Authors local to Upstate NY & the NY area
Saratoga Springs YA Authors
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance (350312)
Jennifer Armstrong; Lexile: 1090L; multiple books, IJS, 1998
In August 1914, Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 set sail from England in an attempt to be the first explorers to cross Antarctica. Five months later, their ship, the Endurance, became trapped in the ice and then broke apart, and in an extraordinary feat of survival the men spent months camping on the ice floes and then took shelter on remote Elephant Island. When spring came, Shackleton and five others set out in a 20-foot open boat across 800 miles of wild ocean and found a rescue ship. Unbelievably, everyone survived, and so did some amazing photographs of their experience, over 40 of which are reproduced here.
A Northern Light (350259)
Jennifer Donnelly; Lexile: 700L; multiple books, I, 2003
Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder. Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, Jennifer Donnelly's astonishing debut novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.
Yellow Star (350314)
Jennifer Roy; Lexile: 710L; multiple books, IJ, 2006
From 1939, when Syvia is four and a half years old, to 1945 when she has just turned ten, a Jewish girl and her family struggle to survive in Poland's Lodz ghetto during the Nazi occupation.
The Notorious Benedict Arnold (350359)
Steve Sheinkin; Lexile: 990L; multiple books, IJS, AMAZON.COM, 2010
Most people know that Benedict Arnold was America’s first, most notorious traitor. Few know that he was also one of its greatest war heroes. This accessible biography introduces young readers to the real Arnold: reckless, heroic, and driven. Packed with first-person accounts, astonishing battle scenes, and surprising twists, this is a gripping and true adventure tale.
Capital Region NY
James Preller; Lexile: HL600L; multiple books, IJ, 2009
Eric is the new kid in seventh grade. Griffin wants to be his friend. When you're new in town, its hard to know who to hang out with and who to avoid. Griffin seems cool, confident, and popular. But something isn't right about Griffin. He always seems to be in the middle of bad things. And if Griffin doesn't like you, you'd better watch your back. There might be a target on it. As Eric gets drawn deeper into Griffins dark world, he begins to see the truth about Griffin: he's a liar, a bully, a thief. Eric wants to break away, do the right thing. But in one shocking moment, he goes from being a bystander . . . to the bullys next victim.
Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI (350298)
Ryan Smithson; Lexile: HL750L; multiple books, IJS, 2009
Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer. In this extraordinary and harrowing memoir, readers march along one GI's tour of duty. It will change the way you feel about what it means to be an American.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (350369)
William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer; Lexile: 910L; multiple books, PI, 2012
When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind. Lyrically told and gloriously illustrated, this story will inspire many as it shows how - even in the worst of times - a great idea and a lot of hard work can still rock the world.
New York City
A Good Night Walk (250058)
Elisha Cooper; big book, P, 2010
Acclaimed author-illustrator Elisha Cooper paints the quiet magic of a good-night walk as the neighborhood settles into itself at the end of the day. As a child and parent walk down the block to the bay and turn to walk back home, evening falls upon the neighborhood. As the walk begins, the squirrels are in the yards, the boys are mowing lawns, a neighbor is baking a pie, and someone is mailing a letter. When the child and parent turn to walk back home, the apple pie is down from the windowsill, the leaves are raked up, and the postman has picked up the mail.
If You Lived in Colonial Times (350347)
Ann McGovern; Lexile: 590L; multiple books, PIJ, 1964
What kind of food would you eat in colonial times? What did colonial people wear? Readers learn about the fascinating lifestyle of the colonists.
Bird in a BOX (350371)
Andrea Pinkney; Lexile: 670L; multiple books, IJS, 2012
Otis, Willie, and Hibernia are three children with a lot in common: they've all lost a loved one, they each have secret dreams, and they won't stop fighting for what they want. And they're also a lot like their hero, famed boxer Joe Louis. Throughout this moving novel, their lives gradually converge to form friendship, family, and love. Their trials and triumphs echo those of Joe Louis, as he fights to become the heavyweight boxing champion.
The Devil's Arithmetic (350208)
Jane Yolen; Lexile: 730L; multiple books, J, 1988
Hannah is tired of holiday gatherings, all her family ever talks about is the past. In fact, it seems to her that's what they do every Jewish holiday. But this year's Passover Seder will be different, Hannah will be mysteriously transported into the past...and only she knows the unspeakable horrors that await.
Todd Strasser - NYC
If I Grow Up (350260)
Todd Strasser; Lexile: 650L; multiple books, I, 2009
In a gripping novel with a plot pulled from the headlines, Todd Strasser turns his attention to gang life in the inner-city projects. DeShawn is a teenager growing up in the projects. Most of his friends only see one choice: join up to a gang. DeShawn is smart enough to want to stay in school and make something more of himself, but when his family is starving while his friends have fancy bling and new sneakers, DeShawn is forced to decide--is his integrity more important than feeding his family?
Give A Boy A Gun (350064)
Todd Strasser; Lexile: 760L; multiple books, JS, 2000
For as long as they can remember, Brendan and Gary have been mercilessly teased and harrassed by the jocks who rule Middletown High. But not anymore. Stealing a small arsenal of guns from a neighbor, they take their classmates hostage at a school dance. In the panic of this desperate situation, it soon becomes clear that only one thing matters to Brendan and Gary: revenge. PREVIEW BEFORE READING - GRAPHIC DETAILS INCLUDED.
