Books, Books, and More Books: A Parent and Teacher’s Guide to Contemporary Adolescent Literature Lu Ann Brobst Staheli A is for Aarrgh! William J. Brooke It is the stone age, and Mog discovers language. He names everything he sees. Soon the other people recognize the significance of words and history is changed forever. MG+ All That Remains Bruce Brooks These three stories have teens who must deal with the "remains" of a recently deceased loved one--an aunt who died of AIDS, a father’s ashes to spread on the golf course, and a boy who must carry out the wishes of his dead uncle. HS The Amah Lawrence Yep Twelve-year-old Amy Chin finds family responsibilities interfering with ballet practice after her mother gets a job. Soon Amy’s life becomes closer to that of the step-sister role she dances as her mother focuses on Stephanie, the beautiful Cinderella. Amy fears losing her role, her friends, and her mother before her mother's job is through. MG+ Among the Hidden Margaret Peterson Haddix In Luke’s world, it is against the law to have more than two children. “Thirds” will be killed and the parents punished if they are found. Luke is a “Third.” MG+ Among the Imposters Margaret Peterson Haddix Luke has been placed in a school, given a new name, and told to blend in. But how? He doesn’t know where his classes are and can’t figure out the rules. Will he be able to help other third children? MG+ Angus, thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging Louise Rennison Georgia Nicolson, a British teen, tells about her search for a boyfriend and her first forays into kissing. The boy she likes has another girlfriend, and Georgia’s best friend gets in the way. HS Artemis Fowl Eoin Colter Artemis Fowl is not a nice boy. In fact, Fowl is the perfect name for him and his plan to steal the riches of the fairie kingdom. His plan doesn’t work out as well as he expects when he kidnaps Holly of LEPrechan. MS+ As Ever, Gordy Mary Downing Hahn Gordy doesn’t want to move back to his old hometown where everyone knows his history, including knowing about his father’s alcoholism. But he must. Will he return to his old ways? MS+ Because of Winn-Dixie Kate DiCamillo Ten-year-old Opal Buloni and her father, the Preacher, have just moved to Naomi, Florida, when Opal rescues an ugly dog at the Winn-Dixie store. Adopting the store name as the dog’s name, Opal finds they need each other. She learns to love the dog as a replacement for her missing mother and a father who has become distant. The two of them collect an odd assortment of friends and learn to deal with life. Upper Elementary+ The Beet Fields Gary Paulsen True-to-life story of author Gary Paulsen who left home at age 16 to work with the migrants and as a carny. This coming of age tale reads like a novel. HS Beware, Princess Elizabeth Carolyn Meyer Elizabeth is the daughter of King Henry VIII and wife Anne Bolyn, whom he had beheaded. Although third in line for the crown, Elizabeth fears for her life by the hands of her brother Edward VI and sister Mary, both who know they will wear the crown. MG+ Breaking Rank Kristin D. Randle When Baby, Thomas Fairbairn, breaks the Clan’s rules and takes an achievement test, he finds himself moved from Special Ed to Honors classes. Casey Williardson will be his tutor. Jr.High+ Brian’s Return Gary Paulsen A follow-up novel to the Hatchet series. Brian realizes he will never fit into society again and goes on a quest to find his real destiny. MG+ Bud, Not Buddy Christopher Paul Curtis Bud's mother died without telling him who his father was, but he thinks she left a clue --a flier advertising a performance by Herman E. Calloway, bass player for the Dusky Devastators of the Depression. Bud decides to find him, following the Hooverville Camps, escaping a monster-infested woodshed, stealing a vampire's car, Bud is determined to know the truth and won't let anything stop him, even Herman E. Calloway himself. MG+ Burning Up Caroline B. Cooney Macey goes to an inner city school where she is caught in a freak fire. Austin, rescues her then becomes her boyfriend until his grandfather interferes because Macey will not stop her research about Mr. Sibley, the first black teacher. Macey's own experience with fire, a death, and the town's reluctance to discuss the barn fire sparks her interest. She must find the truth, no matter who it hurts. Jr.High+ Carolina Autumn Carol Lynch Williams Carolina faces a new school year