I Can Make This Promise by Christine DayWhat it’s about: Twelve-year-old Edie always believed that her Native American mom lost touch with her heritage when she was adopted by a white family, but that belief is shaken when Edie finds a hidden box of photos and letters from Edith, a Native woman she’s never met -- and who looks a lot like Edie herself.
Why you might like it: Inspired by author’s own life, this moving story blends everyday worries (ugh, new braces hurt) with tangled family history.
The Paris Project by Donna GephartWhat it’s about: Cleveland Potts wants nothing more than to attend the American School of Paris. She’s obsessed with all things French, and Paris has to be better than Sassafras, Florida, where Cleveland’s dad is in jail and her only friend prefers hanging out with someone else.
Why you might like it: Whether she’s wrestling with messy feelings about her dad or embarrassing herself in ballet class, you’ll be pulling for Cleveland all the way.
Shine! by J.J .and Chris GrabensteinWhat it’s about: Some people are exceptional, while other people blend in, and aspiring astronomer Piper is the blending type -- which actually makes it tough to fit in among her high-achieving new classmates at Chumley Prep.
What happens: Piper finds new friends and discovers that there's more than one way to shine.
Read it for: a feel-good story filled with humor, quirky characters, and science facts.
Dear Sweet Pea by Julie MurphyStarring: seventh-grader Sweet Pea, who spends her time shuttling between her divorced parents’ identical houses, intercepting letters sent to the local advice columnist, and hanging out with her giant cat.
What happens: Although Sweet Pea has good intentions when she starts responding to the stolen letters, the results make things complicated for both her family and her changing friendships.
Who it’s for: older readers who enjoy drama sweetened with humor and heart.
The Dragon Warrior by Katie ZhaoWelcome to: San Francisco’s Chinatown, which has been “demon-free since ‘83” thanks to the warriors of the Jade Society.
What happens: Although Feryn Liu and her brother have been cast out by the Jade Society, they take up a quest to prove that Feryn is destined to become the legendary warrior known as the Heaven Breaker.
For fans of: Rick Riordan, and other authors whose adventure stories feature modern kids alongside old gods and mythological creatures.
Mac B., Kid Spy: Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Mike LoweryWhat it is: the story of how regular kid (and future author) Mac Barnett became a secret agent in the 1980s. It's all true, too! Or so he says…
What happens: The Queen of England asks Mac to find her stolen Coronation Spoon, leading him to a corgi sidekick, an international search, and some extremely silly spycraft.
Don't miss: a drawing of the Queen wearing unicorn jammies, one of the many laugh-till-you-snort cartoons in this series-starting chapter book.
The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty DaneshvariWhat it’s about: The U.S. vice president has been kidnapped, national security is at risk, and the country's best hope is two extremely ordinary middle schoolers.
Starring: Shelley and Jonathan, the newest recruits to the League of Unexceptional Children, a spy agency made up of kids so average that no one notices them.
Why you might like it: Shelley and Jonathan's offbeat, fast-paced adventure will leave you laughing -- and reaching for Get Smart-ish, the next book in the series.
Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullenWhat it’s about: After transferring to the elite Smith School, rule-breaker Abigail is shocked to learn that the school doubles as a spy training program, and that her first spy mission will be to locate her mom, and undercover agent who’s gone missing.
Read it for: off-kilter humor, cool spy gear, and plenty of action.
You might also like: Stuart Gibbs’ Spy School, another funny page-turner that kicks off a series about spies in training.
Codename Zero by Chris RylanderThe setting: Minot, North Dakota, where seventh-grader Carson fends off boredom through epic pranks.
The set-up: Carson definitely isn’t bored after a mysterious man hands him a package that’s set to self-destruct, leading Carson to uncover the secret government agencies and scary conspiracies that lurk in his not-so-humdrum hometown.
Read it for: a high-energy thriller that will make you smile and keep you on the edge of your seat.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!
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