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Booklist for Moral Literacy Education

Resource Guide for Elementary/Middle/High School Teachers:
Books for Moral Literacy Discussion

The Moral Literacy Education Booklist was developed by Dipali Puri.
Upadted October, 2006.

Grades K-1
Grades K-2
Grades 3-6
Grades 5 & 6
Middle School
High School

Grades K-1

The Mixed Up Chameleon by Eric Carle.
Singapore : Harper Trophy, 1974

A chameleon goes to the zoo and wishes he could be like all of the other animals he sees. As he goes through his wishes and transforms into these animals, the chameleon realizes that he just wants to be himself.

Theme: Respect

Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle.
NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Company

This story is about a grouchy ladybug who tires to pick fights with other insects and animals throughout the day including a whale who teaches her a lesson that she won’t forget.

Theme: Respect, Fairness

Koala Lou by Mem Fox.
NY: Harcourt Bruce Jovanovich Pub., 1988

Koala Lou is loved by all the animals in the jungle, but her mother loves her the most. Soon Koala Lou has brothers and sisters and she hears “I love you” less. Koala Lou decides to enter the Bush Olympics and win so that her mother will tell her that she loves her again. Finally the day of the Bush Olympics comes and she knows that she needs to beat Koala Klaws in the final event. She is unable to beat Koala Klaws and starts crying. Koala Lou’s mother tells her that she loves her and always will no matter what she does.

Theme: Caring

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox.
NY: Harcourt, Inc, 1997

This is a book about peace and equality around the world. The author illustrates the importance of diversity; children may not look the same on the outside, but they are similar on the inside.

Theme: Respect, Caring, Citizenship

Corduroy by Don Freeman.
NY: Viking Press, 1968

Corduroy, a stuffed teddy bear, lives in a department store. One day a little girl named Lisa decides she wants to buy him. Her mother says that they need to come back another day and that Corduroy has a missing button on his overalls. Corduroy decides to look for his missing button after the store closes that night. He doesn’t find his missing button, but the next day Lisa comes to the store and takes him home where she sews on a new button for Corduroy.

Theme: Caring

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes.
NY: Greenwillow Books, 1996

Lilly loves school, especially her teacher Mr. Slinger. One day Lilly comes to school with her new purple plastic purse to show off. Mr. Slinger takes her purse because she is being disruptive to class. Lilly decides she doesn’t like her teacher anymore and writes Mr. Slinger a nasty note. Lilly learns about respect, understanding, and responsibility.

Themes: Respect, Fairness, Responsibility

It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni.

Three young frogs, Milton, Rupert, and Lydia, spend the day fighting and arguing over what is theirs in the pond. They fight over such things as the water, a butterfly, and a worm. When a disaster almost strikes and the frogs are saved by a toad, they come to realize that fighting over who “owns” what is silly; there are more important things in life than that.

Themes: Fairness, Responsibility

Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.
NY: North-South Books, 1992

Rainbow Fish lives out in the blue sea and has the most beautiful colored scales that shimmer. The other fish always ask him to play with them and share his scales, but Rainbow Fish just swims on by; too proud to say anything to them. Now, no one wants to play with Rainbow Fish anymore. He decides to go ask the advice of a great wise octopus, who tells him that he should share his scales with the other fish. Rainbow Fish learns an important lesson about sharing and friendship in this story.

Themes: Fairness, Respect

Yo! Yes! by Chris Raschka
NY: Orchard Books, 1993

Two boys, who are very different, meet and become friends. One speaks in slang and the other is very proper. They are able to communicate despite their differences and break down the language barrier to become friends.

Themes: Respect, Friendship

Pierre by Maurice Sendak
Harper Collins Childrens Books, 1990

This book is written by the author in verse and tells the story of a little boy named Pierre who doesn’t not listen to his parents or care about anything. Pierre gets eaten by a hungry lion, but his parents come to discover what has happened; they take the lion to the hospital. After a quick shake from the doctor, Pierre comes out. At the end of the story, Pierre has learned his lesson and learns to care more about things.

Themes: Caring, Responsibility

Yoko by Rosemary Wells.
NY: Hyperion Books for Children, 1998

Yoko’s mother packs her little “Cherry Blossom” a yummy sushi lunch for school every day. Once Yoko is at school, all of the other children make fun of her lunch. Yoko is sad and her teacher decides to have an international food day to celebrate foods around the world. The children bring in dishes from other countries such as mango smoothies and Irish stew. Yoko brings in sushi; no one tries it except for Timothy. Yoko and Timothy become good friends at the end of the story.

Themes: Citizenship, Respect

Top

Grades K-2

Two of Them by Aliki.
NY: Greenwillow, 1979

This book is about the relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter. The little girl’s grandfather loves her from the minute that she is born; they spend hours together playing outside and caring for one another. After the little girl’s grandfather passes away, their love still goes on through her memories.

Themes: Caring, Respect

Hawk, I’m Your Brother by Byrd Baylor.
NY: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1976.

Rudy is a little boy who has always wanted to fly. He thinks that if he steals a hawk and they become “brothers”, he will be able to fly also. The hawk is very unhappy being tied up and not having the opportunity to fly. One day Rudy comes to understand that he has to let the hawk go so that he will be happy. Rudy comes to realize that, through the hawk, he can fly.

Themes: Citizenship, Responsibility, Respect

Going Home by Eve Bunting.
NY: Joanna Cotler books, 1996

A Mexican family, who has come to America for more opportunities, goes home to Mexico to visit. Mother and father are excited to show their children their homeland and introduce them to their relatives who still live there. Carlos and his sisters wonder how Mexico can be their home also, but come to learn a valuable lesson, that home is where the heart is.

Themes: Citizenship, Caring, Responsibility

Smoky Night by Eve Bunting.

This book describes the Los Angeles riots, as seen through the eyes of a child, Daniel. Daniel and his mother are watching people rioting and laughing in the streets below. During that night of rioting, Daniel’s mother wakes him up to tell him that the building is on fire and they need to leave. The fire and looting force neighbors who avoided each other to come together.

