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Secrets: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about secrets?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to secrets. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about secrets.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about secrets, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery to popular sellers like The Red Pyramid to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Infinity Year of Avalon James.

We hope this list of kids books about secrets can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

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Top 10 Books About Secrets

#1
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Hello, Mr. Dodo!
Written & illustrated by Nicholas John Frith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Martha loves birds, so one day when she meets and makes friends with a Dodo, a species supposed to be extinct, in the woods behind her house, she resolves to keep him secret to keep him safe—but sometimes it is hard to keep a big secret.

#2
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The Infinity Year of Avalon James
Written by Dana Middleton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Avalon James and Atticus Brightwell have a secret—one that they aren’t allowed to discuss with anyone. This secret is shared between two best friends. When you and your best friend turn ten years old magical things are said to happen. You both will receive some kind of magical power. It can be a power you can call on time and time again. Or it can be a power that comes once when you need it most. It’s your Infinity Year and the possibilities are endless.

The past year hasn’t been great with her family being torn apart and bullying at school, so Avalon is depending on her magical ability to appear soon and help. With the clock ticking and her eleventh birthday approaching, which would be the end of her powers, Avalon’s hopes are running high. Will she and Atticus get the powers they so desperately want and need?

Dana Middleton’s debut novel is a wonderfully enchanting story of the possibility of magic and the even more magical bond between two best friends.

#3
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Little Mouse's Big Secret
Written & illustrated by Éric Battut
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Shh…! Little Mouse has a secret! He’s found a delicious-looking apple and doesn’t want to share a bite. So he buries it, and Little Mouse refuses to reveal what he’s hidden. But when a tree sprouts from the seeds of the fruit, there are enough apples for everyone — and Little Mouse realizes some secrets are even better when they’re shared. Award-winning illustrator Eric Battut has created a charming story that will delight—and teach—children. New in board.

#4
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Tuck Everlasting
Written by Natalie Babbit
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

The classic novel about a young girl who stumbles upon a family’s stunning secret What if you could live forever? Is eternal life a blessing or a curse? That is what young Winnie Foster must decide when she discovers a spring on her family’s property whose waters grant immortality. Members of the Tuck family, having drunk from the spring, tell Winnie of their experiences watching life go by and never growing older. But then Winnie must decide whether or not to keep the Tucks’ secret—and whether or not to join them on their never-ending journey. Praise for Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt: “A fearsome and beautifully written book that can’t be put down or forgotten.” —The New York Times “Exciting and excellently written.” —The New York Times Book Review “With its serious intentions and light touch the story is, like the Tucks, timeless.” —Chicago Sun-Times “Probably the best work of our best children’s novelist.” —Harper’s “Natalie Babbitt’s great skill is spinning fantasy with the lilt and sense of timeless wisdom of the old fairy tales. . . . It lingers on, haunting your waking hours, making you ponder.” —The Boston Globe “This book is as shapely, crisp, sweet, and tangy as a summer-ripe pear.” —Entertainment Weekly

#5
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Addison Cooke and the Ring of Destiny
Written by Jonathan W. Stokes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the tradition of Indiana Jones and The Goonies, the next installment of this comedic adventure series sends young Addison and his friends on the run from fortune hunters linked to an ancient Cooke clan curse. Soon after the disappearance of his aunt Delia and uncle Nigel outside the tomb of notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, amateur archeologist Addison Cooke, his sister Molly, and their best friends Raj and Eddie, embark on another globe-trotting adventure. When a mysterious package arrives on Addison’s doorstep, criminals and fortune-hunters from around the world are suddenly hunting the Cooke family. Addison and team will travel to London, Paris, Istanbul, and beyond, on the run for their lives to unravel the mystery of the package, find out what really happened to Aunt Delia and Uncle Nigel, and come face-to-face with the terrifying Vrolock Malazar. But Addison and the team find there are dangerous secrets about his aunt and uncle’s pasts and hidden truths about the Cooke clan that must be uncovered. Addison Cooke and the Ring of Destiny is full of nonstop laughs and heart-pounding action, perfect for fans of James Patterson’s Treasure Hunters series, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, and Peter Lerangis’s Seven Wonders series.

#6
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Under the Water
Written & illustrated by Carles Porta
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Summer has finally arrived in the fourth book of Carle’s Porta’s Tales From The Hidden Valley series! Beloved characters return in the final book of this whimsical series for fans of Tove Jansson’s Moomins. Hidden in a remote place surrounded by high mountains, there lies a secret valley. There is an entrance, but you could pass by it a hundred times and still not see it. It’s finally summer, and our friends from the hidden valley are gearing up for a dreamy summer afternoon! When a new, watery friend appears, Ticky, Mister Cold and the rest of the pals explore an exciting new undewater world. But a great monster lurks beneath the surface, and our joyous friends sure are causing quite a fuss! Will they be able to escape its terrible jaws?

