Back to School
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Alice Austen Lived Here
by Alex Gino
Middle school student Sam is comfortable with their nonbinary identity, and their family has accepted it too (as long as they do their homework and chores), so when their history teacher assigns as a project coming up with a proposal for the new statue honoring a historical Staten Islander (there is a contest involved) they and their friend TJ decide to focus on Alice Austen, a lesbian photographer, whose house on Staten Island is a museum--but they have to overcome the presumption on the part of their teacher that only straight males are eligible.
All the Answers
by Kate Messner
Twelve-year-old Ava finds an old pencil in her family's junk drawer and discovers, during a math test, that it will answer factual questions, so she and her best friend Sophie have a great time--and Ava grows in self-confidence--until the pencil reveals a truth about her family that Ava would rather not know.
Brand New Boy
by David Almond
From the boundless imagination of David Almond comes a thought-provoking question, packaged in a lively illustrated chapter book: what if a robot went to school? When a new boy joins their class, everyone thinks he's . . . odd. George doesn't behave like other kids. He doesn't think like other kids. But he's great at football and snacking, and that's what matters to Dan and Maxie and friends, who resolve to make George feel welcome. Over time, they learn that he's just like them, in most ways, except one: George is a robot, part of an ambitious new experiment, with sinister people bent on destroying him. When his lab pulls him out of school, can George's new friends recover him--and set him free? Told in David Almond's signature rollicking narrative style, this poignant tale about what it means to be human, paired with warm and funny black-and-white illustrations, will inspire children to think and giggle in equal measure.
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library
by Chris Grabenstein
Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by his hero (the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello), with other students but finds that come morning he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape.
by Gordon Korman
Griffin Bing is in big trouble when a Super Bowl ring disappears from his middle school's display case, replaced by Griffin's retainer, and the more he and his friends investigate, the worse his situation becomes.
by Mat Heagerty
Jack is in a pickle. His lumberjack mom wants him to go to Mighty Log Lumberjack Prep to learn how to chop wood and wear flannel. His vampire dad wants him to go to Sorrow's Gloom Vampire School to learn how to turn into a bat and drink blood-orange juice. And Jack has a secret: what he really wants to do is dance. When he finds out about Tip Tap Twinkle Toes Dance Academy from new friend Plenty, Jack feels he's finally found the place where he can be his true self. But he's too afraid of disappointing his family to tell them. What's a half-lumberjack, half-vampire boy to do? To summon the confidence to pursue his dreams, Jack will have to embrace every part of himself -- his lumberjack toughness, his vampire eeriness, and most especially his awesome dance moves.
by Shannon Hale
When her best friend Adrienne starts hanging out with the most popular girl in class, Shannon questions whether she and Adrienne will stay friends, and if she is part of the clique.
Save Me a Seat
by Sarah Weeks
Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems--but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives.
by Johnnie Christmas
Bree can't wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees--until she's stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she's forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.
The Real Riley Mayes
by Rachel Elliott
Fifth grade is just not Riley's vibe. Everyone else is squaded up--except Riley. Her best friend moved away. All she wants to do is draw, and her grades show it. One thing that makes her happy is her favorite comedian, Joy Powers. Riley loves to watch her old shows and has memorized her best jokes. So when the class is assigned to write letters to people they admire, of course Riley's picking Joy Powers! Things start to look up when a classmate, Cate, offers to help Riley with the letter, and a new kid, Aaron, actually seems to get her weird sense of humor. But when mean girl Whitney spreads a rumor about her, things begin to click into place for Riley. Her curiosity about Aaron's two dads and her celebrity crush on Joy Powers suddenly make more sense.
The Supervillain's Guide to Being a Fat Kid
by Matt Wallace
Max's first year of middle school hasn't been easy. Eighth-grade hotshot Johnny Pro torments Max constantly, for no other reason than Max is fat and an easy target. Max wishes he could fight back, but he doesn't want to hurt Johnny... just make him feel the way Max feels. In desperation, Max writes to the only person he thinks will understand: imprisoned supervillain Master Plan, a gentleman of size. To his surprise, Master Plan wants to help! He suggests a way for Max to get even with Johnny Pro, and change how the other kids at school see them both. And it works! When Master Plan's help pays off for Max in ways he couldn't have imagined, he starts gaining confidence--enough to finally talk to Marina, the girl he likes in class who shares his passion for baking. With Master Plan in his corner, anything seems possible... but is there a price to pay for the supervillain's help?
The Worst Class Trip Ever
by Dave Barry
When the eighth grade civics class of Miami's Culver Middle School goes on a trip to Washington, D.C., Wyatt Palmer finds himself in deep trouble before the plane even lands because his best friend Matt's decided the men sitting behind them are terrorists--and it's up to the boys to stop them.
Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School
by Julie Falatko
Sassy and Waldo are good dogs, who keep their house safe (from squirrels, mostly), and worry about their boy, Stewart, who always comes home from school smelling of anxiety; so the two dogs come up with a plan to help him--they will dress up in a trench coat and attend school, posing as a new student, to find out just what is bothering Stewart.