Clementine likes to know what the rules are, especially at school. That way she can keep herself from making mistakes. When her regular teacher, Mr. DMatz, becomes a finalist for the Adventures for Teachers Contest and leaves school for a week, Clementine has to get used to the rules of her new substitute teacher…and she doesn’t understand them one bit.
When the Principal announces that Clementine and her friends can help Mr. D’Matz win the Adventures for Teachers Contest by writing a recommendation letter for him, Clementine has a better idea, she’ll write a letter alright, a great letter, a letter that will guarantee he loses – and get rid of that awful substitute teacher forever. Author: Sara Pennypacker
Catherine tries to be patient with her brother David but sometimes it’s really hard, because sometimes, well, he’s embarrassing. Sometimes David acts in unusual ways; saying certain words over and over, only wanting to do one particular thing over and over or only playing with one particular toy. Catherine can handle David at home…most of the time, although she thinks she has to be in charge of him too much. But it’s out in public that she has the most trouble. She’s embarrassed, but sad and guilty too because, really, she loves David – and what kind of sister wouldn’t want to have her brother around? Catherine writes things down to help her figure out her feelings. She starts a list of rules for David, in hopes that she can someday teach him what they are:
If the bathroom door is closed, knock! (especially if Catherine has a friend over).
Say thank you when someone gives you a present (even if you don’t like it).
Don’t stand in front of the TV when other people are watching it.
A boy takes off his shirt to swim, but not his shorts.
These rules are pretty basic…but you can tell by reading them that David has broken them before. David has autism, which makes it difficult for him to follow Catherine’s list of rules. The author has an autistic son so it makes sense that she could write such a good story that captures Catherine’s feelings. I liked Catherine because she was so honest. She’s having trouble dealing with David and she says so. She loves David and she says so. Catherine doesn’t always make good choices in this book, which makes her a very believable character. Author: Cynthia Lord
Mrs. Wurtz leaves a blank notebook in her class’s writer’s corner. The kids are supposed to write in it, and write whatever they want. The only rule is that each person who writes in the book must sign his or her name. It’s fun to read the entries and look at the pictures the kids draw. At first, you don’t know who is who, but as you read you can tell who the kids are by their style of writing and the kind of pictures they draw. The kids reveal their feelings and even fight with each other. Why do boys have to write about puke and boogers and stuff like that? That’s what the girls want to know! In the end, they work out their classroom problems with words. What a great idea! Writing about your feelings is a great way to work things out in your own head. Author: Mary Amato
I mean, she really does. Rule I mean. If I were ten again I would want to live in Amelia’s neighborhood. I’d want Amelia to be my friend. She isn’t perfect, but she’s authentic. That means she’s not fake. She doesn’t lie or talk behind your back. She says what she means…even if she might have to apologize later. She’s got your back and you’d cover hers too.
Amelia’s comic book world is probably a lot like yours. Parents get divorced, kids go to school, play sports, go to dances at school, have to move away, or have problems at home. Homework gets done…and doesn’t get done. Parents listen…and sometimes don’t listen. Through all this, Amelia has her friends, Rhonda, Reggie, Pajamaman, Joan, Sunday and Kyle to help her figure it all out. Life can be tough, but with good friends and family, Amelia (and you) can tough it out and even have a lot of fun. Author: Jimmy Gownley
Mibs Beaumont is almost ready to turn thirteen and waiting to finally find out what her special talent is going to be. In Mibs’ family, turning 13 is more than just growing into your natural talents, like playing the violin or scoring soccer goals or being good at listening to other people’s troubles. In Mibs’ family turning thirteen means growing into your savvy. Mibs’ Great-aunt Jules could step back twenty minutes in time every time she sneezed. Her cousin Olive can melt ice with a single red-hot stare. Mibs’ can’t wait to figure out what she’ll get..but she’s kind of scared too. Because these talents, however magical, are also dangerous. Her savvy could be something cool, like x-ray vision. It could be something dangerous, like fire, or worse, something boring!
When Mibs’ Dad is in a terrible accident all she really wants is the savvy power of healing. She’s so sure that this is her destiny, she manages to highjack a bus in an attempt to get to the hospital and prove her talents before it’s too late. As if she isn’t in trouble enough, her brothers and the preacher’s kids are all stowaways! On the bus, Mibs’ savvy starts to show, and it isn’t at all what she had in mind! If Mibs’ can finally get the bus to the hospital, will her savvy make any difference at all? Author: Ingrid Law
This one is optioned for a movie by the same people who made the Narnia movies, Holes, The Bridge to Terabithia and Because of Winn-Dixie. If I could, I’d buy my ticket today.