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University of Alberta library 

1620 2283 5217 

* T H A w 

Grades 4 to 12 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 

HI ^U 







^ — I Grades 4 to 12 I — -y 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 

3 AU 



Alberta Education Cataloguing in Publication Data 

Alberta. Alberta Education. Learning and Teaching Resources Branch. 

English language arts authorized novels and nonfiction list grades 4 to 12. 

ISBN 0-7785-3799^1 

1. Language arts (Elementary) — Alberta. 2. Language arts — Alberta — 
Handbooks, manuals, etc. 3. Nonfiction novels — Bibliography. 4. English 
prose literature — Bibliography. I. Title. 

PE1113.A333 2005 


The complete document is available online at 

Questions or concerns regarding this listing can be addressed to the Director, Learning and Teaching 
Resources Branch, Alberta Education. Telephone 780-427-2984. To be connected toll free inside 
Alberta dial 310-0000 first. 

The primary intended audience for this document is: 



General Audience 





Copyright ©2005, the Crown in Right of Alberta, as represented by the Minister of Education. Alberta 
Education, Learning and Teaching Resources Branch, 44 Capital Boulevard, 10044 - 108 Street NW, 
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T5J 5E6. 

Every effort has been made to provide proper acknowledgement of original sources. If cases are 
identified where this has not been done, please notify Alberta Education so appropriate corrective 
action can be taken. 

Permission is given by the copyright owner to reproduce this document for educational purposes and on 
a nonprofit basis, with the exception of materials cited for which Alberta Education does not own 



Alberta Education would like to express its appreciation to the teachers and the ELA leaders 
from the following school boards who participated in this project. 

Grades 4-6 

Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7: 

Rhonda Nixon, Lead Marilyn Landreville 

Helen Hohmann, Lead Daniel Maas 

Olive Argue Rob Madunicky 

Brenda Coulombe Lynne Maltby 

Jennifer Gluwchynski Angie McKenna 

Markiana Hryschuk Monica Murphy 

Angela Rozycki 
Lorraine Williamson 
Twyla Wylie 
Marvin Zarowny 
Leslie Zydek 

Grades 7-9 

Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7: 

Cecelia Fenrich, Lead Eugenia Kowalczyk 

Monique Gibeault, Lead Nicole Lafreniere 

Caroline Adamczuk Lorraine Lakusta 

Angela Anderson Barbara Larochelle 

Claudine Fuerderer Dina Murphy 
Colleen Hauth-Lindenbach 

Bill Ostashewski 
Rhonda Paquette 
Ida Ricioppo 
Karen Thompson 
Agnie Venne 

Parkland School Division No. 70: 

Harry Wagner, Lead 
Rhonda Gauthier 
Barb Gericke 
Judy Jackson 
Howard Kowalchuk 

Karen Lasuik 
Linda Man In't Veld 
Kathy Mann 
Karen McAmmond 
John McDonald 

Shannon McGann 
Gladys Olson 
Kathryn Sander 
Stephanie Wong 

Grades 10-12 

Calgary School District No. 19: 

Darlene Montgomery, Lead Laurette Lavoie 

Katherine Bentley Nancy Lisi 

Lene Fox Mary-Lynn McEwen 

Colleen Hetherington Christine Ramsay 
Margie Johnson 

Rocky View School Division No. 41: 

Shelley Robinson, Lead Colleen O'Handley 

Pat Beingessner Jennifer Saban 

Sandra Ens Kim Serhyenko 

Shelley Wawryn 
David Weisgerber 
Janeen Werner-King 
Carol Windlinger 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Alberta Education's Grade 4-12 Novels and Nonaction Project Team 

Learning and Teaching Resources Branch: 

Raja Panwar 

Gina Vivone-Vernon 

Barbara Esdale, Lead 

Bryan Ellefson 

Kim Blevins 

Lin Hallett 

Teddy Moline 

Dianne Moyer 

Rebecca Pound 

Donna Sauve 

Carol Young 

iv/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Foreword xiii 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— Grade 4 1 

