CurriConnects Book List - Award Winning Books


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Award Winning Books
There are many awards for excellent children's books. This list includes winners of many awards, including the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and the Coretta Scott King Book Award. Although the topics vary, the level of quality is consistently the same. Develop your students' love of reading using these fabulous books. This collection could accompany a unit about famous authors and texts. These books provide experience with both fiction and nonfiction informational texts. This list is ideal for book reports or projects. Allow students (or partners) to choose their own book. Challenge students to create presentation or small group projects to share their story.

Preschool and Picture Books

Each Peach Pear Plum - Allan Ahlberg, (978-0140506396), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
Readers engage with nursery rhyme characters who are hiding in the pages of the book in a variety of settings.

Anno's Journey - Mitsumasa Anno, (978-0698114333), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
A boy journeys across Europe in this wordless picture book.

And If the Moon Could Talk - Kate Banks, (978-0374435585), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
As a child prepares to go to sleep, the moon looms over many unseen nighttime activiites.

At Night - Jonathan Bean, (978-0374304461), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
When a little girl can not sleep, she carries her blanket to the roof with her mother following.

Building Our House - Jonathan Bean, (978-0374380236), Fiction
Interest level: K-1, Lexile: 820
Mom and Dad embark on a house-building adventure, and readers get to be in on every step of the project.

The Snowman - Raymond Briggs, (978-0394839738), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
A recently built snowman comes to life on a beautiful, wintry day.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild - Peter Brown, (978-0316200639), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
Follow Mr. Tiger if you want to have an exciting time!

Zoo - Anthony Browne, (978-0099219019), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
A trip to the zoo turns out to be less than perfect for one hopeful family.

Mr. Gumpy's Outing - John Burningham, (978-0805013153), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 390
Mr. Gumpy's invitation to go on a boat ride grows and grows until the animals and children are so excited, they cannot sit still.

I Will Never Not Eat a Tomato - Lauren Child, (978-0763611880), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 370
Lola's dislike of many foods is tempered by Lola's sisters creative description of the food items.

Pumpkin Soup - Helen Cooper, (978-0374460310), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 310
Cat, Squirrel, and Duck usually share the work of making the pumpkin soup, but one day Duck wants to do something different, and he runs away after a squabble.

The Boy Who Wouldn't Go to Bed - Helen Cooper, (978-0140567717), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
A little boy is too busy playing with his toys to go to bed, so luckily a toy musician woos him to sleep with a lullaby.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog - Joy Cowley, (978-0439782210), Non-fiction
Interest level: K-3
This selection from the Scholastic Bookshelf series explores the life and habits of a South American frog.

Leaf Man - Lois Ehlert, (978-0152053048), Fiction
Interest level: K-2, Lexile: 310
A friend apparently made of leaves blows in and out of children's lives.

Jambo Means Hello - Muriel Feelings, (978-0812441772), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
This Swahili alphabet books uses African items to teach the alphabet and a great deal of African culture.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers - Mordicai Gerstein, (978-0761328681), Non-fiction
Interest level: K-12, Lexile: 480
This book is a beautiful recreation of Philippe Petit's walk between the now defunct trade towers in NY City; it also features his arrest and sentencing!

Crafty Chameleon - Mwenye Hadithi, (978-0340486986), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
Read about the folktale that explains why chameleons change colors in Africa.

The Ox Cart Man - Donald Hall, (978-0670533282), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
The ox cart man travels to the market town and must part with his beloved ox in order to take more goods that he needs home.

In the Rain with Baby Duck - Amy Hest, (978-0763606978), Fiction
Interest level: K-2, Lexile: 240
Baby Duck feels better about the rain once he gets an umbrella and rubber boots.

Dogger - Shirley Hughes, (978-1862308053), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
After Dave loses his favorite toy dog, he is relieved to see someone has found it and it is for sale at the neighborhood gathering; he loses it again when a buyer nabs the dog before Dave gets his money out!