Theme: Respect, Responsibility, Caring

The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting.
NY: Clarion Books, 1989

Anna spends Wednesday nights, her favorite night, with her grandmother. They read together for hours. On her dad’s birthday, Anna and her grandmother give him their “Wednesday” surprise. Anna gives her father the greatest gift he has ever received, she has taught her grandmother how to read.

Themes: Caring, Responsibility, Respect

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon.
NY: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1993

Stellaluna is a bat who becomes separated from her mother and finds a home with a family of birds. She learns to sleep at night and eat bugs just like birds do, forgetting that she is a bat and not a bird. At the end of the story, she is reunited with her mother, who once again teaches her the ways of a bat. Stellaluna introduces her mother to her bird family.

Themes: Caring, Respect, Trustworthiness

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin.

The cows in Farmer Brown’s care are sick of complying to his demands, so they decide to take action of their own. The cows find an old typewriter and type out their complaints for Farmer Brown to see. Farmer Brown is stunned when he realizes that his cows are not the only animals that can type; he learns a valuable lesson about how to treat others.

Themes: Fairness, Respect, Responsibility

Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie de Paola.
NY: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1979

Oliver is a little boy who doesn’t like to do what other boys are supposed to do. He likes to draw, jump-rope, and dance. Oliver is teased at school for being a sissy, but he doesn’t care, he likes how he is and what he does. His peers come to accept him after they him perform at a school talent show.

Themes: Respect, Caring

Abuela by Arthur Dorros.
NY: Dutton Children’s Books, 1991

Rosa and her abuela, grandmother, spend the day at the park. At the park, they daydream that they are soaring through the sky and looking around the city from high above. They pass many things her abuela saw when she came to this country, including The Statue of Liberty. Rosa comes to learn about her grandmother’s past and journey to the United States.

Themes: Citizenship, Respect

Possum Magic by Mem Fox.
NY: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1983

Hush is a possum, whose grandma Poss makes bush magic. One day, she makes Hush invisible. Hush realizes that she want to be visible again. Grandma Poss can’t remember the spell to make Hush visible but then realizes that the spell has something to do with “people food”.

Theme: Trustworthiness

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox.
NY: Kane/Miller Book Pub., 1985

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge lives next door to “an old people’s” home. He enjoys spending time with Miss Nancy the most because she has four names just like he does. Wilfrid discovers that she is slowly losing her memory, so he tries to bring her memories back to Miss Nancy through different objects that he finds. With Wilfrid’s help, Miss Nancy is able to remember her past and share her experiences and stories with him again.

Themes: Caring, Respect

Meet Danitra Brown by Nikki Grimes.
NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1994

Meet Danitra Brown, she is the most “splendiferous” girl in the world. Zuri talks about her best friend in this book about relationships. The story is told in poems and rhymes to give it a lyrical feeling. The two girls share many adventures as friends in this story. The author provides the reader with a multicultural look at friendship.

Themes: Fairness, Caring, Respect

Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes.
NY: Greenwillow Books, 1988

Chester and his best friend Wilson have the same way of doing things. They are inseparable, until Lilly moves into the neighborhood. At first, they don’t want to play with Lilly, but once they spend time with her, they come to learn that Lilly has fun ways of doing things also.

Themes: Respect, Fairness, Caring

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.
NY: Greenwillow Books, 1991

From the day she is born, her parents think that their daughter is perfect and decide that their baby girl needs a perfect name, so they name her Chrysanthemum. Chrysanthemum loves her name until she goes to school and is teased by the other children for having such a silly and long name. She no longer feels that her name is perfect. Chrysanthemum wishes she had a shorter name until she meets her music teacher who also has a long name. Chrysanthemum learns to love and respect her name a the end of the story.

Themes: Respect, Caring

Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats.
U.S. Harper Collins Publishers, 1967

Peter has a brand new baby sister and his parents are spending time painting his old cradle and crib pink. Peter decides to take his baby chair and run away before they paint that pink also. Once Peter realizes that he is too big for the chair, he decides to paint it pink and give it to his baby sister.

Themes: Respect, Caring, Fairness

Swimmy by Leo Leonni.
NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991

Swimmy lives the corner of the sea. All the other fish in his family are red, but Swimmy is black. One day a tuna fish eats his brothers and sisters, but Swimmy escapes. He meets interesting creatures along the way including a jelly fish and lobster. He teaches the other red fish to swim together so that they look like a big fish. They are able to work together and scare the tuna fish away.

Themes: Caring, Respect

Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott.

This is an Ashanti myth about a father, Anansi, whose six sons help him out of a dangerous situation. Anansi finds a mysterious, beautiful globe of light in the forest and he is unsure which spider son he should give it to. He asks Nyame, the God of All Things, to help him. Nyame takes the globe up to the sky and it stays there, as the moon, for all to see.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Fairness

Zin Zin Zin a Violin! by Lloyd Moss.
NY: Simon and Schuster, 1995

A trombone is playing all by itself until more instruments start to join one by one including a trumpet, a French horn, and a violin. The entire orchestra is ready and assembled on the stage so that they can play together. This book is a celebration and appreciation of classical music.

Theme: Respect

Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Princess Elizabeth is an energetic and intelligent young girl. One day a dragon takes away Prince Ronald and burns Elizabeth’s castle and clothes. She decides just to wear a paper bag and sets off to save her prince from the fiery dragon. Once Elizabeth gets to Prince Ronald, he sees how she is dressed and tells her that she looks like a mess. The princess decides that she does not want to marry Prince Ronald anymore because he just cares about appearances and not what is on the inside.

Themes: Fairness, Respect

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson.
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 2000

A little boy is having a perfect summer until his #1 enemy Jeremy Ross moves into the neighborhood. His dad shows him how to make “enemy pie”, but the only way it will work is if the little boy spends the day with Jeremy. He comes to realize that he likes Jeremy and they become good friends.