Afternoon of the Elves 2 

O Buffalo Sunrise 3 

Dear Mr. Henshaw 4 

CTheDoll 5 

OHana's Suitcase 6 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe 7 

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH 8 

Number the Stars 9 

OOwls in the Family 10 

OPolar: The Titanic Bear 11 

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes 12 

Sarah, Plain and Tall 13 

The Secret Garden 14 

The Sheep-Pig 15 

^Ticket to Curlew 16 

The Van Gogh Cafe 17 

The Whipping Boy 18 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— Grade 5 19 

The Borrowers 20 

Boy: Tales of Childhood 21 

Bridge to Terabithia 22 

OFinders Keepers 23 

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler 24 

CThe Golden Aquarians 25 

OThe Incredible Journey 26 

£The Last Safe House: A Story of the Underground Railroad 27 

The Midnight Fox 28 

OThe Nose from Jupiter 29 

OA Prairie Boy's Winter 30 

Shiloh 31 

CThe Sky Is Falling 32 

OStorm Child 33 

OTrapped in Ice 34 

^Underground to Canada 35 

A Wrinkle in Time 36 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— Grade 6 37 

OAnne of Green Gables 38 

OThe Breadwinner 39 

Ella Enchanted 40 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 /v 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 2005 

O Everything on a Waffle 41 

I Was a Rat! 42 

Oln Flanders Fields 43 

Island of the Blue Dolphins 44 

Julie of the Wolves 45 

vtittle by Little: A Writer's Education 46 

♦Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird 47 

Maniac Magee 48 

The Phantom Tollbooth 49 

♦The Root Cellar 50 

OSilverwing 51 

Talking with Artists: Volume Three 52 

Tuck Everlasting 53 

The White Mountains 54 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— Grade 7 55 

Alien Secrets 56 

The Cay 57 

Charlie Wilcox 58 

♦Cowboys Don't Cry 59 

♦Days of Terror 60 

Guts 61 

TheHobbit 62 

I Am David 63 

♦Mystery in the Frozen Lands 64 

♦Peacekeepers 65 

Sees Behind Trees 66 

Skellig 67 

The Slave Dancer 68 

Sounder 69 

♦Touch of the Clown 70 

Virtual War 71 

♦Who Is Frances Rain? 72 

♦Willa's New World 73 

The Wreckers 74 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— Grade 8 75 

Artemis Fowl 76 

The Dark Is Rising 77 

Dragonwings 78 

Freak the Mighty 79 

The Giver 80 

Holes 81 

♦invitation to the Game 82 

Journey to the River Sea 83 

Kensuke's Kingdom 84 

vi/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 

Looking Back: A Book of Memories 85 

The Master Puppeteer 86 

ORedwork 87 

The Seeing Stone 88 

^Shadow in Hawthorn Bay 89 

Shane 90 

Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy 91 

A Single Shard 92 

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle 93 

OThe Tuesday Cafe 94 

Under the Blood-Red Sun 95 

Walk Two Moons 96 

OWhatThey Don't Know 97 

♦Winners 98 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— Grade 9 99 

OAfter the War 100 

AK 101 

OAlone at Ninety Foot 102 

OBIood Red Ochre 103 

The Ear, The Eye and the Arm 104 

Ender's Game 105 

The Golden Compass 106 

Homeless Bird 107 

OThe Maestro 108 

OMen of Stone 109 

No Pretty Pictures 110 

Out of the Dust Ill 

The Playmaker 112 

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution 113 

The Return 114 

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World 115 

Touching Spirit Bear 116 

An Unbroken Chain: My Journey Through the Nazi Holocaust 117 

Westmark 118 

The Wild Children 119 

A Wizard of Earthsea 120 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— 10-1 121 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 122 

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream 123 

Animal Farm 124 

OThe Book of Small 125 

The Chrysalids 126 

Dragonsbane 127 

The Education of Little Tree 128 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 /vii 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 2005 

