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Summer Reading 2008
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What do Babe Ruth, an autistic savant and lions prowling modern-day Baghdad all have in common? They’re characters in books featured on our Summer Reading list for teens.

From fiction to biography, memoirs to graphic novels, and from cherished classics to contemporary stories, this diverse selection of books will engage students and transport them to unfamiliar and fascinating worlds.

To order examination copies of any of these titles, please follow the instuctions on our
Examination Copy page
.


CATEGORIES:
Click on the links below to view books in that category.

Fiction

Memoirs and Biography

Graphic Novels

Fiction
Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe

“Mr. Achebe is a novelist who makes you laugh—and then catch your breath in horror. . . Achebe is gloriously gifted with the magic of an ebullient, generous, great talent.”
—Nadine Gordimer, The New York Times Book Review

READING LEVEL: 7th Grade



Purple Hibiscus

Purple Hibiscus
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Prose as lush as the Nigerian landscape that it powerfully evokes. . . . Adichie's understanding of a young girl's heart is so acute that her story ultimately rises above its setting and makes her little part of Nigeria seem as close and vivid as Eudora Welty's Mississippi.”
The Boston Globe

READING LEVEL: 8th Grade


The Stolen Child

The Stolen Child
by Keith Donohue

“On the surface, Keith Donohue may seem to have written a clever debut novel about fairies. But the real triumph of the book is that, while our backs are turned, he has performed a switch and delivered a luminous and thrilling novel about our humanity.”
The Washington Post Book World

READING LEVEL: 10th Grade


A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before Dying
by Ernest J. Gaines

A novel about the bond forged between two men—Jefferson, convicted of murder and sentenced to die; and Grant Wiggins, a college graduate returning to his hometown to teach. Through their friendship and the wisdom they impart upon one another, they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting—and defying—the expected.

READING LEVEL: 8th Grade


A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon

Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions.

READING LEVEL: 6th Grade


Unaccustomed Earth

Unaccustomed Earth
by Jhumpa Lahiri

“Lahiri writes insightfully about childhood, while the romantic infatuations and obstacles to true love will captivate teens.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred)

READING LEVEL: 10th Grade


American Youth

American Youth
by Phil LaMarche

A controlled, essential, and powerful tale of a teenager in southern New England who is confronted by a terrible moral dilemma following a firearms accident in his home.
*Includes mature content

*READING LEVEL: 6th Grade


Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands

Lay That Trumpet In Our Hands
by Susan Carol McCarthy

“Reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird, McCarthy's debut novel is an engrossing story of one girl's coming of age during the early years of the Civil Rights Movement.”
Library Journal

READING LEVEL: 6th Grade


Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery
Introduction by Jack Zipes

This Modern Library edition of the first of L. M. Montgomery’s beloved and immensely popular Avonlea novels features the restored original text and an Introduction by the noted children’s literature scholar Jack Zipes.

READING LEVEL: 9th Grade


Beloved

Beloved
by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison's magnificent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel brought the unimaginable experience of slavery into the literature of our time and into our comprehension.

READING LEVEL: 9th Grade


When the Emperor Was Divine

When the Emperor Was Divine
by Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka’s commanding debut novel paints an unforgettable portrait of the Japanese internment camps. With crystalline intensity and precision, Otsuka uses a single family to evoke the deracination—both physical and emotional—of a generation of Japanese Americans.

READING LEVEL: 5th Grade


The Rising Tide

The Rising Tide
A Novel of World War II
by Jeff Shaara

The Rising Tide is the first book in a new trilogy by Jeff Shaara that is bound to become a new generation’s most poignant chronicle of World War II.

READING LEVEL: 5th Grade


Butcher's Crossing

Butcher's Crossing
by John Williams
Introduction by Michelle Latiolais

This story about the hunt of one of the last great buffalo herds “becomes a young man's search for the integrity of his own being. . . The characters are defined, the events lively, the place, the smells, the sounds right. And the prose is superb, a rarity in writing about the west. More, John Williams.”
The Chicago Tribune

READING LEVEL: 8th Grade

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Memoirs and Biography

Escape From Saddam

Escape From Saddam
The Incredible True Story of One Man's Journey to Freedom
by Lewis Alsamari

“Alsamari’s recounting of his experiences reads like a fast-paced international thriller. . . . A well-written, frequently exciting, and ultimately satisfying true story.”
—Booklist

READING LEVEL: 8th Grade


God Grew Tired of Us

God Grew Tired of Us
A Memoir

by John Bul Dau with Michael S. Sweeney

The heartbreaking, inspiring journey of a Lost Boy of Sudan.

“This earnest, heart-on-the-sleeve memoir reinforces the preciousness of all human life and should serve as a reality check for the rest of the world.”
—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

READING LEVEL: 7th Grade


Little Heathens

Little Heathens
Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

by Mildred Armstrong Kalish

“Unpretentious yet deeply intelligent. . . [Little Heathens] radiates the joy of a vanished way of life. . . . In prose that never yields to mawkish sentimentality, Kalish details the roles of family, religion, thrift, and education in her upbringing.”
Booklist

READING LEVEL: 8th Grade


Into the Wild

Into the Wild
by Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer tells the haunting true story of Chris McCandless, who after graduating from college in 1991, walked deep into the wilderness of Alaska on a fatal odyssey.

READING LEVEL: 9th Grade


The Big Bam

The Big Bam
The Life and Times of Babe Ruth

by Leigh Montville

He was the Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Wizard of Whack. The Bambino. And simply, to his teammates, the Big Bam. From the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Ted Williams comes the exhilaratingly colorful biography of the largest legend ever to loom in baseball—and in the history of organized sports.

READING LEVEL: 5th Grade

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Graphic Novels



The Complete Persepolis

The Complete Persepolis
by Marjane Satrapi

“You've never seen anything like Persepolis—the intimacy of a memoir, the irresistibility of a comic book, and the political depth of the conflict between fundamentalism and democracy. Marjane Satrapi may have given us a new genre.”
—Gloria Steinem

READING LEVEL: 8th Grade


Pride of Baghdad

Pride of Baghdad
by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon

In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle to survive. In documenting the plight of the lions, this graphic novel raises questions about the true meaning of freedom.

READING LEVEL: 9th Grade

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Examination Copies are available


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independent readers


The Miracle at Speedy Motors

by Alexander McCall Smith
book cover

Find books for independent readers by ability level.

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professional reading

Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with Teach for America
by Donna Foote
book cover

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