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The Best Vermont Kids Books

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Ruby in the Sky
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In this heartfelt middle-grade debut about family, friendship, and finding your own identity, Ruby Moon Hayes learns there’s more to a person’s story than what other people tell.

When twelve-year-old Ruby Moon Hayes and her mother move to Vermont, Ruby’s goal is to stay as silent and invisible as a new moon in the frozen sky. She doesn’t want kids at school asking about her missing father or discovering that her mother has been arrested. But hiding isn’t easy when Ahmad Saleem, a Syrian refugee, decides he’s her new best friend. Or when she meets “the Bird Lady,” a recluse named Abigail, who lives in a ramshackle shed near Ruby’s house. No one in town understands Abigail—people whisper about her, about her boarded-up house and the terrible secrets she must be hiding.

As Mom’s trial draws near and Abigail faces eviction, Ruby is forced to make a choice: break her silence or risk losing everyone she loves.

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Elliot Stone and the Mystery of the Summer Vacation Sea Monster
Written by L. P. Chase & illustrated by Carl DiRocco
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Having to leave his friends and miss a popular fourth-grade graduation party, Elliot is not looking forward to spending the summer in Vermont until he spots an unusual animal in Lake Bomoseen.

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Snowflake Bentley
Written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & illustrated by Mary Azarian
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied.” – Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.

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A Stitch in Time
Written by Daphne Kalmar
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In 1927 Vermont, eleven-year-old Donut, recently orphaned after the death of her beloved pops, stands to lose everything when she learns her Aunt Agnes plans to move her to Boston, but little does her aunt know that Donut has no intentions of leaving her friends or her home.

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Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons
Written by Gwendolyn Hooks & illustrated by Simone Agoussoye
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Soon after American colonists had won independence from Great Britain, Ona Judge was fighting for her own freedom from one of America’s most famous founding fathers, George Washington. George and Martha Washington valued Ona as one of their most skilled and trustworthy slaves, but she would risk everything to achieve complete freedom. Born into slavery at Mount Vernon, Ona seized the opportunity to escape when she was brought to live in the President’s Mansion in Philadelphia. Ona fled to New Hampshire and started a new life. But the Washingtons wouldn’t give up easily. After her escape, Ona became the focus of a years-long manhunt, led by America’s first president. Gwendolyn Hooks’ vivid and detailed prose captures the danger, uncertainty, and persistence Ona Judge experienced during and after her heroic escape. The Capstone Interactive edition comes with simultaneous access for every student in your school and includes read aloud audio recorded by professional voice over artists.

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  • Day No Pigs Would Die - “With plenty of Yankee common sense and dry wit, and some pathos as the boy at 13 takes on the duties of a man. For boys of this age and for the young of any age.”– “School Library Journal.”

  • Chirp - [A] deftly layered mystery about family, friendship, and the struggle to speak up. - Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Shout

  • Preacher's Boy - It’s 1899 in a small town in Vermont, and the turn of the century is coming fast. According to certain members of the church where Robbie’s father is the preacher, the end of the century might even mean the end of the world. But Robbie has more pressing worries. He’s sure his father loves his simple-minded brother, Elliot, better than him, and he can no longer endure the tiresome restrictions of Christianity. He decides to leave the fold and decides to live life to the fullest. His high-spirited and often hot-headed behavior does nothing to improve his father’s opinion of him, nor does it improve the congregation’s flagging opinion of his father. Not until the consequences of his actions hurt others does Robbie put a stop to the chain of events he has set off and begin to realize his father might love him after all.

  • Pollyanna -

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Dead Voices
Written by Katherine Arden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
New York Times
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Horse Diaries: Bell's Star
Written by & illustrated by Ruth Sanderson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Vermont, 1850s <p/>Bell’s Star is a brown Morgan colt with a white star and two white stockings. He was bred for hard work, yet he longs to run free with his human friend, Katie, on his back. But when Star helps rescue a runaway slave girl, his ideas about freedom may change forever. Here is Star’s story . . . in his own words. <p/>With exciting and knowledgeable text and lovely black-and-white art throughout–both by real horse owners–Horse Diaries are the perfect fit for all lovers of horses and history!

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Counting on Grace
Written by Elizabeth Winthrop
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
  1. Pownal, Vermont. At 12, Grace and her best friend Arthur must leave school and go to work as a “doffers” on their mothers’ looms in the mill. Grace’s mother is the best worker, fast and powerful, and Grace desperately wants to help her. But she’s left handed and doffing is a right-handed job. Grace’s every mistake costs her mother, and the family. She only feels capable on Sundays, when she and Arthur receive special lessons from their teacher. Together they write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board about underage children working in Pownal. A few weeks later a man with a camera shows up. It is the famous reformer Lewis Hine, undercover, collecting evidence for the Child Labor Board. Grace’s brief acquaintance with Hine and the photos he takes of her are a gift that changes her sense of herself, her future, and her family’s future.
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