Fateless 129 

Girl with a Pearl Earring 130 

My Family and Other Animals 131 

A Night to Remember 132 

October Sky 133 

Oliver Twist 134 

^Random Passage 135 

Rebecca 136 

ORick Hansen: Man in Motion 137 

Silas Marner 138 

Something Wicked This Way Comes 139 

OThinking Like a Mountain 140 

To Kill a Mockingbird 141 

OTouch the Dragon: A Thai Journal 142 

Waiting forthe Rain 143 

OWho Has Seen the Wind 144 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— 10-2 145 

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman 146 

The Blue Sword 147 

The Cage 148 

OA Child in Prison Camp 149 

Children of the River 150 

OCrabbe 151 

ODare 152 

Deathwatch 153 

Dove 154 

OFish House Secrets 155 

The Great Escape 156 

Hatchet 157 

OHunter in the Dark 158 

In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic 159 

Lyddie 160 

ONever Cry Wolf 161 

OOn the Lines 162 

The Pearl 163 

OThe Road to Chlifa 164 

Speak 165 

OTerry Fox: His Story 166 

OWar of the Eagles 167 

OWhiteout 168 

OWhy Shoot the Teacher? 169 

OYuletide Blues 170 

Z for Zachariah 171 

viii/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— 20-1 173 

An American Childhood 174 

♦The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz 175 

♦Barometer Rising 176 

♦A Bird in the House 177 

Brave New World 178 

Cat's Cradle 179 

♦Death on the Ice: The Great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster of 1914 180 

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant 181 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 182 

Ethan Frome 183 

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Part 1) 184 

♦Fifth Business 185 

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe 186 

♦Frozen in Time: Unlocking the Secrets of the Franklin Expedition 187 

♦The Ghost Walker 188 

The Great Gatsby 189 

♦icefields 190 

♦island Wings: A Memoir 191 

Jane Eyre 192 

The Joy Luck Club 193 

♦Life of Pi 194 

Lord of the Flies 195 

♦Metamorphosis: Stages in a Life 196 

The Moon by Whale Light 197 

My Name Is Asher Lev 198 

♦Nuk Tessli: The Life of a Wilderness Dweller 199 

♦Obasan 200 

The Old Man and the Sea 201 

♦Old Man on His Back: Portrait of a Prairie Landscape 202 

The Queen of October 203 

♦The Road Past Altamont 204 

A Separate Peace 205 

Still Me 206 

ATale of Two Cities 207 

♦Tamarind Mem 208 

2001: A Space Odyssey 209 

The Wine of Astonishment 210 

Wyrd Sisters 211 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— 20-2 213 

Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea 214 

♦Back on the Rez: Finding the Way Home 215 

♦Before Wings 216 

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway 217 

Catch Me If You Can: The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and 

Most Daring in the History of Fun and Profit! 218 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 /ix 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 2005 

Dances with Wolves 219 

The Day of the Triffids 220 

Dear Nobody 221 

The Eagle Has Landed 222 

Flowers for Algernon 223 

^Forbidden City 224 

Gifted Hands 225 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 226 

Hole in My Life 227 

In the Heat of the Night 228 

Of Mice and Men 229 

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea 230 

Planet of the Apes 231 

The Runner 232 

Ryan White: My Own Story 233 

OShoeless Joe 234 

Something for Joey 235 

A Thief of Time 236 

Tisha: The Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaska Wilderness 237 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— 30-1 239 