Themes: Respect, Caring, Trustworthiness

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco.
NY: Simon & Schuster, 1988

This story is about a quilt that has been passed on from generation to generation for almost a century. The author tells the story of her own family and what the quilt symbolizes to each generation. Great grandma Anna came to the United States to start a new life. She uses the quilt as a way to remember her home back in Russia and her family

Theme: Citizenship

Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Pollaco.
NY: A Bantam Little Rooster Book, 1992

Mrs. Katz lives all by herself. Larnel, a little boy who lives next door, asks her to adopt a kitten. He comes over everyday after school to help with Tush. Larnel listens to Mrs. Katz’s stories about her Jewish heritage and the struggles that she faced; he realizes that they both have history in common.

Themes: Caring, Citizenship, Respect

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.
NY: Philomel Books, 1995

Trisha is thrilled to start school and learn how to read. As soon as she tries to read, the letters don’t look right. Reading is a struggle for her as she continues school. Trisha moves to a new school in 5 th grade and her teacher, Mr. Falker, takes the time to help her learn how to read. He has faith in her and knows that she will be able to learn how to read. The author writes about her own experiences as a little girl and how the kindness and dedication of a teacher helped her learn how to read and become the author that she is today.

Themes: Caring, Respect

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polocco.
NY: Philomel Books, 1990

This book is about a little girl who is afraid of thunder and her “babushka” – grandma, helps her overcome this fear. They make “thunder cake” together during the storm. She helps her grandmother gather ingredients from the farm as they count how far away the thunder is. With the help of the thunder cake, the little girl is no longer afraid of the storm.

Themes: Trustworthiness, Caring

The American Wei by Marion Hess Pomeranc.
Illinois : Albert Whitman and Company, 1998

Wei and his parents have immigrated from China to the United States. They are on their way to the courthouse to be sworn in as American citizens. Wei loses his tooth while he is outside of the courthouse. People from all different backgrounds and countries come together to help Wei search for his tooth. At the end of the story, Wei and his family are sworn in as American citizens.

Theme: Citizenship

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.
NY: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1991

The author tells the story of a little African-American girl, Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who flies above her family’s apartment in a “dream adventure” looking down at Harlem in 1939. She flies over her family spending time on the roof, the construction site that her father works at, and an ice cream factory.

Themes: Respect, Caring

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieszka and Lane Smith.
NY: Viking, 1989

This book tells the story of the three little pigs from the wolf’s perspective and what he thinks really happened.

Themes: Fairness, Respect, Responsibility

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 1963

Max is dressed up in his wolf suit and decides to be mischievous. His mother sends him to bed without supper. That night a forest grows in Max’s room and he sails away to where the wild things are. He tames the wild animals there and becomes their king. Max decides to be where he is loved and leaves the wild things. Back in his room, Max’s supper is waiting for him, still hot.

Themes: Caring, Responsibility

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
NY: Harper Collins, 1964

This book is about a tree- a giving tree, who loves a little boy so much that it gives to the boy everything it has. As the boy grows, the tree provides whatever he needs. The boy and the tree provide comfort for each other throughout the story.

Themes: Caring, Respect

Chato’s Kitchen by Gary Soto.
GP Putnam’s Sons, 1995

Chato is a cool cat who can’t believe his luck when he finds out that a family of mice lives next to him. He invites them over for “dinner” and realizes the surprise is on him when they bring along their friend, who happens to be a dog.

Themes: Trustworthiness, Respect

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto.
NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1993

Maria is helping her mother make tamales for Christmas. She loves her mother’s ring and decides to wear it while her mother is on the phone. Maria starts kneading the dough and forgets about the ring once her cousins arrive to celebrate the holiday. As they are playing, she suddenly remembers that she had on her mother’s ring while she was kneading the dough. Maria and her cousins decide to eat all of the tamales, hoping to find the ring inside. Maria comes to find out that the ring was on her mother’s finger the whole time.

Themes: Responsibility, Citizenship

The Lorax by Dr. Suess.
NY: Random House, 1971

This is the classic story about The Lorax who speaks on behalf of the Truffula trees who are being chopped down and used to make goods. The Lorax describes the consequences that occur when the environment is taken for granted.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring

Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg.
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990

Walter is a little boy who does not care very much about the environment. He knows that the future is going to be wonderful; full of robots and inventions. One night Walter dreams that he goes to the future and discovers that it is not what he expected it to be. After the dream, Walter changes and he comes to appreciate nature and the environment.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility

Alexander and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.
NY: Macmillan Pub. Company, 1972

Alexander is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He falls asleep with gum in his mouth and wakes up with it in his hair, he trips on his skateboard, and nothing seems to be going well at all. Alexander decides he has had enough and is moving to Australia. His mom tells him that everyone has bad days, not just Alexander.

Themes: Fairness, Responsibility

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams.
NY: Mulberry Big Book, 1982

A little girl and her mother are saving up money to buy a big comfortable chair for their apartment. Every day the little girl’s mother puts her tips from her job as a waitress into a big jar. They had lost their home to a fire and had to move to another neighborhood. Her mother wants a chair to rest her tired feet on after she comes home from her job. After quite a bit of hard work and saving, the little girl and her mother are able to buy the chair they always wanted.

Theme: Respect, Caring

Crow Boy by Taro Yashima.
NY: The Viking Press, 1955

Chibi is a shy boy who is made fun of in his school in Japan. He finds ways to amuse himself when he is in school so that he does not have to pay attention. When Chibi is in 6 th grade, his teacher Mr. Isobe is very kind to him and spends time with him. Chibi decides to perform at the school talent show, where he makes crow sounds. His classmates are impressed and call him “Crow Boy”.

Themes: caring, respect, citizenship

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.
NY: Philomel Books, 1987

A little girl and her father go “owling” together at night in the winter. She knows that she needs to be brave while she is owling in the middle of the night, even if she is afraid. The little girl realizes that you do not need words at night, just hope that you will see an owl.

Theme: Trustworthiness

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Grades 3-6

Sounder by William Howard Armstrong
HarperCollins Children’s Books, 1972

A young African American boy finds courage through his relationship with his dog Sounder. The boy’s father, a sharecropper, is jailed for stealing food for his family. Sounder helps the boy get through his hardships.