Mama Don't Allow - Thacher Hurd, (978-0812441598), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
After Miles starts playing music on his new saxophone, he meets other musicians around the swamp to form a band.

The Wind Blew - Pat Hutchins, (978-0689717444), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 50
The wind blows so many things people think it will never stop, but find out what happens when it does let up.

The Snowy Day - Ezra Jack Keats, (978-0140501827), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 500
A small boy is filled with wonder when snow covers everything in the city with its beauty.

This Is Not My Hat - Jon Klassen, (978-0763655990), Fiction
Interest level: K-2, Lexile: 340
What happens to the tiny fish with the blue hat?

Bubble Trouble - Margaret Mahy, (978-0547074214), Fiction
Interest level: K-2, Lexile: 1240
Mabel's bubble escapes and carries with it her little brother; see where the bubble goes and who is in trouble.

Pocketful of Posies - Sally Mavor, (978-0618737406), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
This collection of classic nursery rhymes is made new with wonderful illustrations.

Make Way for Ducklings - Robert McCloskey, (978-0670451494), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 630
The Boston Police and Mrs. Mallard help a family of baby ducks find a new home in the pond at the Boston Public Gardens.

Black Dog - Levi Pinfold, (978-0763660970), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 530
Find out why the smallest family member has enough courage to face the big black beast dog.

A Ball for Daisy - Chris Raschka, (978-0375858611), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
Daisy's best ball rolls into the jaws of a bigger dog; what do you think her reaction is?

The Adventures of Beekle - Dan Santat, (978-0316199988), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
An imaginary friend can hardly wait to be matched with the child who will be his partner and friend.

Dog and Bear - Laura Vaccaro Seeger, (978-1596430532), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 320
Enjoy these three stories about friends dog and bear.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee - Philip Stead, (978-1596434028), Fiction
Interest level: K-1, Lexile: 760
Amos, a zookeeper, always takes times to make friends with and enjoy all the animals in his zoo, so it is only fair that, when he is sick, his animal friends take time for him.

The House in the Night - Susan Marie Swanson, (978-0547577692), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
Toddlers will enjoy the wonder of the ordinary objects in an ordinary house that seem to glow at night, reflecting the day's sunshine and warmth.

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat - Simms Taback, (978-0670878550), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
Join the fun and guess what Joseph makes with his shaggy overcoat.

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi - Chris Van Allsburg, (978-0395278048), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 580
Out looking for his dog, Alan finds himself in a mysterious and haunting garden; the garden continues to affect him even after he leaves its surreal evil.

Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? - Martin Waddell, (978-1564022622), Non-fiction
Interest level: K-2
A bear father tries different kinds of lighting to help his cub get to sleep.

Harry & Hopper - Margaret Wild, (978-0312642617), Fiction
Interest level: K-1, Lexile: 690
Harry has a difficult time adjusting when his dog dies, but the dog comes back for shorter and shorter visits to help Harry accept the death.

Brian Wildsmith's ABC - Brian Wildsmith, (978-1887734028), Fiction
Interest level: K-1
Enjoy the beautiful illustrations in this unique alphabet book.

A Chair for My Mother - Vera Williams, (978-0688009144), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
Rosa longs to replace her mother's comfortable chair that was burned up in a fire.

Early Elementary Books

The Jolly Christmas Postman - Allan Ahlberg, (978-0316127158), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
This book delivers letters at Christmas to all sorts of community members.

The Fortune-Tellers - Lloyd Alexander, (978-0140562330), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 750
A young man who visited a fortune-teller when he was younger becomes the village palm reader.

FArTHER - Grahame Baker-Smith, (978-0763663704), Fiction
Interest level: 1-5
A son tries to fulfill his lost father's dream to build a flying machine.

The Paper Crane - Molly Bang , (978-0688041083), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 810
Enjoy this tale of a stranger and his encounter in a restaurant with a magic crane.

Extra Yarn - Mac Barnett, (978-0061953385), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 620
Annabelle knits sweaters and cozies for herself and many animals, but her yarn supply continues to hold out since she keeps the yarn in a magic box.

