Dorothy's List cover image

Dorothy’s List, VPR’s book club for kids!

Middle grade readers in Vermont are diving into the books nominated for the 2016-2017 kids’ choice Dorothy Canfield Book Award. Dorothy’s List jumps in with readers in Post Mills discussing Circus Mirandus by Vermont College of Fine Arts graduate Cassie Beasley.

Dorothy's List is back! Get ready to dive into the books nominated for the 2016-2017 award!

Dorothy's List is back! Get ready to dive into the books nominated for the 2016-2017 award!

El Deafo Wins Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award book cover

El Deafo Wins Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award

2016-2017 Preview

More than 3,200 Vermont middle schoolers voted for this year’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, and it was a tight race. But in the end El Deafo was a clear winner.

Listen 10 min 27 sec

Read Original Post

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place book cover

6th grade & up

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

By Julie Berry

The students of St. Etheldreda's School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home – unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong.

Listen 9 min 46 sec

Read Original Post

Under the Egg book cover

5th grade & up

Under the Egg

By Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Only two people know about the masterpiece hidden in the Tenpenny home – and one of them is dead. The other is Theodora Tenpenny, who is now responsible for tending the family's two-hundred-year-old town house, caring for a flock of unwieldy chickens, and supporting her fragile mother, all on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. Will the priceless painting save her life or destroy everything she thought she knew about her grandfather?

Listen 10 min 43 sec

Read Original Post

The Port Chicago 50 book cover

6th grade & up

The Port Chicago 50

By Steve Sheinkin

On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution.

Listen 10 min 48 sec

Read Original Post

Unfriended book cover

6th grade & up


By Rachel Vail

When Truly is invited to sit at the Popular Table with the group she has dreamed of joining, she can hardly believe her luck. Everyone seems so nice, so kind to one another. But all is not as it seems with her new friends, and soon she’s caught in a maelstrom of lies, misunderstandings, accusations and counter-accusations, all happening very publicly in the relentless, hyperconnected social media world from which there is no escape.

Listen 9 min 53 sec

Read Original Post

The Crossover book cover

6th grade & up

The Crossover

By Kwame Alexander

“A bolt of lightning on my kicks . . . The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood – he’s got mad beats, too, which help him find his rhythm when it’s all on the line.

Listen 10 min 17 sec

Read Original Post

El Deafo book cover

4th grade & up

El Deafo

By Cece Bell

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this graphic memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful – and very awkward – hearing aid.

Listen 10 min 59 sec

Read Original Post

The Art of Secrets book cover

7th grade & up

The Art of Secrets

By James Klise

When Saba Khan’s apartment burns in a mysterious fire, possibly a hate crime, her Chicago high school rallies around her. Then a quirky piece of art donated to a school fund-raising effort for the Khans is revealed to be an unknown work by a famous artist, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Saba’s life turns upside down again.

Listen 11 min 4 sec

Read Original Post

The One Safe Place book cover

7th grade & up

The One Safe Place

By Tania Unsworth

Devin doesn’t remember life before the world got hot; he has grown up farming the scorched earth with his grandfather in their remote valley. When his grandfather dies, Devin heads for the city. Once there he finds scores of children, just like him, living alone on the streets. They tell him rumors of a place for abandoned children, with unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new family. But only the luckiest get there.

Listen 10 min 5 sec

Read Original Post

Previous Books

The Expeditioners book cover

The Expeditioners

By S.S. Taylor

Computers have failed, electricity is extinct, and the race to discover new lands is underway! Kit the brain, M.K. the tinkerer, and Zander the brave have inherited a strange map from their dead father. But why are so many government agents trying to steal it?

Read Original Post

Listen 10 min 55 sec
Bomb book cover


By Steve Sheinkin

In 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory used uranium to split an atom in two – a simple discovery that would launch a scientific race that spanned three continents. Bomb is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, deceit and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon: the atomic bomb.

