Literature Circles Novel Selection
Multi-Cultural Award-Winning Literature
Directions: Please carefully read the descriptions of the
literature selections below. There are three categories -- select the
appropriate category for your learning needs. On the handout provided,
number your choices (CHOOSE TOP FIVE ONLY) in the spaces available with
a one (1) being the novel you most wish to read. I will do my best to
accommodate one of your top three (3) choices. If you have read any of
the selections listed, indicate that you have done so by writing "READ"
in the space provided. Please do not mark on this handout.
"Challenging" Reading Level RL:6+
Let the Circle Be Unbroken -- written by the award-winning author Mildred D. Taylor
Cassie Logan and her family will never forget 1935. It is the time of
the Great Depression, and young Cassie is about to learn the hard
truths of what it means to be black. A friend, T.J., is condemned by an
all-white jury. Neighbors are destroyed by wealthy, greedy landowners.
A pretty cousin, Suzella, is humiliated for the crime of trying to pass
as white. And old hatreds and new conflicts erupt to strain the close
Logan family circle. But the bonds of love, understanding and spirited
courage prove stronger than the ugliest prejudice -- and Cassie looks
to the future with pride, self-respect, and a new fire to survive.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry -- A Newbery Medal Winner written by Mildred D. Taylor
Why is the land so important to Cassie’s family? It takes the events of
one turbulent year -- the year of the night riders and the burnings,
the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she is
black -- to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan
family’s lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage
and pride. No matter how others may degrade them, the Logans possess
something no one can take away.
The Education of Little Tree -- An Abby Award -Winner written by Forrest Carter
This is highly acclaimed book , one it is claimed that can be read
again and again. It is the story of Little Tree, a young Cherokee boy
growing up in the 1930s who is raised by his grandparents. Some of it
is sad, some charming, some funny and unbelievable. This is definitely
worth reading! 216 pages.
Farewell to Manzanar -- Written by Jeanne Wakatsuki and James D. Houston
Jeanne Wakatsuki was 7 years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted
from their home and sent to live at Manzanar internment camp with
10,000 other Japanese Americans. Along with searchlight towers and
armed guards, Manzanar ludicrously featured cheerleaders, Boy Scouts,
sock hops, baton twirling lessons and a dance band called "The Jive
Bombers" who would play any popular song except the nation’s #1 hit:
"Don’t Fence Me In." Farewell to Manzanar
is the true story of one spirited Japanese American family’s attempt to
survive the indignities of forced detention ... and of a native-born
American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed
wire in the United States. 145 pages.
"Somewhat Challenging" Reading Level RL:5 - 5.7
Island of The Blue Dolphin -- A Newbery Award-winner written by Scott O’Dell
In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning
itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea
elephants and birds abound. Once, Indians also lived on the island. And
when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind.
This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years
on the Island of The Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she watched one
season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away. But
while she waited, she kept herself alive by building shelter, making
weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. 184
...And now Miguel -- A Newbery Medal winner written by Joseph Krumgold
When you act like an adult but get treated like a child, what else can
you do but keep your wishes secret and pray that they’ll come true?
This is the story of 12-year-old Miguel Chavez, who yearns in his heart
to go with the men of his family on a long and hard sheep drive to the
Sangre de Cristo Mountains -- until his prayer is finally answered,
with a disturbing and dangerous exchange. 245 pages
Journey of the Sparrows -- Written by Fran Leeper Buss
Nailed into a crate in the back of a truck, 15-year-old Maria; her
older sister, Julia; their little brother, Oscar; and a boy named
Tomas’ endure a cruel journey across the U.S. border and then north to
Chicago. There they struggle to find work -- cleaning, sewing, washing
dishes -- always careful to remain "invisible" so the authorities won’t
arrest and deport them. Despite the family’s ordeals, hope and love can
be found -- in Maria’s budding romance with Tomas’, in the help given
by a kindly midwife and priest, and most of all, in the stories Maria
tells to lift the family’s spirits, of a little sparrow who brings a
rainbow. 155 pages.
The House of Sixty Fathers -- A Newbery Honor book written by Meindert DeJong
Tien Pao is all alone in enemy territory. Only a few days before, his
family had escaped from the Japanese army, fleeing downriver by boat.
Then came the terrible rainstorm. Tien Pao was fast asleep in the
little sampan when the boat broke loose from its moorings and drifted
right back to the Japanese soldiers. With only his lucky pig for
company, Tien Pao must begin a long and dangerous journey in search of
his home and family. 189 pages.