Madeline's Rescue - Ludwig Bemelmans, (978-0670447169), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
After Madeline falls into the Seine River in Paris, a dog rescues her, and she and the other little girls she lives with want to keep the dog, but the administrator, Lord Cucuface, is against it.

Gorilla - Anthony Browne, (978-0763672225), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
Hannah longs to go to the zoo with her father to see the gorilla but her dad is always too busy and she sits home alone, until she gets a surprise on her birthday.

I Know Here - Laurel Croza, (978-1554983933), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
Since her father's dam building project is ending, a small girl has to move from Saskatchewan to the big city of Toronto.

The Tale of Despereaux - Kate DiCamillo, (978-0763625290), Fiction
Interest level: 2-5, Lexile: 670
A mouse who falls in love with a princess accompanies her on epic journeys which lead to despair and also resolution.

Drummer Hoff - Barbara Emberley, (978-0671662493), Fiction
Interest level: K-5
Repeated language and effective rhythm create the effect of the soldiers marching and the cannon going off when Drummer Hoff "fires it off."

Locomotive - Brian Floca , (978-1416994152), Non-fiction
Interest level: K-5, Lexile: 840
Delve into the history of the American railroad.

Snow White in New York - Fiona French, (978-0192722102), Fiction
Interest level: K-4, Lexile: 710
Enjoy reading about these beautiful characters that mimic the tale of Snow White but instead exist in New York's Jazz Age.

"Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate - Bob Graham, (978-0763621933), Fiction
Interest level: K-2, Lexile: 350
Kate, along with her mother, have a difficult time choosing just one dog to take home at the pet shelter.

Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears - Emily Gravett, (978-1416959304), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
Little Mouse discovers that if she writes down her myriad fears with their proper names in a journal, she is on her way to conquering them; it also helps her that she sees even grown ups have things they are afraid of.

Wolves - Emily Gravett, (978-1416914914), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
After a little rabbit borrows a book called Wolves from the library, he discovers he has borrowed a real live dangerous wolf!

Traction Man is Here! - Mini Grey, (978-0307931115), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 730
A superhero new to a small boy escapes from his box and assists the boy through daily activities, making them all into great adventures.

Her Stories - Virginia Hamilton, (978-0590473705), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 880
These folk tales recreate the myths of African American backgrounds and focus on the strong female character.

Kitten's First Full Moon - Kevin Henkes, (978-0060588281), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 360
Kitten wants the big bowl of milk in the sky, her view of the moon, but she finds it is slightly different than her familiar dish.

When Jessie Came across the Sea - Amy Hest, (978-0763612740), Fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 470
Find out what happens when a young girl must emigrate to America and leave her dear grandmother behind.

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg - D.B. Johnson, (978-0618737499), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
Two friends, who have different ideas about everything, choose different ways to walk to a targeted meeting place.

The Hello, Goodbye Window - Norton Juster, (978-0786809141), Fiction
Interest level: K-2
A little girl loves to visit her grandparents' house and revels in all the interesting and ordinary things in it, but her favorite object there is a special window.

John Henry - Julius Lester, (978-0140566222), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
John Henry's strength digging through mountains amazes everyone around him.

Fables - Arnold Lobel, (978-0812406580), Fiction
Interest level: 1-4
These charming stories and their marvelous illustrations are classic favorites for children.

Black and White - David Macaulay, (978-0618636877), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
In this clever book, four stories happen simultaneously while the reader pages through the four divisions on each page, or one story happens, or a combination of stories.

Sarah, Plain and Tall - Patricia MacLachlan, (978-0064402057), Fiction
Interest level: 1-5, Lexile: 560
Sarah comes to the Witting family to be a new wife for Papa, and the children wonder if she will be nice in this first book in a series of five.

Snowflake Bentley - Jacqueline Briggs Martin, (978-0547248295), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
Wilson Bentley photographed as many snowflakes as he could and learned that no two were exactly the same; his discovery lives in the heart of every snow-loving child.

