paints with a brush strapped to his arm, discusses the severe dyslexia and face blindness he has struggled with since childhood, as well as a collapsed spinal artery that left him nearly paralyzed at the age of 48. An engaging feature of the book is a mix-and-match Chuck Close self-portrait section. This hands-on component encourages the reader to create new and interesting combinations of Close’s techniques and images. The book also includes an illustrated chronology of Close’s life, a list of museums where his work can be seen, and an index. Praise for Chuck Close: Face Book STARRED REVIEW "Art lovers of all ages will revel in this vivid, wonderfully affecting book, which is almost as ingenious and memorable as Close himself." –Kirkus Reviews, starred review STARRED REVIEW "Close describes his work with candor and insight. The high quality printing and lush colors of the reproductions make it easy for readers to share that excitement. A nifty mix-and-match section lets readers compare the methods used in 14 of the artist’s self-portraits." –Publishers Weekly, starred review STARRED REVIEW “Excellent-quality reproductions of his paintings appear throughout. A readable and engaging look at a fascinating artist and his methods of working.” –School Library Journal, starred review "Chuck Close’s art and life story are the ideal way to introduce art and artists to children." –Horn Book "A winner. Chuck Close's honest, personal memoir about his life and work makes an ideal book for kids who find school challenging, who are creative or who see the world a bit differently from their peers. In other words, this one's for most everyone." –Shelf Awareness Awards: WINNER - 2012 Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Award New York Public Library’s Children's Books 2012: 100 Books for Reading and Sharing list Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2012 list: Children's Nonfiction Capitol Choices 2013 - Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens Orbis Pictus Recommended Book 2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2013 list - The Arts 2013 ALA/ALSC Notable Book   less...
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Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Amazon Says: With a fresh and deceptively simple style, acclaimed author Sharon Creech tells a story with enormous heart. Written as a series of free-verse poems from Jack's point of view, more...
Amazon Says: With a fresh and deceptively simple style, acclaimed author Sharon Creech tells a story with enormous heart. Written as a series of free-verse poems from Jack's point of view, Love That Dog shows how one boy finds his own voice with the help of a teacher, a writer, a pencil, some yellow paper, and of course, a dog. With classic poetry included in the back matter, this provides the perfect resource for teachers and students alike."I guess it doeslook like a poemwhen you see ittyped uplike that."Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won't stop giving her class poetry assignments -- and Jack can't avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say. Supports the Common Core State Standards less...
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Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Amazon Says: Newbery Medalist and CSK Award winner Christopher Paul Curtis's debut middle-grade/young-YA novel for Scholastic features his trademark humor, compelling storytelling, and uni more...
Amazon Says: Newbery Medalist and CSK Award winner Christopher Paul Curtis's debut middle-grade/young-YA novel for Scholastic features his trademark humor, compelling storytelling, and unique narrative voice. Eleven-year-old Elijah is the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from Detroit. He's best known for having made a memorable impression on Frederick Douglass, but that changes when a former slave steals money from Elijah’s friend, who has been saving to buy his family out of captivity in the South. Elijah embarks on a dangerous journey to America in pursuit of the thief and discovers firsthand the unimaginable horrors of the life his parents fled--a life from which he’ll always be free, if he can find the courage to get back home. less...
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A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano
Amazon Says: Get ready to S-T-R-E-T-C-H your mind! What is a black hole? Where do they come from? How were they discovered? Can we visit one? Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano takes readers on more...
Amazon Says: Get ready to S-T-R-E-T-C-H your mind! What is a black hole? Where do they come from? How were they discovered? Can we visit one? Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano takes readers on a ride through the galaxies (ours, and others), answering these questions and many more about the phenomenon known as a black hole. In lively and often humorous text, the book starts off with a thorough explanation of gravity and the role it plays in the formation of black holes. Paintings by Michael Carroll, coupled with real telescopic images, help readers visualize the facts and ideas presented in the text, such as how light bends, and what a supernova looks like. A BLACK HOLE IS NOT A HOLE is an excellent introduction to an extremely complex scientific concept. Back matter includes a timeline which sums up important findings discussed throughout, while the glossary and index provide a quick point of reference for readers. Children and adults alike will learn a ton of spacey facts in this far-out book that’s sure to excite even the youngest of astrophiles. less...
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Amazon Says: Winner of the 2014 Newbery Medal Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller Kate DiCam more...
Amazon Says: Winner of the 2014 Newbery Medal Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller Kate DiCamillo. It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry — and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format — a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell. less...
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The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
Amazon Says: When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is sea more...
Amazon Says: When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her, for she knows that other humans exist, because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, “WondLa.” Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children’s literature in this totally original space age adventure: one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child’s wish for a place to belong. Breathtaking two-color illustrations throughout reveal another dimension of Tony DiTerlizzi’s vision, and, for those readers with a webcam, the book also features Augmented Reality in several places, revealing additional information about Eva Nine’s world. less...
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Amazon Says: It is 1896. Cuba has fought three wars for independence and still is not free. People have been rounded up in reconcentration camps with too little food and too much illness. more...
Amazon Says: It is 1896. Cuba has fought three wars for independence and still is not free. People have been rounded up in reconcentration camps with too little food and too much illness. Rosa is a nurse, but she dares not go to the camps. So she turns hidden caves into hospitals for those who know how to find her. Black, white, Cuban, Spanish—Rosa does her best for everyone. Yet who can heal a country so torn apart by war? Acclaimed poet Margarita Engle has created another breathtaking portrait of Cuba. The Surrender Tree is a 2009 Newbery Honor Book, the winner of the 2009 Pura Belpre Medal for Narrative and the 2009 Bank Street - Claudia Lewis Award, and a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. less...
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Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
Amazon Says: Meet Ginger Pye, the smartest dog you'll ever know. Jerry Pye and his sister, Rachel, feel pretty smart themselves for buying Ginger. It was the best dollar they ever spent. G more...
Amazon Says: Meet Ginger Pye, the smartest dog you'll ever know. Jerry Pye and his sister, Rachel, feel pretty smart themselves for buying Ginger. It was the best dollar they ever spent. Ginger steals everybody's heart . . . until someone steals him! less...
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The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey
Amazon Says: Forget what you know about prophecies—this epic middle-grade fantasy about a clumsy boy born into a family of thieves is fresh, fun, and anything but predictable! The first more...
Amazon Says: Forget what you know about prophecies—this epic middle-grade fantasy about a clumsy boy born into a family of thieves is fresh, fun, and anything but predictable! The first in an unforgettable trilogy, this Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of the Year takes everything you thought you knew about fantasy and spins it into pure magic.Jaxter Grimjinx is a born thief. At least, he's supposed to be. For generations, the Grimjinx clan has produced the swiftest, cleverest thieves in Vengekeep. The problem is, Jaxter is clumsy. So clumsy that in his first solo heist, he sets the Castellan's house on fire and lands his family in prison. Even Jaxter's talent for breaking magical locks can't get them out of this bind.Then a suspiciously convenient prophecy emerges, naming the Grimjinx clan as the soon-to-be heroes of Vengekeep. It's good enough to get his family out of jail, but when the doomsday prophecy starts to come true, Jaxter is pretty sure a life behind bars would be a better fate. Now, with the help of his new friend, Callie, Jaxter will have to face down flaming monsters, a bazaar of thieves, and a renegade sorcerer to become the hero he was truly born to be.Full of twists and turns, friendship and adventure, The Vengekeep Prophecies is a "rich fantasy that hits the ground running and never lets up" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). less...
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