Themes: Responsibility, Caring

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
HarperCollins Publishers, 1982

Omri gets a cupboard and a magic key for his birthday. He puts his plastic Indian in the cupboard and the Indian comes to life. Omri is now responsible to take care of his little friend and make sure that nothing happens to him.

Themes: Responsibility, Caring

Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
1987

After Mary’s parents die due to a cholera outbreak in India, she moves to England to live with an uncle she has never met. While she is living at Misselthwaite Manor, Mary becomes friends with a boy named Dickon and discovers that she has a sickly cousin named Colin who has been shut away in a room in the manor. Mary and Colin’s sullen ways begin to disappear once they discover a secret garden in the manor and learn what happiness is all about.

Themes: Caring

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Elenor Coerr
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1979

Sadako is a spirited and athletic girl who is born in Hiroshima. Soon she begins to experience dizzy spells and becomes ill with leukemia- “atomic bomb disease”. Sadako stays brave throughout the story and remembers a Japanese legend she heard about paper cranes. If a sick person folds one thousand cranes, then God will grant her wish and make her better again. Sadako starts making paper cranes to help her through her illness.

Themes: Caring, Citizenship

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1999

Bud is living in a foster home, when he decides that he wants to search for his father. Set during the Great Depression, Bud goes to Grand Rapids to reunite with his father.

Theme: Trustworthiness

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press, 2001

Opal adopts a dog, Winn-Dixie, the same summer that she and her father move to Florida. As Opal adjusts to living in a new place and dealing with the death of her mother, she finds friendship and happiness along the way. Winn-Dixie helps her understand the true meaning of friendship.

Themes: Respect, Trustworthiness

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
HarperCollins Children’s Books, 1983

Willy is determined to win a dog-sledding race to save his grandfather’s farm. He knows that he will be up against Stone Fox, a silent Native American, who has never been beaten in a race. Willy trains everyday with his beloved dog Searchlight to get ready for the race.

Themes: Trustworthiness, Responsibility

Honey I Love and Other Poems by Eloise Greenfield
HarperCollins Children’s Books, 1986

This book contains sixteen poems told straight through the heart of a little African American girl. She loves her friends, listening to music, and most of all herself. The poems have a little bit of history mixed in so that the reader can understand and appreciate the culture and heritage of the little girl.

Themes: Citizenship, Respect, Caring

Witness by Karen Hesse
Scholastic Inc., 2003

Set in a Vermont town in 1924, Witness takes a look at the community as they deal with the Ku Klux Klan. Through many voices, including an African American girl and a Jewish girl, their story is told.

Themes: Citizenship, Respect, Caring

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1973

Meg Murry and her brother Charles Wallace go in search of their physicist father who is being held captive on the planet of Camazotz by the evil It. With the help of a stranger, Mrs. Whatsit and their friend Calvin O’Keefe, they are able to battle evil. This story is the struggle between good versus evil, where good wins out through the love of two children.

Themes: Responsibility, Caring

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1990

This story is set in Europe, Nazi held Denmark, during World War II. 10-year-old Annemarie Johannesen and her family work to help save her Jewish friend Ellen Rosen from being taken by the Nazis. They help smuggle Ellen’s family out of the country on the night of the round up.

Themes : Caring, Responsibility, Fairness, Citizenship

Holes by Louis Sachar
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2000

Stanley is wrongfully accused of stealing and sent to Camp Green Lake. His job while he is at camp is to dig holes. This story is about Stanley’s family history and how everything in his life fits together.

Themes: Fairness

Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
HarperCollins Publishers, 1998

In the town of Waymer, the annual event- Pigeon day- draws a lot of attention and excitement. Pigeon Day is when sharpshooters fire at pigeons, they don’t kill the pigeons, they just injure them, so that they can have their necks wrung by “wringers”. It is a tradition that Waymer boys become wringers at the age of ten. Palmer does not want to become a wringer when he turns ten. As a result of this, he has to endure bullying and social pressure.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Fairness

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
HarperCollins Publishers, 1974

Fern saves Wilbur, a pig who is born a runt, from her father’s axe. She decides that she is going to raise Wilbur herself; just because he is a runt doesn’t mean that he should be killed. Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in a rafter in the barn. When Wilbur finds out what happens to pigs, he is devastated. To save her friend, Charlotte spins her web into phrases that praise Wilbur, so that the farmer thinks that Wilbur is a special pig.

Themes: Fairness, Respect, Caring

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Grades 5 & 6

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1985

On the way to the town of Treegap, there are woods that are owned by the Foster family. No one ever enters these woods, not even the Fosters themselves. The Tuck family has found a fountain of youth inside the woods and made the decision to drink from the fountain so that they can live forever. One day, ten year old Winnie Foster decides to run away and ventures into the woods. There she meets the Tuck family and has to decide if she wants to drink from the fountain so that she can stay young and live forever or return to her home.

Themes: Trustworthiness, Responsibility

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

Armand is a hobo who lives under a bridge in Paris, France. He comes home one day to find three children living under the bridge where his home is. Armand is not very happy, but the children become attached to him and go with Armand all over the city. All the children want for Christmas is a home of their own and Armand decides to help them get this wish.

Themes: Responsibility, Trustworthiness

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
HarperCollins Children’s Books, 1989

The great kapok tree stands in the middle of the rain forest. One day a man comes to chop it down. As he is chopping, he becomes tired and decides to go to sleep. The animals in the forest come up to him and whisper in his ear to not chop down the tree and destroy their home. After he wakes up, the man decides that he cannot chop down the tree because it provides a home for so many animals in the forest.

