Book Club Books Part 1

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For many years now at school I’ve been running ‘Girl Zone Book Club’– a reading group for Year Six students and a significant woman in their life – mother, aunt, grandma, older sister, cousin, family friend…even a dad or uncle will do. This Book Club is an opportunity to talk, laugh and learn through a shared love of reading.

This book club runs much like an adult book club and focus books chosen are ‘crossover’ novels, ones which both adults and adolescents can enjoy. The book club is for students who adore reading and for those who do not and perhaps need a little nudge in the right direction. This is not an extra class for students, this is for the pure joy of recreational reading and to encourage reading as a social activity.

This series of posts (part two and part three will also be useful) are to share the titles we have read and enjoyed over the past four or five years. These titles will be useful if you are setting up your own bookclub for 11-13 year olds or if you are needing to give your ‘senior fiction’ reading section in your primary school library a bit of a boost.

Titles can be purchased by clicking on title links or cover images. To add all the titles in this post to your shopping cart in one fast click, see here (this is just a click way to add to your shopping cart and you can remove any titles you don’t need before purchase).

List One: Book Club Titles

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children‘ by Ransom Riggs
The Lie Tree‘ by Frances Hardinge
Phyllis Wong and the Secrets of Mr Okyto‘ by Geoffrey McSkimming
Out of My Mind‘ by Sharon Draper
My Life as an Alphabet‘ by Barry Jonsberg
Counting by 7s‘ by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Wonder‘ by R.J. Palacio
Louis Beside Himself‘ by Anna Feinberg
Paper Planes‘ by Steve Worland
Refuge‘ by Jackie French
Girl Detective‘: Friday Barnes Book One by R.A. Spratt
Island of the Blue Dolphins‘ by Scott O’Dell
The Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution‘ by Sally Gardner
Forget Me Not‘ by Sue Lawson
Ship of Dolls‘ by Shirley Parenteau
Caro was Here‘ by Elizabeth Farrelly
Mosquito Advertising‘ by Kate Hunter

Entire list to shopping cart here.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children‘ by Ransom Riggs (plus sequels)

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in this unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive.

The Lie Tree‘ by Frances Hardinge

Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree.

The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered. The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as the tree bears more and more fruit, she discovers something terrifying – that her lies were closer to the truth than she could ever have imagined.

Phyllis Wong and the Secrets of Mr Okyto‘ by Geoffrey McSkimming (plus sequels)

Conjuring is in Phyllis Wong’s veins. It was passed down from her great-grandfather who, before his mysterious disappearance, was one of the world’s most brilliant and successful magicians. Now Phyllis lives in what was his grand old home, converted into a number of apartments, in the middle of the city with her father and her loyal dog Daisy.

When a series of incomprehensible robberies takes place in the city, Phyllis realises there is much more to the crimes than meets the eye. It may be baffling her friend Chief Inspector Inglis, but Phyllis is determined to find out more. Who is this thief? What does he want? And how is he achieving the impossible?

Out of My Mind‘ by Sharon Draper

Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it… somehow.

My Life as an Alphabet‘ by Barry Jonsberg

Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little … odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to ‘fix’ all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.

Counting by 7s‘ by Holly Goldberg Sloan

This is the story of Willow Chance, a 12-year-old girl who has been identified at an early age as ‘gifted’. Willow lives in Bakersfield, California and comes home from school one day to the news that her parents have been killed in a traffic accident. What follows is Willow’s search to find a place where she belongs.

Wonder‘ by R.J. Palacio

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Louis Beside Himself‘ by Anna Feinberg

Louis’s best mates, Singo and Hassan, are into basketball and skateboarding, and his dad is into arm-wrestling. Dad wants to build Louis up with wrestling moves like the Walls of Jericho or the Five Star Frog Splash, but Louis is better at flexing words than flexing his muscles.

This summer Louis is put to the test, starting with the Phenomenon of the broken mirror, leading to the Paralysing burglar incident, and finally the night when he comes face to face with Peril.

It’s a wild week when the friends hide a runaway girl named Cordelia in the backyard tent, Dad falls for Doreen, and Louis tries the Top Roll Move on a big burly burglar.

This is a hilarious and companionable story about losing your words, finding your courage and arm-wrestling your way our of big trouble.

Paper Planes‘ by Steve Worland

Twelve-year-old Dylan Webber lives in outback Western Australia in a small country town. When he discovers he has a talent for folding and flying paper planes, Dylan begins a journey to reach the World Junior Paper Plane Championships in Japan.

Along the way he makes unlikely new friends, clashes with powerful rivals and comes to terms with his family’s past before facing his greatest challenge – to create a paper plane that will compete with the best in the world.

