Focus on Common Core
Multiple Books For Grades 9-12
How we selected titles:
Follow this link to find direct links to the articles & resources contained within the ELA curriculum materials as found on the Engageny.org site.
Module Books: Grades 9-12
Grade 9 Titles
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (350482)
Karen Russell; multiple books, JS, 2006
In these ten glittering stories, debut author Karen Russell takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades. Here wolf-like girls are reformed by nuns, a family makes their living wrestling alligators in a theme park, and little girls sail away on crab shells. Filled with stunning inventiveness and heart, St. Lucys Home for Girls Raised by Wolves introduces a radiant new writer.
Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt (350421)
David G. McCullough; multiple books, JS, 1981
Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as "a masterpiece" (John A. Gable, Newsday), it is the winner of the Los Angeles Times 1981 Book Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Biography. Written by David McCullough, the author of Truman, this is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and almost fatal asthma attacks, and his struggle to manhood: an amazing metamorphosis seen in the context of the very uncommon household in which he was raised.
Romeo and Juliet (GRAPHIC NOVEL) (350476)
William Shakespeare- retold by Martin Powell; Lexile: GN450L; multiple books, IJS, 2012
The tragic story of two star-crossed lovers from different worlds comes to life in graphic novel format. Romeo, from the Montague family, and Juliet, of the Capulet clan, fall deeply in love at first sight. Fearful of punishment from their respective factions, the two teens keep their love hidden from everyone. However, when their commitment to each other is exposed, it adds more fuel to the heated family feud between the Capulets and Montagues and puts their love and their lives at risk.
The Maltese Falcon (350493)
Dashiell Hammett; Lexile: 760L; multiple books, S, 1929
A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O'Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammetts coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (350406)
Mark Haddon; Lexile: 1180L; multiple books, JS, 2004
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
Complete Tales & Poems: Edgar Allan Poe (350092)
Edgar Allan Poe; Lexile: NONE; multiple books, JS, PROCTOR'S THEATRE, 1975
One of the most original American writers, Edgar Allan Poe shaped the development of both the detective story and the science-fiction story. Some of his poems - "The Raven," "The Bells," "Annabel Lee" - remain among the most popular in American literature. Poe's tales of the macabre still thrill readers of all ages. Here are familiar favorites like "The Purloined Letter," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," together with less well-known masterpieces "The Imp of the Perverse," "The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym" and "Ligeia," which is now recognized as one of the first science-fiction stories, a total of seventy-three tales in all, plus fifty-three poems and a generous sampling of Poe's essays, criticism and journalistic writings.
The Awakening (350486)
Kate Chopin; Lexile: 960L; multiple books, S, 1983
The Awakening shocked turn-of-the-century readers and reviewers with its treatment of sex and suicide. In a departure from literary convention, Kate Chopin failed to condemn her heroine's desire for an affair with the son of a Louisiana resort owner, whom she meets on vacation. The power of sensuality, the delusion of ecstatic love, and the solitude that accompanies the trappings of middle- and upper-class convention are themes of this now-classic novel. The book was influenced by French writers ranging from Flaubert to Maupassant, and can be seen as a precursor of the impressionistic, mood-driven novels of Virginia Woolf and Djuna Barnes. Variously called "vulgar," "unhealthily introspective," and "morbid," the book was neglected for several decades, not least because it was written by a "regional" woman writer
A Doll's House (350489)
Lexile: NONE; multiple books, S, 2012
Translation of: Dukkehjem. Nora, resenting her life as a pampered wife, forges a signature in order to obtain money for her ailing husband, and the results of this act lead her to personal growth and to her resentment of being treated like a doll in her own home.
Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (350479)
Temple Grandin; Lexile: 1130L; multiple books, JS, 2005
Why would a cow lick a tractor? Why are collies getting dumber? Why do dolphins sometimes kill for fun? How can a parrot learn to spell? How did wolves teach man to evolve? Temple Grandin draws upon a long, distinguished career as an animal scientist and her own experiences with autism to deliver an extraordinary message about how animals act, think, and feel. She has a perspective like that of no other expert in the field, which allows her to offer unparalleled observations and groundbreaking ideas. People with autism can often think the way animals think, putting them in the perfect position to translate "animal talk." Grandin is a faithful guide into their world, exploring animal pain, fear, aggression, love, friendship, communication, learning, and, yes, even animal genius. The sweep of Animals in Translation is immense and will forever change the way we think about animals.
George Orwell; Lexile: 1090L; multiple books, JS, FOLLETT LIBRARY RESOURCES, 1948
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is more timely that ever. 1984 presents a "negative utopia," that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world—so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.