Remember: The Journey to School Integration - Toni Morrison, (978-0618397402), Non-fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 660
This collection of photographs, put together by novelist Toni Morrison, documents the journey of African American children through school desegregation; her created dialogues imagine the children's reactions and feelings.

The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks - Katherine Paterson, (978-0140557398), Fiction
Interest level: K-4, Lexile: 930
After a duck is shown off by an official who is proud of its plumage, it longs to return to its mate.

The Adventures of Sparrowboy - Brian Pinkney, (978-0689810718), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 540
Henry, while delivering papers, discovers he can fly to complete his tasks, just like his favorite superhero, Falconman.

Officer Buckle and Gloria - Peggy Rathman, (978-0399226168), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 510
Officer Buckle and his faithful dog Gloria give school children safety tips to excess!

My Friend Rabbit - Eric Rohmann, (978-0312367527), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
Rabbit jumps at the chance to try out Mouse's new toy plane, but something goes wrong?.

Grandfather's Journey - Allen Say, (978-0547076805), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
A boy's grandfather wants to be a good American and he loves everything in the U.S., but he also loves his first country, Japan.

Outside Over There - Maurice Sendak, (978-0060255237), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
Ida must try and get her sister back from the goblins who kidnapped her.

Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak, (602-54920), Fiction
Interest level: K-6, Lexile: 740
Max's (imaginary?) journey to a land of wild things after he misbehaves takes the edge off his frustration, and his return to home ends up in a warm cozy meal.

The Boy of the Three-Year Nap - Diane Snyder, (978-0395669570), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 610
A bored teenager ends up marrying a rich girl in this Japanese version of a folktale.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - William Steig, (978-1416902065), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 700
Although Sylvester has a magic pebble and uses it when a lion frightens him, his wish does not turn out exactly as he expected.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters - John Steptoe, (978-0688040451), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 720
In this African version of the Cinderella story, a king must choose which of Mufaro's daughters to marry, the nice one or the spoiled one.

Jumanji - Chris Van Allsburg, (978-0547608389), Fiction
Interest level: 1-4
Judy and Peter begin playing the game Jumanji and wonder if it will go on forever.

The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg, (978-0395389492), Fiction
Interest level: K-3, Lexile: 520
A young child gets to travel to the North Pole with other eager children.

Shy Charles - Rosemary Wells, (978-0780714847), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
A mouse who is painfully shy still manages to become a hero when his babysitter is in danger.

Flotsam - David Wiesner, (978-0618194575), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
When a young boy begins collecting items the great ocean has left on the beach, he finds a camera containing many secret photographs in this fascinating wordless picture book.

The Three Pigs - David Wiesner, (978-0618007011), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
Get the inside story of the three little pigs as they interrupt the narration of the story with their blatant comments!

Tuesday - David Wiesner, (978-0395870822), Fiction
Interest level: K-3
This wordless picture book celebrates a day when frogs could fly.

A Visit to William Blake's Inn - Nancy Willard, (978-0152938239), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-3
These poems recreate the time of William Blake in fashioning an imaginary inn with imaginary guests.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey - Susan Wojciechowski, (978-0763636296), Fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 820
Jonathan the woodcarver has lost his wife and child and mourns in secret, but a miracle occurs when he meets a widow with her son.

Lon Po Po - Ed Young, (978-0399216190), Fiction
Interest level: 1-5
Compare the differences in this Chinese version of the Red Riding Hood tale with your old favorite.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

The Kingdom under the Sea - Joan Aiken, (978-0140306415), Fiction
Interest level: 3-8
Enjoy this book of retold Eastern European folk tales.

The Crossover - Kwame Alexander, (978-0544107717), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 750
This novel in verse tells the story of twin brothers, both basketball stars, who grow apart, but whose family is stronger than the rift.

The One and Only Ivan - Katherine Applegate, (978-0061992278), Fiction
Interest level: 3-8
Ivan the gorilla is pretty satisfied with his zoo life which includes TV, friends, and art, but after he meets a baby elephant, he gains a new perspective.

