New Realistic Fiction for Kids

Henrietta Hornbuckle's Circus of Life by Michael De Guzman

Reading Level: Grades 3-6

Henrietta Hornbuckle is a clown in Filbert's Traveling Clown Circus, and has been her whole life. Used to the travelling life, loving to watch the world pass her by as she tumbles and exaggerates movements and brings cheer and laughter to each town the circus visits. To Henrietta, circus life is a fluid, dynamic constant in her life. Then suddenly everything changes - Henrietta learns that the circus is in danger of closing, financial problems having finally become insurmountable. Furthermore, her mother, Hortense, wants to reconnect with her estranged sister Carlotta - a woman with an enormous house (the first Henrietta had ever entered) and a butler - a lavish, expansive lifestyle absurdly foreign to the young clown. Then the unthinkable happens, and Henrietta's jolly life is thrust away from everything she loves.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Reading Level: Grades 7+

Life on a reservation isn't great to begin with, but when Arnold (Junior) sees his mother's name written in his geometry textbook, it's the last straw. He flings the book angrily across the classroom... hitting the teacher square in the face.

Realizing that as long as he stayed on the reservation, he was doomed to live a depressing, boring reservation life with no opportunities, Arnold tells his parents he is going to transfer schools - to the all-white, all-rich high school twenty-two miles away.

And so it begins.

Cleverly written, amusingly illustrated, and with wholly rounded characters, Alexie's first young adult novel is deserving of its high praises.

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Fat Kid Rules the World by K. L. Going

Reading level: Grades 7+

Troy, a three hundred pound high school boy, is standing on the edge of a train platform, mock headlines running through his head (FAT KID MESSES UP) as he realizes he probably wouldn't even totally succeed at his own suicide, when a homeless drug addict legend from Troy's high school, saves his life. Obviously Troy owes Curt lunch after his rescue (according to Curt), and the odd pair strike up an awkward friendship. Curt, it seems, has decided that Troy is to be the new drummer for Curt's band. Only one problem.

Troy has never played the drums in his life.

Short, witty, laugh-out-loud chapters punctuated by Troy's FAT KID headlines and embodying a punk rock mentality, Fat Kid is sure to appeal.

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