Realistic fiction is a popular genre for Literature Circles because kids can relate to them. Visit this page on Laura Candler's Teaching Resources to read recommendations of great realistic fiction books for upper elementary and middle school students. These titles were recommended by teachers who have used them with their own students.
"Shiloh" by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a Newbery Award winning book about Marty and his dog Shiloh. For these dog shaped templates created specifically for the story, students write about the problem, solution, conclusion, and they write character descriptions for Marty and Judd.
Activity for Shiloh - This activity is a simple, yet effective chart for young students to fill out. They could fill it out as it is being read aloud, or individually as they read. This character map makes it easy for students to distinguish the apparent differences between Marty and Judd.