with unresolved issues from the past. Her sister and father are gone forever, her mother doesn't connect with her anymore, and her best friend seems determined to steal Carolina's first boyfriend. She sees her anger, pain and loss through the lens of her father's camera and the letters she writes to her sister. Carolina must save herself. MG+ Cecil in Space Sid Hite Seventeen-year-old Cecil Rowe looks forward to summer vacation and getting his driver’s license. But things don’t work out the way he expects. Jr. High+ Chasing Redbird Sharon Creech Zinny Taylor goes in search of a lost trail which leads away from her homes in Bybanks, Kentucky. But the farther she goes, the more she learns about her family and herself. MG+ Choosing Up Sides John H. Ritter The sign of the devil. That’s what Pa, the preacher, calls being lefthanded. And baseball? It’s the devil’s game. So what is Luke Bledsoe to do? He’s both a lefty and a great pitcher, but Pa can’t know his skill. Jr. High+ Christmas in Heaven Carol Lynch Williams Honey De Loach lives in Heaven, Florida, population six, until movie-star Miriam Season arrives, bringing her daughters, Christmas and Easter. Honey wants a friend, but Honey, her brother Willie-Bill, and Taylor Hiatt (who claims Honey is his true love) have been the only kids. Easter’s clothes, nose ring, and manners fascinate Honey, but not as much as they intrigue Willie-Bill. Honey turns to Christmas, who seems embarrassed by her family, is a talented singer, and wants to meet the Reverend Gaynor T. McKenna, Honey's grandfather. This new family will bring change, but will the change be for good? Jr. High+ Cinderellis and the Glass Hill Gail Carson Levine Ellis’s brothers call him Cinderellis, after his flying powder produced a messy result in the chimney. Princess Marigold, whose father is always gone on quests, wishes she had a real friend besides her cat, Apricot. Now her father wants to marry her off to whoever can ride a horse up the glass hill. Upper Elementary+ Clara’s War Kathy Kacer A refreshingly different look at Jewish life in a concentration camp, where the children continue to make friends, learn, and perform a children’s opera. Upper Elementary+ Cliff-Hanger Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson The Landon family is ready to leave for Mesa Verde where Mrs. Landon must investigate a cougar attack, when the call comes for a new foster child placement. MG+ The Cookie Company Ross Venokier Alex Grindlay thinks he is the unluckiest boy alive, especially when he receives a fortune cookie on his 13th birthday that takes him on an adventure out of this world. Upper Elementary+ Crush Ellen Conford The Sweetheart Stomp for Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. These short stories tell of several couples who are preparing for the special evening. Jr.High+ Dancing in the Cadillac Light Kimberly Willis Holt Jaynell Lambert loves to pretend to drive. It’s the summer of 1968 when Grandpa moves in and Jaynell has to watch him. Grandpa’s been acting crazy, buying that Cadillac and wandering off. MG+ Diary of a Monster’s Son Ellen Conford Bradley has no mother. But he thinks his father, the monster, is the greatest. Bradley hopes to someday be just like him—sharp teeth, hairy physic, and getting everyone to do exactly what you ask. Upper Elementary+ Don’t You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dumphrey Margaret Haddix Peterson School work isn’t as important to Tish as what is happening at home. She cares for her younger brother Matt since her abusive father has returned and Mom has lost interest in the kids. Jr. High+ Drummers of Jericho Carolyn Meyer Jewish Pazit joins the marching band in her new home town, but she feels uncomfortable when her band director wants the band to march in the shape of a cross. Jr. High+ Ender’s Shadow Orson Scott Card Bean is unnaturally intelligent for his age, which is the only thing that allows him to escape the streets and eventually end up in Battle School. Despite his brilliance, however, Bean is doomed to live his life as an alsoran to the more famous and in many ways more brilliant Ender. MG+ Esperanza Rising Pam Munoz Ryan Esperanza's father dies and her uncle wants to force her mother to marry him. Her mother refuses, so she and Esperanza move from family wealth in Mexico to a farm labor camp in California. When her mother comes down with Valley Fever, Esperanza takes charge of their