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Realistic Fiction

Try this list of books about ordinary kids with everyday adventures. Each book explores the lives of children who face challenges and learn important lessons about themselves. The best news? You can check out 60 books with your Richland Library card and when you've finished this list, just call your closest Richland Library location and the staff will recommend more titles for your fan of all realistic fiction.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Emily J. Says: Out of My Mind -Sharon Draper
Amazon Says: FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Possessing a photographic memory in spite of an inability to walk or speak, Melody is mistaken as mentally challenged by those who canno more...
Amazon Says: FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Possessing a photographic memory in spite of an inability to walk or speak, Melody is mistaken as mentally challenged by those who cannot see beyond her cerebral palsy, impelling her to discover a way to communicate. less...
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Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
Emily J. Says: Chomp by Carl Hiasson
Amazon Says: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he's grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. Th more...
Amazon Says: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he's grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle.  His father is the unpredictable one. When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called "Expedition Survival!", Wahoo figures he'll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show's boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo's acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who's sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out. They've only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna's dad shows up with a gun . . . It's anyone's guess who will actually survive "Expedition Survival". . . . less...
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Junebug by Alice Mead
Amazon Says: Some of the stuff that goes on in the Auburn Street Projects, I'm never gonna do. These projects are like some kind of never-never land, like they never got put on a regular m more...
Amazon Says: Some of the stuff that goes on in the Auburn Street Projects, I'm never gonna do. These projects are like some kind of never-never land, like they never got put on a regular map. Nobody comes around here on purpose. It's as if we all got lost, right in the middle of the city.Reeve McClain, Jr.--Junebug--has decided to skip his birthday. Since ten is the age when boys in the projects are forced to join gangs or are ensnared by drug dealers, Junebug would rather remain nine. Still, he does have a birthday wish: to someday become a ship's captain and sail away. So Junebug comes up with a plan to launch a flotilla, fifty glass bottles containing notes with his wish, in the hope that someone somewhere will help to make his dream come true. less...
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Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Amazon Says: Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s more...
Amazon Says: Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity and the thrill and inspiration of first love. less...
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Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
Amazon Says: The iconic start to the timeless, Newbery-winning series from Cynthia Voigt is repackaged with a fresh new look. “It’s still true.” That’s the first thing Jam more...
Amazon Says: The iconic start to the timeless, Newbery-winning series from Cynthia Voigt is repackaged with a fresh new look. “It’s still true.” That’s the first thing James Tillerman says to his older sister, Dicey, every morning. It’s still true that their mother has abandoned the four Tillermans in a mall parking lot somewhere in the middle of Connecticut. It’s still true that they have to find their own way to Great-aunt Cilla’s house in Bridgeport. It’s still true that they need to spend as little as possible on food and seek shelter anywhere that is out of view of the authorities. It’s still true that the only way they can hope to all stay together is to just keep moving forward. Deep down, Dicey hopes they can find someone to trust, someone who will take them in and love them. But she’s afraid it’s just too much to hope for....  less...
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Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Emily J. Says: Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Amazon Says: Moose Flannagan moves with his family to Alcatraz so his dad can work as a prison guard and his sister, Natalie, can attend a special school.  But Natalie has autism, and whe more...
Amazon Says: Moose Flannagan moves with his family to Alcatraz so his dad can work as a prison guard and his sister, Natalie, can attend a special school.  But Natalie has autism, and when she's denied admittance to the school, the stark setting of Alcatraz begins to unravel the tenuous coping mechanisms Moose's family has used for dealing with her disorder.When Moose meets Piper, the cute daughter of the Warden, he knows right off she's trouble.  But she's also strangely irresistible.  All Moose wants to do is protect Natalie, live up to his parents' expectations, and stay out of trouble.  But on Alcatraz, trouble is never very far away.Set in 1935, when guards actually lived on Alcatraz Island with their families.  Choldenko's second novel brings humor to the complexities of family dynamics and illuminates the real struggle of a kid trying to free himself from the "good boy" stance he's taken his whole life. less...
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Drita, My Homegirl by Jenny Lombard
Emily J. Says: Drita, my Homegirl by Jenny Lomard
Amazon Says: Drita and her family come to New York as refugees from war-torn Kosovo. Even though she barely speaks English, Drita can’t wait to start school and make a new best friend. B more...
