I can't possibly list all the books I've read for my Children's Literature class, so I'm going to hit the highlights of the past two weeks:
No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman - some funny pokes at award winning novels for children (love the part where Wallace points out that in any book with a medal and a dog on the cover, the dog is definitely going to die - yes, I know Shiloh doesn't die, but he's an exception), a middle school play, a character named Wallace Wallace who will not tell a lie... This book is LOL funny.
Sammy Keys and the Hotel Thief by Wendy Van Draanen - definitely a much more contemporary mystery series than the hoary old Nancy Drew books I grew up with. I'd give this book to the mystery readers who are looking for something a bit more "hip" to read.
Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn - some of the cultural surroundings in this book might feel a little dated to adults, but I don't think kids will notice it at all as they read this creepy ghost story. A very well-done thriller for the older elementary school reader.
On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck - I remember reading Richard Peck when I myself was a teen, and I had forgotten how compulsively readable he is. This is a slim little book that reads like a memoir of life as a child during WWII. The way the story skips forward in time from tale to tale really feels like how we remember childhood, as a series of the "highpoints" of memory. I liked this book immensely. My favorite line comes when Earl Bowman (dad) asks Davy (son): "When you're taller than I am, are you still going to stick this close to me?" and Davy answers, "Sure," I said. "Why not?" Beautiful.
Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery by John Feinstein - this is one of those books that I personally didn't think that much of for myself, but that I could see a 4-6 grade reader snarfing down whole. Whip-smart kids, nefarious adults, a super-cool, friendly teen/young adult for the 8th grade protagonists to help.... This book has it all for the young reader.