Literature and Language Arts
Avasthi, Swati. Chasing Shadows. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.
Corey, Holly, and Savitri act as one until a random act of violence destroys their group. Holly and Savitri must find their own way to deal with the tragedy without becoming undone.
Bray, Libba. Going Bovine. Delacorte Press, 2009.
When Cameron is diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease, he sets out on an adventure with a video game obsessed dwarf and a Viking god trapped in a yard gnome in the hopes of finding a cure.
Butler, Octavia. Kindred. Beacon Press, 2003.
Dana is torn away from her home in California and taken back in time to Antebellum South where she is a slave. Each time Dana is pulled into the past, her stay there grows longer and she fears that she might not survive.
Crystal, David. Spell it Out: The Curious, Enthralling, and Extraordinary History of English Spelling. St. Martin’s Press, 2013.
A fascinating and entertaining history of English spelling that also examines the evolution of writing, printing, and the language itself.
Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. Viking, 2002.
The first in a series set in a zany alternative Swindon, Thursday Next (Special Ops—Literary Division) is on the case when characters are kidnapped from their original manuscripts—potentially changing literature forever.
McCall, Guadalupe Garcia . Under the Mesquite. Lee & Low Books, 2011.
When Lupita’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, it falls to Lupita to care for the rest of her Mexican-American family. In this free-verse novel, Lupita comes of age and finds strength in sharing her thoughts and opinions.
Giovanni, Nikki, ed. 100 Best African American Poems: (*But I Cheated). Sourcebooks MediaFusion, 2010.
This anthology, edited by award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni, contains more than one hundred poems by classic and contemporary African-American poets. Also included with the text is an audio CD with some selections of poetry read aloud.
Katcher, Brian. Almost Perfect. Delacorte, 2009.
Logan’s friendship with Sage, the new girl at school, begins to evolve into more until she reveals her secret. This story of acceptance is not just about how we love, but the surprise of who we love.
Keillor, Garrison, ed. Good Poems. Viking, 2002.
Selected from Keillor’s radio show, The Writer’s Almanac, this anthology of both contemporary and classic poetry is the first in a set of three. Poems range from quirky to quaint and everyone is sure to find at least one favorite in this accessible collection.
King, A. S. Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
After her best friend Charlie’s death, Vera Dietz struggles to stay anonymous when Charlie begins haunting her, demanding that she clear his name.
Levithan, David. The Lover’s Dictionary. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
In simple dictionary entries a story of friendship, passion, and love comes to life.
Lewis, Catherine. Thrice Told Tales: Three Mice Full of Writing Advice. Antheum Books for Young Readers, 2013.
One nursery rhyme is used to explain nearly one hundred elements of literature and writing in a fun, clever way.
Lockhart, E. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Hyperion, 2008.
When fifteen-year-old Frankie finds out her boyfriend is lying to her, she vows to infiltrate and take down his boys-only secret society to prove what a girl can really do.
Marchetta, Melina. Finnikin of the Rock. Candlewick, 2010.
Ten years after the royal family of Lumatere is brutally murdered, nineteen-year-old Finnikin sets out on a journey to discover whether or not the rumors of a surviving heir are true.
Miller, Madeline. Song of Achilles. Ecco, 2012.
Achilles and Patroclus have been through many tough situations as they’ve grown up together. The battle at Troy may be their final challenge. This beautiful retelling of their story brings the Iliad to life.
Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller. Carolrhoda Lab, 2012.
Through the use of illustrations, photos, and newspaper clippings, the struggle and triumph of Lewis Michaux’s passion to get people to read led him to found the National Memorial African Bookstore, which became the intellectual hub and the place to be during the Harlem Renaissance.
Newman, Lesléa. October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard. Candlewick, 2012.
Through different points of view and different forms of poetry, Newman explores both the crime and tragedy of Matthew Shepard’s death.
Pullman, Philip. Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version. Viking, 2012.
Ever wonder about the classic fairy tales you heard as a child? Pullman retells and traces the history of some of the most well known—and some obscure—stories of our time.
Rowell, Rainbow. Fangirl. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013.
As a college freshman, Cath struggles to find her place as she tries to balance her chaotic home life, her fan-fiction writing, and school, while discovering what life is like without her twin sister.
Sloan, Robin. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
This story of complex code breaking, global conspiracy, and adventure all starts with a lonely bookstore and one unemployed web designer.
Stiefvater, Maggie. Scorpio Races. Scholastic, 2011.
Every November, riders attempt to stay on their water horses long enough to win the Scorpio Races. Puck Connolly is the first girl to ever compete and she is in no way prepared for the race or the returning champion, Sean Kendrick.
Stiefvater, Maggie, Tessa Graton, and Brenna Yovanoff. The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories. Carolrhoda Lab, 2012.
Three young adult authors challenged each other to write a piece of short fiction every week. The Curiosities is a collection of their stories, with comments from each author about their writing.
Suma, Nova Ren. Imaginary Girls. Dutton Books, 2011.
Chloe adores her big sister Ruby, and lives to win Ruby’s approval. In fact, Ruby seems to have this effect on everyone in their little town. But just what is the power that Ruby holds over them? The author’s use of language may keep us from seeing the truth in this eerily compelling story.
Teller, Janne and Martin Aitken, trans. Nothing. Antheum Books for Young Readers, 2010.
When Pierre Anthon announces that nothing matters, his classmates set out to prove him wrong, with chilling consequences.
Yang, Gene Luen. American Born Chinese. First Second, 2006.
Intertwining three very different stories, this graphic novel tackles the problems young Chinese-Americans face when trying to adapt to popular culture.