Amazon Says: Drita and her family come to New York as refugees from war-torn Kosovo. Even though she barely speaks English, Drita can’t wait to start school and make a new best friend. But her new classmates don’t make it easy, teasing her about virtually everything.The worst is Maxie, a tough African-American girl whose sassy attitude hides a painful secret. When Maxie takes things too far, their teacher assigns Maxie a paper on Drita and her journey to America from Kosovo. Suddenly, Maxie realizes she and Drita have more in common than she thought. And when Drita’s mother gets sick, there’s only one person who can help—Drita’s new homegirl. A sensitively written story of two worlds coming together, Drita, My Homegirl touchingly explores the effects of war on a family and how friendship sometimes appears in the unlikeliest places. less...
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Ungifted by Gordon Korman
Amazon Says: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman comes a hilarious and heartfelt novel in which one middle-school troublemaker accidentally moves into the gifted and ta more...
Amazon Says: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman comes a hilarious and heartfelt novel in which one middle-school troublemaker accidentally moves into the gifted and talented program—and changes everything. For fans of Louis Sachar and Jack Gantos, this funny and touching underdog story is a lovable and goofy adventure with robot fights, middle-school dances, live experiments, and statue-toppling pranks!When Donovan Curtis pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students.Although it wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, the ASD couldn’t be a more perfectly unexpected hideout for someone like him. But as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything), he shows that his gifts may be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.  less...
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Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan
Amazon Says: A reissue of Pam Munoz Ryan's bestselling backlist with a distinctive author treatment and new cover art by Raul Colon. Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw has had a lot to contend wit more...
Amazon Says: A reissue of Pam Munoz Ryan's bestselling backlist with a distinctive author treatment and new cover art by Raul Colon. Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw has had a lot to contend with in her young life, her name for one. Then there are her clothes (sewn in polyester by Gram), her difficulty speaking up, and her status at school as "nobody special." But according to Gram, most problems can be overcome with positive thinking. And with Gram and her little brother, Owen, Naomi's life at Avocado Acres Trailer Rancho in California is happy and peaceful...until their mother reappears after seven years of being gone, stirring up all sorts of questions and challenging Naomi to discover and proclaim who she really is. less...
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The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Amazon Says: Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Conne more...
Amazon Says: Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is "never going to stand by and say nothing again." This powerful, timeless story has been reissued with a new letter from the author’s daughter Helena Estes, and with the Caldecott artist Louis Slobodkin’s original artwork in beautifully restored color. less...
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Emily J. Says: Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Clearly
Amazon Says: Seven-year-old Ramona Quimby's world is turned upside-down when her father unexpectedly loses his job. Things grow tense in the Quimby house, but Ramona resolves to help in an more...
Amazon Says: Seven-year-old Ramona Quimby's world is turned upside-down when her father unexpectedly loses his job. Things grow tense in the Quimby house, but Ramona resolves to help in any way she can—even downsizing her Christmas list. But with bills piling up and her parents constantly stressed, Ramona wonders if life will ever go back to normal. Beverly Cleary's Newbery Honor Book depicts an average middle-class family dealing with the realities of life. With the perfect mix of humor and warmth, Ramona shines as a spirited girl with her heart set on helping. Supports the Common Core State Standards less...
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Amazon Says: Who would have thought being smart could be so hard (and so funny)? Millicent Kwan is having a bad summer. Her fellow high school students hate her for setting the curve. Her more...
Amazon Says: Who would have thought being smart could be so hard (and so funny)? Millicent Kwan is having a bad summer. Her fellow high school students hate her for setting the curve. Her fellow 11-year-olds hate her for going to high school. And her mother has arranged for her to tutor Stanford Wong, the poster boy for Chinese geekdom. But then Millie meets Emily. Emily doesn't know Millicent's IQ score. She actually thinks Millie is cool. And if Millie can hide her awards, ignore her grandmother's advice, swear her parents to silence, blackmail Stanford, and keep all her lies straight, she just might make her first friend. What's it going to take? Sheer genius. less...
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Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Amazon Says: This Newbery Medal-winning novel by bestselling author Katherine Paterson is a modern classic of friendship and loss.Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be th more...
Amazon Says: This Newbery Medal-winning novel by bestselling author Katherine Paterson is a modern classic of friendship and loss.Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie's house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief. In addition to being a Newbery Medal winner, Bridge to Terabithia was also named an ALA Notable Children's Book and has become a touchstone of children's literature, as have many of Katherine Paterson's other novels, including The Great Gilly Hopkins and Jacob Have I Loved.Supports the Common Core State Standards less...
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Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Emily J. Says: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Amazon Says: August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more...
