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Inspiring Stories  

Last Updated: Jan 6, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Inspiring Stories on the Web

Check out these links to find short true stories from the Chicken Soup for the Soul books!


True Inspirational Stories

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Haatchi and Little B - Wendy Holden
ISBN: 9781250063182
Publication Date: 2014-07-01
Relates the true story of Owen, or "Little B" as his family calls him, who has a genetic disorder which causes his muscles to permanently tense and has led to him having severe anxiety and difficulty making friends. When he was introduced to Haatchi, a disabled Anatolian Shepherd, a bond formed between the boy and the dog that tranformed both of their lives.

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My Thirteenth Winter - Samantha Abeel
ISBN: 0439339057
Publication Date: 2005-01-01
A memoir in which Samantha Abeel discusses her life before and after being diagnosed with the math-related learning disability discalculia in seventh grade.

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Soul Surfer - Bethany Hamilton; Lauren McKenna (Editor); Sheryl Berk (As told to); Rick Bundschuh
ISBN: 0743499220
Publication Date: 2004-10-05
Bethany Hamilton shares the story of her lifelong love of surfing, and tells how she was able to recover and return to competition with the help of her family, friends, and faith, after losing her arm in a shark attack at the age of thirteen.

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The Acorn People - Ron Jones; Tom Parker (Illustrator)
ISBN: 044022702X
Publication Date: 1996-06-11
Ron expected that his time as a counselor at Camp Wiggin would be filled with sunny days spent hiking, swimming, and boating. But when he arrives on day one, his illusions are quickly shattered. He knew that the kids would be “handicapped,” but he didn’t anticipate having to care for children who can barely walk or see or retain the use of their limbs. At first, the severity of the campers’ disabilities seems too much to bear. But everything changes once Ron gets to know his group—kids who call themselves “the Acorn People” because of the acorn necklaces they wear around their necks. The campers teach him that, inside, they are the same as any average kid, and with encouragement, determination, and friendship, nothing is impossible.

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Small Steps - Peg Kehret
ISBN: 0807574589
Publication Date: 1996-01-01
The author describes her battle against polio when she was thirteen and her efforts to overcome its debilitating effects.

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Temple Grandin - Sy Montgomery; Temple Grandin
ISBN: 0547443153
Publication Date: 2012-04-03
Examines the life and accomplishments of Temple Grandin, whose childhood diagnosis of autism and love of cows led her to revolutionize the livestock industry.

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Child of the Silent Night - Edith Fisher Hunter; Bea Holmes (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0395068355
Publication Date: 1963-09-09
The story of Laura Bridgman, who had been blind and deaf since infancy but learned to communicate, and whose accomplishments paved the way for the well-known Helen Keller.

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The Story of My Life - Helen Keller
ISBN: 1416500324
Publication Date: 2005-06-01
Presents a chronology of the life and works of Helen Keller where she describes the challenges of being both deaf and blind and the many obstacles she had to overcome, and contains background information, historical timeline, explanatory and textual notes, and critical essays.

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Out of Darkness - Russell Freedman; Kate Kiesler (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0395775167
Publication Date: 1997-03-17
A biography of the nineteenth-century Frenchman who, having been blinded himself at the age of three, went on to develop a system of raised dots on paper that enabled blind people to read and write.

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Blind Boone - Madge Harrah
ISBN: 1575050579
Publication Date: 2004-01-01
Presents the life and career of the blind pianist who toured the country after the Civil War, bringing ragtime and other African American music to the concert stage.

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I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai; Patricia McCormick (As told to)
ISBN: 9780316327930
Publication Date: 2014-08-19
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On October 9, 2012, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school.

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Chinese Cinderella - Adeline Yen Mah
ISBN: 0440228654
Publication Date: 2001-03-13
The author writes about her childhood in China during the 1940s and 1950s.