Themes: Fairness, Responsibility, Respect

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
HarperCollins Publishers, 1999

This story is told in thirteen chapters, each represented by a different voice. In a troubled urban neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, a young Vietnamese- American girl starts a garden in the middle of a trash-filled parking lot. Others in the neighborhood are touched by this and add to the garden. People from diverse backgrounds such as Hispanics, Haitians, and Koreans, young and old are brought together through this vegetable garden.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility, Fairness

Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
HarperCollins Publishers, 2003

Jemmy is an orphan who must take the whippings for the young heir Prince Brat. Jemmy decides that he does not want to be a “whipping boy” anymore and decides to run away. He is surprised when he finds out that Prince Brat has decided to run away and takes Jemmy with him. Soon, both of the boys have been kidnapped by Cutwater and Hold- Your-Nose Billy. Jemmy tries to convince them that he is actually the prince since he is literate and Prince Brat is not. Throughout their adventures, the two boys come to appreciate each other and become friends.

Themes: Respect, Caring

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Random House Children's Books, 2002

12 year old Jonas lives in a utopian society, where everyone is controlled but lives carefree. He is chosen to be the Receiver, the keeper of the community’s memories. Jonas is trained by the Giver and finds out the disturbing truth behind the utopian society he lives in. He must decide if his community members should know the truth or continue living in their innocent state.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect, Trustworthiness, Caring

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott o dell
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1971.

A young Indian girl, Karana, lives on an island by herself for 18 years after a war broke out between the Russians and the Indians. This story follow Karana’s struggle to survive on her own with the dolphins.

Theme: Responsibility

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1979

Jess, a young boy, who is convinced that he is the fastest runner in his school, befriends a young girl named Leslie. The two become good friends and create a magical kingdom in the woods that they reach by swinging across a creek from a rope that is tied to a tree. They keep Terabithia a secret from everyone, including their families. They spend hours there playing and pretending that they are king and queen until tragedy strikes at the end of the story.

Themes: Respect

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Simon & Schuster Children's, 1996

13 year old Brian, on his way to visit his father in the Canadian wilderness, is the only survivor of a plane crash after the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Now Brian is stranded in the wilderness with just his windbreaker and hatchet, a present his mother had given to him. He learns to survive alone in the wilderness for 54 days before he is rescued. Brian learns to build a fire, fish, hunt, and set up shelter.

Themes: Responsibility, Trustworthiness

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Spear
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983

13 year old Matt is left to guard his house when his father returns to the East to get the rest of their family. One day Matt is viciously stung when he tries to steal honey from a bee tree. When he awakens, Matt finds that he is being treated by a Native American and his grandson. The old man asks Matt to teach his grandson, Attean, how to read. As Matt helps Attean to read, the young Native American boy teaches Matt how to survive in the wilderness and about the Native American culture. The two boys come to respect each other at the end of the story.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Penguin Group ( USA), 1976

An African American family is fighting to stay together during the 1930’s. They are faced with prejudice and discrimination in the South during a time of racial tension and hatred.

Themes: Citizenship, Caring, Fairness, Respect

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Random House Children's Books, 1981

Billy saves up enough money during the depression to buy two hounds. Billy takes them coon-hunting in the Ozarks every day. This story follows Billy’s relationship with his pups and his struggle to overcome grief.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect, Caring

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Middle School (Grades 6 - 8)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

This is the story about the adventures of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy who live with their mother while their father is away fighting during the Civil War. They must deal with growing up without a father and coming into their own as young women during the war.

Theme: Citizenship, Respect

Sounder by William Armstrong.

A young African American boy finds courage through his relationship with his dog Sounder. The boy’s father, a sharecropper, is jailed for stealing food for his family. Sounder helps the boy get through his hardships.

Themes: Responsibility, Caring

The Barn by Avi.

This story is set in Oregon in 1855 and focuses on nine year old Benjamin and his family. After his father gets ill, Benjamin decides to convince his brother and sister to help build the barn that his father had been planning in the hopes that it will give him a reason to live.

Themes: Respect, Caring, Responsibility

Fighting Ground by Avi.

Set during the Revolutionary War, this book takes a look at a young boy, Jonathon and his first experience with war. At 13 years old, the war opens his eyes to what it is like to fight something that you believe in.

Themes: Responsibility, Citizenship

Nothing but the Truth by Avi.

This book is compiled as a series of journal entries, memos, letters, and dialogues. Philip Malloy is a freshman who is less than motivated to be in school. As an act of rebellion, Philip decides to hum during the national anthem which causes a conflict between Philip and the school. This is a satire about high school life and politics.

Themes: Citizenship, Respect, Responsibility

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit.

On the way to the town of Treegap, there are woods that are owned by the Foster family. No one ever enters these woods, not even the Fosters themselves. The Tuck family has found a fountain of youth inside the woods and made the decision to drink from the fountain so that they can live forever. One day, ten year old Winnie Foster decides to run away and ventures into the woods. There she meets the Tuck family and has to decide if she wants to drink from the fountain so that she can stay young and live forever or return to her home.

Themes: Trustworthiness, Responsibility

Jumping the Nail by Eve Bunting.

This story is about the pressures that teens face to jump off of a cliff, known as the Nail, into water 90 feet below. Dru, the narrator of the story is faced with the decision to jump while her best friend, Elisa is pressured into jumping off the cliff into the water with her boyfriend.

Theme: Respect, Responsibility

Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

After Mary’s parents die due to a cholera outbreak in India, she moves to England to live with an uncle she has never met. While she is living at Misselthwaite Manor, Mary becomes friends with a boy named Dickon and discovers that she has a sickly cousin named Colin who has been shut away in a room in the manor. Mary and Colin’s sullen ways begin to disappear once they discover a secret garden in the manor and learn what happiness is all about.

Themes: Caring

The Night Swimmers by Betsy Byars.

Retta tries to be a mother to her two brothers, Johnny and Roy, while their father works nights as a singer and leaves them alone. The sneak off at night to go swimming and become the “night swimmers”.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect, Caring

The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars.

This book takes place in small town in West Virginia. Fourteen year old Sara lives with her older sister Wanda and mentally challenged brother Charlie. Their mother passed away a few years ago and their dad is hardly involved in their lives leaving them to fend for themselves. One day Charlie goes missing and Sara realizes how much she cares about him and needs him in her life.

