The Black Pearl by Scott O'Dell:
Sixteen-year-old Ramon learns about pearling and the Manta Diablo in Baja California. His dream of diving for pearls leads him to the great pearl-the magnificent Pearl of Heaven. But his discovery also gains him two enemies and he learns that possession of the giant pearl profoundly reshapes his life.
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck:
Mary Alice's summer days spent in Grandma Dowdel's hick town are packed with surprises and drama. Now she is fifteen and facing a whole year with Grandma, a woman well known for shaking up the local populace. A masterfully woven tale with a rich sense of humor.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Set in Mississippi in the 1930's Depression, this is an unforgettable story of Cassie and her family's struggle to maintain their independence, integrity, and pride.
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Eleven-year-old Elijah is the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from Detroit. Things change when a former slave steals money from his friend and Elijah embarks on a dangerous journey to America in pursuit of the thief.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles, and Calvin who are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Far off the coast of California lies an island, the Island of San Nicholas, where an Indian girl spent eighteen years living alone in the early 1800's. This is her story, an adventure filled with drama and heartache as she battled to survive.