SUGGESTED OUTSIDE READING BOOKS: REALISTIC FICTION
The Cholocate War by Robert Cormier. Watching someone take a stand is easy; doing it yourself can be absolutely terrifying. That’s what Jerry Renault learns when he refuses to participate in his school’s annual candy drive and incurs the wrath of the ruling clique of students.
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. Marcleo has an autism-like impairment and hears music that no one else can hear. Marcleo attends a special school, but after his junior year Marcelo's father makes Marcelo work in a law firm's mailroom to experience the "real world."
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of "Stargirl, Stargirl." She captures Leo Borlock' s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal.
The Pigman by Paul Zindel. Meet Mr. Pignati, a lonely old man with a beer belly and an awful secret. He's the Pigman, and he's got a great big twinkling smile. When John and Lorraine, two high school sophomores, meet Mr. Pignati, they learn his whole sad, zany story. They tell it right here in this book -- the truth, and nothing but the truth -- no matter how many people it shocks or hurts.
Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez. Anita de la Torre never questioned her freedom living in the Dominican Republic. But by her 12th birthday in 1960, most of her relatives have emigrated to the United States, her Tio Toni has disappeared without a trace, and the government's secret police terrorize her remaining family because of their suspected opposition of el Trujillo's dictatorship. Using the strength and courage of her family, Anita must overcome her fears and fly to freedom, leaving all that she once knew behind.From renowned author Julia Alvarez comes an unforgettable story about adolescence, perseverance, and one girl's struggle to be free.
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. Moose Flannagan moves with his family to Alcatraz so his dad can work as a prison guard and his sister, Natalie, can attend a special school. But Natalie has autism, and when she's denied admittance to the school, the stark setting of Alcatraz begins to undo the coping mechanisms Moose's family has used for dealing with her disorder.
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo's life, scarring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. Her father can't talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better - playing the piano - is impossible with her wounded hands. To make matters worse, dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby.
Pieces of Georgia by Jennifer Bryant. Like her mother, Georgia McCoy is an artist, but her dad turns away whenever he sees her with a sketchbook. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember what it was like when her mother was still living . . . when they were a family . . . when they were happy. But then right after her 13th birthday, Georgia receives an unexplained gift–a strange, formal letter, all typed up and signed anonymous–granting her free admission to the Brandywine River Museum for a whole year. And things start to change.
Monster by Walter Dean Myers. Monster tells the story of Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in juvenile detention and on trial. Presented as a screenplay of Steve's own imagination, and journal entries, this book shows how one single decision can change our whole lives.
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko. Kristen's parents are barely talking to each other, and her best friend has fallen under the spell of the school's queen bee, Brianna. It feels like only Kirsten's younger sister is on her side. Walker's goals is to survive at the new prep school his mom has sent him to because she thinks he's going to get in trouble like his cousin.
Heat by Mike Lupica. Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat along with aspirations of leading his team all the way to the Little League World Series. But his firepower is nothing compared to the heat Michael faces in his day-to-day life. Newly orphaned after his father led the family’s escape from Cuba, Michael’s only family is his seventeen-yearold brother Carlos.