#7
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Shortcuts
Written by Amy Bearce
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Parker Mills has it all. She’s the two-time winner of the Miss Divine Pecan Pageant, head of the eighth grade dance committee, and a secret psychic empath. Since she absorbs any strong emotion around her, Parker has committed herself to finding shortcuts to happiness. Whether acting as a tutor, a coach, or a matchmaker, Parker knows that when others are happy, she’s happy. Granted, all that fixing other people’s drama means her own crush has no idea how she feels, but it’s still a win-win as long as her psychic methods remain a secret. At least, that was how it always worked before Mia came to town. With her mysterious past and dark cloud of depression, Mia’s moods threaten to rain on Parker’s happiness parade. After Parker’s usual shortcuts fail—even after bringing gorgeous Josh on the scene—she is forced to kick things up a notch, or two. But when Parker’s psychic powers go haywire, dangerous secrets begin to unrave …starting with her own.

#8
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August Isle
Written by Ali Standish
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From critically acclaimed author Ali Standish (The Ethan I Was Before), the story of one girl’s journey to a magical seaside town, where she uncovers her family’s long hidden secrets and ultimately finds truth and redemption. Fans of Sharon Creech and Rebecca Stead will be captivated by this story filled with warm humor, mystery, whimsy, and characters you can’t let go. A modern classic in the making! For years, Miranda has stared at postcards of August Isle, Florida. The town where her mother spent her summers as a girl. The town that Miranda has always ached to visit. She just never wanted it to happen this way. When she arrives on the Isle, alone and uncertain, to stay the summer with an old friend of her mother’s, Miranda discovers a place even more perfect than she imagined. And she finds a new friend in Sammy, “Aunt” Clare’s daughter. But there is more to August Isle than its bright streets and sandy beaches, and soon Miranda is tangled in a web of mysteries. A haunted lighthouse. An old seafarer with something to hide. A name reaching out from her mother’s shadowy past. As she closes in on answers, Miranda must reckon with the biggest question of all: Is she brave enough to face the truth she might uncover?

#9
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The Spider and the Fly
Written by Mary Howitt & illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

“‘Will you walk into my parlor,’ said the Spider to the Fly…” is easily one of the most recognized and quoted first lines in all of English verse. But do you have any idea how the age-old tale of the Spider and the Fly ends? Join celebrated artist Tony DiTerlizzi as he — drawing inspiration from one of his loves, the classic Hollywood horror movies of the 1920s and 1930s — shines a cinematic spotlight on Mary Howitt’s warning, written to her own children about those who use sweet words to hide their not-so-sweet intentions.

#10
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Alan's Big, Scary Teeth
Written & illustrated by Jarvis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A goofy and lonely denizen of the jungle has just one talent — scaring other creatures with his big, scary teeth! What would he do without them? Deep in the jungle lurks Alan the alligator, descended from a long line of very scary alligators. He prepares carefully — polishing his scales, brushing each of his big, scary teeth, and practicing his frightening faces — then sneaks into the jungle to terrorize the jungle critters. (“I’m big, scary Alan! Fear my razor-sharp teeth!”) But after a long day of scaring, Alan likes nothing better than to enjoy the crossword, run a warm mud bath, and take out his teeth, which nobody else knows are false. Until one morning, when Alan wakes up and finds that his teeth are gone! Without those teeth, he’s just not very scary, and scaring is the only thing he knows how to do. Or is it? Witty, charming, and playful storytelling will have preschoolers cheering for Alan as he discovers a new way to fit in.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Secrets and...

Books About Secrets and Animals

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Hello, Mr. Dodo!
Written & illustrated by Nicholas John Frith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Martha loves birds, so one day when she meets and makes friends with a Dodo, a species supposed to be extinct, in the woods behind her house, she resolves to keep him secret to keep him safe—but sometimes it is hard to keep a big secret.

Add to list
Little Mouse's Big Secret
Written & illustrated by Éric Battut
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Shh…! Little Mouse has a secret! He’s found a delicious-looking apple and doesn’t want to share a bite. So he buries it, and Little Mouse refuses to reveal what he’s hidden. But when a tree sprouts from the seeds of the fruit, there are enough apples for everyone — and Little Mouse realizes some secrets are even better when they’re shared. Award-winning illustrator Eric Battut has created a charming story that will delight—and teach—children. New in board.

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Secret Pizza Party
Written by Adam Rubin & illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

While Raccoon is eating pizza at his secret pizza party, he sees a masquerade party going on in the house next door and joins the fun. By the New York Times best-selling creators of Dragons Love Tacos!

Honorable Mentions
The Creature of the Pines book
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Microsaurs: Beware the Tiny-Spino book
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Can I Tell You a Secret? book
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Secret Life of a Tiger book
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  1. The Creature of the Pines - Elliot Eisner isn’t exactly thrilled with the first day at his new school. His class is going on a field trip to a creepy forest called the Pine Barrens. The trip is being led by Professor Fauna, the weirdest teacher Elliot has ever met. And the only kid who will talk to Elliot, Uchenna Devereaux, isn’t afraid of danger. She likes danger. Elliot and Uchenna are about to become part of a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose goal is to protect and defend the world’s mythical creatures. Together with Professor Fauna, Elliot and Uchenna must help rescue a Jersey Devil from a duo of conniving, greedy billionaires, the Schmoke Brothers.

