2003 Fall Junior Novels

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Nancy's picks for the best junior novels of fall 2003 and ideas for using them in the classroom. Compiled by Nancy Polette 2003.
Last updated: Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Aiken, Joan. MIDWINTER NIGHTINGALE. Delacorte, 2003. Gr 5-8
Didi Twite returs in a new tale including being kidnapped and taken to an old mansion surrounded by a deadly moat. A hard-to-put-down adventure.

Avi. THE MAYOR OF CENTRAL PARK. HarperCollins, 2003. Gr 4-7
Oscar has the good life as mayor of Central Park in the year 1900 until Big Daddy Duds, all-around thug, invades the park.

Banks, Lynne Reid. I, HOUDINI. Delacorte, 2003. Gr 4-6
The autobiography of a hamster who is exceptionally talented at escaping.

Britton, Susan. THE TREEKEEPERS. Dutton, 2003. Gr 5-7
Bird, a tough street urchin, saves the life of a baby with a forbidden medicine. She takes refuge in a remote cottage with strange companions and is given a dangerous task that only she can do.

Cameron, Ann. COLIBRI. Farrar, 2003. Gr 5-8
Colibri was kidnapped at age four and for the next eight years must travel with a man who believes she kas the key to a treasure.

Cummings, Priscilla. SAVING GRACE. Dutton, 2003. Gr 5-7
With no money and a new baby coming, Grace and her brothers are sent to a mission home. A wealthy family takes her home for the holidays and they treat her like a daughter. What will happen whe nit is time for Grace to go home?

Fleischman, Sid. DISAPPEARING ACT. Greenwillow, 2003. Gr 4-6.
An unseen man is stalking 12 year old Kevin and his older sister. They flee in Holly's beat-up car driving west. They hope to hide in plain sight as street perofrmers in California, but can they eally escape Toad?

Haber, Melissa. HEROIC ADVENTURE OF HERCULES AMSTERDAM. Dutton,2003. Gr 4-6.
Hercules is a human boy no taller than a mouse He decides to run away when his parentsthreaten to send him to school. He takes refuge in a city full of mice but finds more danger than school would ever have been.

Hayden, Tory. THE VERY WORST THING. HarperCollins, 2003. Gr 4-6
He isn't good at school or at making friends. He has lived in six foster homes. David has never had anything to call his own until he sets out to hatch and raise an owl. But a wild owl belongs in the wild, or does it?

Jones, Diana Wynne. THE MERLIN CONSPIRACY. Greenwillow, 2003. Gr 6-8
Did Merlin die of a heart attack or was he murdeed? What can three children who are just discovering their magical powers do against the new Merlin?

McDaughrean, Geraldine. STOP THE TRAIN! HarperCollins, 2003. Gr 5-8
Homesteaders in 1893 build near the town of Florence. Each is offered 50.00 for his land by the railroad. When all but one refuse to sell the railroad says the trains will no longer stop in Florence, killing the town.. a spunky young girl with friends and neighbors finds a way to 'stop the train' before they are forced to abandon their homes.

Namioka, Lensey. HALF AND HALF. Delacorte. 2003. Gr 5-7
Fiona Cheng has a Chinese father and a Scottish mother and is confused about who she really is, especially when the grandpaents come to town for a folk festival.

Park, Barbara. JUNIE B, FIRST GRADER CHEATER PANTS. Random House, 2003. Gr 1-3
What is cheating? Could Junie B. be a cheater pants and not even know it?

Strickland, Brad. THE WHISTLE, THE GRAVE AND THE GHOST. Dial, 2003. Gr 4-7
On a camping trip Lewis finds an ancient whistle and a strange grave. While the whistle will keep a bully away, it also can summonup an ancient vampire!

Yep, Lawrence. THE TIGER'S APPRENTICE.HarperCollins, 2003. Gr 5-7
It isn't every day you meet a tiger. And certainly not a tiger in a suit and tie. And definitely not one who knows your first name. A rich fantasy where animals take human form.