survival. A brooding labor strike and the Depression endanger her success. Esperanza must learn that life never deals the hand we expect. MG+ Give a Boy a Gun Todd Strasser The scene is all too familiar. A high school dance filled with students and teachers, two angry boys with guns. Why does it happen? This blend of fiction with non-fiction seeks the answer. Jr. High+ Guts Gary Paulsen Hatchet, The River, Brian’s Winter, and Brian’s Return—all are popular books with adolescents. But, what do you know about the truth behind these novels? Paulsen takes the readers into his own life experiences, just like Brian’s. MG+ Habibi Naomi Shihab Nye Liyana is not sure how she feels about her family’s move to Jerusalem. She has lived her whole life in St. Louis, Missouri. Her family in the West Bank are strangers and they speak another language. Can she adjust? Jr. High+ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J. K. Rowling Harry Potter learns he is a wizard and soon finds himself off at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy where he makes friends and discovers secrets from his past. Upper Elementary+ Heaven Eyes David Almond When Erin and January run away from Whitehall, they find a strange girl with a mysterious past. Who is she? Where did she come from? Jr. High + Holes Louis Sachar Stanley Yelnats, like his family throughout history, finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. A stroke of bad luck lands him at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention center for boys, where he serves time for the theft of a pair of old tennis shoes. Stanley didn’t do it, but he accepted the punishment, thinking going to camp might be fun. However, this camp isn’t anything like what Stanley expected. MG+ Homeless Bird Gloria Whelan 13 year old Koly is married to a sickly boy, but she must now remain with his family who only wanted the marriage for her dowry. How can she escape her fate without dishonoring her family? Jr. High+ Hope Was Here Joan Bauer Hope knows all there is to know about being a waitress, and she’s good at it. When she and her Aunt Addie move to Madison, Wisconsin, from New York City, it’s the love of the diner that lets Hope make one more move. She makes friends, becomes involved in running a mayoral campaign, and gets to know Braverman. Not bad for a girl once named Tulip who has never had a real home. Jr.High+ I Was a Rat Philip Pullman One day he was a rat. The next, a little boy. What happened? Bob, the cobbler, and Joan, a washwoman, set to find out when they meet this child they take into their home. Upper Elementary+ If You Come Softly Jacqueline Woodson Miah and Ellie knew they would fall in love the moment they saw each other in the crowded hallway at school. But she is Jewish, and he is black. Will their worlds keep them apart? Jr High+ Janey’s Girl Gail Friesen Claire and her mother visit her grandmother, and Claire begins to discover her mother’s secret past. Can Claire help set things right between her mother and the father she never knew? Jr. High+ Joey Pigza Loses Control Jack Gantos Now that Joey is on his meds, he finally has his ADHD under control. Life is steady with Mom, and Joey is feeling good. Then he visits his estranged father for the summer and sees what it would be like to be an adult out of control. Joey doesn’t want to hurt his dad’s feelings, or grow up like him. Dad takes away Joey’s meds, so Joey must make some grown-up choices. Jr. High+ Kit’s Wilderness David Almond Kit’s family live with his aging grandfather in a coal mining town. He discovers his name on the headstone of several children killed years ago in a cave-in. Kit meets others who share names with the dead children. John Askew urges him to participate in a ritual game of Death. Jr. High+ The Last Book in the Universe Rodman Philbrick Why read when you have mindprobe needles which shoot images directly into your brain? Books don’t exist anymore, but Spaz has heard of them. When he meets Ryter, he begins to know more. Jr. High+ The Likes of Me Randall Beth Platt Feelings of being outcast due to living with a possible murderer, living in a northern logging community, and being a Chinese albino bring the main character into her first discovery of romance and the outside world. HS Losers, Inc. Claudia Mills Ethan is a loser. When social outcast Lizzie the Lizard starts writing love poetry about him, Ethan knows life can’t get much worse. He