Shared booklist

Change Agents: Elementary/Middle School Book Club Sets

Books that build empathy and inspire action. Made possible by a gift from Paula Silver.

25 items

A boy called Bat [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Arnold, Elana K. |

When his veterinarian mom brings home a stray baby skunk that needs rehabilitation before it can be placed in a wild animal shelter, Bat, who has austim, resolves to prove that he is up to the challenge of caring for the skunk permanently.

Almost astronauts [BOOK DISCUSSION] : 13 women who dared to dream

Stone, Tanya Lee. |

Presents the story of the thirteen women connected with NASA's Mercury 13 space mission, who braved prejudice and jealousy to make their mark and open the door for the female pilots and space commanders that would soon follow.

Amina's voice [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Khan, Hena. |

A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family's vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community.

Brown girl dreaming [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Woodson, Jacqueline. |

Jacqueline Woodson tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

The cardboard kingdom [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Sell, Chad, author, artist. |

Follows the adventures of a group of neighborhood children who create costumes from cardboard and use their imagination in adventures with knights, robots, and monsters.

Chains [BOOK DISCUSSION] : seeds of America

Anderson, Laurie Halse. |

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.


Applegate, Katherine, author. |

A story about a homeless boy and his imaginary friend that proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.


Bell, Cece. |

In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful--and very awkward--hearing aid.

Esperanza rising [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Ryan, Pam Muñoz. |

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.


Gino, Alex, author. |

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Home of the brave [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Applegate, Katherine. |

Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner.

Inside out & back again [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Lai, Thanhha. |

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

It ain't so awful, falafel [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Dumas, Firoozeh. |

Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block ... for the fourth time. California's Newport Beach is her family's latest perch, and she's determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name--Cindy. It's the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages.

Lucky broken girl [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Behar, Ruth, 1956- author. |

In 1960s New York, fifth-grader Ruthie, a Cuban-Jewish immigrant, must rely on books, art, her family, and friends in her multicultural neighborhood when an accident puts her in a body cast.

Marley Dias gets it done [BOOK DISCUSSION] : and so can you!

Dias, Marley (Marley Emerson) |

In this accessible "keep-it-real" guide, Marley explores activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, and using social media for good. Drawing from her experience, Marley shows kids how they can galvanize their strengths to make positive changes in their communities, while getting support from parents, teachers, and friends to turn dreams into reality.

Out of my mind [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Draper, Sharon M. (Sharon Mills) |

A brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy, considered by many to be intellectually disabled, discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

Princess Princess ever after [BOOK DISCUSSION]

O'Neill, Katie (Cartoonist) |

When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. Yet as they adventure across the kingdom, they discover that they bring out the very best in the other person. They'll need to join forces and use all the know-how, kindness, and bravery they have in order to defeat their greatest foe yet: a jealous sorceress with a dire grudge against Sadie. Join Sadie and Amira, two very different princesses with very different strengths, on their journey to figure out what happily ever after really means and how they can find it with each other.

The birchbark house [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Erdrich, Louise. |

Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.

The epic fail of Arturo Zamora [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Cartaya, Pablo, author. |

When his family's restaurant and Cuban American neighborhood in Miami are threatened by a greedy land developer, thirteen-year-old Arturo, joined by Carmen, a cute poetry enthusiast, fight back, discovering the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of José Martí.

The revolution of Evelyn Serrano [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Manzano, Sonia. |

It is 1969 in Spanish Harlem, and fourteen-year-old Evelyn Serrano is trying hard to break free from her conservative Puerto Rican surroundings, but when her activist grandmother comes to stay and the neighborhood protests start, things get a lot more complicated--and dangerous.

The wild book [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Engle, Margarita. |

In early twentieth-century Cuba, bandits terrorize the countryside as a young farm girl struggles with dyslexia. Based on the life of the author's grandmother.

The witch boy [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Ostertag, Molly, author, illustrator. |

In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted... and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be. When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family... and be truly himself


Applegate, Katherine, author. |

A red oak tree and a crow help their human neighbors work out their differences.


Palacio, R. J. |

Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

You don't know everything, Jilly P! [BOOK DISCUSSION]

Gino, Alex, author. |

Jilly thinks she's figured out how life works. But when her sister, Emma, is born deaf, she realizes how much she still has to learn. The world is going to treat Jilly, who is white and hearing, differently from Emma, just as it will treat them both differently from their Black cousins.