Youth Reading List - Curated by Ypsilanti District Library
What makes life worth living?
• The Dangerous Book for Boys
by Conn Iggulden, 2007, 0061243582
The overall premise of this nostalgic book is that action and adventure are fun and worth the risks.
• The Daring Book for Girls
by Andrea Buchanon, 2007, 0061472573
See above – it’s all ok for girls to be adventurous too.
• Is There Really a Human Race
by Jamie Lee Curtis, 2006, 0060753463
While thinking about life as a race, a child wonders whether it is most important to finish first or to have fun along the way.
• Complete Adventures of Curious George
by Margret and H. A. Rey
I’m a sucker for Curious George – nobody is more fantastically curious or adventurous or intrepid than this little monkey.
• And the behind the scenes story of the Reys’ escape, The Journey That Saved Curious George : the true wartime escape of Margret and H.A. Rey
by Louise Borden
An extraordinary story about escaping death.
• Anne of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery, 1908
Anne is an orphan, sent to help out a lonely middle-aged brother and sister on a farm on Prince Edward Island. Anne has a feisty spirit and exuberance for life that captivates everyone around her.
by Jerry Spinelli, 2002, 0060540745
Even though his classmates consider him strange and a loser, Daniel Zinkoff’s optimism and exuberance and the support of his loving family do not allow him to feel that way about himself.
• Thank You Mr. Falker
by Patricia Polacco, 1998, 0399237321
An autobiographical account of a teacher that goes the extra mile in helping her overcome her dyslexia when others make her feel dumb.
• Goin’ Someplace Special
by Patricia McKissack, 2001, 1416927352
In segregated 1950s Nashville, a brave African American girl braves indignities and obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town, the public library.
• Uncle Jed’s Barbershop
by Margaree King Mitchell, 1993, 0689819137
At age 79, after a lifetime of obstacles, Uncle Jed finally fulfills his lifetime dream of owning his own barbershop.
• Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank, 1953
We all know this story
• Zlata’s Diary: a child’s life in Sarajevo
by Zlata Filipović, 1994,
Similar to Anne Frank’s diary only in Sarajevo. A privileged 11 year old, only concerned with Madonna and MTV has to get used to bombing, snipers, shortages of food, gas, water and electricity.
• Farewell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Wakutsuki Houston, 1986, 0618216200
Yet another Anne Frank-like autobiography. The author was 7 years old when her family was forced to leave their home and their fishing business in Long Beach, CA and move to a Japanese Internment camp called Manzanar in the California desert.
by Jerry Spinelli, 2000, 0679886370
Spinelli shows what it means to be a human being on a planet that is rich with wonders. "She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl."
• The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak, 2006, 0375842209
This is a mesmerizing, moving story of a young German girl in World War II Germany who steals books and survives amidst a dreadful existence. The story is narrated by Death, himself, who is funny, self deprecating and unsentimental.
• The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
by Sherman Alexie, 2007, 0316013684
A semi-autobiographical account of a budding cartoonist who transfers from the reservation school to a rich, white school. Amidst daily struggles of reservation life, Arnold Spirit is determined to improve himself and overcome poverty.
• A Long Way Down
by Nick Hornby, 2005, 1573223026
This is a book written for adults but I know several teens who have read this book through word of mouth. 4 people independently meet on New Year’s Eve at an infamous suicidal destination to commit suicide and unlikely bonding occurs.
• Make Lemonade
by Virginia Euwer Wolff, 1993, 0805022287
A triumphant, hopeful story about a bright, loving 14 year old who wants very badly to go to college. To earn money she babysits for a 17 year old with 2 children who live in squalor. As she helps Jolly make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her, LaVaughn learns some lessons outside the classroom.