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Tween

10 Books on Hope for Tweens
Ages 9 – 12

by Keith Rice

books on hope
Image credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

If nothing else, a new year always brings with it one thing: hope. The idea that things can and will get better, that better days invariably lie ahead and the future is ours for the taking. What better way to help our young readers start the year off on the right foot than delving in to a collection of stories about overcoming adversity and leaning into hope no matter the situation.

  • Count Me In

    by Varsha Bajaj

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    This uplifting novel – at turns heartwrenching and heartwarming – centers around an unlikely friendship and the healing power of empathy and compassion in the face of hate. When Karina Chopra’s grandfather begins tutoring her next door neighbor Chris, she and the boy strike up a surprising friendship. After Karina and her grandfather are attacked by white supremacists, and her grandfather is badly injured, she and Chris set out to heal their fracturing community and show that hate cannot win.

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  • Before the Ever After

    by Jacqueline Woodson

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    For ZJ, life has a firm dividing line – there’s time before his dad’s diagnosis and the time after. In the before, his dad was pro football player and a neighborhood hero. After his father’s diagnosis, ZJ’s dad is an angry shell of the father ZJ knew – one who at times struggles to remember ZJ’s name. Before the Ever After, is a stirring examination of loss, grief, and what it means to be a family.

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  • Who Is Greta Thunberg?

    by Jill Leonard and WHO HQ, illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez

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    Who Is Greta Thunberg?, part of the bestselling Who HQ NOW series, is a perfect book to help your middle grade reader learn about Time’s Most influential Person of the Year in 2019, climate activist Greta Thunberg. Despite being only a teenager herself, Greta Thunberg has inspired millions around the world with her commitment to, and passion for, addressing climate change. The story follows pivotal moments in Thunberg’s childhood leading up to her now-iconic international school strike for the climate movement – which began with Thunberg, a hand painted sign, and the steps of Swedish Parliament.

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  • When You Trap a Tiger

    by Tae Keller

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    Centering around classic Korean folklore, When You Trap a Tiger tells the story of Lily, a young girl whose family moves in with her ailing grandmother. However, Lily soon discovers there is more to her grandmother – and her family – than meets the eye. When a magical tiger lifted straight from one of her grandmother’s folktales arrives at their home, Lily is forced to reckon with her grandmother’s fantastical past and a secret family history more extraordinary than anything Lily could have imagined.

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  • Any Day with You

    by Mae Respicio

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    For Kaia, her home in California is like paradise. She’s surrounded by sun, the beach, movies, and her beloved great-grandfather, her Tatang. When she and her friends are accepted into a creative arts camp, they are given the opportunity to craft a short film for a contest. So when Kaia then discovers that her Tatang is planning to return to the Philippines, she sees the film as the perfect opportunity to convince him to stay. Will she be able to keep him from leaving?

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  • The List of Things That Will Not Change

    by Rebecca Stead

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    Bea’s life was turned upside down when her parents divorced, but she knew one thing would remain constant: her parents would always love her. When Bea discovers that things are about to change once again and her dad will be marrying his boyfriend Jesse, she couldn’t be more thrilled. Jesse is great and now Bea will have the sister she’s always wanted in Jesse’s daughter Sonia. However, as the wedding day approaches, Bea discovers that building a new family can be both difficult and joyous, and that sometimes things do need to change.

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  • The Hope Chest

    by Karen Schwabach

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    Set against the backdrop of the Suffrage Movement and the passing of the 19th Amendment, The Hope Chest follows a young girl named Violet who is determined to find her sister who left home three years earlier. On a journey that takes her from New York to Tennessee, Violet discovers that her sister has become a fierce advocate of women’s right to vote. Enthralled by her sister’s passion and determination, Violet and her new friend Myrtle join the Suffragette cause and set out to make history.

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  • Kiki and Jacques

    by Susan Ross

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    For 12-year-old Jacques, everything seems to be falling apart. His mother recently died, his father is looking for a job, and his grandmother is on the verge of losing her bridal store. The lone bright spot for Jacques is soccer and his school team. Unfortunately, the arrival of a group of Somali refugees upends even Jacques’ beloved soccer. He’s no longer the star of the team and everything seems to be falling apart. That is, until Jacques begins an unlikely friendship with a refugee named Kiki. Together, Jacques and Kiki will learn to embrace change, appreciate their differences, and help a town heal in the process.

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  • Hope in the Holler

    by Lisa Lewis Tyre

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    The last thing Wavie expected following the death of her mother was that she would end up back in the rural hometown her mother had tried so hard to leave behind. But now she’s back in the Holler with her crazy aunt Samantha Rose and her miserable cousin Hoyt. It’s not all bad though. She gets to sleep in her mother’s old bed and she’s made friends with a funny group of kids – even though her aunt doesn’t like them. The question is: Will Wavie be able to follow her mother’s final advice and be brave enough to make a life of her own? And will she and her friends find a way to keep Aunt Samantha Rose from becoming her legal guardian?

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  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

    by Mildred D. Taylor

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    This beloved Newbery Award winner is set against the backdrop of Mississippi at the height of the Great Depression. The story follows the travails of the Logan family as they struggle to make their way in the face of poverty, racism, and injustice. Centering around young Cassie Logan, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the chronicle of the Logan family’s attempts to gain their own land and forge a path for themselves in a world determined to keep them down.

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