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Amber Brown Goes Fourth

Paula Danziger (1995), 112 pages
Illustrated by Tony Ross
Audience: 2nd Grade - 4th Grade
Category: Fiction, Humor, Realistic Fiction
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Amber Brown is set for fourth grade with her new clothes and her new shoes. She's missing something very important, though: a best friend. Justin, her best friend since preschool, moved away, and Amber's out of practice making best friends. She's friendly to Brandi, but Brandi acts angry. How will Amber get through fourth grade without a best friend? The story is serious, but it is made fun by Amber's sense of humor. Look for other books about Amber Brown.
Reviewed by: emc
Date read: 1/28/2010
ISBN-10: 0399228497
ISBN-13: 9780399228490
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Any Small Goodness: A Novel Of The Barrio

Tony Johnston (2001), 128 pages
Illustrated by Raul Colon
Audience: 4th Grade - 7th Grade
Category: Fiction, Multicultural, Realistic Fiction
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Los Angeles is a place of movie stars and fast cars, but there's also drive-bys and death. This book is about another L.A. Among the gangs in the barrio, Arturo goes to school, celebrates holidays, and makes friends. According to his father, 'In life there is bueno and there is malo. If you do not find enough of the good, you must yourself create it. Any small goodness is of value.'
Reviewed by: sc
Date read: 4/28/2009
ISBN-10: 0439189365
ISBN-13: 9780439189361
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Anything But Typical

Nora Raleigh Baskin (2009), 195 pages
Audience: 6th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Fiction, Realistic Fiction
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Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy, is an excellent writer. In fact, he wants to be a writer someday. Jason loves posting on his Storyboard website. Here, he can just be himself and not a boy with autism. He develops an online friendship with a girl named Rebecca, whose stories he regularly comments on. When Jason's parents surprise him with a trip to the annual Storyboard writers conference, Jason is so happy! Jason's happiness begins to suddenly deflate when Rebecca writes him that she too will be at the conference. He doesn't want her to meet him and treat him differently because of his autism. In this book, Jason shares his perspectives on life in such a way as to really give the reader a glimpse into what it is like to have autism.
Awards nominated: 2013 Rebecca Caudill Nominee
Reviewed by: jb
Date read: 3/27/2012
ISBN-10: 1416963782
ISBN-13: 9781416963783
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As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth

Lynne Rae Perkins (2010), 352 pages
Audience: 6th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Fiction, Humor, Realistic Fiction
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Meet Ry. He is off on a train to summer camp when he reads a letter that came a few days ago. The letter says not to come to camp. When he gets off the train to call his grandfather, the train leaves him with his backpack of belongings still on the train! Ry's luck goes from bad to worse to much worse throughout this book making the situations seem (almost) comical. Ry believes that maybe his luck is getting better when he hitchhikes and a man named Del stops to pick him up. Just as fast as good luck comes upon Ry, bad luck returns when Del's car stalls. The journey that Ry makes through the course of this book is amazingly easy-as easy as falling off the face of the earth, that is.
Awards nominated: 2013 Rebecca Caudill Nominee
Reviewed by: jb
Date read: 5/14/2012
ISBN-10: 0061870900
ISBN-13: 9780061870903
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Aurora County All-Stars

Deborah Wiles (2007), 256 pages
Audience: 5th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Realistic Fiction, Sports
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On the Fourth of July, The Aurora County All-Stars baseball team plays its one and only game of the year. This year, a pageant to celebrate the town's birthday is scheduled for the same day and time. All of the team has been signed up by their mothers to be in the pageant. (How could their mothers do that to them?) The director of the pageant is a tiresome girl ('Just call me Finesse.') who broke the elbow last year of House Jackson, star pitcher and team captain. Because he couldn't pitch, House spent the year sitting with and reading to a dying old man, Mean-Man Boyd, who would have a big impact on House's life. House needs to think of some way to end the stand-off if he wants to play ball. Welcome to small-town America where everything and everyone are inter-related and everyone has a story to tell.
Awards nominated: Bluestem Award 2011
Reviewed by: hap
Date read: 6/2/2010
ISBN-10: 0152060685
ISBN-13: 9780152060688
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