Crispin: The Cross of Lead - Avi, (978-0786816583), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7
Crispin must flee his 14th century village after being falsely accused of a crime in this fascinating account of medieval manners and mores.

A Gathering of Days - Joan W. Blos, (978-0689714191), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 960
Catherine's diary reveals her attempts to keep house after her mother dies, and her family reactions to her father's new wife and the stepbrother the wife brings with her.

Walk Two Moons - Sharon Creech, (978-0064405171), Fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 770
Salamanca lives fairly happily with her grandparents as they travel, but, as she tells in a story about another girl, she really wants to find the location of her mother who disappeared.

Elijah of Boxton - Christopher Paul Curtis, (978-0439023450), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7
Elijah, a child of freed slaves in Canada, must travel back to the U.S. to get back money his family had stolen.

The Midwife's Apprentice - Karen Cushman, (978-0547722177), Fiction
Interest level: 4-8
A young orphan girl becomes a midwife's apprentice in the middle ages, and she learns medical skills as well as self-confidence.

Flora & Ulysses - Kate DiCamillo, (978-0763660406), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 520
After Flora mistakenly vacuums up a squirrel, he gains magic powers, and Flora's life changes too.

Joyful Noise - Paul Fleischman, (978-0064460934), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-7
These delightful poems are best when read with two readers or two voices.

The Whipping Boy - Sid Fleischman, (978-0688062163), Fiction
Interest level: 3-8
After inadvertently trading identities, a prince and his poor counterpart share little after changing roles with each other, but when they are kidnapped, they must work together.

Lincoln, A Photobiography - Russell Freedman, (978-0395518489), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 1040
This take on Lincoln's biography is interesting and supported with many photos.

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman, (978-0060530945), Fiction
Interest level: 5-10
Bod's upraising in a graveyard gives him special skills whether dealing with the ghostly denizens there or the real people on earth.

Dead End in Norvelt - Jack Gantos, (978-1250010230), Fiction
Interest level: 5-9
Jack is surprised when his job typing obituaries instead of going on a dream vacation leads him to a lot of astonishing adventures.

M.C. Higgins the Great - Virginia Hamilton, (978-1416914075), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7
Mayo Cornelius (M.C.) has plenty of dreams, mostly of escaping the home which strip mining now threatens, but his reveries, interrupted by the arrival of two unknown voyagers, depend on other people to come to fulfillment.

Out of The Dust - Karen Hesse, (978-0590371254), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7
After Billie Jo loses her parents during the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression, she struggles to keep her life together and continue playing the piano despite burned hands.

Kira-Kira - Cynthia Kadohata, (978-0689856402), Fiction
Interest level: 5-9, Lexile: 740
When Katie's sister Lynn becomes ill, she must try to hold her Japanese family together despite their recent move to the American South away from the Japanese community where they found solace in Iowa.

The View from Saturday - E.L. Konigsburg, (978-0689817212), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, Lexile: 870
Although Mrs. Olinski's 6th-grade academic bowl team wins contest after contest, no one can figure out how they keep beating everyone.

The Giver - Lois Lowry, (978-0544336261), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Jonas, the Receiver of Memory in a dystopicworld, learns more than he expects as he fulfills his role in the seemingly contented community.

Number the Stars - Lois Lowry, (978-0547577098), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 670
Annemarie helps hide her Jewish friend while German occupies Denmark.

The Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinley, (978-0812446692), Fiction
Interest level: 5-10
Will Aerin's birthright to be the heir to the king come true; read about her battles and rewards in this fast paced adventure.

Dark Thirty - Patricia McKissack, (978-0679890065), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 730
Enjoy these slightly spooky folk tales.

Now is Your Time - Walter Dean Myers, (978-0064461207), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-9
Read about the strong and determined people who starred and struggled through African American history, from the days of enforced slavery, through the American wars, and on to the present.