Fiction - Family Problems

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Also Known As Harper - Ann Haywood Leal
ISBN: 0805088814
Publication Date: 2009-05-26
Writing poetry helps fifth-grader Harper Lee Morgan cope with her father's absence, being evicted, and having to skip school to care for her brother while their mother works, and things look even brighter after she befriends a mute girl and a kindly disabled woman.

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The Outside of a Horse - Ginny Rorby
ISBN: 9780803734784
Publication Date: 2010-05-13
When her father returns from the Iraq War as an amputee with post-traumatic stress disorder, Hannah escapes by volunteering to work with rescued horses, never thinking that the abused horses could also help her father recover.

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Sure Signs of Crazy - Karen Harrington
ISBN: 9780316210584
Publication Date: 2013-08-20
Twelve-year-old Sarah writes letters to her hero, To Kill a Mockingbird's Atticus Finch, for help understanding her mentally ill mother, her first real crush, and life in her small Texas town, all in the course of one momentous summer.

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Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy - Susan Vaught; Jennifer Black Reinhardt (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781481422765
Publication Date: 2015-03-03
Eleven-year-old Footer and her friends investigate when a nearby farm is burned, the farmer murdered, and his children disappear, but as they follow the clues, Footer starts having flashbacks and wonders if she is going crazy like her mother, who is back in a mental institution near their Mississippi home.

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The Education of Ivy Blake - Ellen Airgood
ISBN: 9780399162787
Publication Date: 2015-06-09
When eleven-year-old Ivy Blake leaves the nice farm family where she has been living in upstate New York and moves back in with her mother she is finally forced to face up to the fact that her alcoholic, dysfunctional parent will never be able to provide her with a stable home--and if she wants to achieve her dreams she is going to have to take charge of her own future.

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Keeping Safe the Stars - Sheila O'Connor
ISBN: 9780399254598
Publication Date: 2012-10-11
In rural Minnesota in 1974, thirteen-year-old Pride Star, raised to be independent, must accept help from friends and neighbors to care for eleven-year-old Nightingale and six-year-old Baby when her grandfather is hospitalized with a brain infection.

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Wild Life - Cynthia DeFelice
ISBN: 9781250034076
Publication Date: 2013-11-05
Being sent to stay with grandparents he hardly knows is hard enough for twelve-year-old Eric, whose parents are deployed to Iraq, but his grandfather's hostility and the threat of losing the dog he rescues causes Eric to run away.

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Mountain Dog - Margarita Engle; Aleksey Ivanov (Illustrator); Olga Ivanov (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250044242
Publication Date: 2014-07-15
When his mother is sent to jail in Los Angeles, eleven-year-old Tony goes to live with his forest ranger great-uncle in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where Tony experiences unconditional love for the first time through his friendship with a rescue dog.

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Three Times Lucky - Sheila Turnage
ISBN: 9780803736702
Publication Date: 2012-05-10
Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now eleven, and her best friend Dale turn detective when the amnesiac Colonel, owner of a café and co-parent of Mo with his cook, Miss Lana, seems implicated in a murder.

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Beholding Bee - Kimberly Newton Fusco
ISBN: 0375868364
Publication Date: 2013-02-12
In 1942, when life turns sour at the carnival that has always been her home, eleven-year-old Bee takes her dog, Peabody, and piglet, Cordelia, and sets out to find a real home, aided by two women only Bee and her pets can see.

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The Hidden Summer - Gin Phillips
ISBN: 9780803738362
Publication Date: 2013-06-13
When twelve-year-old Nell and her best friend, Lydia, are forbidden to see each other, they hatch a plan to spend their summer days in an abandoned miniature golf course, where they soon find others in search of a home.

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Rooftoppers - Katherine Rundell; Terry Fan (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781442490581
Publication Date: 2013-09-24
When authorities threaten to take Sophie, twelve, from Charles who has been her guardian since she was one and both survived a shipwreck, the pair goes to Paris to try to find Sophie's mother, and they are aided by Matteo and his band of "rooftoppers."