Amazon Says: August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. "Wonder is the best kids' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out. Join the conversation: #thewonderofwonder less...
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Emily J. Says: Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
Amazon Says: Mark the tenth anniversary of Kate DiCamillo’s cherished story with a beautiful gift edition featuring the author’s signature stamped on the cover. Millions more...
Amazon Says: Mark the tenth anniversary of Kate DiCamillo’s cherished story with a beautiful gift edition featuring the author’s signature stamped on the cover. Millions of people around the world are devoted to the novels of Kate DiCamillo — and it all began with Because of Winn-Dixie. Ten years ago, this unforgettable novel about a lonely girl whose life is transformed by her friendship with a scruffy dog was awarded a Newbery Honor. Since then, it’s become a runaway bestseller in more than twenty-five countries and has been turned into a major motion picture. Now readers can experience Kate DiCamillo’s debut novel in a collectible signature edition that celebrates her ten years as a beloved storyteller. less...
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Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Amazon Says: Headed for Canada to visit his father for the first time since his parents' divorce, thirteen-year-old Brian is the sole survivor of a plane crash, with only the clothes he more...
Amazon Says: Headed for Canada to visit his father for the first time since his parents' divorce, thirteen-year-old Brian is the sole survivor of a plane crash, with only the clothes he has on and a hatchet to help him shape a life for himself in the wilderness. Reprint. AB. K. less...
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Emily J. Says: Because of Mr. Terrupt by Rob Buyea
Amazon Says: Features seven narrators, each with a unique story, and each with a different perspective on what makes their teacher so special. It’s the start of fifth grade for more...
Amazon Says: Features seven narrators, each with a unique story, and each with a different perspective on what makes their teacher so special. It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.   Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone. "The characters are authentic and the short chapters are skillfully arranged to keep readers moving headlong toward the satisfying conclusion."--School Library Journal, Starred "This powerful and emotional story is likely to spur discussion."--Publishers Weekly "No one is perfect in this feel-good story, but everyone benefits, including sentimentally inclined readers."--Kirkus Reviews "Compelling. . . . Readers will find much to ponder on the power of forgiveness."--Booklist less...
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Nest by Esther Ehrlich
Amazon Says: For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, a more...
Amazon Says: For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But then Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, and everything changes.    Chirp finds comfort in watching her beloved wild birds. She also finds a true friend in Joey, the mysterious boy who lives across the street. Together they create their own private world and come up with the perfect plan: Escape. Adventure. Discovery.    Nest is Esther Ehrlich’s stunning debut novel. Her lyrical writing is honest, humorous, and deeply affecting. Chirp and Joey will steal your heart. Long after you finish Nest, the spirit of Chirp and her loving family will stay with you. Praise for Nest: "A poignant, insightful story of family crisis and the healing power of friendship."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred "A stunning debut, with lyrical prose and superbly developed characters. . . . [Readers] will savor Nest and reflect on it long after its conclusion."--School Library Journal, Starred "Ehrlich’s novel beautifully captures the fragile bond shared by Chirp and Joey and their growing trust for each other in a world filled with disappointments and misunderstandings."--Publishers Weekly, Starred  "Chirp’s first-person voice is believable; her poignant earnestness is truly heartrending. Ehrlich writes beautifully, constructing scenes with grace and layers of telling detail and insight."--The Horn Book What authors are saying about Nest: “Nest sings with heart and emotion. Simply gorgeous.”--Jennifer L. Holm, New York Times bestselling author of Turtle in Paradise "Nest speaks to the heart. I wanted to put my arms around Chirp and never let go."--Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s and I'll Be There "I loved the book! It's so tender and touching and real. Chirp is a marvelous character, and Joey's just plain lovable. I worry about him. Congratulations. The book is absolutely splendid and I hope everyone in the world notices."--Karen Cushman, author of the Newbery Medal, The Midwife's Apprentice and the Newbery Honor, Catherine, Called Birdy “A remarkable work. Esther Ehrlich’s characters stand out so real and true: Chirp’s friendship with Joey is tender and moving, and truly unforgettable. One can see Cape Cod and feel Chirp’s love for the birds wheeling overhead. I wanted this story to go on and on. What a brilliant future this author has. I can’t wait to read her next book.”--Patricia Reilly Giff, two-time Newbery Honor–winning author less...
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Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
Amazon Says: From the author of the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots comes an inspiring novel about figuring out who you are and doing what you love. Albie has never more...
