Ellie, Engineer by Jackson PearceIntroducing: Ellie Bell, third-grade engineer. From a water balloon launcher to a hair braider, there's nothing Ellie won't try to build. She's got big plans to make a dog house for her best friend's new dog, but keeping the project a surprise might be even harder than building it, especially since the friends who are helping her can't get along.
Who it's for: anyone who likes making stuff (diagrams and a tool guide are included), and anyone who's tired of being told what boys or girls are "supposed" to do.
My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn AndersonWhat it's about: In Gracie's world, migrating dragons attack strip malls, ghosts linger in backyards, sasquatches lurk in the woods, and Dark Clouds appear before people die. After a Dark Cloud arrives for Gracie's brother, their parents take the family on a wild road trip in search of a safe haven from the supernatural.
Is it for you? If you prefer fantasy stories rooted in reality, you'll love the eccentric characters and bittersweet plot in this imaginative read, written in the form of Gracie's diary.
From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg CabotStarring: average New Jersey sixth-grader Olivia Harrison, who's just as shocked as anyone when Princess Mia Thermopolis shows up at school and informs Olivia that they're half-sisters.
Why you might like it: Whether or not you're familiar with the Princess Diaries movies or books, you can enjoy all of the exciting (and awkward) moments that Olivia shares in her notebook as she adjusts to a royal lifestyle.
Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce CovilleStarring: Scottish brownie Angus Cairns, a pint-sized magical creature bound by a curse to serve his new mistress, Alex Carhart. Through Angus' diary (as well as through texts, zany illustrations, and hilariously bad poetry), you can watch as neat-freak Angus clashes with messy 11-year-old Alex...and as the two reluctantly join forces after the curse threatens Alex's family.
Read this next: Want more funny books about magical creatures in the human world? Try Adam Rex's Cold Cereal Saga.
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia KadohataWhat it's about: After their parents are called away to Japan, Summer and her brother Jaz have to spend wheat-harvesting season with their old-fashioned grandparents instead. Jiichan and Obaachan are equal parts caring and frustrating, and their health isn't great -- which means that when things go wrong, it's up to Summer to make her own luck.
Is it for you? If you're looking for realistic yet offbeat characters, you'll enjoy getting to know Summer's family through this peek into her journal.
Ava and Pip by Carol WestonWhat it's about: Outgoing "word nerd" Ava uses her diary to describe her attempts to help her older sister Pip make friends despite her extreme shyness. After plans for Pip's birthday party go awry, Ava writes out her anger, only to be surprised by the results when her words become public.
Why you might like it: Clever wordplay and the honest ups and downs of being a sister make Ava and Pip a good pick for young writers and fans of warmhearted family stories.
Contact your librarian for more great books!