The Accident (350228)
Todd Strasser; Lexile: NONE; multiple books, IJ, 1988
Matt and his best friend Bobby attend a party at Chris's house. Everyone is drinking, and when Bobby invites Matt to drive to a ski house, Matt feels nauseous and refuses. Bobby, Chris, Jason and two girls take Chris's truck and drive several miles before they have a fatal accident. Four of the five teens are killed; only Jason survives. Chris, who has a reputation for drinking and dealing drugs, is immediately blamed. However, Matt is convinced there is unseen aspect of the accident, and he is determined to expose it.
The Wave (350071)
Todd Strasser; Lexile: NONE; multiple books, JS, 1981
This novel dramatizes an incident that took place in a California school in 1969. A teacher creates an experimental movement in his class to help students understand how people could have followed Hitler. The results are astounding. The highly disciplined group, modeled on the principles of the Hilter Youth, has its own salute, chants, and special ways of acting as a unit and sweeps beyond the class and throughout the school, evolving into a society willing to give up freedom for regimentation and blind obedience to their leader. All will learn a lesson that will never be forgotten.
Can't Get There from Here (350245)
Todd Strasser; Lexile: 620L; multiple books, JS, 2004
Her street name is Maybe. She lives with a tribe of homeless teens -- runaways and throwaways, kids who have no place to go other than the cold city streets, and no family except for one another. Abused, abandoned, and forgotten, they struggle against the cold, hunger, and constant danger. With the frigid winds of January comes a new girl: Tears, a twelve-year-old whose mother doesn't believe Tears's stepfather abuses her. As the other kids start to disappear -- victims of violence, addiction, and exposure -- Maybe tries to help Tears get off the streets...if it's not already too late.
The Ghost of Fossil Glen (350103)
Cynthia DeFelice; Lexile: 710L; multiple books, IJ, 1998
Sixth-grader Allie Nichols knows shes being pursued by a ghost. Her friend Karen calls Allie a liar and doesnt want to hear stuff like that. But her old pal, Dub, listens eagerly as Allie tells him about a girl who begs Help me, and a terrible nightmare in which that girl falls to her death. Who is the ghost girl? And what does she want from Allie?
Death at Devil's Bridge (350104)
Cynthia DeFelice; Lexile: 800L; multiple books, IJ, 2000
At thirteen, Ben Daggett, a Martha's Vineyard local, takes a summer job as first mate on a charter boat and plans to spend the July Fourth weekend helping to entertain tourists. On his first day out, Ben spots a strange object in the water -- a red Porsche. Then he learns that the driver is missing! Donny, a cool sixteen-year-old, admits to having submerged the car -- but nothing more. Also a native, Donny resents the rich tourists, and even steals from them. Despite Donny's transgressions, Ben would give anything to hang out with him. Unfortunately, he gives too much, and ends up involved in drug dealing and maybe murder, and with full understanding of Donny's role in at least one of these crimes. Should he tell on Donny? In Cynthia DeFelice's exciting new adventure novel, the hero faces up to his own weakness and struggles to decide what to do about his friend.
The Ghost and Mrs. Hobbs (350096)
Cynthia DeFelice; Lexile: 660L; multiple books, IJ, 2001
Just a few short weeks ago, sixth-grader Allie Nichols realized that she must be some kind of ghost magnet when she met the spirit of a murdered girl. Now, a new ghost has appeared to her, a handsome young man, and hes pointed her in the direction of her creepy cafeteria lady, Mrs. Hobbs. Allie has always suspected Mrs. Hobbs of something, and this just confirms it. So do the mysterious fires that keep breaking out every time Allie tries to investigate her. Surely Mrs. Hobbs isnt going to kill her. Or is she?
A Long Walk to Water (350342)
Linda Sue Park; Lexile: 720L; multiple books, IJ, 2010
Before leaving Africa, Salva's life is one of harrowing tragedy. Separated from his family by war and forced to travel on foot through hundreds of miles of hostile territory, he survives starvation, animal attacks, and disease, and ultimately leads a group of about 150 boys to safety in Kenya. Relocated to upstate New York, Salva resourcefully learns English and continues on to college. Eventually he returns to his home region in southern Sudan to establish a foundation that installs deep-water wells in remote villages in dire need of clean water. This poignant story of Salva's life is told side-by-side with the story of Nya, a young girl who lives today in one of those villages.
Laurie Halse Anderson - Potsdam, NY
Laurie Halse Anderson; Lexile: 730L; multiple books, JS, 2009
Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies.But now Cassie is dead. Lias mother is busy saving other people's lives.Her father is away on business. Her stepmother is clueless. And the voice inside Lias head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way thin, thinner, thinnest maybe she'll disappear altogether.In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the National Book Award finalist Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Andersonexplores one girl's chilling descent into the all-consuming vortex of anorexia.
Laurie Halse Anderson; Lexile: 690L; multiple books, JS, 1999
"Speak up for yourself--we want to know what you have to say." From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication.
Fever 1793 (350171)
Laurie Halse Anderson; Lexile: 580L; multiple books, IJ, 2000
During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out. Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.