Elementary & Middle
The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous, by Suzanne, Crowley
Merilee leads a Very Ordered Existence. V.O.E., for short. Her schedule (which must not be altered) includes, among other entries: School (horrendous) Litter patrol (30 minutes daily) Lunch (PB&J and a pickle) Bottle return (Friday only at the Piggly Wiggly) Dame Fiona's meditation show (Saturday only, 6:00 AM ) The V.O.E. is all about precision. Merilee does not have time for Biswick O'Connor. Merilee does not have time for Miss Veraleen Holliday. He with his annoying factoids and runny nose. She with her shining white shoes as big as sailboats. Both of them strangers who, like the hot desert wind that brings only bad news, blow into town and change everything.
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
"I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid-but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extraordinary face. WONDER begins from Auggie's point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community's struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel "a meditation on kindness" -indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can't blend in when you were born to stand out.
Sees Behind Trees, by Michael Dorris
Walnut is a young Native American boy. Because he can't see well, he has difficulty meeting the challenges, especially feats of skill with bow and arrow, that prove he is ready to receive a new name and become an adult. When a sympathetic uncle invents a new contest to "see what can't be seen," the boy's other senses bring success and earn him the name Sees Behind Trees.
Anything But Typical, by by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does. Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he's terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca wil only see his autism and not who Jason really is.