Read Original Post

Listen 8 min 23 sec
See You At Harry's book cover

See You At Harry's

By Jo Knowles

For 12-year-old Fern, starting middle school brings all the usual challenges -- at school and at home. If it weren't for Ran, Fern’s calm and positive best friend, there’d be nowhere to turn. Then the unthinkable happens, and Fern and her family must find a way to heal.

Read Original Post

Listen 7 min 17 sec
The Boy On Cinnamon Street book cover

The Boy On Cinnamon Street

By Phoebe Stone

Seventh-grader Louise should be the captain of her school's gymnastics team—but she isn't. She's fun and cute and should have lots of friends—but she doesn't. And there's a dreamy boy who has a crush on her – but somehow they never connect. Louise has everything going for her—so what’s holding her back?

Read Original Post

Listen 12 min 21 sec
Wonder book cover


By R.J. Palacio

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Wonder begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion and acceptance.

Read Original Post

Listen 9 min 44 sec
Temple Grandin book cover

Temple Grandin

By Sy Montgomery

Dr. Temple Grandin is a scientist and professor of animal science at Colorado State University whose world-changing career revolutionized the livestock industry. Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Temple uses her experience as an example of the unique contributions that autistic people can make. This compelling biography takes us inside her extraordinary mind and opens the door to a broader understanding of autism.

Read Original Post

Listen 11 min 20 sec
After Eli book cover

After Eli

By Rebecca Rupp

Some people die heroically, others accidentally. When Daniel Anderson’s older brother Eli dies, he wonders which category Eli’s death falls into. In an attempt to understand, Danny creates a Book of the Dead — an old binder that he fills with details about dead people, how they died, and, most important, for what purpose.

Read Original Post

Listen 9 min 14 sec
33 Minutes ...Until Morgan Sturtz Kicks My Butt book cover

33 Minutes ...Until Morgan Sturtz Kicks My Butt

By Todd Hasak-Lowy

In exactly 33 minutes, Sam Lewis is going to get his butt kicked by his ex-best friend Morgan Sturtz. How could this happen? Did it start when Morgan began hanging out with the new kid? Or was it when Morgan joined the football team and Sam became star of the ArithmeTitans math team? And wait – who cares about that stuff? Is Sam going to get his butt kicked in 33 minutes or not?

Read Original Post

Listen 9 min 53 sec
Better Nate Than Ever book cover

Better Nate Than Ever

By Tim Federle

Nate Foster has always wanted to be a star in a Broadway show. But how is he supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankbug, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal, Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York, to try out for E.T.: The Musical. Can Nate sing his way to the top, and make it home before his parents find out?

Read Original Post

Listen 8 min 21 sec
Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War book cover

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War

By Helen Frost

Anikwa and James, 12 years old in 1812, spend their days exploring together in the forests of the Indiana Territory. To Anikwa and his family, members of the Miami tribe, this land has been home for centuries. As traders, James’s family has ties to the Miami community as well as to the American soldiers in the fort. Now war is on the horizon and the Miami tribe and the soldiers are taking different sides. James and Anikwa must decide where their deepest loyalties lie.

Read Original Post

Listen 9 min 20 sec
Courage Has No Color book cover

Courage Has No Color

By Tanya Lee Stone

During World War II thousands of American soldiers fought against the injustices brought on by Hitler in Europe. But back on the home front there was rampant discrimination against African Americans, including in the military. Tanya Lee Stone examines the little-known history of the Triple Nickles, the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion and America’s first black paratroopers, who first had to battle for relevance in WWII.

Read Original Post

Listen 11 min 20 sec
Golden Boy book cover

Golden Boy

By Tara Sullivan

Thirteen-year-old Habo has light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. When his family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, Habo knows he is to blame. On their journey across Tanzania, Habo learns a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. To survive, Habo must run, and find a way to love and accept himself.

Read Original Post

Listen 11 min 44 sec
P.S. Be Eleven book cover

P.S. Be Eleven

By Rita Williams-Garcia

When Delphine and her younger sisters return to Brooklyn after spending the summer with their Black Panther mother in Oakland, they find things have changed. Pa has a girlfriend. Uncle Darnell is home from Vietnam, but he’s not the same. Yet their grandmother, Big Ma, still has high expectations for Delphine, who confides her troubles in letters to her mother. The letters she gets back remind her to “be eleven.”