Apollo 13 240 

OThe Ash Garden 241 

The Bean Trees 242 

The Broken Cord 243 

Crime and Punishment 244 

Davita'sHarp 245 

Einstein's Dreams 246 

A Farewell to Arms 247 

The Grapes of Wrath 248 

Great Expectations 249 

OThe Hero's Walk 250 

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster 251 

The Metamorphosis 252 

Monsignor Quixote 253 

The Mosquito Coast 254 

Night 255 

OOscar Peterson: The Will to Swing 256 

The Outsider 257 

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek 258 

Pride and Prejudice 259 

OThe Republic of Nothing 260 

Saint Maybe 261 

Stephen Hawking: Quest for a Theory of Everything 262 

OThe Stone Angel 263 

OThe Stone Carvers 264 

To Destroy You Is No Loss 265 

x/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 

Touch the Earth: A Self-portrait of Indian Existence 266 

OTruth and Bright Water 267 

OUnder the Ribs of Death 268 

OTheWars 269 

OWild Geese 270 

OWindflower 271 

Wuthering Heights 272 

English Language Arts Novels and Nonfiction— 30-2 273 

Alicia: My Story 274 

All Quiet on the Western Front 275 

OBush Pilot with a Briefcase: The Happy-go-lucky Story of Grant McConachie 276 

The Chosen 277 

OCrowLake 278 

♦Death and Deliverance 279 

♦Downhill Chance 280 

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage 281 

Fahrenheit 451 282 

Fallen Angels 283 

Finding Fish: A Memoir 284 

Finding Forrester 285 

Into the Wild 286 

Jurassic Park 287 

♦Keeper x n Me 288 

King Rat 289 

♦Letters from Wingfield Farm 290 

♦Medicine River 291 

♦No Great Mischief 292 

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich 293 

The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's 

Survival in Warsaw: 1939-1945 294 

Siddhartha 295 

Starship Troopers 296 

♦The Suspect 297 

♦Switchbacks: True Stories from the Canadian Rockies 298 

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson 299 

Walking with the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas 300 

Title Index 301 

Author Index 305 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 /xi 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 2005 

xii/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction Titles for Grades 4-12 

The Learning and Teaching Resources Branch of Alberta Education is proud to present the new 
list of authorized novels and nonfiction titles for grades 4-12. 

• The grades 4-6 list is completely new— the first elementary novels and nonfiction list 
authorized by Alberta Education. 

• The grades 7-9 list has been completely updated since the former 1990 list. 

• The 1994 grades 10-12 list has been "refreshed" with seven to twelve new titles added for 
each senior high school course. 

This annotated list provides short quotation summaries, suggested themes and literary features. 
It also identifies potentially sensitive issues. This list also includes video titles that have been 
authorized to support some elementary and junior high school titles. The video series "Good 
Conversation" presents original interviews with authors. The video series "All About the Book" 
is billed as a "kid's video guide" to the text. Both series are produced by 
Tim Podell Productions and can be ordered directly from ACCESS: The Education Station at: 

ACCESS: The Education Station 

Learning and Skills Television of Alberta Ltd. 

3720 - 76 Avenue NW 

Edmonton, AB 

T6B 2N9 


Review and Selection Process 

In 2003, Alberta Education contracted specialists in children's and young adult's literature to 
develop lists of potential novels and full-length nonfiction titles for each grade division under 
review. Titles that were out-of-print or unavailable in Canada were not considered for inclusion 
on the new list. 

Selected school jurisdictions were then invited to form teams of teachers to evaluate these 
potential titles for inclusion on the recommended list. The school boards who participated 

Grades 4-6: Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7 
Grades 7-9: Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7 

and Parkland School Division No. 70 
Grades 10-12: Calgary School District No. 19 and Rocky View School Division No. 41 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 /xiii 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 2005 

All short-listed titles were read, reviewed and validated by a minimum of three readers. As the 
teacher review teams read the texts, they looked for and selected titles that: 

• offered a variety of human experiences 

• provided an interesting and challenging reading experience suitable for the age, ability and 
social maturity of the students 

• elicited thoughtful responses and a critical appreciation of literature 

• illustrated literary merit, with a range of style and structure 

• broadened student understanding of social, historical, geographical and cultural diversity 

• encouraged students to develop a sensitivity to and an understanding of individual 
differences, such as age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability 

• used language effectively and responsibly, and used language that was essential to the 
integrity of the work. 

In addition, the potential titles were analyzed to ensure that guidelines for recognizing diversity 
and promoting respect had been met. Several books were submitted for Aboriginal or other 
content validation. 


Please note that Canadian titles are identified with this icon. 

Selecting Titles for the Classroom 

The teacher must exercise care in selecting learning resources appropriate for their students. 

Alberta Education and the teacher review teams strongly recommend 

that teachers read the books prior to selection and carefully consider 

the sensitivities of both the student audience and the community. 