might lose his best friend, Julius, over his beautiful student teacher, Ms. Gunderson. Upper Elementary+ Love That Dog Sharon Creech The story of a young boy who discovers himself through the poetry his teacher uses in class and the writing she requires him to do. The story is told through poetry, modeled from the authors she reads. Upper Elementary+ The Maze Will Hobbs Rick feels endangered at the youth detention center where he has been sent, and decides to escape. He stows away on a truck that lands him in the Canyonlands area of Utah. More danger awaits him there. MG+ Memory Boy Will Weaver Miles and his family must leave home and begin a new life in the wilderness after a chain of volcanic explosions cause chaos. MG+ Mind’s Eye Paul Fleischman Courtney is a new paraplegic living in a long term care center with a two women— one with Alzheimers and the other, Elva, is blind. Elva asks Courtney to read to her about Italy. Jr. High+ Mine Eyes Have Seen Ann Rinaldi Annie Brown, one of 12 children born to John Brown and his two wives, is encouraged by her friend, Louisa May Alcott, to write about her father just as her sister Sarah arrives with news that the Civil War has begun. MG+ Miracle’s Boys Jacqueline Woodson Three brothers, on their own after their mother’s death, discover life is more difficult than it appears to be. When one of them gets in trouble with the law, the other two must come to his rescue. H.S. Missing Girls Lois Metzgher Carrie is embarrassed by her German immigrant grandmother who still has a thick accent after 20 years. Her grandmother wants her to be friends with Mona, an odd girl who teaches her about lucid dreaming. Jr. High+ Monster Walter Dean Meyers Steve Harmon was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or was he? He is on trial for his alleged involvement in a robbery that resulted in the death of a storekeeper. Jr. High+ My Angelica Carol Lynch Williams Sage wants nothing more than to be a romance writer like her famous mother, nothing other than George that is. George has s crush on Sage, too, but how can he tell her she will never be a writer? Her romances are just plain awful. MG+ My Louisiana Sky Kimberly Willis Holt Tiger Ann has always wondered why she is so smart when both of her parents are “slow.” Sometimes she feels she must be the one in charge, next to Grandma. Tiger Ann must decide, go to the big city with her aunt, or stay with her parents who seem to need her. MG+ The Mystery of Mr. Nice Bruce Hale Chet Gecko knows something is amiss at school when Principal Zero starts being nice to him. What has happened to the principal? Is this an imposter? Upper Elementary+ On the Fringe Donald R. Gallo, editor Eleven of today's finest authors contribute stories about teens who feel isolated. The feelings are universal. The way we cope is what makes us unique. Topics include school violence, sexual discovery, harassment, weight issues, forgiveness, and many more. Jr. High+ Over the Wall John H. Ritter Ten years ago, Tyler’s father accidentally ran over Tyler’s little sister with the car, killing her and shattering the family. Tyler suffers with anger over the loss of his sister, and his father. Baseball is his only release. Then he loses baseball. Jr.High+ The Princess Diaries Meg Cabot Mia Thermopolis thinks her life is difficult enough before she finds out she is the princess, and sole heir, to the municipality of Genovia. Jr. High+ Princess in the Spotlight Meg Cabot In addition to being forced to take princess lessons from her grandmere, Mia wonders what life will bring with the new baby her mother is having with Mia’s Algebra teacher. Jr. High+ Rage of Fire Gloria Skurzinski and Alane Ferguson Set in the beautiful Hawaii National Park, the story takes the Landon family and a foster child to investigate the reason the nene are becoming extinct. Hawaiian folklore adds to the story. Upper Elementary+ Romiette and Julio Sharon R. Draper The classic tale is brought to the modern world where gangs are real and multi-cultural romance is a risk. Set in Cincinnati, Ohio, this tale brings humor and realism tied to the conflict central to the Shakespeare play. Jr. High+ Rules of the Road Joan Bauer Jenna Boller is too tall. Her sister got all the looks, but boy, can Jenna sell shoes! When Mrs. Gladstone, the crusty president of the company, chooses Jenna as her driver on a business trip, Jenna goes with trepidation at driving a Cadillac and