Fiction - Grief

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Walk Two Moons - Sharon Creech
ISBN: 0064405176
Publication Date: 2011-12-27
After her mother leaves home suddenly, thirteen-year-old Sal and her grandparents take a car trip retracing her mother's route. Along the way, Sal recounts the story of her friend Phoebe, whose mother also left.

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Umbrella Summer - Lisa Graff
ISBN: 9780061431876
Publication Date: 2009-06-02
After her brother Jared dies, ten-year-old Annie worries about the hidden dangers of everything, from bug bites to bicycle riding, until she is befriended by a new neighbor who is grieving her own loss

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Out of Order - Betty Hicks
ISBN: 1596430613
Publication Date: 2005-09-01
Four youngsters, ages nine to fifteen, narrate one side of the story of their newly blended family's adjustment, interwoven with grief and loss.

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The Girl Who Threw Butterflies - Mick Cochrane
ISBN: 9780375846106
Publication Date: 2010-02-09
Eighth-grader Molly's ability to throw a knuckleball earns her a spot on the baseball team, which not only helps her feel connected to her recently deceased father, who loved baseball, it helps in other aspects of her life, as well.

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My Brother's Shadow - Tom Avery
ISBN: 0385384874
Publication Date: 2014-09-09
Eleven-year-old Kaia, who has felt emotionally isolated since her brother's suicide, befriends a wild boy who mysteriously appears at her London school, finding a way to communicate with him despite his being mute.

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The Question of Miracles - Elana K. Arnold
ISBN: 0544334647
Publication Date: 2015-02-03
Unhappy about moving from sunny California to rainy Corvallis, Oregon, and grieving over the death of her best friend, sixth-grader Iris looks for a miracle and may find one in new friend Boris.

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Silhouetted by the Blue - Traci L. Jones
ISBN: 9780374369149
Publication Date: 2011-07-19
After the death of her mother in an automobile accident, seventh-grader Serena, who has gotten the lead in her middle school play, is left to handle the day-to-day challenges of caring for herself and her younger brother when their father cannot pull himself out of his depression


Fiction - Learning Disabilities

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Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You - Barthe DeClements; Barthe Declements
ISBN: 9780142413807
Publication Date: 2008-09-11
Helen fears that lack of improvement in her reading may leave her stuck in sixth grade forever, until a good teacher recognizes her reading problem.

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Bluefish - Pat Schmatz
ISBN: 9780763653347
Publication Date: 2011-09-13
Everything changes for thirteen-year-old Travis, a new student who is trying to hide a learning disability, when he meets a remarkable teacher and a sassy classmate with her own secrets.

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A Mango-Shaped Space - Wendy Mass
ISBN: 9780316058254
Publication Date: 2005-10-19
Afraid that she is crazy, thirteen-year-old Mia, who sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound, keeps this a secret until she becomes overwhelmed by school, changing relationships, and the death of her beloved cat, Mango.

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Two-Minute Drill - Mike Lupica
ISBN: 9780399247156
Publication Date: 2007-09-20
Brainy Scott, a great kicker who otherwise struggles with football, and star quarterback Chris, who has dyslexia, team up to help each other succeed in both football and school.

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Fish in a Tree - Lynda Mullaly Hunt
ISBN: 0399162593
Publication Date: 2015-02-05
"Ally'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"--Provided by publisher.


Fiction - Bullying

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Freak the Mighty - Rodman Philbrick
ISBN: 0590474138
Publication Date: 1995-05-01
Max, a large eighth-grader with a learning disability, becomes friends with Freak, an intelligent boy who is physically impaired.

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Where I Belong - Mary Downing Hahn
ISBN: 0544230205
Publication Date: 2014-09-02
"Eleven-year-old Brendan Doyle doesn't get along with his foster mother, he's failing fifth grade, and he's bullied mercilessly by a band of boys in his class. Then Brendan meets two potential friends--an eccentric old man and a girl from summer school--and he sees that there may be hope for him after all"--Provided by publisher.

