Realistic Fiction

Here are some of our favorite stories about kids in real-life situations, learning about themselves, family, friends, and life! Recommended for school-age children.

Compiled by:
Children Services Staff
Picture Books and Younger Elementary
Anna Hibiscus

(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Atinuke)
Series: Anna Hibiscus: book 1

Anna Hibiscus, who lives in Africa with her whole family, loves to splash in the sea and have parties for her aunties, but Anna would love to see snow. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Judy Moody

Megan McDonald
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J McDonal)
Series: Judy Moody; 1

Third grader Judy Moody is in a first day of school bad mood until she gets an assignment to create a collage all about herself and begins creating her masterpiece, the Me collage. Recommended for ages 6–9.

King of the Ice

Kelly Starling Lyons
(Juvenile First Chapter Book - J FC Lyons)
Series: Miles Lewis; 1

Although Miles Lewis loves sports and science, when his teacher announces a field trip to an ice skating rink to study physics, Miles is afraid he may fail at skating. To make matters worse, his friend RJ increases the pressure with a skating bet. But can Miles even focus on skating when his Nana may be moving out of his family home? Recommended for ages 6–9.

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!

Grace Lin
(Juvenile Early Readers - J-ER Lin)

Ling and Ting are identical twins that people think are exactly the same, but time and again they prove to be different. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Meet Yasmin!

Saadia Faruqi
(Juvenile Early Reader - J ER Far)

Yasmin uses her imagination and creativity to face any challenge and try new things. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Older Elementary

Sharon Draper
(Juvenile Fiction - J Draper)

Piano-prodigy Isabella, eleven, whose black father and white mother struggle to share custody, never feels whole, especially as racial tensions affect her school, her parents both become engaged, and she and her stepbrother are stopped by police. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Consider the  Octopus

Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin
(Juvenile Fiction - J Baskin)

JB finds himself spending the summer with his scientist mom aboard her research ship. Sidney Miller is on board as well after receiving an invitation by mistake. JB and Sidney's paths collide and they become fast friends and allies, trying to bring global attention to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch before Sidney's mistaken invitation is found out. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Andrew Clements
(Juvenile Fiction - J Cl)

When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Front Desk

Kelly Yang
(Juvenile Fiction - J Yang)

After emigrating from China, ten-year-old Mia's parents work at a rundown motel, exploited by the unpleasant owner. Mia, one of just two Chinese kids, tries to fit in at her new school. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Genesis Begins Again

Alicia Williams
(Juvenile Fiction - J William)

13-year-old Genesis tries again and again to lighten her black skin, thinking it is the root of her family's troubles, before discovering reasons to love herself as is. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Hello, Universe

Erin Entrada Kelly
(Juvenile Fiction - J Kelly)

The lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully's prank lands Virgil at the bottom of a well. Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him. Recommended for ages 9–12.

A Kind of Spark

Elle McNicoll
(Juvenile Fiction - J Mcnicol)

Addie campaigns for a memorial for the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows what it is like to be unfairly judged due to her autism, and this insight gives her a passion to fight and tell the whole story of both her hometown and herself. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Louisiana's Way Home

Kate DiCamillo
(Juvenile Fiction - J Dicamil)

Louisiana Elefante's grandmother wakes her up in the middle of the night and tells her they need to leave home immediately, and this time, Granny intends for them never to return. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Alex Gino
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gino)

Knowing herself to be a girl despite her outwardly male appearance, George is denied a female role in the class play before teaming up with a friend to reveal her true self. Recommended for ages 9–12.

New Kid

Jerry Craft
(Juvenile Graphic Novel - J-GN Craft New Kid)

After his parents send him to a prestigious private school known for its academics, Jordan Banks finds himself torn between two worlds. Recommended for ages 9–12.

The Sea in Winter

Christine Day
(Juvenile Fiction - J Day)

Maisie is feeling hopeless when she hurts her leg and can no longer do her ballet training. Over winter break, her family takes a trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up, and Maisie's dark feelings continue to grow. Maisie and her family must meet these challenging times with patience and love. Recommended for ages 9–12.

The Season of Styx Malone

Kekla Magoon
(Juvenile Fiction - J Magoon)

Caleb Franklin and his big brother, Bobby Gene, spend an extraordinary summer with their new, older neighbor, Styx Malone, a foster boy from the city. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Lisa Fipps
(Juvenile Fiction - J Fipps)

Ellie tries her best to stay hidden in order to avoid being bullied about her weight. With the help of new friends, support systems, and swimming, she learns how to use her words to stand up for herself. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Celia C. Perez
(Juvenile Fiction - J Perez)

When she decides to look for her biological father, Addie never expected to be launched into the world of famous luchadores. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Rob Harrell
(Juvenile Fiction - J Harrell)

Ross wants to be a normal seventh grader, but dealing with a rare eye cancer and the side effects make it impossible to blend in. Based on the author's real life, this insightful story is both hilarious and heartwarming. Recommended for ages 9–12.