Shiloh - Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, (978-0689835827), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7
Marty tries to protect a dog he has found in the hills from his true owner, an abusive drunk and gunslinger, but trying to keep the dog a secret is too much for Marty.

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans - Kadir Nelson, (978-0061730740), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-8, Lexile: 1050
Read about the history of the U.S. through the lives of important African Americans who worked hard to improve their people's lives.

We Are the Ship - Kadir Nelson, (978-0786808328), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 900
This history of the U.S. Negro Baseball League pops out against a backdrop of segregation, prejudice, questionable living standards, and the rise of African American baseball players; beautiful illustrations make the history vibrant.

Bad News for Outlaws - Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, (978-0822567646), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-10, Lexile: 860
Former slave, U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves had an outstanding record of catching criminals in the historical west, black or white.

A Single Shard - Linda Sue Park, (978-0547534268), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7
Tree-ear, a potter's apprentice, finds his strong motivation to learn his master's trade challenged by backbreaking labor, the master's temper, and his long journey to court to get his work approved.

Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson, (978-0060734015), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7
Leslie and Jess are running buddies and best friends, but when Leslie goes into their imaginary land alone, tragedy ensues.

Jacob Have I Loved - Katherine Paterson, (978-0064403689), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12
Sara Louise would like to separate herself from her twin sister who always seems to get the better deal, more love, and more fulfilling dreams.

The Higher Power of Lucky - Susan Patron, (978-1416975571), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 1010
Lucky decides to run away when her guardian returns to her home in France, but she hadn't counted on having to use so many survival techniques.

A Year Down Yonder - Richard Peck, (142-300705), Fiction
Interest level: 4-8
Mary Alice approaches her coming 15th year with her grandmother in rural Illinois with some trepidation, but their adventures and the humor of the community make this book an incredible read.

Chris Cross - Lynne Rae Perkins, (978-0060092740), Fiction
Interest level: 5-12
Debbie and Hector alternatively narrate this coming of age novel as the teens pass through different mini-crises of growing up.

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America - Andrea Pinckney, (978-1423142577), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-8
Read about 10 African American men who made a big difference in the lives of all Americans.

Pirate Diary - Richard Platt, (978-0763628659), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7
A nine-year-old adventurer details his trip on a pirate ship in the eighteenth century!

The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin, (978-0142401200), Fiction
Interest level: 5-9, Lexile: 750
Samuel Westing's will continues his life-long love of games, even to the point of maybe (?) leaving his money to a total stranger, depending on how the game is played.

Missing May - Cynthia Rylant, (978-0439613835), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7
May misses her deceased aunt terribly but several signs point to the fact that her spirit may be returning, including her uncle and her classmate Cletus.

Holes - Louis Sacher, (978-0440414803), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 660
Stanley must dig holes, along with the other detention center inmates, for no apparent reason other than the warden seems to be looking for something.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village - Laura Amy Schlitz, (978-0763615789), Fiction
Interest level: 5-10
Twenty-two villagers from a 13th century English village narrate this fascinating picture of their medieval town.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick, (978-0439813785), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 820
Hugo's life as a clock minder in a Paris train station becomes tenuous when a young girl and old man begin to discover some of Hugo's secrets in this mystery.

Maniac Magee - Jerry Spinelli, (978-0316809061), Fiction
Interest level: 3-8
Jeffrey is not really a maniac, but he is running from his home with his aunt and uncle and trying to combat racism with his overabundant energy and determination.

So You Want to be President? - Judith St. George, (978-0399243172), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-5
Learn the inside story of what is unusual about all the men who became Presidents of the U.S.

When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead, (978-0375850868), Fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 750
After Miranda's friend gets hit by a neighbor child, a series of uncanny events makes their NY City life more mysterious and more dangerous in this suspenseful book.

The Land - Mildred Taylor, (978-0142501467), Fiction
Interest level: 5-12
Paul-Edward's mixed race heritage makes both whites and blacks distrust him, but he has the same dream as his white father, to own land.