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Fort - Cynthia DeFelice
ISBN: 0374324271
Publication Date: 2015-05-19
Wyatt and his friend Augie are enjoying the fort they built, but when two older boys mess with it and with another kid who can't fight back, they launch Operation Doom to get back at the bullies.

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Twerp - Mark Goldblatt
ISBN: 0375971424
Publication Date: 2013-05-28
In Queens, New York, in 1969, twelve-year-old Julian Twerski writes a journal for his English teacher in which he explores his friendships and how they are effected by girls, a new student who may be as fast as Julian, and especially an incident of bullying.

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The Liberation of Gabriel King - K. L. Going
ISBN: 039923991X
Publication Date: 2005-06-16
In Georgia during the summer of 1976, Gabriel, a white boy who is being bullied, and Frita, an African American girl who is facing prejudice, decide to overcome their many fears together as they enter fifth grade.

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The Saturday Boy - David Fleming
ISBN: 9780670785513
Publication Date: 2013-06-13
Every school day seems to bring more trouble to eleven-year-old Derek, whose former best friend bullies him, while at home he deals with the long absence of his father, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and his mother's sudden moodiness.

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Freak - Marcella Pixley
ISBN: 9780374324537
Publication Date: 2007-09-18
Twelve-year-old Miriam, poetic, smart, and quirky, is considered a freak by the popular girls at her middle school, and she eventually explodes in response to their bullying, revealing an inner strength she did not know she had.

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Binny in Secret - Hilary McKay; Micah Player (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781442482784
Publication Date: 2015-06-16
While getting bullied at school, twelve-year-old Binny investigates the disappearance of her brother's chicken and tries to save an endangered lynx.

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Schooled - Gordon Korman
ISBN: 0786856920
Publication Date: 2007-07-31
Capricorn Cap Anderson has been homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Rain. When Rain is injured in a fall, Cap is forced to attend the local middle school. Although he knows a lot about Zen Buddhism, nothing has prepared him for the politics of public school.

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The Bully Book - Eric Kahn Gale
ISBN: 9780062125118
Publication Date: 2012-12-26
Eric Haskins feels like everyone is picking on him, but when he discovers a conspiracy theory about a bully book that reveals a framework for gaining power in the school by turning everyone against one kid known as a grunt, Eric finds himself on the trail of huge secrets at Arborland Elementary School.

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The Second Life of Abigail Walker - Frances O'Roark Dowell
ISBN: 9781442405936
Publication Date: 2012-08-28
Bullied by two mean girls in her sixth-grade class, a lonely, plump girl gains self-confidence and makes new friends after a mysterious fox gently bites her.

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The PS Brothers - Maribeth Boelts
ISBN: 9780547342498
Publication Date: 2010-10-04
Sixth-graders Russell and Shawn, poor and picked on, work together scooping dog droppings to earn money for a Rottweiler puppy to protect them from bullies, but when they learn the puppies' owner is running an illegal dog- fighting ring, they are torn about how to respond

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When Zachary Beaver Came to Town - Kimberly Willis Holt
ISBN: 0805061169
Publication Date: 1999-10-15
During the summer of 1971 in a small Texas town, thirteen-year-old Toby and his best friend Cal meet the star of a sideshow act, 600-pound Zachary, the fattest boy in the world.

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Slob - Ellen Potter
ISBN: 9780399247057
Publication Date: 2009-05-14
Picked on, overweight genius Owen tries to invent a television that can see the past to find out what happened the day his parents were killed.

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Eight Keys - Suzanne LaFleur
ISBN: 9780385740302
Publication Date: 2011-08-09
When twelve-year-old Elise, orphaned since age three, becomes disheartened by middle school, with its bullies, changing relationships, and higher expectations, keys to long-locked rooms and messages from her late father help her cope.

