Realistic Stories

Realistic Stories

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.

How Oliver Olson Changed the World

Claudia Mills
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Mills)

Afraid he will always be an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, nine-year-old Oliver finally shows his extremely overprotective parents that he is capable of doing great things without their help while his class is studying the solar system. Recommended for ages 6-9.

In Aunt Lucy's Kitchen

Cynthia Rylant
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Rylant)
Series: Cobble Street cousins

While staying with their aunt for a year, three nine-year-old cousins keep busy baking and selling cookies, putting on a poetry and singing performance, and trying to encourage a romance between their aunt and one of their former customers. Recommended for ages 6-9.

Judy Moody

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

*This item also available on Libby, Cloud Library, and HooplaThird 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.

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.

Older Elementary


Sharon Draper
(Juvenile Fiction - J Draper)

*This item also available on LibbyPiano-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.

Fish in a Tree

Lynda Mullaly Hunt
(Juvenile Fiction - J Hunt)

*This item also available on LibbyAlly's greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn't know how to read due to being dyslexic. But Ally is anything but dumb since she's convinced teacher after teacher that she can read. Recommended for ages 9-12.


Andrew Clements
(Juvenile Fiction - J Cl)

*This item also available on LibbyWhen 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.

This item is also available on Libby and Cloud Library

Genesis Begins Again

Alicia Williams
(Juvenile Fiction - J William)

*This item also available on Libby and Cloud LibraryThirteen-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.


Alex Gino
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gino)

*This item also available on Libby and Cloud Library (audiobook). 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.

Gertie's Leap to Greatness

Kate Beasley
(Juvenile Fiction - J Beasley)

*This item also available on LibbyWhen her estranged mother decides to move out of town, Gertie devises a five-step plan that will make her the best fifth grader ever in order to show her mother what she'll be leaving behind, but a new student challenges her efforts. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered

Gary Paulsen
(Juvenile Fiction - J Paulsen)

Sent to live with relatives on their farm because of his unhappy home life, an eleven-year-old city boy meets his distant cousin Harris and is given an introduction to a whole new world in hilarious adventures. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Hello, Universe

Erin Entrada Kelly
(Juvenile Fiction - J Kelly)

This item is also available on Libby, Cloud Library, and Hoopla. The lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully's prank lands shy 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.

Louisiana's Way Home

Kate DiCamillo
(Juvenile Fiction - J Dicamil)

*This item also available on Libby and Cloud LibraryLouisiana Elefante's granny 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.

Olive's Ocean

Kevin Henkes
(Juvenile Fiction - J Henkes)

*This item also available on Cloud Library and HooplaOn a summer visit to her grandmother's cottage by the ocean, twelve-year-old Martha gains perspective on the death of a classmate, on her relationship with her grandmother, on her feelings for an older boy, and on her plans to be a writer. Recommended for ages 9-12.

The Season of Styx Malone

Kekla Magoon
(Juvenile Fiction - J Magoon)

*This item also available on LibbyCaleb 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.

Song for a Whale

Lynne Kelly
(Juvenile Fiction - J Kelly)

*This item also available on LibbyTwelve-year-old Iris and her grandmother, both deaf, drive from Texas to Alaska armed with Iris's plan to help Blue-55, a whale unable to communicate with other whales. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Sunny Side Up

Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
(Juvenile Graphic Novels – J Holm)

*This item also available on Libby and Cloud LibraryA semi-autobiographical tale by the award-winning sister-brother team behind the Babymouse series follows the lives of kids whose older brother's delinquent behavior has thrown their family into chaos. Recommended for ages 9-12.

The Thing About Luck

Cynthia Kadohata
(Juvenile Fiction - J Kadohat)

*This item also available on Hoopla (audiobook). Just when twelve-year-old Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong in a year of bad luck, an emergency takes her parents to Japan, leaving Summer to care for her little brother while helping her grandmother cook and do laundry for harvest workers. Recommended for ages 9-12.