Children’s minds absorb the world around them like a sponge. They can’t help but soak up the various offerings stories give them. Ithra Library’s book recommendations for kids under 12 years old will broaden your children’s minds—allowing them to experience other cultures and understand others’ perspectives – even animals’ perspectives! Reading provides the joy of being a confident young individual in our world.

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Islandborn - Junot Diaz

Islandborn follows Lola, who has the help of her family and friends to navigate what her homeland was like before her family immigrated from the Dominican Republic. Throughout this graphic novel, we discover her home filled with fruits and beautiful people.

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Other Words for Home - Jasmine Warga

Other Words for Home follows a Syrian refugee, Jude, and her mother, who have fled Syria to live in Cincinnati. Jude adapts to living in America, where everything seems fastpaced and loud. Jude finds unexpected surprises and a new life to live.

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The One and Only Ivan - Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan is a story told by a silverback gorilla living in a cage at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall. Ivan’s mundane days spent in his cage are interrupted when Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, reminds him of their real home in the jungle.

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Wonder - R.J. Palacio

August Pullman was born with severely deformed facial features. Starting 5th grade at a public school for the first time, he faces his new peers. This remarkable book tells the story of Auggie and glimpses the point of view of his classmates, his sister and other characters throughout the story.

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The Heart of a Whale - Anna Pignataro

The Heart of a Whale illustrates the beautiful story of a whale who fills the ocean with his song, calming and making his ocean friends happy even though he feels empty inside. With a sigh, his mournful call for help finds its way to the right place.

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Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren

Pippi Longstocking is a young, free-spirited girl who lives every day optimistically. She has long red hair twisted in crazy pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, and she wears outrageous long stockings that seal the flair of her adventurous life!

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the journal of Greg Heffley, a middle school kid who starts a new year at a new school. While Greg and his friend Rowley set off in their new year to prove their maturity, unexpected turns take place. His friendship with Rowley is tested in funny ways.

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Coraline - Neil Gaiman

Coraline is a dark fantasy that follows Coraline. When she went exploring her new home, she found another flat that looks like hers. Only, there’s a mother and father who want Coraline to be their own little girl. Coraline finds herself fighting to save the other children who are trapped there as she fights to save herself.

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The Lost Thing - Shaun Tan

The Lost Thing tells the story of a kid who finds a freaky-looking creature on the beach. He sets off to figure out where the lost thing belongs. The Lost Thing is a fun read and reveals the thoughts of an observant young narrator.

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The Viewer - Gary Crew

The Viewer is about Tristan, a curious boy who collects different objects from the rubbish dump. He finds an old Viewmaster and looks inside. He sees things like nothing before, and those images stick in his mind throughout the night. In bed, he can’t resist the urge to look inside the box once again. In the morning, his mother finds only the locked box and his empty bed.