leaving her alcoholic father behind. MG+ Sang Spell Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Josh is hitchhiking when he is picked up, beaten, and left in a place he does not recognize, a place he can’t escape. Why can’t he leave? Does he still want to after he meets Mavis? Jr. High+ The Secret School Avi In 1925, fourteenyear-old Ida Bidson secretly takes over as teacher when the one room schoolhouse in her remote Colorado area closes unexpectedly. Upper Elementary+ Seedfolks Paul Fleischman In thirteen short stories, we learn about the formation of a multi-cultural community, brought together by gardening on a patch of city land. MG+ Seek Paul Fleischman The radio: fragments of a talk show, a baseball game, jazz, rock, country & western, a Spanish soap opera, the curtain calls for a grand opera, a sermon, a newscast... a young boy's ongoing search through the airwaves for the DJ father he never knew. Jr. High+ Shadow of the Hegemon Orson Scott Card For those who loved Ender’s Game, this novel takes the reader beyond the war. Ender’s brother, Peter, and Bean try to free the kidnapped members of Ender’s army. Jr High + Shadow Spinner Susan Fletcher You might already be familiar with the story of Shahrazad and her nightly stories to the Sultan which keep her alive. What if Shahrazad ran out of tales to tell? Enter Marjan, a crippled girl, who is herself a fabulous storyteller. Will her story save the life of Shahrazad? MG+ The Shakespeare Stealer Gary Blackwood Widge learns short-hand then is sold to a theatrical manager who sends him to copy the new play, Hamlet, and enable Bass to perform it without paying royalties. Once within the confines of the Globe Theater, Widge discovers a brave new world of friendship, fun, and backstage intrigue. MG+ Shakespeare’s Scribe Gary Blackwood Widge is officially a member of Chamberlain’s Men as an actor. When Shakespeare breaks his arm in a fight, Widge transcribes his play, while the company travels England to avoid the plague. MS+ Sir Galahad, Mr. Longfellow, and Me Betty Horvath Missouri in 1938, and Emily Ann Campbell, 11, wants to leave her mark at Park School before she moves on to middle school. Through the quiet but firm demands of her new teacher, Mr. Van, Emily discovers how to go about doing just that, by writing poems. Upper Elementary+ Skellig David Almond After Michael’s sister is born with problems, he begins to explore the abandoned garage on their new property. What is this creature that he finds—man or something not of this world? Jr. High+ A Small Civil War John Neufeld When the Grapes of Wrath is challenged by her community, Georgia takes on the entire town in a fight to stop censorship. MG+ Snail Mail No More Paula Danzinger and Ann M. Martin Friends Elizabeth and Tara*Starr have moved into the electronic age. Emails keep the girls up to date on the events in each other’s lives, like Elizabeth’s parents’ divorce and Tara*’s expected sibling. MG+ Soldier’s Heart Gary Paulsen In June 1861, fifteenyear-old Charlie Goddard left his home in Minnesota to join the Civil War. He soon discovers war is not at all what he thought it would be. Jr. High+ Speak Laurie Halse Anderson 9th grader Melinda Sordino has broken the social rule by calling the police at the end of summer party. Now no one speaks to her. No one would believe her story anyway. Jr. High+ Standing Up to Mr. O Claudia Mills Maggie didn’t think she’d like biology, but her teacher made its so much fun. Until, he said they would have to dissect. Can she force herself to make the cut? MG+ Stargirl Jerry Spinelli We’ve all known someone like Stargirl, who listens to a different drummer at her school, has her own ways to show people she cares, and wants to be different. Perhaps too different. MG+ Stick and Whittle Sid Hite Melvin Fitchett, Civil War survivor, is combing the country, looking for his lost love. He meets Melvin Smythe, an orphan boy. They join for a journey west that will bring them more than they bargain for. Jr. High+ Swallowing Stones Joyce McDonald When Michael shoots his new rifle into the air on July 4th, he never imagines the bullet will end up killing a man. Jenna watches as her father slumps on the roof top, a bullet entering his body. Jr High + Takeoffs and Landings Margaret Peterson Haddix After the death of their father, Chuck and Lori seem to lose their mother who travels the country giving motivational speeches. A summer trip opens the