  2. Microsaurs: Beware the Tiny-Spino - Disaster awaits when the most annoying girl in school discovers the existence of our favorite tiny dinosaurs in the fifth installment of Dustin Hansen’s illustrated chapter book series. Vicky Van Varbles, AKA Lin’s nemesis, AKA the most annoying person on the planet, has discovered the microterium! Lin is convinced that this is the Worst. Thing. EVER! Vicky has never kept a secret in her life. The only solution is to trap her in a bug jar for the rest of eternity. But Danny has a different plan . . . if they can induct Vicky into the (newly created) International Microsaur Protection Agency, he’s sure she can be convinced to keep their secret. But first Vicky has to pass Lin’s increasingly difficult and dangerous tests . . . If Danny can’t get Lin and Vicky to work together, then the microsaurs really might be doomed!

  3. Can I Tell You a Secret? - Meet Monty! He’s a little frog with a BIG secret that he’s ready to share. Monty learns how to face his fears with some help from his new friend—YOU!

  4. Secret Life of a Tiger - Tiger is a cat with simple pleasures. He likes to spend his days wandering about, chatting with friends and having a little snack. But at night his secret life is revealed – and its very surprising! Find out about Tiger’s unexpected night hobby in this delightfully funny, warm-hearted picture book that reminds us that sometimes animals (and people) behave in unexpected ways.

Want to see books about animals?

Books About Secrets and Magic

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City of Islands
Written by Kali Wallace
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A dark and riveting middle grade fantasy from the critically acclaimed Kali Wallace about an archipelago of magical islands and one girl’s dangerous discovery on the ocean floor. Perfect for fans of Holly Black and Kate Milford. In a foggy archipelago called the City of Islands, twelve-year-old Mara has always been fascinated by the magic that drifts on the air as songs. But as a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides, Mara must earn her keep by searching for magical treasures deep in the murky ocean. Then Mara finds the skeletons of strange hybrid creatures that haven’t existed in the city for centuries—all humming with a powerful spell-song. Convinced her discovery will earn her the opportunity to study magic, Mara shares them with the Lady. But instead of a reward, the Lady gives Mara a new challenge: to sneak into the island fortress, the Winter Blade. Now Mara must dive deeper than ever before to survive her mission. The chilling truths that Mara uncovers along the way, about her past as well as about the secrets of her beloved city, are more dangerous—and magical—than she ever imagined.

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The Infinity Year of Avalon James
Written by Dana Middleton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Avalon James and Atticus Brightwell have a secret—one that they aren’t allowed to discuss with anyone. This secret is shared between two best friends. When you and your best friend turn ten years old magical things are said to happen. You both will receive some kind of magical power. It can be a power you can call on time and time again. Or it can be a power that comes once when you need it most. It’s your Infinity Year and the possibilities are endless.

The past year hasn’t been great with her family being torn apart and bullying at school, so Avalon is depending on her magical ability to appear soon and help. With the clock ticking and her eleventh birthday approaching, which would be the end of her powers, Avalon’s hopes are running high. Will she and Atticus get the powers they so desperately want and need?

Dana Middleton’s debut novel is a wonderfully enchanting story of the possibility of magic and the even more magical bond between two best friends.

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Heidi Heckelbeck and the Snoopy Spy
Written by Wanda Coven & illustrated by Priscilla Burris
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

In the twenty-third Heidi Heckelbeck adventure, Heidi discovers a snoopy spy in her house! Heidi’s little brother, Henry, has turned into a snoopy, little spy and it is driving her crazy! He spies when her friends are over at their house. He spies on the school bus. He even spies on the playground! But when he almost tells one of Heidi’s secrets to Melanie Maplethorpe, it’s time to catch a spy! Will Heidi cast the perfect spell to stop her bothersome brother, or will her magic spill the biggest, Heidi secret ever? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

Honorable Mentions
A Box of Bones book
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The Restless Girls book
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Warrior Genius book
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  1. A Box of Bones - Twelve-year-old Kallie despises nonsense. She believes there’s a rational explanation for everything, despite the good-natured prodding of her Grandpa Jess, who takes her to frivolous wastes of time like their town’s local Festival of Fools. There, Kallie meets a faceless man (must be some kind of mask) who gives her a strange wooden puzzle box (must be some kind of gimmick). Intrigued despite herself, Kallie sets to work on unlocking its secrets and…lets something out. From here Kallie’s life begins to entangle with another world, a world where Liah, a young bone carver, journeys with her master to sell wares to a wicked Queen. The sights, sounds, smells, and spells of Liah’s world are beginning to leak into Kallie’s, and if Kallie can’t decipher the meaning of her own story, “the end” might be far from happy.