Refuge‘ by Jackie French

This book centres around a 14-year-old male Afghan who spent much of his life in Pakistan refugee camps before making the voyage from Indonesia to Australia. As the boat crashes against the rocks of Christmas Island he loses consciousness and awakes to find himself in the life he has always dreamed of in Australia, but with no memory of how he got there: not unusual, says his doctor father. AS it is the school holidays he becomes one of a gang of kids who roam the beach, led by an older boy, although he slowly realises that the true power is wielded by ten year old Susanna – who has been ten years old for twenty years.

Slowly our Afghan boy realises that each day he can make the choice: to stay in the dream or walk through the door on the beach, or to go back to the sea and the rocks and accept real life instead.

Girl Detective‘: Friday Barnes Book One by R.A. Spratt (plus sequels)

When girl detective Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery she uses the reward money to send herself to the most exclusive boarding school in the country, Highcrest Academy. On arrival, Friday is shocked to discover the respectable school is actually a hotbed of crime.

She’s soon investigating everything from disappearing homework to the Yeti running around the school swamp. That’s when she’s not dealing with her own problem – Ian Wainscott, the handsomest boy in school, who inexplicably hates Friday and loves nasty pranks.

Can Friday solve Highcrest Academy’s many strange mysteries, including the biggest mystery of all – what’s the point of high school?

Island of the Blue Dolphins‘ by Scott O’Dell

Scott O’Dell won the Newbery Medal in 1961 for this unforgettable novel, based on the true story of a Nicoleño Indian girl living in solitude between 1835 and 1853 on San Nicolas Island, only seventy miles off the coast of Southern California. His quietly gripping tale of Karana’s survival, strength, and courage—and vivid descriptions of island life—has captivated readers for decades.

The Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution‘ by Sally Gardner

Clever and head-turningly attractive, fourteen-year-old Yann is an orphan who has been raised in Paris by Têtu, a dwarf with secrets he has yet to reveal to the gypsy boy. It’s the winter of 1789, and the duo have been working for a vain magician named Topolain. On the night when Topolain’s vanity brings his own death, Yann’s life truly begins. That’s the night he meets shy Sido, an heiress with an ice-cold father, a young girl who has only known loneliness until now. Though they have the shortest of conversations, an attachment is born that will influence both their paths.

And what paths those will be! Revolution is afoot in France, and Sido is being used as a pawn. Only Yann will dare to rescue her, and he’ll be up against a fearful villain who goes by the name Count Kalliovski, but who has often been called the devil. It’ll take all of Yann’s newly discovered talent to unravel the mystery.

Forget Me Not‘ by Sue Lawson

I am filled with the worst feeling. Everyone says it is the safest, most luxurious ship in the world, but something about it is extremely unsettling.” Evelyn Gilmore does not share her brother Thomas’s excitement about travelling on the maiden voyage of the luxurious Titanic. For Evelyn the ship is taking her away from everything she knows and loves. For Thomas it is taking him to his new life. How could they know what the trip would bring?

Ship of Dolls‘ by Shirley Parenteau

It’s 1926, and the one thing eleven-year-old Lexie Lewis wants more than anything is to leave Portland, Oregon, where she has been staying with her strict grandparents, and rejoin her mother, a carefree singer in San Francisco’s speakeasies. But Mama’s new husband doesn’t think a little girl should live with parents who work all night and sleep all day. Meanwhile, Lexie’s class has been raising money to ship a doll to the children of Japan in a friendship exchange, and when Lexie learns that the girl who writes the best letter to accompany the doll will be sent to the farewell ceremony in San Francisco, she knows she just has to be the winner. But what if a jealous classmate and Lexie’s own small lies to her grandmother manage to derail her plans?

Caro was Here‘ by Elizabeth Farrelly

One match, one chance, she thinks. Make it count. Skipping school to lead a group of friends – and enemies – on an adult-free excursion to an island in Sydney Harbour is Caro’s idea of a twelfth birthday outing. Marooned overnight? She can handle that too. But the challenges multiply. They’re not alone on the island, and Caro must save her friends from life-threatening danger.

Mosquito Advertising‘ by Kate Hunter

Katie Crisp has talent, it’s just that the report card hidden in her room doesn’t show it. School’s out for another year and Katie is set to spend the summer lazing under the sausage tree in the backyard of the only home she’s ever known. So, when she discovers that Parfitt’s Family Soft Drink Company is about to be taken over by a corporate giant, leaving her mum out of a job and them both out of a home, it’s time to finally show everyone what she’s made of.

With her nose for trouble and her eye for advertising, and a little help from some neighbourhood friends, Katie declares Mosquito Advertising open for business.

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