Recommended Reading for Students

The First Part Last

Angela Johnson

Bobby is a 16 year-old father raising his infant daughter on his own.  He struggles to balance school, friends, and being a new parent, while accepting responsibility for the decisions that led to his girlfriend’s pregnancy.  The book alternates between the present when he is raising his daughter, and the past when Bobby first found out that his girlfriend was pregnant.  


If High School is a Game, Here’s How to Break the Rules: A Cutting Edge Guide to Becoming Yourself

Cherie Carter-Scott

This book is a collection of 10 “truths” about going into High School.  These truths range from “Truth #1: Your body will change” to “Truth #10: Adolescence is the tunnel to your future.”  This book is written to help teens successfully transition into high school and provide them with tools to be successful.


The Skin I’m In

Sharon G. Flake

Maleeka Madison, a seventh grader in an inner-city school is teased at school and has trouble at home with her mother, who is still mourning the death of her husband two years earlier.  Then Miss Saunders, a new teacher, comes to Maleeka’s school.  Miss Saunders has a birthmark on her face, making her the subject of ridicule from students. The book follows Maleeka’s journey to accept who she is in her own skin.


Tears of a Tiger

Sharon Draper (winner of the Coretta Scott King Genesis Award)

This book follows the story of Andy Jackson, an urban high school basketball star who battles depression after he is a drunk driver in an accident that kills his best friend.  The book is written in the form of conversations between friends, newspaper articles, journal entries, and letters.  It deals with issues including alcohol abuse, suicide, and racism.



Karen Hesse

The novel takes place in a small Vermont town in 1924 - a town that turns against its own when the Ku Klux Klan moves in. No one is safe; especially not 12-year-old Leanora, an African-American girl, or 6-year-old Esther, who is Jewish.

Yo, Alejandro

Alejandro Gac-Artigas

This book was written by a 12 year old boy who wishes to define himself, rather than being defined by others.