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Warp Speed - Lisa Yee
ISBN: 0545122767
Publication Date: 2011-03-01
Marley Sandelski has always felt invisible at school when he is not facing bullies, but a series of unexpected events gives him a taste of popularity and insights into some classmates who are well-liked or greatly-feared.

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Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia - Barbara O'Connor
ISBN: 0374322589
Publication Date: 2003-05-01
Unpopular sixth-grader Burdette "Bird" Weaver persuades the new boy at school, whom everyone thinks is mean and dumb, to be her partner for a spelling bee that might win her everything she's ever wanted.


Fiction - Homelessness

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Almost Home - Joan Bauer
ISBN: 9780670012893
Publication Date: 2012-09-13
Sixth-grader Sugar and her mother lose their beloved house and experience the harsh world of homelessness.

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Under the Banyan Tree - Toni De Palma
ISBN: 9780823419654
Publication Date: 2007-05-01
After her mother leaves, fifteen-year-old Irena runs away from home and hitchhikes to Key West where she tries to make a better life for herself.

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No Ordinary Day - Deborah Ellis
ISBN: 9781554981342
Publication Date: 2011-09-20
Valli has always been afraid of the lepers living on the other side of the train tracks in the coal town of Jharia, India, so when a chance encounter with a doctor reveals she also has leprosy, Valli rejects help and begins an uncertain life on the streets

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Outside In - Sarah Ellis
ISBN: 9781554983674
Publication Date: 2014-05-13
Thirteen-year-old Lynn's new friend, Blossom, has a secret: her family lives off the grid. Lynn admires their squatters' lifestyle--but may be forced to expose it.

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How to Steal a Dog - Barbara O'Connor
ISBN: 9780312561123
Publication Date: 2009-04-27
Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother's calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.

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Maniac Magee - Jerry Spinelli
ISBN: 0316809063
Publication Date: 1999-11-01
After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee's life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his contemporaries.

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Runaway - Wendelin Van Draanen
ISBN: 9780375835223
Publication Date: 2006-09-12
After running away from her fifth foster home, Holly, a twelve-year-old orphan, travels across the country, keeping a journal of her experiences and struggle to survive.

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Hold Fast - Blue Balliett
ISBN: 9780545299886
Publication Date: 2013-03-01
On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early's father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless--and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father.

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Counting by 7s - Holly Goldberg Sloan
ISBN: 9780803738553
Publication Date: 2013-08-29
Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.

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Paper Things - Jennifer Richard Jacobson
ISBN: 0763663239
Publication Date: 2015-02-10
Nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with a bossy guardian, and runs off with his little sister Ari. The two struggle to find a place to live and to get Ari into the middle school for gifted students they promised their mother she'd get into.


Fiction - Physical Disabilities

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Wonder - R. J. Palacio
ISBN: 9780375869020
Publication Date: 2012-02-14
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunts and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

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Shark Girl - Kelly Bingham
ISBN: 9780763632076
Publication Date: 2007-04-10
After a shark attack causes the amputation of her right arm, fifteen-year-old Jane, an aspiring artist, struggles to come to terms with her loss and the changes it imposes on her day-to-day life and her plans for the future

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Hurt Go Happy - Ginny Rorby
ISBN: 0765314428
Publication Date: 2006-08-08
Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis has been deaf since age six, but her mother has refused to let her learn sign language, leaving Joey struggling to connect with those around her until she meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, who secretly teach Joey how to sign.

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Rules - Cynthia Lord
ISBN: 0439443822
Publication Date: 2006-04-01
Frustrated at life with an autistic brother, twelve-year-old Catherine longs for a normal existence but her world is further complicated by a friendship with an young paraplegic.