  2. The Restless Girls - For her twelve daughters, the Queen’s death is a loss beyond their mother: the King decides his daughters must be kept safe at all costs, which includes their lessons, possessions, and even their freedom. While locked away most hours of the day and night, they stumble upon a hidden, magical world, and it seems a perfect temporary escape. Their outings do not go unnoticed, however, and the King announces a contest: the man who discovers where the princesses go each night can marry the girl of his choice and become ruler of the kingdom. But the sisters will not bend to this fate, so they determine to save themselves in a brilliant twist. The Restless Girls is a sparkling whirl of a fairytale that doesn’t need a prince to save the day, and instead is full of brave, resourceful, clever young women.

  3. Warrior Genius - In Book 2 of this breathtakingly action-packed series, warriors clash in an ultimate face-off between enemy empires, but both sides share an equal enemy—Giacomo. Giacomo, his fellow artists, and their wise old teacher are on the run after a showdown with Nerezza, the emperor of Zizzola, who has vowed to hunt them down and destroy them and their precious Geniuses. In a desperate attempt to escape, they transport themselves to Rachana, a South Asian-inspired world where it’s the most powerful warriors, not artists, who possess Geniuses. The power-hungry Rachanan leader is more than happy to have Giacomo and his team—he’s eager to find the next Sacred Tool, the Straightedge, and believes it’s hidden somewhere in his empire. Meanwhile, Nerezza has devised a plan to control Giacomo and bend him to her will. But first she’ll have to start an all-out war to get to him.

Want to see books about magic?

Books About Secrets and Feelings And Emotions

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Shortcuts
Written by Amy Bearce
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Parker Mills has it all. She’s the two-time winner of the Miss Divine Pecan Pageant, head of the eighth grade dance committee, and a secret psychic empath. Since she absorbs any strong emotion around her, Parker has committed herself to finding shortcuts to happiness. Whether acting as a tutor, a coach, or a matchmaker, Parker knows that when others are happy, she’s happy. Granted, all that fixing other people’s drama means her own crush has no idea how she feels, but it’s still a win-win as long as her psychic methods remain a secret. At least, that was how it always worked before Mia came to town. With her mysterious past and dark cloud of depression, Mia’s moods threaten to rain on Parker’s happiness parade. After Parker’s usual shortcuts fail—even after bringing gorgeous Josh on the scene—she is forced to kick things up a notch, or two. But when Parker’s psychic powers go haywire, dangerous secrets begin to unrave …starting with her own.

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August Isle
Written by Ali Standish
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From critically acclaimed author Ali Standish (The Ethan I Was Before), the story of one girl’s journey to a magical seaside town, where she uncovers her family’s long hidden secrets and ultimately finds truth and redemption. Fans of Sharon Creech and Rebecca Stead will be captivated by this story filled with warm humor, mystery, whimsy, and characters you can’t let go. A modern classic in the making! For years, Miranda has stared at postcards of August Isle, Florida. The town where her mother spent her summers as a girl. The town that Miranda has always ached to visit. She just never wanted it to happen this way. When she arrives on the Isle, alone and uncertain, to stay the summer with an old friend of her mother’s, Miranda discovers a place even more perfect than she imagined. And she finds a new friend in Sammy, “Aunt” Clare’s daughter. But there is more to August Isle than its bright streets and sandy beaches, and soon Miranda is tangled in a web of mysteries. A haunted lighthouse. An old seafarer with something to hide. A name reaching out from her mother’s shadowy past. As she closes in on answers, Miranda must reckon with the biggest question of all: Is she brave enough to face the truth she might uncover?

Add to list
Alan's Big, Scary Teeth
Written & illustrated by Jarvis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A goofy and lonely denizen of the jungle has just one talent — scaring other creatures with his big, scary teeth! What would he do without them? Deep in the jungle lurks Alan the alligator, descended from a long line of very scary alligators. He prepares carefully — polishing his scales, brushing each of his big, scary teeth, and practicing his frightening faces — then sneaks into the jungle to terrorize the jungle critters. (“I’m big, scary Alan! Fear my razor-sharp teeth!”) But after a long day of scaring, Alan likes nothing better than to enjoy the crossword, run a warm mud bath, and take out his teeth, which nobody else knows are false. Until one morning, when Alan wakes up and finds that his teeth are gone! Without those teeth, he’s just not very scary, and scaring is the only thing he knows how to do. Or is it? Witty, charming, and playful storytelling will have preschoolers cheering for Alan as he discovers a new way to fit in.

Honorable Mentions
Secrets I Know book
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It's Okay to Be a Unicorn! book
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Sir Tim Has a Secret book
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Under the Bottle Bridge book
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  1. Secrets I Know - Perfect for fans of Liz Garton Scanlon’s All the World and Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s I Wish You More, this charming, whimsical story about one imaginative little girl’s magical world is sure to enchant readers young and old. Follow the girl throughout a day spent in her own backyard, and you’ll discover lots of secrets only she can tell. For example, did you know that whispers hide in trees? Or that trees make great umbrellas? With a simple, poetic text from Kallie George and extraordinary illustrations from debut artist Paola Zakimi, here is a book families will read again and again and treasure for years to come.