Themes: Respect, Caring

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud is living in a foster home, when he decides that he wants to search for his father. Set during the Great Depression, Bud goes to Grand Rapids to reunite with his father.

Theme: Trustworthiness

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger.

Marcy is overweight and convinced that she will never go on a date, she just wants to be a “normal” kid. She has admiration and respect for her new English teacher, Ms. Finney who is outspoken and has an unusual teaching style. Marcy learns about what is important to her and the significance of standing up for what you believe in.

Themes: Respect, Caring

Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman

Jemmy is an orphan who must take the whippings for the young heir Prince Brat. Jemmy decides that he does not want to be a “whipping boy” anymore and decides to run away. He is surprised when he finds out that Prince Brat has decided to run away and takes Jemmy with him. Soon, both of the boys have been kidnapped by Cutwater and Hold- Your-Nose Billy. Jemmy tries to convince them that he is actually the prince since he is literate and Prince Brat is not. Throughout their adventures, the two boys come to appreciate each other and become friends.

Themes: Respect, Caring

One Eyed Cat by Paula Fox.

Ned is not allowed to use his father’s gun but ignores this rule. He ends up shooting the rifle once. A one eyed cat shows up at his neighbors woodshed. Ned is faced with the guilt that he feels learns about responsibility while he tends to the cat.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility, Caring

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Willy is determined to win a dog-sledding race to save his grandfather’s farm. He knows that he will be up against Stone Fox, a silent Native American, who has never been beaten in a race. Willy trains everyday with his beloved dog Searchlight to get ready for the race.

Themes: Trustworthiness, Responsibility

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George.

Miyax is struggling for survival in the Alaskan wilderness. She is accepted by a pack of wolves and comes to respect the traditional strengths of Eskimo life as she comes to terms with her own Eskimo roots.

Theme: Respect

Words of Stone by Kevin Henkes.

This story is about Blaze, a young boy who has lost his mother to cancer. He only feels comfortable admitting his fears to his imaginary friends until he meets Joselle who lives on the other side of the hill with her grandmother. She has been secretly writing messages to him with stones.

Theme: Caring

Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse.

13 year old Nyle Sumner and her grandmother live on a sheep farm and are faced with the horrific effects of an accident at a nuclear power plant. Nyle’s cousin Bethany has radiation poisoning as a result of the accident. Nyle’s grandmother decides to take in two fugitives, a mother and her son Ezra, so that she can help them.

Theme: Caring

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

Meg Murry and her brother Charles Wallace go in search of their physicist father who is being held captive on the planet of Camazotz by the evil It. With the help of a stranger, Mrs. Whatsit and their friend Calvin O’Keefe, they are able to battle evil. This story is the struggle between good versus evil, where good wins out through the love of two children.

Themes: Responsibility, Caring

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

This story is set in Europe, Nazi held Denmark, during World War II. 10-year-old Annemarie Johannesen and her family work to help save her Jewish friend Ellen Rosen from being taken by the Nazis. They help smuggle Ellen’s family out of the country on the night of the round up.

Themes : Caring, Responsibility, Fairness, Citizenship

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

11 year old Marty Preston finds an abused beagle puppy, Shiloh, in his neighborhood in West Virginia. He needs to decide whether to return Shiloh to his owners, where he will be mistreated or take care of him and tell his parents that he has found a dog. Marty must deal with the ethical questions behind his decisions concerning Shiloh.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect, Caring, Fairness

Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye

Liyana’s Father who is a doctor and native Palestinian decides to move his Arab American family back to Jerusalem from St. Louis. Liyana must deal with the culture shock and religious turmoil as she falls in love with a Jewish boy.

Themes: Caring, Citizenship

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott o dell

A young Indian girl, Karana, lives on an island by herself for 18 years after a war broke out between the Russians and the Indians. This story follow Karana’s struggle to survive on her own with the dolphins.

Theme: Responsibility

Sing Down the Moon by Scott o dell

Bright Morning, a fourteen year old Navaho Indian, and her friend Running Bird are out in the fields one day tending their sheep when they see Spanish Slave holders approaching. Bright Morning is kidnapped and taken by the slave holders to a Mexican town. The Navaho are pushed out of their land and must walk what becomes known as the “Trail of Tears”.

Theme: Respect

Jacob Have I loved by Katherine Paterson

Sarah Louise Bradshaw is tired of her twin sister Caroline getting all of the attention in the family. Sarah longs to be special but in order to do this, she needs to figure out who she is first. She learns to find her own identity throughout the story.

Theme: Fairness

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

13 year old Brian, on his way to visit his father in the Canadian wilderness, is the only survivor of a plane crash after the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Now Brian is stranded in the wilderness with just his windbreaker and hatchet, a present his mother had given to him. He learns to survive alone in the wilderness for 54 days before he is rescued. Brian learns to build a fire, fish, hunt, and set up shelter.

Themes: Responsibility, Trustworthiness

The Voyage of the Frog by Gary Paulsen

Fourteen year old David attempts to fulfill his uncle’s last wish by piloting his sailboat named The Frog. As he is out on the water, David is stranded by a storm and must deal with being away from land and home with little food and no radio.

Themes: Responsibility

Pink and Say by Patricia Polocco

This book is set during the Civil War and takes a look at a short friendship that crosses racial boundaries. Sheldon Curtis, a white boy, is wounded when Pinkus, an African American union soldier finds him and takes him home to his mother to be nursed back to health.

Themes: Caring, Citizenship, Respect, Fairness, Responsibility

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Billy saves up enough money during the depression to buy two hounds. Billy takes them coon-hunting in the Ozarks every day. This story follows Billy’s relationship with his pups and his struggle to overcome grief.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect, Caring

Pacific Crossing by Gary Soto

Soto and Ramirez, two Mexican American boys, are invited to spend the summer in Japan as exchange students. While they are in Japan, Soto and Ramirez learn about the Japanese culture and working in the fields so that they can make a Mexican meal for their Japanese families. The book includes Spanish and Japanese vocabulary.