Read Original Post

Listen 11 min 37 sec
The Center of Everything book cover

The Center of Everything

By Linda Urban

Ruby Pepperdine has lost her center. Her best friend, Lucy, is mad at her. Her new friendship with Nero is pretty bumpy too. And worst of all, Ruby has one big regret – she didn’t listen to her grandmother Gigi, and now Gigi is gone and she can’t take it back. But she does have one thing going for her. Can her twelfth birthday wish fix everything?

Read Original Post

Listen 10 min 58 sec
Prisoner 88 book cover

Prisoner 88

By Leah Pileggi

It’s 1885 and 10-year-old Jake Oliver Evans is sentenced to five years in the Idaho Territorial Penitentiary for shooting a man who threatened his father. Now he must face each day with hardened criminals and, worst of all, a warden who is forcing him to learn to read and write. On the up side, he has never eaten so well in his life and he has a bed to sleep in every night. Maybe prison isn’t the worst place to be.

Read Original Post

Listen 10 min 7 sec
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library book cover

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

By Chris Grabenstein

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is about a group of 12-year-olds who are locked inside a brand new state-of-the-art library, with features like a holographic librarian and shelf-stocking robots. The library was built by a master game-maker, Mr. Lemoncello. And the kids are competing to be the first to find their way out, using only the tools found within the library.

Read Original Post

Listen 10 min 44 sec

Other Books On The List

6th grade & up

I Kill the Mockingbird

By Paul Acampora

7th grade & up

The Night Gardener

By Jonathan Auxier

5th grade & up

l The Madman of Piney Woods

By Christopher Paul Curtis

6th grade & up

The Badger Knight

By Kathryn Erskine

5th grade & up

There Will Be Bears

By Ryan Gebhart

5th grade & up

Absolutely Almost

By Lisa Graff

5th grade & up

Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle

By George Hagen

5th grade & up

Hope Is a Ferris Wheel

By Robin Herrera

4th grade & up

The Fourteenth Goldfish

By Jennifer L. Holm

6th grade & up

The Mark of the Dragonfly

By Jaleigh Johnson

5th grade & up

Ice Dogs

By Terry Lynn Johnson

5th grade & up

The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher

By Jessica Lawson

4th grade & up

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

By Dana Alison Levy

6th grade & up

Running Out of Night

By Sharon Lovejoy

5th grade & up

Rain Reign

By Ann M. Martin

6th grade & up

Greenglass House

By Kate Milford

4th grade & up

The Turtle of Oman

By Naomi Shihab Nye

6th grade & up

The Boundless

By Kenneth Oppel

4th grade & up

Nuts to You

By Lynne Rae Perkins

6th grade & up

No Summit Out of Sight

By Jordan Romero

4th grade & up

Seven Stories Up

By Laurel Snyder

5th grade & up

The Meaning of Maggie

By Megan Jean Sovern

What is Dorothy's List?

Dorothy’s List is VPR’s book club for kids! Each month we highlight a book nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award. We visit schools and libraries where the book is being read, check out how young readers are interacting with the book and relay students’ questions to the author.

The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award

First given in 1957, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award has honored quality literature for children for over 55 years. Each spring, 30 nominees are named to the DCF Master List. After reading at least five books from the list, Vermont students in grades four through eight vote for their favorite. Learn more here.

How to get involved

How does your school or library do DCF? Let us know! Share an activity or a lesson plan. Tell us what books you’d like to see highlighted on Dorothy’s List and why. And please let us know if you’re interested in participating in a future program!

Project Curator

Amy Kolb Noyes

Dorothy's List is curated and reported by VPR's Amy Kolb Noyes, is produced by Angela Evancie and is funded in part by the VPR Journalism Fund. Share your questions and suggestions with Amy on Twitter or via e-mail.

Want to put up a poster for Dorothy's List in your classroom or library?

Click here for a printable poster or here for a flyer.