  2. It's Okay to Be a Unicorn! - An inspiring picture book, Jason Tharp’s It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn features a unicorn pretending to be a horse―until he learns to embrace his true self. Cornelius J. Sparklesteed is known among all the other horses in Hoofington for his beautiful and creative handmade hats. But Cornelius is hiding a secret under his own tall, pointy hat: He’s really a unicorn. Hoofington is a friendly place, but its horses pass on lots of mean rumors about unicorns. When Cornelius is chosen to perform for this year’s Hoofapalooza, will he find the courage to show everyone his unicorniness? It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn is an inspiring story about the rainbow magic of kindness.

  3. Sir Tim Has a Secret - Real knights are always honest. But when Sir Tim accidentally rips his cape, he tries to blame his friend Max. And when Mom leaves a strawberry shortcake on the table, he sneaks a bite. Keeping all these secrets begins to give Sir Tim a bellyache . . . A sweet and recognizable book about keeping secrets. For honest knights ages 4 and up.

  4. Under the Bottle Bridge - In the tradition of Counting by 7s and Three Times Lucky, critically acclaimed author Jessica Lawson returns with her fourth whimsical, lyrical, and heartfelt middle grade novel about a girl who’s desperately trying to keep her life together, when everything seems to be falling apart. In the weeks leading up to Gilbreth, New York’s annual AutumnFest, twelve-year-old woodcraft legacy Minna Treat is struggling with looming deadlines, an uncle trying to hide Very Bad News, and a secret personal quest. When she discovers mysterious bottle messages under one of the village’s 300-year-old bridges, she can’t help but wonder who’s leaving them, what they mean, and, most importantly…could the messages be for her? Along with best friend Crash and a mystery-loving newcomer full of suspicious theories, Minna is determined to discover whether the bottles are miraculously leading her toward the long-lost answers she’s been looking for, or drawing her into a disaster of historic proportions.

Books About Secrets and Friendship

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Under the Water
Written & illustrated by Carles Porta
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Summer has finally arrived in the fourth book of Carle’s Porta’s Tales From The Hidden Valley series! Beloved characters return in the final book of this whimsical series for fans of Tove Jansson’s Moomins. Hidden in a remote place surrounded by high mountains, there lies a secret valley. There is an entrance, but you could pass by it a hundred times and still not see it. It’s finally summer, and our friends from the hidden valley are gearing up for a dreamy summer afternoon! When a new, watery friend appears, Ticky, Mister Cold and the rest of the pals explore an exciting new undewater world. But a great monster lurks beneath the surface, and our joyous friends sure are causing quite a fuss! Will they be able to escape its terrible jaws?

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George and the Blue Moon
Written by Stephen Hawking and Lucy Hawking & illustrated by Garry Parsons
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

George and Annie are off on another cosmic adventure inspired by the Mars Expedition in the fifth book of the George’s Secret Key series from Stephen and Lucy Hawking. George and his best friend, Annie, have been selected as junior astronauts for a program that trains young people for a future trip to Mars. This is everything they’ve ever wanted—and now they get to be a part of up-to-the minute space discoveries and meet a bunch of new friends who are as fascinated by the universe as they are. But when they arrive at space camp, George and Annie quickly learn that strange things are happening—on Earth as well as up in the skies. Mysterious space missions are happening in secret, and the astronaut training they’re undertaking gets scarier and scarier…

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The BFF Bucket List
Written by Dee Romito
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

When best friends Skylar and Ella begin to drift apart, they try to fix their friendship by creating the ultimate BFF Summer Bucket List in this funny and heartfelt M!X novel. Skylar and Ella have been BFFs since kindergarten, and in Ella’s mind, nothing can change that bond. But when Skylar starts to act weird and distant, Ella is determined to bring them back together with a fun challenge the summer before high school: The BFF Bucket List. Ella creates a list of challenges—some wacky, some heartfelt—that they have to do together. At first, Skylar is totally game, but as they go through the list, each girl discovers that the unbreakable bond they once had might break more easily than they think. And when each girl develops a big secret that could threaten not only the list, but their entire relationship, will the list—and their friendship—fall apart?

Honorable Mentions
The Girls of Firefly Cabin book
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The Alien Next Door 3: Alien Scout book
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Moon Over Manifest book
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Sunker's Deep book
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  1. The Girls of Firefly Cabin - Lauren, Isla, Jade, and Archer meet the first day of summer camp, and friendship magic is made in Firefly Cabin. If only they could immortalize their summer memories by winning the contest to be the face of the camp’s website. But it won’t be easy; not with rival cabins, distracting crushes, and of course, the girl’s own secrets getting in the way. Can friendship—and the Fireflies—triumph over all?

  2. The Alien Next Door 3: Alien Scout - In the third book of the Alien Next Door series, Harris knows Zeke is an alien, and they go away for a weekend trip as Beaver Scouts. Will Harris be able to help Zeke keep his secret when another scout starts suspecting something? Zeke has revealed to Harris that he’s an alien and Harris is thrilled to have an alien best friend! This weekend, Harris has a Beaver Scout outing in the wilderness, so he invites Zeke to join in on the fun. Zeke doesn’t quite understand all the activities, like sleeping outside and telling ghost stories, and he is a little careless with using his powers, which leads one scout to become a little suspicious. Will Harris be able to help Zeke hide his identity from everyone?