The teacher review teams carefully considered grade appropriateness when assigning texts to 
this list. Teachers who consider a text from a different grade or course to be appropriate for 
their students may wish to coordinate their choice with their colleagues. 

Titles must be selected in a context of respect for the values of others. If a student, for 
whatever reason, is uncomfortable reading an assigned book, an alternative choice should be 

Teachers of all grades are encouraged to refer to the Choosing Resources section in the Senior 
High School English Language Arts Guide to Implementation, 2003. * 

1. The Senior High School Guide to Implementation is available on the Alberta Education Web site at ca/k 1 2/curriculurn/bySubject/english/ela 1 0.asp . It is also available for purchase 
from the Learning Resources Centre at . 

xiv/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 

The Guide to Education: ECS to Grade 12 1 describes Controversial Issues as follows: 

Controversial issues are those topics that are publicly sensitive and upon which there is 
no consensus of values or beliefs. They include topics on which reasonable people may 
sincerely disagree. Opportunities to deal with these issues are an integral part of 
student learning in Alberta. 

Studying controversial issues is important in preparing students to participate 
responsibly in a democratic and pluralistic society. Such study provides opportunities to 
develop the ability to think clearly, to reason logically, to open-mindedly and respectfully 
examine different points of view, and to make sound judgements. 

Teachers, students and others participating in studies or discussions of controversial 
issues shall exercise sensitivity to ensure that students and others are not ridiculed, 
embarrassed, or intimidated for positions that they hold on controversial issues. 

Controversial issues: 

• represent alternative points of view, subject to the condition that information 
presented is not restricted by any federal or provincial law 

• reflect the maturity, capabilities and educational needs of the students 

• meet the requirements of provincially prescribed and approved courses and 
programs of study and education programs 

• reflect the neighbourhood and community in which the school is located, as well 
as provincial, national and international contexts. 

Controversial issues that have been anticipated by the teacher, and those that may 
arise incidentally during instruction, should be used by the teacher to promote critical 
inquiry and teach thinking skills. 

The school plays a supportive role to parents in the areas of values and moral 
development, and shall handle parental decisions in regard to controversial issues with 
respect and sensitivity. 

This information about controversial issues should be used as a guide in presenting various 
points of view about an issue raised in a novel or piece of nonfiction. Teachers should also 
investigate what policies their school system has in place that will assist in responding to 
inquiries from parents or members of the community. 

2. The Guide to Education: ECS to Grade 12 is available on the Alberta Education Web site at ca/k 12/legislation . It is also available for purchase from the Learning Resources 
Centre at . 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 /xv 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 2005 


^ — I Grade 4 I — -y 

> ^a IZL_S. 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 



Janet Taylor Lisle 

The elves might 
keep themselves 
hidden. They might 
even be invisible to 
the human eye, as 
Sara-Kate believed. 
But everywhere, 
everywhere! there 
was evidence of their 
small, exotic lives. " 
p. 35 

New York, NY: 

Penguin Putnam Books for 

Young Readers 

Paper Star Paperback 1999 


paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-69811-806-5 


Newbery Honor Book, 

Afternoon of the Elves is the story of an unpredictable 
friendship between two intentionally juxtaposed characters: 
nine-year-old Hillary and eleven-year-old Sara-Kate. Initially 
Hillary is put off by Sara-Kate's unkempt appearance and crusty 
language, but after Sara-Kate reveals that elves are building a 
village in her backyard, a compelling friendship begins to 

After it appears that Sara-Kate and her mother suddenly leave 
town, Hillary discovers that her friend has gone into hiding, 
emerging from the house only at night. When Hillary sees how 
Sara-Kate lives, she realizes that the fantasy of the elves is a 
refuge from reality for her friend. 