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Out of My Mind - Sharon M. Draper
ISBN: 141697170X
Publication Date: 2010-03-09
Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

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Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key - Jack Gantos
ISBN: 0374336644
Publication Date: 1998-10-14
To the constant disappointment of his mother and his teachers, Joey has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his prescription meds wear off and he starts getting worked up and acting wired.

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How to Speak Dolphin - Ginny Rorby
ISBN: 9780545676052
Publication Date: 2015-05-26
Since her mother died, twelve-year-old Lily has struggled to care for her severely autistic half-brother, Adam, in their Miami home, but she is frustrated and angry because her oncologist step-father, Don, expects her to devote her time to Adam, and is unwilling to admit that Adam needs professional help--but when Adam bonds with a young dolphin with cancer Lily is confronted with another dilemma: her family or the dolphin's freedom.

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Rogue - Lyn Miller-Lachmann
ISBN: 9780399162251
Publication Date: 2013-05-16
An eighth-grade girl with Asperger's syndrome tries to befriend her new neighbor, facing many challenges along the way.

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Anything but Typical - Nora Raleigh Baskin
ISBN: 9781416963783
Publication Date: 2009-03-24
Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.


Fiction - Foster Children

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Touch Blue - Cynthia Lord
ISBN: 0545035317
Publication Date: 2010-08-01
When the state of Maine threatens to shut down their island's one-room schoolhouse because of dwindling enrollment, eleven-year-old Tess, a strong believer in luck, and her family take in a trumpet-playing foster child, to increase the school's population.

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One for the Murphys - Lynda Mullaly Hunt
ISBN: 9780142426524
Publication Date: 2013-05-16
Carley struggles with being open to love after she suffers a betrayal that forces her to move in with a foster family.

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Peace, Locomotion - Jacqueline Woodson
ISBN: 9780399246555
Publication Date: 2009-01-22
Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as "Locomotion," keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War.

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Way down Deep - Ruth White
ISBN: 0374382514
Publication Date: 2007-03-20
In the West Virginia town of Way Down Deep in the 1950s, a foundling called Ruby June is happily living with Miss Arbutus at the local boarding house when suddenly, after the arrival of a family of outsiders, the mystery of Ruby's past begins to unravel.

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Pictures of Hollis Woods - Patricia Reilly Giff (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0385326556
Publication Date: 2002-09-10
A troublesome twelve-year-old orphan, staying with an elderly artist who needs her, remembers the only other time she was happy in a foster home, with a family that truly seemed to care about her.

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Ruby Holler - Sharon Creech
ISBN: 0060277335
Publication Date: 2002-03-26
Thirteen-year-old fraternal twins Dallas and Florida have grown up in a terrible orphanage but their lives change forever when an eccentric but sweet older couple invites them each on an adventure, beginning in an almost magical place called Ruby Holler.

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Summer of the Wolves - Polly Carlson-Voiles
ISBN: 0547745915
Publication Date: 2012-05-08
In the wilderness lake country of northern Minnesota, an orphaned twelve-year-old girl and a wolf pup share a rare bond.


Fiction - Illness

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The Honest Truth - Dan Gemeinhart
ISBN: 9780545665735
Publication Date: 2015-01-27
A boy named Mark, tired of being sick with cancer, conceives a plan to climb Mount Rainier, and runs away from home with his dog, Beau--but with over two hundred miles between him and his goal, and only anger at his situation to drive him on, nothing will be easy, and only his best friend, Jessie, suspects where he is heading.


Fiction - Child Abuse

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The Boy from the Basement - Susan Shaw
ISBN: 0525472231
Publication Date: 2004-10-07
For Charlie, the basement is home. He's being punished. He doesn't mean to leave - Father wouldn't allow it - but when Charlie is accidentally thrust outside, he awakens to the alien surroundings of a world to which he's never before been exposed. Though haunted by hallucinations and fear of the basement and his father's rage, Charlie embarks on a journey toward recovery that blossoms when he finally finds unconditional love.


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