  3. Moon Over Manifest - Winner of the 2011 Newbery Award. The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories: Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future. Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was. Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.” Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town. Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.

  4. Sunker's Deep - Action, adventure, and mystery surround the Sunkers, a band of children who live in a submarine, as they try to survive a war in Book Two of the Icebreaker Trilogy . Sharkey is a Sunker - he was born on a fortunate tide, and everyone in the giant submersible Rampart knows it. He’s a hero, a future admiral, beloved by the ancestors. The trouble is his life is based on a lie. He’s been a fake hero for years, but when tragedy strikes, he must become a real one. And he has no idea how to go about it.Meanwhile, on land, Petrel, Fin, and the crew of the Oyster are on a mission to defeat the Devouts and bring lost knowledge back into the world, a mission they have no idea how to carry out. This second installment of the Icebreaker trilogy features action, adventure, and a world that is perhaps not so different from our own.

Books About Secrets and Family

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Captain Rosalie
Written by Timothée de Fombelle & illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Timothée de Fombelle and Isabelle Arsenault capture the heart-wrenching cost of war for one small girl in a delicately drawn, expertly told tale. While her father is at war, five-year-old Rosalie is a captain on her own secret mission. She wears the disguise of a little girl and tracks her progress in a secret notebook. Some evenings, Rosalie’s mother reads aloud Father’s letters from the front lines, so that Rosalie knows he is thinking of her and looking forward to the end of the war and to finally coming home. But one day a letter comes that her mother doesn’t read to her, and Rosalie knows her mission must soon come to an end. Author Timothée de Fombelle reveals the true consequence of war through the experiences of small, determined Rosalie, while acclaimed artist Isabelle Arsenault illustrates Rosalie’s story in muted grays marked with soft spots of color — the orange flame of Rosalie’s hair, the pale pink of a scarf, the deep blue ink of her father’s letters. All the more captivating for the simplicity with which it is drawn and told, this quiet tale will stay with the reader long after its last page is turned.

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Skylark and Wallcreeper
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

While helping her granny Collette evacuate to a makeshift shelter in Brooklyn during Superstorm Sandy, Lily uncovers secrets of her grandmother’s past as a member of the French Resistance during WWII. Queens, 2012. Hurricane Sandy is flooding New York City, and Lily is at a nursing home with her grandmother, Collette. Lily visits Collette often, as she is beginning to lose her memories. When the National Guard shows up to evacuate the building and take them to safety at the Park Slope armory in Brooklyn, Lily’s granny suddenly produces a red box she’s hidden in a closet for years. Once they get to safety, Lily opens the box, where she finds an old, beautiful Montblanc pen. Granny tells Lily that the pen is very important and that she has to take care of it, as well as some letters written in French. But Lily loses the pen in the course of helping other nursing home residents, and as she searches the city trying to find it, she learns more about her grandmother’s past in France and begins to uncover the significance of the pen with the help of her best friend, a quirky pen expert, and a larger-than-life, off-Broadway understudy. Told in alternating sections (2012 and 1944), this engaging book explores a deep friendship during difficult times and the importance of family.

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The Red Pyramid
Written by Rick Riordan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them—Set—has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe—a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Honorable Mentions
The Vegetable Museum book
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Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers book
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The Classy Crooks Club book
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The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn book
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  1. The Vegetable Museum - Thirteen-year-old Chloë left her whole life back in Montreal, including her mom and her best friend. Now she’s stuck in Victoria with her dad and her estranged grandfather, Uli, who recently had a stroke. When Chloë agrees to help Uli look after his garden, she’s determined to find out why he and her dad didn’t speak to each other for years. For decades Uli has collected seeds from people in the community, distinct varieties that have been handed down through generations. The result is a garden full of unusual and endangered produce, from pink broccoli to blue kale to purple potatoes. But Chloë learns that the garden will soon be destroyed to make way for a new apartment complex. And the seed collection is missing! Chloë must somehow find a way to save her grandfather’s legacy

  2. Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers - New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix takes readers on a thrilling adventure filled with mysteries and plot twists aplenty in this absorbing series about family and friendships. Perfect for fans of A Wrinkle in Time and The City of Ember! What makes you you? The Greystone kids thought they knew. Chess has always been the protector over his younger siblings, Emma loves math, and Finn does what Finn does best—acting silly and being adored. They’ve been a happy family, just the three of them and their mom. But everything changes when reports of three kidnapped children reach the Greystone kids, and they’re shocked by the startling similarities between themselves and these complete strangers. The other kids share their same first and middle names. They’re the same ages. They even have identical birthdays. Who, exactly, are these strangers? Before Chess, Emma, and Finn can question their mom about it, she takes off on a sudden work trip and leaves them in the care of Ms. Morales and her daughter, Natalie. But puzzling clues left behind lead to complex codes, hidden rooms, and a dangerous secret that will turn their world upside down.