While it exposes the problems of poverty, disability and neglect 
that can sometimes exist virtually unnoticed next door, Lisle's 
novel encourages us to celebrate individuality and imagination, 
and to look beyond surfaces. Teachers will find many 
opportunities to discuss the causes of socially unacceptable 
behaviour such as lying and stealing and more appropriate 
strategies for dealing with the challenges of life. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Diane Swanson 


Buffalo Sunrise is a comprehensive nonfiction resource about 
the North American buffalo, focusing on the significance of the 
buffalo in the history of First Nations peoples and Western 
settlement. In particular, Swanson, who grew up in the 
Lethbridge area, examines the importance of buffalo to 
Blackfoot families living on the Alberta-Montana plains around 
1870. The book also outlines the rapid decline in the buffalo 
population due to over-hunting by European settlers, and 
initiatives that helped to revive the herds in the 20th century. 
Contemporary colour photographs, archival photographs and 
illustrations provide a rich visual accompaniment to Swanson's 
text. Fact boxes and sidebars provide detailed, interesting 
information to enrich the reader's knowledge. 

When approaching this text, teachers should be aware of the 
Aboriginal content in the resource and be prepared to discuss 
related issues that may come up during class work. 

"More than 400 years 
ago, Spanish 
explorers in North 
America spotted a 
shaggy, brown beast 
they had never seen 
before. They said it 
had horns like a cow, 
a mane like a lion, 
and a hump like a 
camel. And when it 
ran, it held its tail 
like a scorpion — 
straight up. " p. 3 

Vancouver, BC: 
Whitecap Books 1996 


ISBN 1-55110-378-8 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Beverly Cleary 

"Dear Mr. Henshaw, 
Mom is nagging me 
about your dumb old 
questions. She says 
if I really want to be 
an author, I should 
follow the tips in your 
letter. I should read, 
look, listen, think and 
write . She says the 
best way she knows 
for me to get started 
is to apply the seat of 
my pants to a chair 
and answer your 
questions and 
answer them fully. So 
here goes." p. 14 

New York, NY: 
Harper Trophy 1983 


ISBN 0-38070-958-9 


Newbery Medal, 1984 

Beverly Geary's amusing and touching Newbery award- 
winning novel unfolds as a series of letters from a sixth grader, 
Leigh Botts, to his favourite author, Mr. Henshaw. Leigh 
initially writes to Mr. Henshaw to get information for a school 
report, but Mr. Henshaw replies that his favourite animal is a 
purple monster that eats children who send authors long lists 
of questions for reports instead of learning to use the library. 
To top everything, the author has sent Leigh his own list of 
questions, which Leigh's mother insists he must answer. In 
responding to the questions, Leigh reveals that his parents are 
divorced and that he is living with his mom in a tiny house on 
the California coast. He misses his dad, a trucker, and his dog 
Bandit, who rides along in Dad's cab. 

Midway through the novel, Leigh quits mailing his letters and 
begins addressing them to "Dear Mr. Pretend Henshaw," and 
eventually he just dates and writes them as diary entries. This 
daily writing routine serves as a psychological release for Leigh 
as he deals with his parents' divorce and his problems at 
school, and effectively models for students the process of 
putting into the written word our thoughts and feelings about 
the important things that happen to us. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Cora Taylor 

The Doll draws on the family history of Edmonton novelist 
Cora Taylor. In this time-slip novel, an antique doll transports 
the young protagonist, Meg, back to the 1880s. While 
recovering from rheumatic fever, Meg stays with her 
grandmother and is allowed to sleep with Jessie, an antique 
china doll. Although she feels uncomfortable with the doll, 
Meg eventually falls asleep with her head against Jessie's and 
wakens to find herself with a different identity in a strange 
time and place. She has become Morag, a girl travelling with 
her family by ox and wagon along the Carlton Trail to a new 
home in western Canada. 

For the rest of the book, Meg slips between the world of the 
present— with worries about her parents separating— and the 
past— filled with the rigours of pioneer life on a wagon train. 
She comes to love the people of her long ago family and winds 
up saving "Little Lizzie" when she falls from a wagon during the 
family's escape from a prairie fire. 

