School Tales for Grades 4-6

There is nothing like a story about being embarrassed in front of the class or having to make a tough choice between friends to get kids' attention. These stories, some of which are part of a series, are set in schools across the country and recommended for grades 4-6. They are filled with recognizable characters and situations that older kids are sure to relate to!

Confetti Girl

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Apolonia "Lina" Flores is a sock enthusiast, a volleyball player, a science lover, and a girl who's just looking for answers. Even though her house is crammed full of books, she's having trouble figuring out some very big questions, like why her dad seems to care about books more than her, why her best friend's divorced mom is obsessed with making cascarones (hollowed eggshells filled with colorful confetti), and, most of all, why her mom died last year.

Dancing Home

Product Description: Mexico may be her parents' home, but it's certainly not Margie's. She has finally convinced the other kids at school she is one-hundred percent American — just like them. But when her Mexican cousin Lupe visits, the image she's created for herself crumbles. Things aren't easy for Lupe, either. Mexico hadn't felt like home since her father went North to find work. Lupe, as much as Margie, is in need of a friend. Little by little, the girls' individual steps find the rhythm of one shared dance, and they learn what "home" really means.

Emma Is On the Air: Big News!

Age Level: 9-12

Emma Perez has been looking for some big news to help her become a famous reporter. Javier's wormburger is perfect-people need to know what happened! Emma is ready to find witnesses, gather clues, and file her report. WNBC reporter Ida Siegal makes her debut as a chapter book author with a hilarious look at one girl's journey into journalism, mystery-solving, and fame -- or at least two out of those three!

How Tía Lola Learned to Teach

Age Level: 9-12

"Just as warm and upbeat as How Tía Lola Came to (Visit) Stay (2001), the second book about Miguel and Juanita's aunt, who comes from the Dominican Republic to live with the kids' family in Vermont, is written in the same lively, playful style. Language is a central focus as Tía Lola volunteers to teach Spanish in the local elementary school. The story builds to a tense climax when her visa is about to expire, and the whole town rallies for her to stay. Readers will enjoy both the messages and the humor in Tía's wry, wise sayings." — Booklist

Juana and Lucas

Age Level: 6-9

Juana loves many things — drawing, eating Brussels sprouts, living in Bogotá, Colombia, and especially her dog, Lucas, the best amigo ever. She does not love wearing her itchy school uniform, solving math problems, or going to dance class. And she especially does not love learning the English. Why is it so important to learn a language that makes so little sense?

Local News: Stories

By: Gary Soto
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: In thirteen stories full of wit and energy, Gary Soto illuminates the ordinary lives of young people. Meet Angel, who would rather fork over twenty bucks than have photos of his naked body plastered all over school; Philip, who discovers he has a "mechanical mind," whatever that means; Estela, known as Stinger, who rules José's heart and the racquetball court; and many other kids, all of them with problems as big as only a preteen can make them.

Lola Levine Is Not Mean!

Illustrated by: Angela Dominguez
Age Level: 9-12

Lola Levine likes writing in her diario, sipping her mom's cafe con leche, eating her dad's matzo ball soup, and playing soccer with her team, the Orange Smoothies. So what if she doesn't always fit in?  Lola is fierce on the field, but when a soccer game during recess gets too competitive, she accidentally hurts her classmate Juan Gomez. Now everyone is calling her Mean Lola Levine! Lola feels terrible, but with the help of her family, her super best friend, Josh Blot, and a little "pencil power," she just might be able to turn it all around.

My Name Is Maria Isabel

Illustrated by: K. Dyble Thompson
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: For María Isabel Salazar López, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn't call her by her real name. "We already have two Marías in this class," says her teacher. "Why don't we call you Mary instead?" But María Isabel has been named for her Papá's mother and for Chabela, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother. Can she find a way to make her teacher see that if she loses her name, she's lost the most important part of herself?

Next to Mexico

Age Level: 9-12

"Lylice has skipped a year and is new to Susan B. Anthony Middle School in her hometown of Tucson. Worried about making friends, the sixth grader becomes the English Buddy to Mexico, a student from Nogales who lives with her aunt and is a talented artist…When Mexico is hospitalized because her aunt is about to be unemployed and can't afford her niece's insulin, the girls finagle a job interview for her by forging a letter on stolen school stationery. Then, because of a boy on whom she has a crush, Lylice hurts her friend's feelings.

Sylvia & Aki

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Sylvia Mendez never expected to be at the center of a landmark legal battle; all she wanted was to enroll in school. Aki Munemitsu never expected to be relocated to a Japanese internment camp in the Arizona desert; all she wanted was to stay on her family farm and finish the school year. The two girls certainly never expected to know each other, until their lives intersected in Southern California during a time when their country changed forever. Based on a true story.

The Case of the Pen Gone Missing: A Mickey Rangel Mystery

Age Level: 9-12

"The Case of the Pen Gone Missing is a tricky one for a young sleuth. The hitherto unattainable Toots Rodriguez solicits Mickey's help when she is accused of stealing a classmate's special pen, the one actually touched by the President of the United States when he signed the bill sponsored by the classmate's father. Mickey's observational skills are blunted by his attraction to this deadly damsel in distress, but a timely tip from a mysterious 'Angel' puts him on the right track, and he not only finds the pen, but exposes the real culprit." — Mystery Scene Magazine

The Skirt

By: Gary Soto
Age Level: 9-12

"Miata Ramirez has a problem that will strike a chord with many children: she forgets things. This particular Friday afternoon, she has left her folklórico skirt on the school bus, and she is supposed to dance in it on Sunday. She sees no alternative but to break into the bus and retrieve it. So, dragging along her shy friend, Ana, that is exactly what she does." — School Library Journal