  3. The Classy Crooks Club - Twelve-year-old AJ is dreading spending the summer with her uber-strict grandmother—that is, until she’s recruited to join Grandma Jo’s heist club—in this hilarious and quirky twist on a summer vacation story. AJ does not, under any circumstances, want to spend an entire month living with her strict Grandma Jo. Not only does her grandmother tell her how to walk, what to eat, and which rooms she can enter, she fills all of AJ’s free time with boring sewing lessons! Grandma Jo wants nothing more than to transform her adventurous, fun-loving granddaughter into a prim and proper lady…and AJ hates it. But AJ’s dull summer takes an exciting turn when she discovers that her grandmother’s “bridge group” is actually a club of crooks! And when Grandma Jo offers to teach AJ lock picking instead of embroidery in exchange for help with a few capers, AJ is thrilled to join her grandmother’s madcap band of thieves who claim to steal only for ethical reasons. But even the most respectable ladies can hide some truly surprising secrets, and AJ must decide for herself what it truly means to be one of the good guys.

  4. The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn - An alchemist peddles a new magical invention—and the key that could unlock Lettie Peppercorn’s family secrets—in this quirky “tale of self-discovery, family, and friendship” (The Independent). Lettie Peppercorn cannot go outside. Ma told her so right before Ma disappeared forever. So Lettie’s house is on stilts, and she is stuck with only the wind and a pigeon for a friend. Nothing exciting has ever happened to her—until the night a strange merchant appears. He claims to be an alchemist—the greatest that ever lived—and he is here to sell Lettie his newest invention. It’s an invention that could change Lettie’s life—and the world forever. An invention called “snow.” But snow is not the only secret he holds. The alchemist knows where Lettie’s Ma is. And Lettie will do anything to get Ma back—even if it means risking her own life. Join the brilliant and resourceful Lettie Peppercorn as she sails across the world to reunite her family and discover the truth about herself.

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Books About Secrets and Orphans

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Louisiana's Way Home
Written by Kate DiCamillo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

**The instant _New York Times_ bestseller!

From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.**

When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Called “one of DiCamillo’s most singular and arresting creations” by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.

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Greetings from Witness Protection!
Written by Jake Burt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A funny and poignant debut middle-grade novel about a foster-care girl who is placed with a family in the witness protection program, and finds that hiding in plain sight is complicated and dangerous.

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The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book VI
Written by Maryrose Wood & illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

For fans of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart’s Mysterious Benedict Society, here comes the final book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, the acclaimed and hilarious Victorian mystery series by Maryrose Wood. Unhappy Penelope Lumley is trapped in unhappy Plinkst! Even the beets for which Plinkst is inexplicably famous fail to grow in this utterly miserable Russian village. Penelope anxiously counts the days and wonders how she will ever get back to England in time to save all the Ashtons—who, she now knows, include herself and the Incorrigible children, although their precise location on the family tree is still a mystery—from their accursèd fate. Her daring scheme to escape sends her on a wildly unexpected journey. But time is running out, and the not-really-dead Edward Ashton is still on the loose. His mad obsession with the wolfish curse on the Ashtons puts Penelope and the Incorrigibles in dire peril. As Penelope fights her way back to her beloved pupils, the three brave Incorrigibles endure their gloomy new tutor and worriedly prepare for the arrival of Lady Constance’s baby. Little do they know the danger they’re in! In this action-packed conclusion to the acclaimed series, mysteries are solved and long-lost answers are found. Only one question remains: Will Penelope and the Incorrigibles find a way to undo the family curse in time, or will the next full moon be their last?

Honorable Mentions
The Orphan Band of Springdale book
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Summer of the Gypsy Moths book
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  1. The Orphan Band of Springdale - With the United States on the verge of World War II, eleven-year-old Gusta is sent from New York City to Maine, where she discovers small-town prejudices — and a huge family secret. It’s 1941, and tensions are rising in the United States as the Second World War rages in Europe. Eleven-year-old Gusta’s life, like the world around her, is about to change. Her father, a foreign-born labor organizer, has had to flee the country, and Gusta has been sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother. Nearsighted, snaggletoothed Gusta arrives in Springdale, Maine, lugging her one precious possession: a beloved old French horn, her sole memento of her father. But in a family that’s long on troubles and short on money, how can a girl hang on to something so valuable and yet so useless when Gusta’s mill-worker uncle needs surgery to fix his mangled hand, with no union to help him pay? Inspired by her mother’s fanciful stories, Gusta secretly hopes to find the coin-like “Wish” that her sea-captain grandfather supposedly left hidden somewhere. Meanwhile, even as Gusta gets to know the rambunctious orphans at the home, she feels like an outsider at her new school — and finds herself facing patriotism turned to prejudice, alien registration drives, and a family secret likely to turn the small town upside down.

  2. Summer of the Gypsy Moths - A foster child named Angel and 12-year-old Stella, who are living with Stella’s great-aunt Louise at the Linger Longer Cottage Colony on Cape Cod, secretly assume responsibility for the vacation rentals when Louise unexpectedly dies and the girls are afraid of being returned to the foster care system. 50,000 first printing.