Oedipus the King (350418)
Sophocles; Lexile: 1010L; multiple books, JS, 2009
Translation of: Oedipus Rex.;Includes bibliographical references. Presents the text of the play by Sophocles in which a king prophesied to kill his father and marry his mother, and includes background information, time line of events, explanatory notes, and a list of recommended related books.
The Scarlet Letter (350263)
Nathaniel Hawthorne; Lexile: 540L; multiple books, JS, PERMA-BOUND, 2004
An ardent young woman, her cowardly lover, and her aging vengeful husband, these are the central characters in this stark, drama of conflict between passion and convention in the harsh, Puritan world of seventeenth-century Boston. Tremendously moving and rich in psychological insight, this concern with New England's past and its influence on American attitudes. From his dramatic illumination of the struggle between mind and heart, dogma and self-reliance, he fashioned one of the masterpieces of fiction.
Grade 10 Titles
The Joy Luck Club (350419)
Amy Tan; Lexile: 930; multiple books, JS, 2006
The personal, often painful, histories of four Chinese American women who began meeting in San Francisco in 1949 to play mah jong are revealed as the daughter of one who has died searches for her sisters in China to tell them about the mother they never knew
The Natural (350483)
Bernard Malamud; Lexile: 1060L; multiple books, JS, 1952
The Natural, Bernard Malamud’s first novel, published in 1952, is also the first—and some would say still the best—novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, took on very different material—the story of a superbly gifted “natural” at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball era—and invested it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades later, Alfred Kazin’s comment still holds true: “Malamud has done something which—now that he has done it!—looks as if we have been waiting for it all our lives. He has really raised the whole passion and craziness and fanaticism of baseball as a popular spectacle to its ordained place in mythology.”
Ender's Game (350416)
Orson Scott Card; Lexile: 780L; multiple books, IJS, 1994
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training. Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders.
Jane Eyre (350477)
Charlotte Bronte; Lexile: 890L; multiple books, JS, 2009
A young governess falls in love with her employer in this classic coming-of-age tale set in 19th-century England.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (350405)
Rebecca Skloot; Lexile: 1140L; multiple books, S, 2010
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first immortal human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tons- as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bombs effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.
Snow Falling on Cedars (350413)
David Guterson; Lexile: 1080L; multiple books, JS, 1995
San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man's guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries--memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo's wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched.
The Book Thief (350311)
Markus Zusak; Lexile: 730L; multiple books, JS, 2005
It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (350480)
Mary Roach; Lexile: 1230L; multiple books, JS, 2003
Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers some willingly, some unwittingly have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way. In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries from the anatomy labs and human-sourced pharmacies of medieval and nineteenth-century Europe to a human decay research facility in Tennessee, to a plastic surgery practice lab, to a Scandinavian funeral directors' conference on human composting.
Lord of the Flies (350032)
William Golding; Lexile: 770L; multiple books, S, 1954
William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages.
Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (350178)
Art Spiegelman; Lexile: NONE; multiple books, JS, 1986
A memoir about Vladek Spiegleman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and about his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father, his story, and history itself. Cartoon format portrays Jews as mice and Nazis as cats.
William Shakespeare; Lexile: NONE; multiple books, JS, 2000
Here is an elegant and clear text for either the study or the rehearsal room, notes where you need them and the distinguished scholarship of the general editors, Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller who understand that these are plays for performance as well as great texts for contemplation." (Patrick Stewart)The distinguished Pelican Shakespeare series, which has sold more than four million copies, is now completely revised and repackaged.
Animal Farm (350031)
George Orwell; Lexile: 1370L; multiple books, S, 1946
Perhaps one of the most influential allegories of the 20th century, George Orwell's Animal Farm has made its way into countless schoolrooms and libraries, and has been the inspiration of several films. Written in 1945, before Orwell's conceptually similar 1984, Animal Farm's world consists of anthropomorphized farm animals as they attempt to create an ideal society--it becomes dystopian as the flaws of the ideology seep out. Like 1984, Orwell meant for Animal Farm to represent a Communist state, and to depict its downfalls. With a message that is not soon to be forgotten, Animal Farm reminds us that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
The Communist Manifesto (350485)
Karl Marx; Lexile: 1360L; multiple books, S, 1967
Originally published on the eve of the 1848 European revolutions, The Communist Manifesto is a condensed and incisive account of the worldview Marx and Engels developed during their hectic intellectual and political collaboration. Formulating the principles of dialectical materialism, they believed that labor creates wealth, hence capitalism is exploitative and antithetical to freedom.