Suspecting that the pioneer family has links to her own family, 
Meg's investigation uncovers the story of "Angel Morag," her 
great-great-grandmother's sister who protected her during a 
prairie fire as a young girl, but never quite recovered herself. 
This discovery may suggest the notion of reincarnation as an 
explanation for the time slip in the story. Sensitive discussion 
about different religious beliefs about reincarnation will enrich 
understanding of the larger themes of facing life challenges, 
making difficult choices and adapting successfully to changing 

"Meg opened her 
eyes. 'Poor Invalid 
Doll, ' she said, but it 
was hard to feel 
sorry for Jessie 
face-to-face with 
those determined 
china features. The 
eyes still bothered 
her. Almost as if they 
held something... as if 
they were haunted." 
p. 8 

Vancouver, BC: 
Douglas & Mclntyre 1987 
[original 1985] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 1-55054-218-4 


Canadian Children's Book 
Centre Choice, 1988 

Ruth Schwartz Children's 
Book Award, 1988 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 




Karen Levine 

"They had each other 
and they passed the 
time reading, talking, 
napping and thinking 
of home. It was in 
this warehouse on 
May 16, 1942, with a 
few candies and a 
stub of a candle, that 
Hana Brady 
celebrated her 
eleventh birthday. " 
p. 52. 

Toronto, ON: 

Second Story Press 2002 


ISBN 1-896764-55-X 


Canadian Library 
Association Book of the Year 
for Children Award, 2003 

Hanas Suitcase tells two nonfiction stories simultaneously. 
One story is a biographical retelling of the life of a 
Chechoslovakian girl, Hana Brady, who died at Auschwitz. The 
second story reveals how Hana's life impacted Japanese 
children through the Tokyo Holocaust Centre in Japan. 

When Fumiko Ishioka took on her job as coordinator of the 
Tokyo Holocaust Centre in 1998, she made it her mission to 
share with Japanese children the terrible story of what 
happened to millions of Jewish children in World War II. 
Fumiko visited the Auschwitz Museum in Poland and was able 
to obtain a few objects to bring back to Tokyo, including a 
suitcase that belonged to Hana. It was this ordinary, slightly 
tattered, empty brown suitcase that most intrigued visitors to 
the museum. 

Levine's alternating chapters of biography and history provide 
the reader with vivid details that encourage them to imagine 
and empathize with the millions of Jewish people persecuted 
by the Nazis. Teachers may be interested in expanding their 
classroom study of this novel with the CBC documentary 
available as a CD-ROM with this book: ISBN 1-896764-61-4. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



C. S. Lewis 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first novel 
in C.S. Lewis' classic fantasy series. The novel has a mix of 
human, animal and mythical characters engaged in high 
adventure in an imaginary world. 

During the bombing of London in World War II, four 
children— Peter, Edmund, Lucy and Susan— are sent to live in 
the English countryside with an eccentric professor. When 
Lucy hides in an old wardrobe, she discovers it leads to 
Narnia, a land where it is always winter and never Christmas. 
On her first trip into Narnia, she encounters Mr. Tumnus who 
tells her of the ruling White Witch and her determination to 
capture the "daughters of Eve" and the "sons of Adam." 

All of the children eventually travel together through the 
wardrobe and find sanctuary from the Witch in the woodland 
house of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Edmund soon betrays the 
group by slipping away to join the White Witch, while the 
Beavers and the other three children flee to the other side of 
Narnia. Complications ensue culminating in the appearance of 
Father Christmas and a magical lion named Asian and finally, 
the great battle with the Witch, her wolves and her evil 

Teachers should be aware that C. S. Lewis was a well-known 
professor of theology at Oxford and that the series is 
sometimes criticized for being too overtly an allegorical 
representation of Christian theology. Sensitivity to biblical 
references and mature discussion of them will help students 
make thoughtful and appropriate interpretations of the text. 

"'But you are — 
forgive me — you are 
what they call a girl?' 
asked the Faun. 'Of 
course I'm a girl, ' 
said Lucy. You are in 
fact Human?' 'Of 
course I'm human, ' 
said Lucy, sail a little 
puzzled. To be sure, 
to be sure, ' said the 
Faun. 'How stupid of 
me!'" p. 11 

New York, NY: 
HarperCollins 2000 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-06440-942-2 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Robert C. O'Brien 

"We all got used to 
that, for from then on 
we got injections at 
least twice a week. 
What they were 
injecting and why, I 
did not know. Yet for 
twenty of us those 
injections were to 
change our whole 
lives." p. 111. 

