Book picks similar to
Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman


middle-grade
animals
realistic-fiction
nature

The Truth of Me


Patricia MacLachlan - 2013
    Robbie loves the stories Maddy tells, and also how wild animals trust her enough to come right up to her. But Robbie has always felt as if something is missing in his life--his parents don’t always act like they love him. Maddy helps him understand that an experience his mother had long ago is at the heart of the problem in his family. With this knowledge, Robbie finds the courage to try to make things right. This poignant story celebrates how our unique “small truths” make each of us magical and brave in our own ways.

There Will Be Bears


Ryan Gebhart - 2014
    These days, Bright just wants to be seen with the cool jocks who make fun of Tyson’s Taylor Swift obsession and dorky ways. So when Grandpa Gene has to move to a nursing home that can manage his kidney disease, Tyson feels like he’s losing his only friend. Not only that, but Tyson was counting on Grandpa Gene to take him on his first big hunt. So in defiance of Mom and Dad’s strict orders, and despite reports of a scary, stalking, man-eating grizzly named Sandy, the two sneak off to the Grand Tetons. Yes, there will be action, like shooting and dressing a six-hundred-pound elk. Is Tyson tough enough? There will be heart-pounding suspense: is Grandpa Gene too sick to handle the hunt, miles away from help? And, oh yes, there will be bears...

Honeybees and Frenemies


Kristi Wientge - 2019
    It becomes even worse when she’s asked to compete in the local honey pageant. This means Flor has to spend the summer practicing her talent (recorder) and volunteering (helping a recluse bee-keeper) with Candice, her former friend who’s still bitter about losing the pageant crown to Flor when they were in second grade. And she can’t say no.Then there’s the possibility that Flor and her family are leaving to move in with her mom’s family in New Jersey. And with how much her mom and dad have been fighting lately, is it possible that her dad may not join them? Flor can’t let that happen. She has a lot of work to do.

Fly Back, Agnes


Elizabeth Atkinson - 2020
     Twelve-year-old Agnes hates everything about her life: her name, her parents' divorce, her best friend's abandonment, her changing body . . . . So while staying with her dad over the summer, she decides to become someone else. She tells people she meets that her name is Chloe, she's fourteen, her parents are married, and she's a dancer and actor--just the life she wants. But Agnes's fibs quickly stack up and start to complicate her new friendships, especially with Fin, whose mysterious relative runs a local raptor rehab center that fascinates Agnes. The birds, given time and care, heal and fly back home. Agnes, too, wants to get back to wherever she truly belongs. But first she must come to see the good in her real life, however flawed and messy it is, and be honest with her friends, her family, and herself.

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness


Tricia Springstubb - 2015
    But nothing is as beautiful as the first day of summer vacation, and Cody doesn’t want to waste one minute of it. Meanwhile, teenage brother Wyatt is moping over a girl, Mom is stressed about her new job as Head of Shoes, Dad is off hauling chairs in his long-distance truck, and even camp has been closed for the summer. What to do? Just when all seems lost, Cody bumps into a neighborhood boy named Spencer who is looking for a runaway cat. With a new friend and a soon-to-be-found cat, Cody is on her way to the fountain of happiness.

Song for a Whale


Lynne Kelly - 2019
    But she's the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she's not very smart. If you've ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to "sing" to him! But he's three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

The Elephant in the Room


Holly Goldberg Sloan - 2021
    But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places.A moving story of family separation and the importance of the connection between animals and humans, this novel has the enormous heart and uplifting humor that readers have come to expect from the beloved author of Counting by 7s.

The Trail


Meika Hashimoto - 2017
    But now Lucas isn't there to do it with him.Toby's determined to hike the trail alone and fulfill their pact, which means dealing with the little things - the Blisters, the Heat, the Hunger - and the big things - the Bears, the LonelinessMemories.When a storm comes, Toby finds himself tangled up in someone else's mess: Two boys desperately need his help. But does Toby have any help to give?The Trail is a remarkable story of physical survival and true friendship, about a boy who's determined to forge his path - and to survive.

Sled Dog School


Terry Lynn Johnson - 2017
    But what is he even good at? The only thing he truly loves is his team of dogs, and so Matt’s Sled Dog School is born. Teaching dogsledding should be easy, right? But people, just like dogs, can be unpredictable. And sometimes the bravest thing a person can do is admit they need help.

Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea


Lynne Rae Perkins - 2018
    The Wall Street Journal said, “Ocean meets sky meets two young girls in Lynne Rae Perkins’s affectionate chapter book. . . . Illustrations by the author add wit and tenderness to this sunny summer story.” For fans of Kate DiCamillo and Rebecca Stead.Alix and her older sister, Jools, have never been to the ocean. When their parents pack them up to spend a week by the shore, Alix is nervous about leaving home—but excited, too. At the beach, the sisters make friends, go exploring, and have adventures big and small. To Alix’s surprise, as the week comes to an end, she finds she doesn’t want to leave!Each chapter contains its own miniature discovery—from picking periwinkles, meeting a crab, and making sandcastles, to exploring the nearby town. Award-winning author Lynne Rae Perkins has beautifully crafted a genuine and engaging novel about sisters, family, and exploration.A great read-aloud, as well as a good choice for newly independent readers. Booklist said, “Ordinary pleasures, in the hands of a writer so skilled, are elevated.” Features black and white art throughout.

Bringing Me Back


Beth Vrabel - 2018
    It's Noah's fault that the entire football program got shut down after last year.One day, Noah notices a young bear at the edge of the woods with her head stuck in a bucket. A bucket that was almost certainly left outside as part of a school fundraiser to bring back the football team. As days go by, the bear is still stuck--she's wasting away and clearly getting weaker, even as she runs from anyone who tries to help. And she's always alone.Though Noah ignores the taunts at school and ignores his mother's phone calls from jail, he can't ignore the bear. Everyone else has written the bear off as a lost cause--just like they have with Noah. He makes it his mission to help her.But rescuing the bear means tackling his past--and present--head-on. Could saving the bear ultimately save Noah, too?

I Am Drums


Mike Grosso - 2016
    But she doesn’t know how to afford a drum kit, or why budget cuts end her school’s music program, or why her parents argue so much, or even how to explain her dream to other people.But drums sound all the time in Sam’s head, and she’d do just about anything to play them out loud—even lie to her family if she has to. Will the cost of chasing her dream be too high?

Seaglass Summer


Anjali Banerjee - 2010
    This summer, she's going to spend a month with her uncle Sanjay, veterinarian and owner of the Furry Friends Animal Clinic on an island off the Washington coast. Poppy is in for big surprises. She loves tending to the dogs, cats, and even a bird, and she discovers the fun of newborn puppies and the satisfaction of doing a good job. But she learns that there's more to caring for animals than the stethoscope and cotton swabs in her Deluxe Veterinarian First-Aid Kit. She's not prepared for quirky pet owners, gross stuff, or scary emergencies. With help from a boy named Hawk, a chunk of seaglass, and a touch of intuition, Poppy gains a deeper understanding of the pain and joy of working with animals. With warmth and humor, Anjali Banerjee tells the story of a resourceful, determined girl who can't wait to grow up, but begins to realize just how much she has left to discover.

The Skeleton Tree


Iain Lawrence - 2016
    The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they've got to find a way to forage, fish and scavenge supplies from the shore. Chris likes the company of a curious friendly raven more than he likes the prickly Frank. But the boys have to get along if they want to survive. Because as the days get colder, and the salmon migration ends, survival will take more than sheer force of will. There in the wilderness of Kodiak, they discover a bond they didn't expect, and through it, the compassion and teamwork that might truly be the path to rescue.

The Queen Bee and Me


Gillian McDunn - 2020
    She's always found comfort in Beatrix's shadow—even their families call them Beatrix-and-Meg. But middle school has brought some changes in Beatrix, especially when Meg tries to step outside her role as sidekick. Upsetting Beatrix means risking The Freeze—or worse.Meg gets into a special science elective and wants to take the class, no matter what Beatrix thinks. But when quirky new girl Hazel becomes Meg's science partner, Beatrix sets her sights on Hazel. At first, Meg is taken aback at how mean Beatrix can be—and how difficult it is to stand up to her friend. But as Meg gets to know Hazel while working on their backyard beehive project, she starts to wonder: What's it really like to be the Queen Bee? And more importantly: Is being Beatrix's friend worth turning down the possibility of finding her own voice?