Themes : Respect, Caring

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Spear

13 year old Matt is left to guard his house when his father returns to the East to get the rest of their family. One day Matt is viciously stung when he tries to steal honey from a bee tree. When he awakens, Matt finds that he is being treated by a Native American and his grandson. The old man asks Matt to teach his grandson, Attean, how to read. As Matt helps Attean to read, the young Native American boy teaches Matt how to survive in the wilderness and about the Native American culture. The two boys come to respect each other at the end of the story.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Kit Tyler must leave her Caribbean home to move to a Connecticut Colony. She does not know how her aunt and uncle’s Puritan community will perceive her unconventional ways. While Kit is there, she befriends an old Quaker woman known as The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

Themes: Fairness, Respect

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

This is a folk story about a boy who can outrun dogs, hit super homeruns, and tie knots that no one knows how to undo. In the town of Two Mills he is known as a “maniac”. Jeffery Magee must learn to deal with racism in his small town and find a home for himself.

Themes: Respect, Trustworthiness

Wringer by Jerry Spinelli.

In the town of Waymer, the annual event- Pigeon day- draws a lot of attention and excitement. Pigeon Day is when sharpshooters fire at pigeons, they don’t kill the pigeons, they just injure them, so that they can have their necks wrung by “wringers”. It is a tradition that Waymer boys become wringers at the age of ten. Palmer does not want to become a wringer when he turns ten. As a result of this, he has to endure bullying and social pressure.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Fairness

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Kino, a poor pearl fisher, finds the Pearl of the World. He is faced with greed and envy of his neighbors and merchants who want a part of the wealth. Kino comes to discover that having great wealth is not the way to earn respect and happiness.

Themes: Fairness, Respect

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

An African American family is fighting to stay together during the 1930’s. They are faced with prejudice and discrimination in the South during a time of racial tension and hatred.

Themes: Citizenship, Caring, Fairness, Respect

Dragonwings by Lawrence Yep

This story is told through the eyes of a young boy who leaves China to live with his father in America. Eight year old Moon Shadow Lee must learn to live in 20 th Century San Francisco and deal with the prejudice that he faces there. He learns to respect his father and his new home.

Themes: Respect, Responsibility, Citizenship

Sea Glass by Lawrence Yep

Craig Chin lives in San Francisco’s Chinatown where he must deal with trying to fit in this “ New World”. The kids tease him and call him “Buddha Boy”, making it difficult to be accepted. Craig’s uncle is the only one who really understands what he is going through and helps him deal with his situation by opening his eyes to the sea world.

Themes: Respect, Citizenship, Caring

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High School (Grades 9 - 12)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This story is about Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and the adventures of their five daughters. They live at their Hertfordshire residence of Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet’s matchmaking skills and her concern to marry off her daughters add to the storyline. Of all of the sisters, Elizabeth is the most stubborn and full of pride especially when it comes to her love interest, Darcy.

Theme: Respect

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

This story is told in flashbacks and starts off when a visitor to Wuthering Heights wants to learn about his family history. The Earnshaw family adopted a gipsy child named Heathcliff who caught the interest of their daughter Catherine. Although Catherine saw him as her soulmate, she could not marry someone who was socially lower than her so she marries someone else.

Theme: Caring

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

This short novel is about Henry Fleming and his reaction to warfare. Henry is a soldier whose fear and panic causes him to run from the battlefield. Throughout the novel, he learns to overcome his fear and return to fighting the next day and lead his charge to battle.

Theme: Responsibility, Citizenship

Whirligig by Paul Fleischman

After being rejected and humiliated at a party, Brent drives home drunk with the intent on killing himself, his drunk driving kills a stranger instead. Brent is overcome with guilt and wants to find a way to redeem himself and make things right. He is able to meet Lea’s mother and she requests that he makes four whiligigs of her daughter and set them up at the corners of the United States. The readers follow Brent on his journey to the four different states.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect, Caring

The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald

Jay Gatsby and his neighbors Tom and Daisy Buchanan go on pursuit of the American Dream during the Roaring 20’s. Gatsby lives in the New York suburb of West Egg. His love for Daisy pushes him to use his money to reach her. The characters do not care about the consequences of their actions.

Theme: Responsibility

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

A group of British boys are stranded on an island bye themselves without adult supervision. They decide to establish a society based on law and order. They provide shelter and food for themselves, but the world they have created starts to fall apart when a power for struggle begins.

Themes: Citizenship, Respect, Fairness, Responsibility

Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Lena lives in a cramped apartment in an unsafe neighborhood. She hopes to move to a new family home in the suburbs of Chicago using her husband’s life insurance policy. Her older son has other plans for the money which may jeopardize her move to a new life.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

An old Cuban fisherman, Santiago, takes on nature for 84 days to hook a giant Marlin. He has to battle the fish for two days before hooking it. When Santiago returns to land, he sees that sharks have eaten away the marlin and reduced it to just a shell of skeleton.

Themes: Respect, Perseverance

Toning the Sweep by Angela Johnson

This story is about fourteen year old Emily who learns what “toning the sweep” means. She comes to learn that it is a ritual - a way of drumming a plow to create a sound that honors the deceased. Emily and her mother are moving with her grandmother Ola to Cleveland where she will live for the remainder of her days. Their hardships and struggles are told throughout the novel.

Themes: Caring, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This story is told from the point of view of a child, Scout Finch and follows three years in her life. She lives with her brother Jem and her father Atticus. Set in a small southern town in Alabama during the depression, this novel addresses issues of race, class, justice, and intolerance.

Themes: Respect, Fairness, Caring, Responsibility, Citizenship

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

This story is the first in a trilogy that follows the Wizard Ged and how he deals with consequences of having power and what happens when it is used inappropriately. Ged needs to use this power responsibly and wisely or the whole world can be set off balance.

