Reading Horizons’ 2011 Summer Reading Recommendations, Ages 9-12

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice.

Hanna’s Suitcase by Karen Levine
In March 2000, a suitcase arrived at a children’s Holocaust education center in Tokyo, Japan. On the outside, in white paint, were these words: Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, and Waisenkind — the German word for orphan. Children who saw the suitcase on display were full of questions. Who was Hana Brady? What happened to her?

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
“The Dump” is what Doug Swieteck calls his new home in upstate New York. He lands there in the summer of 1968, when the Apollo space missions are under way, Joe Pepitone is slugging for the New York Yankees, and the Vietnam War is raging. At home he lives with a father who has lost his way and a brother accused of robbery. Who knows what wounds his missions have given him? But Doug has his own mission, too…

Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy.

Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Giff
Nory Ryan’s family has lived on Maidin Bay on the west coast of Ireland for generations, raising a pig and a few chickens, planting potatoes, getting by. Every year Nory’s father goes away on a fishing boat and returns with the rent money for the English lord who owns their cottage and fields, the English lord bent upon forcing the Irish from their land so he can tumble the cottages and clear the fields for grazing.


Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
Life isn’t like the movies, and eleven-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She’s smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it’s 1935, and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle’s mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to stay with relatives she’s never met.

Ratfink by Marcia Thornton Jones
Poor Logan. He always seems to be getting into trouble. Fifth grade will be different. That is until Grandpa moves in. Grandpa is becoming more and more forgetful and Logan doesn’t want him doing embarrassing things—especially in front of his friends. He doesn’t want his parents to send Grandpa away either. Then there is Emily Scott.

Thank You, Lucky Stars by Beverly Donofrio
It’s the first day of fifth grade, and Ally is psyched. She and her best friend, Betsy, are in the same class, and have already planned on singing in the annual talent show together. But it’s not long before she sees that Betsy has made a new best friend, and Ally is no longer on her radar screen.

Secret of the Night Ponies by Joan Hiatt Harlow
Thirteen year old Jesse Wheller lives on one of the many islands that make up Newfoundland. Many of her friends have been displaced from other outlying islands to the growing town of Gull Harbor. As families move, at the request of the Canadian government, to the promise of modern electrical and telephone services, they leave behind the wild ponies who had helped to settle the region.

Leo and the Lesser Lion by Sandra Forrester
Everyone’s been down on their luck since the Depression hit. But as long as Mary Bayliss Pettigrew has her beloved older brother, Leo, to pull pranks with, even the hardest times can be fun. Then one day, there’s a terrible accident, and when Bayliss wakes up afterward, she must face the heartbreaking prospect of life without Leo. And that’s when her parents break the news: they’re going to be fostering two homeless little girls.

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