Rising to the CCSS Challenge

with Literary Non-Fiction

Compiled by Robyn Young

This list contains non-fiction titles that may be used for supporting the Common Core State Standards in schools. Click on the book covers to make the image larger.

Language Arts has not been included as a content area as any of the books listed could be used for that content area.

Please comment and let me know if you have further recommendations.



Social Studies



Handouts can be used with any literary non-fiction book in any class. They were created/compiled to be adaptable to all grade levels or content areas.

The following handouts were created/compiled by Robyn Young. Please feel free to use this with credit to the author. Thank you.

Common Core State Standards

Literary Non-Fiction includes the subgenres of exposition, argument, and functional text in the form of personal essays, speeches, opinion pieces, essays about art or literature, biographies, memoirs, journalism, and historical, scientific, technical, or economic accounts (including digital sources) written for a broad audience.

Texts illustrating the Complexity, Quality, and Range of Student Reading (from the Common Core Standards):

Grades 9-10

“Speech to the Second Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry (1775)

“Farewell Address” by George Washington (1796)

“Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln (1863)

“State of the Union Address” by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1941)

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1964)

“Hope, Despair, and Memory” by Elie Wiesel (1997)

Grades 11-12

Common Sense by Thomas Paine (1776)

Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854)

“Society and Solitude” by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1857)

“The Fallacy of Success” by G. K. Chesterton (1909)

Black Boy by Richard Wright (1945)

“Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell (1946)

“Take the Tortillas Out of Your Poetry” by Rudolfo Anaya (1995)

At a curricular or instructional level, texts need to be selected around topics or themes that generate knowledge and allow students to study those topics or themes in depth.


Robyn Young

Robyn Young is a certified School Librarian (grades K-12) who has been the librarian at Avon High School for 13 years. Prior to that, she taught Social Studies and English for 10 years.

She is the National Honor Society co-sponsor, Newspapers in Education Past-President for the state of Indiana, and a member of the National Digital Learning Day Educator Work Group. She also contributes to the High School Soup Blog for the Alliance for Excellent Education (http://all4ed.org/high-school-soup/) and is an ABC-Clio History Advisory Board Member.

She has been an IPL Golden Apple Award Recipient, State of Indiana Media Specialist of the Year, and received the Esther V. Burrin Award for School Media. She has received two AASL awards: the ABC-Clio Leadership Grant and the School Library Research Grant from Highsmith.


Images and summaries adapted from Follett TitlePeek.