| | 13th Street: Battle of the Bad-Breath Bats by David Bowles; illustrated by Shane Clester What it's about: While exploring Gulf City's Little Mexico, cousins Malia, Dante, and Ivan accidentally wind up on 13th Street, which isn't a typical street but a creepy otherworld filled with giant, wicked Snatch Bats. Can the cousins make it out safely?
Why you might like it: With spine-tingling scares, short chapters, cartoon art, and progress bars to show you how far you've read, this video game-style chapter book (the 1st in a series) will keep you turning pages.
| | The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay What it's about: Moving into a vine-covered old house proves life-changing for Abi and her new stepsiblings: things from Abi's books start appearing in real life, 13-year-old Max tumbles into his first crush, and six-year-old Louis adopts a feline friend who becomes more menacing as it grows bigger and bigger.
Read it for: a stirring family story with an eerie blend of magic and reality.
| | Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee Starring: Nora Levy, who's survived leukemia but now has to face seventh grade after being out of school for two years.
What happens: It's tough to go back to normal when her parents are over-protective and everyone in her grade treats her like she's different, so Nora decides not to tell her new friend Griffin about her cancer.
You might also like: Jordan Sonnenblick's After Ever After, another bittersweet yet hopeful read about the challenges of life after cancer.
| | The Someday Suitcase by Corey Ann Haydu What it's about: Lifelong best friends Danny and Clover are so close that quiet, scientific Clover thinks they're symbiotic -- they can't live without each other. So, when Danny develops major health problems, Clover wonders: Can her friendship help him get better? And if not, how will she get by without him?
For fans of: Ali Benjamin's The Thing About Jellyfish, another sincere story about the connections between science, friendship, and loss.
| | More to the Story by Hena Khan What it is: an update of Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women, starring Jameela, Maryam, Bisma, and Aleeza, four sisters from a close-knit Pakistani American family.
What happens: With a job on the school newspaper and an exciting new friendship with British newcomer Ali, Jameela's 7th-grade year is looking up... until her dad goes overseas for work and Bisma becomes seriously ill.
Who it's for: readers who like feisty heroines, cozy vibes, and modern, realistic family stories.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!