Room One: A Mystery Or Two by Andrew Clements
Ted Hammond is the only sixth grader in a one-room school. The town in rural Nebraska is so small that there might not be a school next year. Ted really enjoys a good mystery. He habitually reads the first half of a mystery; he writes down the solution before proceeding to finish the book.
This time he has a real-life mystery which he feels has to be solved by himself. He spies a girl in a window in an abandoned house. Ted befriends the girl as well as the mother and the brother. He eventually discovers that the family is on the run. The first thing he learns is that the father was recently killed while serving in Iraq. He assists the family and secretly delivers food to them.
Ted comes to the realization that this can't continue; bringing food is not the solution. Ted still finds time to help in even with school, chores, and delivery of newspapers. The best part of the book is not the ending. It is the middle of the book concerning the promise between Ted and his teacher, Mrs. Mitchell. You might actually feel Ted's devastation. Anyone between the ages of eight and eleven should consider reading this book. Andrew Clements hits the mark with every word he allocates for the teacher. The highest grade goes to Ted's persistence and empathy.