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The Outsiders

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The Outsiders is a novel about society and depicts what is right from wrong. The story covers a two week period in the life of a 14 year old boy, Ponyboy. Ponyboy is considered a greaser which is a slang term for a young man from the East side of town. The greasers uphold a rivalry with the socs which is a slang term for the socials, aka rich West side kids. One night in the park a brawl between the two groups goes down which results in the stabbing of a soc, Bob. Ponyboy's friend Johnny is the one who killed the boy so him and Ponyboy flee the scene and jump on a train. The two boys pass time by playing cards and watching Gone with the Wind. About a week later the two return to town where they find their church in flames. Without thinking the two boys become heroes as they run in the church and rescue the children stuck inside. Unfortunately the fire caused Johnny his life and Ponyboy deals with all of the violence and grief by writing a book.
Love, Stargirl

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Love, Stargirl is a sequel to Jerry Spinelli's book, 'Stargirl'. The difference here is that unlike the first book, this love story is now only showing one side which leaves the reader to determine how Leo is feeling and would be responding. By reading this 'letter' that Stargirl is writing the reader can identify her wacky, unique characteristics which I believe makes it nearly impossible to not fall in love with her. This is a great novel and an easy read :)
The Misfits

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Have you ever been called a mean name? Been picked on? Felt like you don't fit in? We all know that words can wound but more importantly, friendships may heal. The misfits is a great book about a group of kids in middle school who are viewed as the 'outcasts'. This group of students call themselves the "Gang of Five." When it is time for student council elections, Addie, one of the "Gang of five" decides to take a stand and give all of those who don't normally have a voice, a chance to be heard. This third party that they create brings the reader on a mix of emotions from happy to angry to sad. This is a wonderful book and is especially great for classroom discussion.
Free of Him

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This Newbery winner is about a story that takes place in Long Island in 1967. The story is narrated by a thirteen year old boy named Holling who is the only Presbyterian at his school amongst all Catholics and Jews. The story is separated by chapters where each chapter is a new month. The majority of the story is based on Wednesday afternoons when Holling occupies his time with his homeroom teacher Mrs. Baker while the rest of the students go to Church. In the beginning, Holling would spend time cleaning or doing other tedious tasks around the room but eventually Mrs. Baker has an idea to focus on reading Shakespeare in their spare time together. The novel includes incredible amounts of Shakespeare and the author has a way of connecting the reader with his work even if they are unfamiliar. Also tied into the novel are great amounts of other issues going on in the 60's such as political affairs as well as sports history. This is a great book that takes the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions.
The Other Side

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The Other Side is a beautiful book about a story of two young girls who lived on opposite sides of a fence. One girl was African American and the other girl, Caucasian. Both girls had been told not to cross the fence because it wasn’t safe on the other side. One day the girls decide to approach one another which results in a beautiful new friendship. The two girls look past the colors of each others skin and hope that soon, one day, their friendship will be accepted and one day.. Someone will knock down the fence. This is a beautiful story full of symbolism. I would recommend reading this book to an older age group (middle school and above) simply because the hidden message may be to difficult for young ones to understand.
A Wrinkle in Time

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This is an amazing classic children’s literature that I believe everyone should pick up and read! It is about two siblings, Meg and Charles and their friend Calvin. Three children decide to set out on adventure to go find Meg's long lost father. Many themes can be pulled from this book as the children are on their adventure of good versus evil, faith, love, science, magic and wonders. Along the lines the children come in contact with Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which who fight evil with good. I believe anyone will enjoy this adventurous tale.
Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O'Dell)

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This novel is great for a class read aloud or for students to simply enjoy on their own leisure time. It is a story about a 12 year old girl on a remote island with her family. A crisis soon arises when her and her six year old brother ind themselves stranded on the island...
The Face on the Milk Carton

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This is a story of a fifteen year-old girl named Janie whose life changes the moment she see's a familiar face on a milk carton. One day when Janie was eating lunch with her friends she notcied a milk carton that had a missing child report on it. The closer she looked, the more she realized that the little girl on the carton was her. Or at least she thought. Janie soon began to investigate this issue by rummaging through her "so-called" families attic where she finds a dress that is identical to the one in the missing persons photo. She also comes across a box which says "HANNAH" on it. She had never heard her parents discuss this names before which began to worry her even more. As the story continues, she finally approaches her mother and father about the issue and they respond by a convincing story. Janie still found herself wondering about the truth in their whole story which lead to further investigation. Eventually Janie looks up the family who put the add on the carton and finds quickly that she has much in common with the other children playing outside...
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period

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Everyone knows how tough Middle School can be. This is a time when we start to discover who we are and the harsh realities that the world around us forms in terms of how we should look, act, talk and walk. If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period is a great book that deals with all of the complications that middle school brings. The book is told from alternating points of view. Some chapters are told in first person by a girl named Kristen who is a 7th grader dealing with many issues such as a recent falling out with her boyfriend, not to mention her parents are in the middle of a divorce, and she has managed to gain 30 pounds in the past four months. None of these issues make junior high any easier. The rest of the story is told in third person about another 7th grader named Walk. Walk is a very smart young man who is currently enrolled at the school on a scholarship. He too is facing many issues as he is an African American and finds himself struggling to fit in. The two characters find peace and friendship as they understand each other’s thoughts and views of many topics such as race, weight, wealth, honesty and so on...
Hatchet

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I loved this adventurous novel!! This is a story about a boy named Brian who is flying to Canada to visit his father... Disaster strikes as the planes pilot has a heart attack and dies!!! Brian soon saves the day as he is able to take control of the plane...until it runs out of gas.... this unfortunate series of events eventually leads to Brian being stuck in the wilderness...does he have the skills to survive?
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