Theme: Responsibility

The Giver by Lois Lowry

12 year old Jonas lives in a utopian society, where everyone is controlled but lives carefree. He is chosen to be the Receiver, the keeper of the community’s memories. Jonas is trained by the Giver and finds out the disturbing truth behind the utopian society he lives in. He must decide if his community members should know the truth or continue living in their innocent state.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect, Trustworthiness, Caring

A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry

Meg is not happy when she finds out that she is going to be sharing a room with her older sister Molly since her family has moved to a small house in the country. Meg and her sister are very different; Molly is the popular and pretty one. Just as Meg is starting to get fed up with her sister, Molly is rushed to the hospital. Meg realizes that something is seriously wrong with her sister.

Themes: Caring, Respect, Fairness

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Set during 1692 in Salem where finding and driving out witchcraft was the main concern of the town. The story examines the struggle that the community faces between what is true and feeling pressure from the townspeople. Miller raises important points about morality and fairness.

Theme: Fairness

The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers

This story follows five generations of an African American family from Africa to a plantation in South Carolina, the Civil War, the end of segregation, and back to what is called “the glory field”. The Lewis family is traced through two hundred and forty years of history which takes a look at the changes that were experienced through each time period.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect, Caring

Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers

Jamal, who at twelve years old, is sick of his parents, teachers, and the kids at school messing with him. Jamal’s brother Randy is arrested and sent to jail. One of Jamal’s friends decides that he should take control of the Scorpions and start selling crack. Jamal’s life changes once he acquires a gun.

Themes: Responsibility, Respect

Somewhere in the Darkness by Walter Dean Myers

Jimmy’s dad has been gone for nine years and one day he is forced to run from the law. Jimmy and his father travel across the country so that Jimmy’s dad can find the man who will set him free of his crimes. Along the way, Jimmy not only learns about himself, but his father and what forgiveness means.

Themes: Responsibility, Caring, Fairness

Young Landlords by Walter Dean Myers

Paul, who is fifteen years old, with the help of his friends decides to form an Action Group over the summer in Harlem. They purchase a run down building for a dollar from the owner. Paul and his friends think that they can easily improve “The Joint” but they come to learn that it is much harder than they thought it would be.

Theme: Responsibility

Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Two men living in racially torn South Africa in the 1940’s able to become friends despite the fact that they should be enemies. Reverend Stephen Kumalo receives a letter from another minister requesting his presence in Johannesburg. He must make this long journey to the city to help and find his son. This story takes a look at race and class during a time of separation and racial unrest.

Themes: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility

Car by Gary Paulsen

Terry Anders is fourteen and has been abandoned by his parents. He decides to assemble a car from a kit in his father’s garage. Terry finishes the car he calls “the cat” and sets out from his home in Cleveland to find in his uncle in Portland. Along the way he meets a Vietnam War Vet who turns out to help him discover and find his way on his journey.

Themes: Responsibility, Trustworthiness, Caring

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

13 year old Brian, on his way to visit his father in the Canadian wilderness, is the only survivor of a plane crash after the pilot has a heart attack and dies. Now Brian is stranded in the wilderness with just his windbreaker and hatchet, a present his mother had given to him. He learns to survive alone in the wilderness for 54 days before he is rescued. Brian learns to build a fire, fish, hunt, and set up shelter.

Themes: Responsibility, Trustworthiness

Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen

Sarny is a twelve year old female slave at the Waller plantation. She sees Nightjohn when he is brought to the plantation with a rope around his neck. He was free but was captured for teaching others how to read. Sarny wants to learn to read and risks the punishment to do so.

Themes: Responsibility, Fairness, Respect

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Eleven year old orphan Lyra lives at Oxford University and sets out to the North with her daemon on a quest to save kidnapped children from the evil Gobblers. The Gobblers are using the children for their own experiments. Lyra must also rescue her father from polar bears that are holding him hostage.

Themes: Trustworthiness, Caring

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Joad family must flee their home in Oklahoma during the 1930’s Dust Bowl. They are forced to travel west to California (“the promised land”). The family must struggle to survive hardship and loss as they set out in search of their new home and a better life.

Themes: Responsibility, Fairness

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

George is a ranch hand whose best friend, Lennie, is mentally handicapped. They both dream of a house of their own with a garden and rabbits for Lennie to tend to. George and Lennie travel from ranch to ranch in search of their dream, along the way, George tries to protect Lennie from the harsh realities of the world.

Themes: Caring, Trustworthiness, Responsibility

The Road to Memphis by Mildred Taylor

Cassie Logan has been dreaming of going to law school once she is finished with high school. Set in Mississippi in 1941, Cassie is forced to face the harsh realities of the world around her. She is asked to help a black youth flee Mississippi after he beats up a white boy with a tire iron.

Themes: Citizenship, Respect

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

A young boy, Huck Finn, helps a slave escape his servitude. Jim and Huck set off down the Mississippi River on their journey to freedom. Huck learns about life, responsibility, and love through the story. He realizes that he would risk it all rather than return Jim to a life of slavery.

Themes: Fairness, Responsibility

Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt

Dicey and her three siblings who were once abandoned, have now found a home with their grandmother on her rundown farm in Maryland. Dicey has always wanted her younger brothers and sister to have a home, but she is not sure she is ready to let go of taking care of them. Dicey must learn to get along with her gram and deal with her mother’s death.

Themes: Responsibility, Caring, Respect

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt

Dicey must take care of her three siblings after they have been abandoned by their mother somewhere in the middle of Connecticut. They need to make it to their Great aunt Cilla’s house in Bridgeport. Once they make their way to Bridgeport, they learn that their aunt has died and do not feel that they are at home with her daughter Eunice. They must continue on their journey.

Themes: Responsibility, Caring

Night by Elie Weisel

This is an autobiographical story about the author’s life in Nazi concentration camps where he watched his friends and family die. Weisel discusses the importance of Night as he is telling his story and the ways in which man can be inhuman to other human beings.

Themes: Fairness, Respect, Caring

The Gift of Sarah Barker by Jan Yolen

This books takes a look at the Shaker lifestyle and is set in the 1800’s. Sarah falls in love with Brother Abel; their love for each other is forbidden. They must keep their love a secret from everyone else. They begin to question their lifestyle and way of viewing the world.

Themes: Respect, Caring

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