doors for this family to reconnect. MS+ The Tiger Rising Kate DiCamillo “There’s a tiger in a cage at the back lot of the hotel where I live. I don’t know why it’s there, but I figure it has something to do with the hotel owner, a man I’m a little afraid of.” Upper Elementary+ Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright Ron Koertge Worried that his mother will send his grandfather to a nursing home, Jesse accompanies grandpa into the mountains to look for the tiger tracks Pappy claims to have seen there. MG+ True Believer Virginia Euwer Wolff LaVaughn wants to make her life better and knows an education is the way to succeed. When her friend Jody moves back into her building, she hopes she can also have a romance in her life. HS Turnabout Margaret Peterson Haddix What if people could grow younger each year instead of older? In the year 2001, nursinghome residents Melly and Anny Beth, aged 100 and 103, are given just such an opportunity, but now they are teenagers again, and getting younger every day. MG+ The Two Princesses of Bamarre Gail Carson Levine Two sisters—one who hopes to go on a quest; the other content to stay at home reciting the epic poem her sister uses as her life’s guide. The braver of the girls falls ill with the Grey Death. Can her sister overcome her fears to brings her the cure? MG+ The Vile Village Lemony Snicket This “Series of Unfortunate Events” is not unfortunate for the reader who loves the quirkiness of author Roald Dahl, the tone of Harry Potter, or the darkness or Artemis Fowl. Look for the Edgar Allen Poe connections. A great read. Upper Elementary+ The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 Christopher Paul Curtis Fourth-grader Kenny Watson tells the story of his family in Flint, Michigan, in the 1960’s. Harassed by his older brother, Byron, who is mother calls the “juvenile delinquent,” and responsible for his younger sister, Joetta, Kenny illustrates the everyday life of a black family living far away from the racial unrest of the south. But when Byron crosses the line, his parents decide to take him to Birmingham to be straightened out by his grandmother. MG+ Whale Talk Chris Crutcher The Tao Jones, better known as T.J., is a swimmer without a team or a place to train. He pieces together a ragtag group of school outcasts and takes them to an allnight fitness center. Their goal: Letter jackets for everyone. H.S. What Janie Found Caroline B. Cooney The discovery that her adoptive father has been secretly supporting Janie's kidnapper fills Janie with anger and loathing. True, Hannah is his daughter, but long ago she abandoned her parents for a cult, coming back only to leave a 3-year-old child with them she claimed was their When JFK Was My Father Amy Gordon When Tim moves away, Georgia “adopts” President Kennedy to curb her loneliness at boarding school. Her friendship and fantasy pair to make her life better, until November 19, 1963. Jr. High+ When She Was Good Norma Fox Mazer Em wants to break the circle of violence and develop independence, but Pamela seems to haunt her world. Can Em overcome her past? HS Whirligig Paul Fleischman Brent is tired of not fitting in with the crowd. He decides to kill himself, but instead kills a talented girl. Her mother asks Brent to make and place whirligigs in her daughter’s memory. HS The White Dove Lois Thompson Bartholomew The time has come for Tasha to escape, taking the child Raina with her. She holds the hope that Marko will return and restore the republic, removing Comnor from the throne. MG+ Wishes, Kisses and Pigs Betsy Hearne "Be careful what you wish for." Louise calls Willie a pig at the exact moment she wishes upon a star. The next thing she knows, Willie is gone and a pig mysteriously appears. Feeling responsible for the transformation, Louise determines to set things right. But how? Upper Elementary+ Wolf Stalker Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson Ashley and Jack’s family and current foster child, Troy, are off to Yellowstone National Park to investigate the reported death of a dog by a wild wolf. Upper Elementary+ A Year Down Yonder Richard Peck Newbery Award-winning sequel to A Long Way From Chicago. This novel takes Mary Alice to Grandma Dowdel’s for a year during the depression. Grandma is up to her usual shenanigans. MG+ End of This Collection If you ever want to know about a book title, please feel free to ask me as I’m constantly reading. Thanks!