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Books About Secrets and School

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Pie in the Sky
Written by Remy Lai
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

A poignant, laugh-out-loud illustrated middle-grade novel about an eleven-year-old boy’s immigration experience, his annoying little brother, and their cake-baking hijinks! Sometimes life isn’t a piece of cake . . . When Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao. To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama. In her hilarious, emotional middle-grade debut, Remy Lai delivers a scrumptious combination of vibrant graphic art and pitch-perfect writing that will appeal to fans of Real Friends.

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Pilfer Academy
Written by Lauren Magaziner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Troublemaking George has never heard of Pilfer Academy, a top-secret school for training young crooks, until he’s kidnapped as its newest student. Between disguise classes, cracking safes, and DIY gadgets, George becomes an expert bandit and finds true friendship with Tabitha, his new partner-in-crime. But everything is ruined when George realizes he’s just too good-hearted to be a thief! Unfortunately, not thieving is not an option at Pilfer Academy. In order to gain their freedom, George and Tabitha must pull the biggest heist the school has ever seen and reveal their true colors not as thieves, but as kind (and, okay, mischievous) kids.

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My Little Pony: Ponyville Mysteries: Peryton Panic
Written by Penumbra Quill
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Join the Cutie Mark Crusaders—Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, and Scootaloo—as they read mysteries, legends, ghost stories, and every other kind of tale that makes a mane stand on end. From Ponyville School classmates to Rainbow Dash to the Princess of the Night herself, you never know who else…or what else…awaits as they set out to solve seeming supernatural mysteries around Ponyville. ©2018 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.

Honorable Mentions
Not in Room 204 book
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Aleca Zamm Fools Them All book
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So Done book
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Pumpkin Spice Secrets book
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  1. Not in Room 204 - Mrs. Salvador is one tough teacher. But Regina Lillian Hadwig, a very quiet student, doesn’t mind. She likes the order and discipline Mrs. Salvador expects. At a report card conference, Mrs. Salvador tells Regina’s mom that Regina is doing a great job, but that she is very quiet. “Are you quiet at home, like you are in school?” Mrs. Salvador asks Regina. And Regina thinks of the secret she keeps so quiet—the one even her mom doesn’t know, about the secret things her father does. “Yes, I’m quiet at home, too,” says Regina. “Maybe we can work on that,” says Mrs. Salvador. When Mrs. Salvador reads a book about Stranger Danger, she emphasizes one thing—that the person doing the inappropriate touching might not be a stranger at all. It might be someone a child knows very well. Will Regina find the courage to tell Mrs. Salvador her terrible secret?

  2. Aleca Zamm Fools Them All - Aleca Zamm, an ordinary ten-year-old with an extraordinary talent, finds a new friend and has to rescue her Aunt Zephyr from a teleportation crisis in this hilarious third novel in the Aleca Zamm chapter book series. Aleca Zamm knows she’s not the only Wonder at school with a magical ability. Third grader Ford Kimble is a Wonder as well. Ford is able to see people as they used to be in the past and as they will be in the future. He can time travel! Well, sort of! Aleca starts hanging out with Ford to discuss their magical abilities, which makes Aleca’s best friend, Maria, jealous. Aleca even forgot the first meeting of the Secret Pals Club, Maria and Aleca’s new idea for a club that performs secret good deeds for bullied kids! Worse, Maria is onto Aleca’s secret of being a Wonder. She definitely suspects something, but Aleca has sworn to Aunt Zephyr that she won’t tell anyone about her magical ability. Plus, Aunt Zephyr’s ability to teleport is starting to deteriorate along with her age, and Aunt Zephyr’s about to throw in the towel on being a Wonder for good. Can Aleca and Ford figure out how to get Aunt Zephyr’s magical powers back? And can Aleca save her friendship with Maria while still keeping her magical powers a secret?

  3. So Done - When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program. Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and the importance of speaking up. Jamila Phillips and Tai Johnson have been inseparable since they were toddlers, having grown up across the street from each other in Pirates Cove, a low-income housing project. As summer comes to an end, Tai can’t wait for Mila to return from spending a month with her aunt in the suburbs. But both girls are grappling with secrets, and when Mila returns she’s more focused on her upcoming dance auditions than hanging out with Tai. Paula Chase explores complex issues that affect many young teens, and So Done offers a powerful message about speaking up. Full of ballet, basketball, family, and daily life in Pirates Cove, this memorable novel is for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Jason Reynolds’s Ghost.

  4. Pumpkin Spice Secrets - Just as Maddie picks up her pumpkin spice frappe from the coffee shop counter, she spills it all over the cute boy behind her. Talk about mortifying! Luckily, the boy—Jacob—is also friendly and easy-going, and soon Maddie is deeply in crush. But before she can tell her best friend Jana about him at lunch the next day, Jana announces her huge new crush—on Jacob! Maddie doesn’t want to cause trouble, so she keeps her feelings hidden. Can she stay true to her friend and her heart?

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