When this list was released rather recently (an award voted on by fourth to eighth graders in Illinois), I had already read a couple of books on the list (and can’t recommend them enough): Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012) and The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen (2011). However, I hadn’t read any of the others!
Since the list was released, I have read the following titles:
I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson (2010) – A girl with a different name and a different kind of family life learns more about who she is.
Close to Famous by Joan Bauer (2011) – A girl whose mom is on the run from a bad relationship wants to become a famous baker.
How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg (2011) – This is a fun (if sometimes a little disgusting) book that I would highly recommend to my eleven-year-old nephew. It is really about famous people in history and how they died – and what happened in some cases before and after they died.
Mockingbird: (Mok’ing-bûrd) by Kathryn Erskine (2010) – A girl with Aspergers is dealing with her own grief (as well as how to manage her OCD and thought processes), and her father’s, after her older brother died in a school shooting. (I could not put this book down.)
Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nichols (2008) – A boy is dying after several years of living with cancer. He writes his memoir for everyone to remember him. He also makes a “bucket list” of things he wants to do before he dies. His incredible family and friends make many of these things happen for him – even a first kiss and a ride in a blimp. (Warning: Both this book and the book listed above this one are definitely tearjerkers!)