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Recommended Reading List – Course 2

Theme 1    Theme 2    Theme 3    Theme 4    Theme 5    Theme 6    Theme 7    Theme 8

Theme 1

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
by Elizabeth George Speare
In Puritan New England in 1687, a high-spirited teenager befriends an old woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond and finds herself accused of witchcraft.

No-No Boy
by John Okada
Kenji and Ichiro, two young men sent to a "relocation camp" when the United States was fighting Japan in World War II, take different routes as they struggle with their identity as Japanese Americans.

Baseball in April and Other Stories
by Gary Soto
Soto's own life while growing up poor in California's Central Valley inspired these stories about Mexican American teenagers facing the kinds of experiences most teens face.

Where You Belong
by Mary Ann McGuigan
Fiona, her mother, and three siblings are evicted from their home. After an abusive father seems to provide no refuge for her, thirteen-year-old Fiona tries to discover where she belongs.

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Theme 2

So Far from the Bamboo Grove
by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
In this novel based on the author's experience, Yoko and her family must leave their home in North Korea and go through many hardships to get to Japan.

Come Sing, Jimmy Jo
by Katherine Paterson
This novel tells the story of young Jimmy Johnson, who is discovered by a country music agent and thrust into a life on the road with his musical family.

Things Change
by Troy Aikman
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback describes his life from childhood to Superbowl champ, using his own experiences to show that change can provide an opportunity to grow.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
by Ernest J. Gaines
In this novel about a 110-year-old African American woman, Miss Jane Pittman recollects events in her life in the South from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

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Theme 3

Where the Red Fern Grows
by Wilson Rawls
This story of a young boy living in the Oklahoma Ozarks and the pair of hunting dogs he trains has become a favorite with young readers.

Hostage
by Edward P. Myers
Alyssa and Rob must use their wits and survival techniques after a fossil thief takes them hostage on a trek through the Utah desert.

Reach Higher
by Scottie Pippen
Pippen tells about his life and the challenges he faced to become an NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls. The title describes his advice to his young readers.

The Outsiders
by S. E. Hinton
Fourteen-year-old Ponyboy is proud to be a "greaser," until a friend kills a member of a rival gang and starts a chain of events that causes him to question his outsider status.

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Theme 4

Dragonwings
by Laurence Yep
A Chinese immigrant father and son build a flying machine in the era of the Wright brothers and the San Francisco earthquake.

On the Way Home
by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane
The diary of the author of Little House on the Prairie describes her family's exciting journey from South Dakota to a new home in the Missouri Ozarks. Her daughter adds her own memories of the trip.

Homecoming
by Cynthia Voigt
This poignant story focuses on the four Tillerman kids, left parentless when they are abandoned by their mother. They must struggle to stay together and to find someone to shelter them and love them.

Where Angels Glide at Dawn: New Stories from Latin America
edited by Lori M. Carlson and Cynthia L. Ventura
Homes and families provide a background in several of these ten stories from Latin America. The stories display a variety of cultures and writing styles.

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Theme 5

The Slave Dancer
by Paula Fox
Jesse is kidnapped and forced to serve on a slave ship. He witnesses the horrors of slavery while providing music as the slaves are forced to exercise to keep themselves strong so they will remain "profitable investments."

Sounder
by William Armstrong
This award-winning novel deals with the hard lives of African American sharecroppers in the rural South a century ago and with a young boy's growth in understanding with the help of the family's devoted dog.

Father Figure
by Richard Peck
Jim's role as a substitute father for his younger brother is threatened when, after their mother's death, the boys are sent to spend the summer with their long-absent father.

Running Out of Time
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
This exciting thriller tells the story of a thirteen-year-old girl who makes a decision to escape from her community in order to save her family and friends.

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Theme 6

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
Twain's classic story has plenty of comic trickery, twists, and turns, including Tom's attending his own funeral.

The Oxford Book of Story Poems
edited by Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark
This collection of narrative poetry includes classic and modern poems that will make you laugh, poems that will amaze you, and poems that will thrill and chill you.

The One Who Came Back
by Joann Mazzio
This novel is an adventure story of a friendship between two boys in the mountains of New Mexico. When one of the boys disappears, no one believes the other boy's version of what happened.

Talking to the Sun
selected by Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell
This anthology of poetry from ancient times to the present is illustrated with reproductions of art works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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Theme 7

A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle
In this award-winning novel, Meg and Charles, along with their friend Calvin, search through time and space for their missing father.

Maniac Magee
by Jerry Spinelli
A modern-day folktale about a twelve-year-old boy who appears in a town, amazes everyone with his deeds, and becomes a legend.

Big Men, Big Country: A Collection of American Tall Tales
by Paul Robert Walker
Stories portray nine American tall-tale heroes, including Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Sluefoot Sue, and Davy Crockett.

Cut from the Same Cloth: American Women of Myth, Legend, and Tall Tale
by Robert D. San Souci
The author retells stories about legendary, larger-than-life women from various American cultures.

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Theme 8

Call of the Wild
by Jack London
Buck, a domestic dog, is taken from his home to serve as a sled dog during the Klondike gold rush. Amidst the wolves of the Far North, he begins to hear "the call of the wild."

Hatchet
by Gary Paulsen
Brian, the only survivor of a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness, must try to stay alive with nothing more than the clothes on his back and a hatchet.

Cricket Never Does: A Collection of Haiku and Tanka
by Myra Cohn Livingston
This collection of modern poems using the traditional Japanese forms of haiku and tanka presents poems for each of the seasons.

My Life with the Chimpanzees
by Jane Goodall
The world's leading authority on chimpanzees describes her thirty years of living with and studying the chimpanzees of Tanzania.

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