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Uplifting and Overcoming Adversity (RD 80 and 90)

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The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian

Alexie, Sherman Forney, Ellen

Little, Brown and Co. 2009

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

The alchemist

Coelho, Paulo, Clarke, Alan

HarperSanFrancisco 2002

An Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasures found within.

Bless me, Ultima

Anaya, Rudolfo A

Warner Books 1999

Six-year-old Antonio embarks upon a spiritual journey under the watchful guidance of Ultima, a healing woman, that leads him to question his faith and beliefs in family, religion, and other aspects of his Chicano culture.

The boy who harnessed the wind : creating currents of electricity and hope

Kamkwamba, William Mealer, Bryan

Harper Perennial 2010

An enterprising teenager in Malawi builds a windmill from scraps he finds around his village and brings electricity, and a future, to his family.

Breaking through

Jimenez, Francisco

Houghton Mifflin 2001

Having come from Mexico to California ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Francisco is still working in the fields but fighting to improve his life and complete his education.

Girl, interrupted

Kaysen, Susanna

Vintage Books 1994

In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele--Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles--as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary. Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

How the García girls lost their accents

Alvarez, Julia

Plume 1992

In the 1960s, political tension forces the García family away from Santo Domingo and towards the Bronx. The sisters all hit their strides in America, adapting and thriving despite cultural differences, language barriers, and prejudice. But Mami and Papi are more traditional, and they have far more difficulty adjusting to their new country. Making matters worse, the girls--frequently embarrassed by their parents--find ways to rebel against them.

I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban

Yousafzai, Malala Lamb, Christina

2013

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. This is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. This story will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world. -- Publisher's description.

I am potential : eight lessons on living, loving, and reaching your dreams

Hughes, Patrick Henry Hughes, Patrick John, Stamford, Bryant A

Da Capo Press 2008

Patrick Henry Hughes was born with a rare genetic disorder that left him without eyes and physically disabled. But he was also blessed with exceptional musical talent.

I love yous are for white people : a memoir

Su, Lac

Harper Perennial 2009

Heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting, this stirring memoir chronicles one Asian-American immigrant's struggle to find himself--and to transcend the dangers of gang life in Los Angeles.

Life is so good

Dawson, George Glaubman, Richard

Penguin Books 2001

What makes a happy person, a happy life? In this remarkable book, George Dawson, a 101-year-old man who learned to read when he was 98, reflects on the philosophy he learned from his father--a belief that "life is so good"--as he offers valuable lessons in living and a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century. Born in 1898 in Marshall, Texas, the grandson of slaves, George Dawson tells how his father, despite hardships, always believed in seeing the richness in life and trained his children to do the same. As a boy, George had to go to work to help support the family, and so he did not attend school or learn to read; yet he describes how he learned to read the world and survive in it. "We make our own way," he says. "Trouble is out there, but a person can leave it alone and just do the right thing. Then, if trouble still finds you, you've done the best you can." At ninety-eight, George decided to learn to read and enrolled in a literacy program, becoming a celebrated student. "Every morning I get up and I wonder what I might learn that day. You just never know." In Life is so good, he shares wisdom on everything from parenting ("With children, you got to raise them. Some parents these days are growing children, not raising them") to attitude ("People worry too much. Life is good, just the way it is"). Richard Glaubman captures George Dawson's irresistible voice and view of the world, offering insights into humanity, history, and America--eyewitness impressions of segregation, changes in human relations, the wars and the presidents, inventions such as the car and the airplane, and much, much more. And throughout his story, George Dawson inspires the reader with the message that sustained him happily for more than a century: "Life is so good. I do believe it's getting better."

A long way gone : memoirs of a boy soldier

Beah, Ishmael

Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2008

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived. Ishmael Beah, now 25 years old, tells how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.--From publisher description.

The other Wes Moore : one name, two fates

Moore, Wes

Spiegel & Grau 2010

Two kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same decaying city within a few years of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Told in alternating dramatic narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, this is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation trying to find their way in a hostile world.

The perks of being a wallflower

Chbosky, Stephen

MTV Books/Gallery Books 2012

A haunting coming of age novel told in a series of letters to an unknown correspondent reveals the life of Charlie, a freshman in high school who is a wallflower, shy and introspective, and very intelligent. It's a story of what it's like to grow up in high school, tracing a course through uncharted territory in the world of first dates, family dramas and new friends.

Push : a novel

Sapphire

Vintage Contemporaries/Vintage Books 1997

Relentless, remorseless, and inspirational, this "horrific, hope-filled story" ("Newsday") is certain to haunt a generation of readers. Precious Jones, 16 years old and pregnant by her father with her second child, meets a determined and highly radical teacher who takes her on a journey of transformation and redemption.

Salvage the bones : a novel

Ward, Jesmyn

Bloomsbury 2011

Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.

This I believe : the personal philosophies of remarkable men and women

Allison, Jay, Gediman, Dan, Gregory, John, Merrick, Viki

Picador/Henry Holt and Co. 2007

Presents a collection of eighty essays exploring the personal beliefs of a diverse assortment of contributors, both famous and unknown, who reflect on their faith, the evolution of their beliefs, and how they express them.

Tuesdays with Morrie : an old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson

Albom, Mitch

Doubleday 1997

From the Publisher: Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher. Someone older who understood you when you were young and searching, who helped you see the world as a more profound place, and gave you advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of your mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Tuesdays With Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift to the world.

Warriors don't cry : a searing memoir of the battle to integrate Little Rock's Central High

Beals, Melba

Washington Square Press 1995

In 1957 Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board Education, she was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School. This is her remarkable story. You will listen to the cruel taunts of her schoolmates and their parents. You will run with her from the threat of a lynch mob's rope. You will share her terror as she dodges lighted sticks of dynamite, and her pain as she washes away the acid sprayed into her eyes. But most of all you will share Melba's dignity and courage as she refuses to back down.