The Road to Memphis - Mildred Taylor, (978-0140360776), Fiction
Interest level: 5-10
This entry in the series about the Logan family includes events that occur when they drive to Memphis and WWII's results separate the family.

Moon over Manifest - Clare Vanderpool, (978-0375858291), Fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 800
Abilene disobeys her father and stops in his home town on the way to a friend's house for the summer; there, she discovers characters, mementos, and letters that tell her the story of her father's past.

One Crazy Summer - Rita Williams-Garcia, (978-0060760908), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7
Delphine and her sisters reunite with their mother, a California radical, during a summer when they go to camp sponsored by the Black Panthers.

P.S. Be Eleven - Rita Williams-Garcia, (978-0061938641), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7
Three sisters return to NY to find their home and their father changed after having spent time with their mother, a Black Panther aficionado, in CA.

Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson, (978-0399252518), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-9
Author Jacqueline Woodson's autobiography gives an inside look of the life of an intelligent and aware African American child in both South Carolina and New York in this series of poems.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

The Fire Eaters - David Almond, (440-420121), Fiction
Interest level: 7-10
Bobby encounters a performing fire-eater who turns out to be a veteran plagued with "brain" damage on a vacation day with his mother; the Cuban missile crisis and other political problems threaten his little family.

Kit's Wilderness - David Almond, (978-0440416050), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Kit moves with his family to the coal-mining area of Britain and, with his new friend Askew, learns about the dangers and deaths associated with working in the mines, enjoys hearing stories about the miners, and visits the mines in search of ancestral spirits.

Ship Breaker - Paolo Bacigalupi, (978-0316056199), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Nailer usually makes money by scavenging what he can from older oil tankers, but when he discovers a clipper ship stuck in the sand after a recent hurricane, he has to decide whether to strip the entire ship or rescue a fair maiden in distress.

The Nazi Hunters - Neal Bascomb, (978-0545430999), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 1000
After WWII, a group of Israelis went on a thrilling hunt for Nazis responsible for the Holocaust in this true account.

Going Bovine - Libba Bray, (978-0385733984), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12
Cameron's diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jacob's disease (mad cow) disease and his imminent death lead him to a fantastical road trip a la post-modernism that includes angels, dwarfs and yard gnomes.

Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, (978-0142401453), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
When Jacob goes to Holland to put flowers on his grandfather's grave in tribute to his WWII army service, he is not prepared for rising questions about his sexuality and about the real relationship his grandfather had with the young nurse; this book is for mature teens.

The Grey King - Susan Cooper, (978-1416949671), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Will's travel to awaken the noble sleepers is impeded by his illness and the incomplete clues his riddle gives him.

Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Curtis, (978-0553494105), Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, Lexile: 950
Bud escapes from his foster home to try and find his famous father during the Great Depression.

Copper Sun - Sharon Draper, (978-1416953487), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12
Follow the story of a young African girl who is captured and becomes a slave.

Forged by Fire - Sharon Draper, (978-0689818516), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 780
Gerald's difficult life with non-supportive parents and bad breaks improves somewhat after he joins a basketball team and he sees that his sister gets into dancing, although a final confrontation with his stepfather becomes violent.

Looking for Alaska - John Green, (978-0142402511), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
Miles' safe but boring existence rumbles over a massive upset when he meets Alaska, an unpredictable tour of force.

Bronx Masquerade - Nikki Grimes, (978-0142501894), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12
Eighteen teens express their fears and wonders about life growing up in a city and facing their own coming of age in poetry slam format.

Charles and Emma - Deborah Heiligman, (978-0312661045), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This book tells the story of Darwin's marriage to his cousin after a scientific weighing of the pros and cons of such a wedding and includes the effects his theory of evolution and her strong faith had on his ideas.

The First Part Last - Angela Johnson, (978-1442403437), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 790
An unexpected baby leads to all kinds of unimagined changes for a young teen couple.

Heaven - Angela Johnson, (978-1442403420), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 790
Marley's world view changes after she finds out her mother and father have been dishonest with her.

