Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Theme: New Year, New Opportunities

Boys are Dogs - (ISBN: 1599902214)

by Leslie Margolis

Annabelle has lots of new things to get used to in her new year at a new school. One of the best of the new things is getting a new puppy! Dealing with this new challenge turns out to be helpful to her travails with other recent developments in her life. Read the book to find out what the title means! What do you think it means?

Happy New Year, Mallory! - (ISBN: 9780822588832)

by Laurie B. Friedman

Mallory hates to be missing the fun her friends are having at a winter get-together when she has to go to the hospital because of stomach problems. How does she end up having a happy New Year anyway? Did you ever have to miss a special party, holiday, or field trip from an illness?

Morgy Makes His Move - (ISBN: 0395922844)

by Maggie Lewis

Morgy has plenty of challenges when every part of his life starts off to be “new.” He has to deal with a new location, people with new accents, a new situation at home with a pregnant mother, and different weather from his former location in California. What makes it all worth it, however, is when the family is all together at Thanksgiving despite the blizzard! What is your favorite holiday to celebrate with your family?

Ramona Forever - (ISBN: 978-0380709601)

by Beverly Cleary

Ramona’s year at the age of 8 finds her and her family with new happenings. Her mother puts on weight for an unknown reason. Her aunt has a new boyfriend. And Ramona’s friend Howie introduces her to his uncle visiting from Saudi Arabia. Ramona and Beezus try to stay out of trouble and support each other even when another change takes place, and they lose their pet cat. What changes has your family gone through in the past year?

The Chinese New Year Mystery - (ISBN: 978-0671787523)

by Carolyn Keene

Nancy’s class is learning about the Chinese New Year by preparing all the traditional treats and costumes. When her class learns there is to be no dragon parade, however, tempers begin to boil. Enjoy this traditional Nancy Drew mystery featuring Nancy and her Chinese friend Mari. Do you enjoy solving mysteries? What was the hardest “case to crack?”

Angelina Ice Skates - (ISBN: 978-1584856603)

by Katharine Holabird

Annie’s Adventures - (ISBN: 978-0547053387)

by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Drita My Homegirl - (ISBN: 0399243801)

by Jenny Lombard

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life - (ISBN: 978-0316058490)

by Wendy Mass

Slappy New Year - (ISBN: 978-0545161992)

by R.L. Stine

Activities for this Theme

Take some photos of your family on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Choose your favorite picture and narrate the photo using an online tool, like Voicethread.


View a slide show to learn about the animals of the Chinese zodiac.


Learn how to say Happy New Year around the world:


Make a time line of your family’s events during the last year. Add some photos to make it come to life.