Sing Down the Moon -- A Newbery Honor book written by Scott O’Dell
One lovely spring day, 14-year-old Bright Morning and her friend
Running Bird take their sheep to pasture. The sky is clear blue against
the red buttes of Canyon de Chelly, and the fields and orchards of the
Navajos promise a rich harvest. Bright Morning is happy as she gazes
across the beautiful valley that is the home of her tribe. Happy until
the barking of the Black Dog disturbs her and she turns. It is then
that she sees the Spanish slavers riding straight toward her. 137 pages.
Julie of the Wolves -- A Newbery Medal Winner written by Jean Craighead George
Miyax rebels against a home situation she finds intolerable. She runs
away toward San Francisco, toward her pen pal, who calls her Julie. But
soon Miyax is lost in the Alaskan wilderness, without food, without
even a compass. Slowly she is accepted by a pack of Arctic wolves, and
she comes to love them as though they were brothers. With their help,
and drawing on her father’s training, she struggles day to day to
survive. In the process, she is forced to rethink her past, and to
define for herself the traditional riches of Eskimo life: intelligence,
fearlessness, and love. 169 pages.
The Sign of the Beaver -- A Newbery Honor book written by Elizabeth George Speare
Until the day his father returns to their cabin in the Maine
wilderness, 12-year-old Matt must try to survive on his own. Although
Matt is brave, he’s not prepared for an attack by swarming bees, and
he’s astonished when he’s rescued by an Indian chief and his grandson,
Attean. As the boys come to know each other, Attean learns to speak
English while Matt becomes a skilled hunter. Though many months have
passed, there’s no sign of Matt’s family. Then Attean asks Matt to join
the Beaver tribe and move north. Should Matt abandon his hopes of ever
seeing his family again and move on to a new life. 135 pages.
"Less Challenging" Reading Level RL:4-
Run Away Home -- written by Patricia C. McKissack
It’s 1888 in Alabama, and Sarah Jane has witnessed an escape. An Apache
boy has jumped off a train headed for an Indian reservation -- and a
life he doesn’t want. Sarah Jane hopes he’ll run far away. After all,
people deserve to be free. But instead, she finds him hiding in her
barn, dying of swamp fever. Sarah Jane and her mother work hard to
nurse the boy back to life. And Sarah Jane realizes they’ll have to
turn him over to authorities. But how can a family send away a boy who
just wants his freedom -- a boy who has run away ... home? 160 pages.
The Middle of Somewhere -- A Story of South Africa written by Sheila Gordon
All over Rebecca’s village everyone is talking about the bulldozers.
She and her friends wonder if the government will really send
bulldozers to destroy their homes and make way for a new whites-only
town. The government says they must move and promises a new modern
village, but Rebecca’s parents and her granny say this is their home
and they will never leave. One day Rebecca sets out for school only to
learn her best friend’s family has moved away in the middle of the
night. The villagers who are left must take a brave stand, and
Rebecca’s family may soon be torn apart. Soon Rebecca and her family
and friends find help from a surprising source -- and learn that the
eyes of the entire world are on their tiny village. 151 pages.
Journey to Jo’burg -- A Children’s Book Award-winner written by Beverley Naidoo
Mma lives and works in Johannesburg, far from the village 13-year-old
Naledi and her younger brother, Tiro, call home. When their baby sister
suddenly becomes very sick, Naledi and Tiro know, deep down, that only
one person can save her. Bravely, alone, they set off on a journey to
find Mma and bring her back. It isn’t until they reach the city that
they come to understand the dangers of their country, and the painful
struggle for freedom and dignity that is taking place all around them.
Literature Circles Novel Selection
Multi-Cultural Award-winning Literature
Directions: Please number your top 5 choices in the space provided. Number one (1) is considered your top choice.
"Challenging" Reading Level
_____ Let the Circle be Unbroken
_____ Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
_____ The Education of Little Tree
_____ Farewell to Manzanar
"Somewhat Challenging" Reading Level
_____ Island of The Blue Dolphin
_____ ...And now Miguel
_____ Journey of the Sparrows
_____ The House of Sixty Fathers
_____ Sing Down the Moon
_____ Julie of the Wolves
_____ The Sign of the Beaver
"Less Challenging" Reading Level
_____ Run Away Home
_____ The Middle of Somewhere
_____ Journey to Jo’burg