Toning the Sweep - Angela Johnson, (978-0590481427), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 760
Read about three generations of African American women, each with a separate world view.

In Darkness - Nick Lake, (978-1619631229), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12
Shorty seems stuck without hope of rescue after becoming the victim of an earthquake, but the ghost of a revolutionary African American slave appears and provides him with hope.

Day of Tears - Julius Lester, (978-1423104094), Fiction
Interest level: 9-12
As the largest slave auction ever in history took place in Georgia, the skies opened and torrential rain fell for two day; based on a real event, this novel in dialogue captures the unworldly feelings of doom felt by the sold slaves that day.

American Born Chinese - Gene Luen, (978-0312384487), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 530
Jin's plans to be an All American success in school do not include embracing other new Taiwanese immigrants or even his cousin's visit while the Monkey King aspires a heavenly reward; see how these stories fit together in this graphic novel.

Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta, (978-0061431852), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12
Runaway Taylor's forced return to her Australian boarding school brings with it maturity, battles with the townies, and a mysterious disappearnce she tries to solve.

The White Darkness - Geraldine McCaughrean, (978-0060890377), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Sym's fantasies about a long dead Antarctic sea captain lead her to accompany her uncle on a nightmare trip to the South Pole where they will be lucky to survive.

Monster - Walter Dean Myers, (978-0064407311), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Is Steve guilty of the murder he was found near, or is he, as he insists in his own words in this novel in dialogue, innocent?

Slam! - Walter Dean Myers, (978-0545055741), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Although Greg is a true basketball star, his grades and other troubles cloud his future.

A Step from Heaven - An Na, (978-0142500279), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Ju's expectation that coming from Korea to the U.S. will be like entering heaven becomes more realistic when she and her family face adjustment problems and miss their home country.

I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson, (978-0803734968), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12
Noah and his twin sister have always been close despite enormous personality differences until crises break their relationship.

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness, (978-0763660659), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 730
Conor is surprised to find the monster outside his window is different from the one he has been dreaming about, the one he has seen since his mother became ill.

How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff, (978-0553376050), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
American Daisy ends up at her aunt's isolated farm with cousins, no adults, and no power after a WWII bombing raid, fun at first, but then scary when the danger sinks in.

Midwinter Blood - Marcus Sedgwick, (978-1250040077), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
These short stories all describe events of passion and pathos and have an underlying interrelationship.

Bomb - Steve Sheinkin, (978-1596434875), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-9, Lexile: 920
This book reveals the history behind the development of the atomic bomb, from a German chemist's discovery of how to split the atom to the quick setting up of competition between scientists all over the world to learn how to control the potential weapon.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold - Steve Sheinkin, (978-1250024602), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-9
Learn the truth about the complex character of Benedict Arnold in this enlightening biography.

The Schwa Was Here - Neal Shusterman, (978-0142405772), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 790
Although a schwa is something no one notices, his effects are everywhere.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Mildred Taylor, (978-0142401125), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12
Cassie's family struggles to hold their heads up despite the prevaling racism and the depression.

Popular - Maya Van Wagenen, (978-0525426813), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 730
A teen writer offers advice on how to survive the coming of age years.

Dicey's Song - Cynthia Voigt, (978-1442428799), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Dicey must keep herself and her three sisters and brothers alive after their mentally ill mother abandons them.

Where Things Come Back - Corey Whaley, (978-1442413344), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12
Two parallel stories, one of a lost teen struggling to understand life's perils, and one of a disillusioned African missionary, merge in a surprising manner.

Miracle's Boys - Jacqueline Woodson, (978-0142415535), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Ty'ree's job of supporting his brothers becomes more complicated when the middle brother displays hostility after returning home from a correctional facility.

Young Adult Books (ages 12-18; Grades 7 and up)

Janis Joplin - Ann Angel, (978-0810983496), Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, Lexile: 1170
This biography of Janis Joplin contains it all, her originality, musical development, misery, sexuality, and drug usage which resulted in her early death.