Amazon Says: From the author of the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots comes an inspiring novel about figuring out who you are and doing what you love. Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself. A perfect companion to Lisa Graff's National Book Award-nominated A Tangle of Knots, this novel explores a similar theme in a realistic contemporary world where kids will easily be able to relate their own struggles to Albie's. Great for fans of Rebecca Stead's Liar and Spy, RJ Palacio's Wonder and Cynthia Lord's Rules. Praise for ABSOLUTELY ALMOST    * "Albie comes through significant emotional hardship to a genuine sense of self-worth."--School Library Journal, starred review   * "A perfect book to share with struggling readers."--Booklist, starred review   * "Achingly superb, Albie’s story shines."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review   * "Graff’s...gentle story invokes evergreen themes of coming to appreciate one’s strengths (and weaknesses), and stands out for its thoughtful, moving portrait of a boy who learns to keep moving forward, taking on the world at his own speed."--Publishers Weekly, starred review   "Lately the patrons of my school library have been asking, 'Do you have any books like Wonder by R.J. Palacio?' and now I have the perfect offering."--BookPage  "Maybe the wonder of Absolutely Almost is that it’s willing to give us an almost unheard of hero."--Betsy Bird, Fuse #8 Blog "Graff...again draws on her ability to create rich lifeworlds for her characters to present a boy who is gifted in many ways....[T]his is a sharp portrait of an outsider’s inner perspective, and Albie’s coming to terms with himself will be cheered by many."--BCCB Reviews less...
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Hope Is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera
Amazon Says: Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for more...
Amazon Says: Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future. With an unforgettable voice with a lot of heart, Hope Is a Ferris Wheel is the story of a young girl who learns to accept her family and herself while trying to make sense of the world around her. Praise for Hope is a Ferris Wheel STARRED REVIEW "Herrera’s first novel is quite accomplished, with plenty of heart and humor, especially apparent in the spelling assignments Star has to complete but refuses to turn in, as she uses them as a sort of journal. Star is a unique, determined, and loving child making the best of a bad situation; readers cannot help but root for her." --School Library Journal, starred review "Well-constructed, thought-provoking and appealing, this first effort bodes well for the author’s future." --Kirkus Reviews "In her debut, Herrera has created a delightful narrator with a memorable voice and surrounded her with a unique supporting cast. Got fans of Joan Bauer in your neck of the woods? Send them this way." --Booklist "A tender and truthful novel that addresses stereotypes without promising easy answers or cookie-cutter closure." --Publishers Weekly "First-time author Herrera, telling the story from Star’s point of view, gives readers a front-row seat to all the embarrassment and angst of Star’s jumbled life—and all of the triumphs. Here’s hoping we hear more from this author." --The Horn Book Magazine "Star’s contemplation, through poetic metaphors and real-life relationships, of what really matters in her life is compelling. Additionally, the poetry angle offers food for thought for those just coming to understand the power and purpose of metaphor, and Star’s vocabulary assignments, occasionally interspersed between chapters, provide inspiration and entertainment for word-lovers." --Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books   less...
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Amazon Says: ”Fans of Beverly Cleary’s Quimbys, Judy Blume’s Hatchers, and, more recently, Jeanne Birdsall’s Penderwicks will fervently hope that more Fletcher misadventures more...
Amazon Says: ”Fans of Beverly Cleary’s Quimbys, Judy Blume’s Hatchers, and, more recently, Jeanne Birdsall’s Penderwicks will fervently hope that more Fletcher misadventures are yet to come.” —School Library Journal, Starred The start of the school year is not going as the Fletcher brothers hoped. Each boy finds his plans for success veering off in unexpected and sometimes diastrous directions. And at home, their miserable new neighbor complains about everything. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.  Praise for The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher    A Junior Library Guild Selection  [set star] ”Their banter is realistic, and the disorder of their everyday lives, convincing. The Fletcher family rules!” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred  ”Dana Alison Levy has gloriously reimagined the classic family story into a thoroughly modern mold, and it works perfectly.” —Bruce Coville, bestselling author of My Teacher Is an Alien and the Unicorn Chronicles [P1]  [set star] ”With its semi-episodic structure, laugh-out-loud humor, and mix of zaniness and love, Levy’s debut offers something truly significant: a middle-grade family story featuring gay parents and interracial families that is never about either issue.” —School Library Journal, Starred  ”Levy provides a compelling, compassionate, and frequently hilarious look at their daily concerns. By book’s end readers will want to be part of (or at least friends with) this delightful family.” —The Horn Book  less...
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