No impact man : the adventures of a guilty liberal who attempts to save the planet, and the discoveries he makes about himself and our way of life in the process (350420) Colin Beavan; multiple books, JS, 2009
Bill McKibben meets Bill Bryson in this seriously engaging look at one man's decision to put his money where his mouth is and go off the grid for one year--while still living in New York City--to see if it's possible to make no net impact on the environment. In other words, no trash, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no air-conditioning, no television. After this mad endeavor, Beavan explains to the rest of us how we can realistically live a more "eco-effective" and by turns more content life in an age of inconvenient truths.
Grade 11 Titles
Girl, Interrupted (350410)
Sussana Kaysen; Lexile: 760L; multiple books, S, 1993
The author describes her two-year stay at a psychiatric hospital renowned for its famous clientele and for its progressive methods of treatment.
Narrative Life of Frederick Douglas (350466)
Frederick Douglas; Lexile: 1080L; multiple books, IJS, 1995
The impassioned abolitionist and eloquent orator provides graphic descriptions of his childhood and horrifying experiences as a slave as well as a harrowing record of his dramatic escape to the North and eventual freedom. Published in 1845 to quell doubts about his origins, the Narrative is admired today for its extraordinary passion, sensitive descriptions, and storytelling power. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Our Town (350012)
Thorton Wilder; Lexile: NONE; multiple books, JS, 1965
First produced and published in 1938, this drama of life in the small village of Grover's Corners has become an American classic and is Thornton Wilder's most renowned and most frequently performed play. Taking as his material three periods in the history of a placid New Hampshire town, Mr. Wilder has transformed the simple events of human life into universal reverie. He has given familiar facts a deeply moving, philosophical perspective.
Silent Spring (350050)
Rachel Carson; Lexile: 1340L; multiple books, S, 1990
The world famous bestseller about man-made pollutants that threaten to destroy life on this earth. This book alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. This edition celebrates Rachel Carson's watershed book with new essays by the author and scientist Edward O. Wilson and the acclaimed biographer Linda Lear, who tells the story of Carson's courageous defense of her truths in the face of ruthless assault from the chemical industry in 1963, the year following the publication of Silent Spring and before her untimely death.
Gulliver's travels (350404)
Jonathan Swift; Lexile: 1370L; multiple books, IJ, 2007
The voyages of an Englishman carry him to a land of people six inches high, a land of giants, an island of sorcerers, and a land where horses are masters of human-like creatures.
The Reader (350408)
Bernhard Schlink; Lexile: N/A; multiple books, S, 1995
When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his loverthen she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.
Dante Alighieri; Lexile: NONE; multiple books, JS, 2001
This book is written by Dante Alighieri and translated by John Ciardi. Belonging in the immortal company of the works of Homer, Virgil, Milton, and Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, a supreme expression of the Middle Ages, a glorification of the ways of God, and the magnificent protest against the ways in which men have thwarted the divine plan. One of the few literary works that has enjoyed a fame both immediate and enduring. The Inferno remains powerful after nearly seven centuries. It confronts the most universal values, good and evil, free will and predestination, while remaining intensely personal and ferociously political, for it was born out of the anguish of a man who saw human life blighted by the injustice and corruption of his times.
Grade 12 Titles
Mary Shelley; Lexile: 1170L; multiple books, JS, 1831
Few creatures of horror have seized readers' imaginations and held them for so long as the anguished monster of Shelley's Frankenstein. The story of Victor Frankenstein's monstrous creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense. Includes the author's own 1831 introduction.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (350484)
Ken Kesey; Lexile: 1110L; multiple books, S, 1962
Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.
The Autobiography of Malcom X (350409)
Malcom X; Lexile: N/A; multiple books, S, 1964
The personal story of the man who rose from hoodlum, thief, dope peddler, and pimp to become a leader of the Black Revolution of the 1960s.
A Prayer for Owen Meany (350490)
John Irving; Lexile: 1050L; multiple books, JS, 1989
In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boysbest friendsare playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen, after that 1953 foul ball, is extraordinary.
This is water : some thoughts, delivered on a significant occasion, about living a compassionate life (350411)
David Foster Wallace; Lexile: N/A; multiple books, JS, 2009
Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in THIS IS WATER. How does one keep from going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life unconsciously? How do we get ourselves out of the foreground of our thoughts and achieve compassion? The speech captures Wallace's electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others. After his death, it became a treasured piece of writing reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, commented on endlessly in blogs, and emailed from friend to friend.
Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of causal humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Foster Wallace probes the challenges of daily living and offers advice that renews us with every reading.
Ian McEwan; multiple books, S, 2003
Ian McEwan's symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose. On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia s childhood friend. But Briony s incomplete grasp of adult motives together with her precocious literary gifts brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.