New York, NY: 

Simon & Schuster 1996 

[original 1971] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-68971-068-2 


Newbery Medal, 1972 

Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, 1972 

ALA Notable Book, 1972 

Horn Book Fanfare Book, 1972 

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH 'is a fantasy novel about 
Mrs. Frisby, the widowed head of a family of field mice, and 
her adventures with a group of super intelligent rats. When 
her son, Timothy, is too ill to be moved from the field to their 
summer home, Mrs. Frisby seeks the help of her deceased 
husband's friends. One of them, a wise owl, urges her to take 
her plight to a colony of highly intelligent rats holed up 
beneath a rosebush in the farmer's yard. 

There, Mrs. Frisby meets Nicodemus, one of the rat leaders, 
who tells her the story of how their colony of rats, along with 
her husband, had escaped from research scientists at the 
National Institute for Mental Health. Thanks to the intelligence 
serum given to them, their colony was left with superior 
intellectual capacity and an extended life span compared to 
other rats. Now, the rats are at odds about their future. As 
this conflict escalates, with tragic results, Mrs. Frisby must use 
all of her courage and resourcefulness to save her children. 

This novel explores mature themes such as animal testing, 
genetic engineering, civilization, survival, change, freedom, 
and the relationships between living things. Sensitive 
discussion will help students work through these themes. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Lois Lowry 

Number the Stars is a fictional account of a Danish family's 
experience helping a Jewish family escape Nazi-occupied 
Copenhagen in the 1940's. The novel centres around 
ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen, who suddenly acquires her 
Jewish neighbour, Ellen Rosen, as a "sister." Ellen's parents 
have gone into hiding as the German troops sweep the city and 
Annemarie's family, like many Danish citizens, are putting their 
own lives on the line to help the Rosens escape. The escape 
begins with a dangerous journey to relocate Mrs. Johansen, 
her children and Ellen to their uncle's farm located on the 
coast. Soldiers are combing the coast, too, though, and 
Annemarie finds herself face-to-face with them as she carries a 
crucial packet to her uncle's fishing boat that is poised to slip 
across the channel to Sweden where the Rosens are in hiding. 

Lowry's Newbery award-winning novel celebrates the heroism 
of the Danish people who managed to smuggle almost the 
entire Jewish population of Denmark across the sea to Sweden. 
Lowry depicts the terror of war sensitively and powerfully, 
without gruesome details. Familiarity with World War II, the 
Resistance Movements in Denmark and other countries, and 
the geographical locations of Denmark, Germany and Sweden 
will enhance student understanding of this text. 

Lowry's autobiography, Looking Back: A Book of Memo/res, is 
included in the Grade 8 list. 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
Conversation: A Talk 
with Lois Lowry, 2002 
[22 min. BPN 2075911]. 

"'I'm sorry I have 
dark hair, ' Ellen 
murmured. 'It made 
them suspicious. ' 
Mama reached over 
quickly and took 
Ellen's hand. 'You 
have beautiful hair, 
Ellen, just like your 
mama's, ' she said. 
'Don't ever be sorry 
for that'" p. 50 

New York, NY: 
Houghton Mifflin 1989 


ISBN 0-44022-753-4 


Newbery Medal, 1990 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Farley Mowat 

The sight of the 
baby prairie chickens 
popping their heads 
out through Wol's 
feathers, and that 
great big beak of his 
snapping anxiously 
in the air right over 
their heads, was the 
silliest thing I've ever 
seen. I guess Wol 
knew it was silly, 
too, but he couldn't 
figure out how to get 
out of the mess he 
was in. He kept 
looking at me as if he 
were saying, 'For 
Heaven's sake, DO 
something.'" p. 78 

Toronto, ON: 
McClelland & Stewart Ltd. 
[original 1961] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-7710-6693-7 

Owls in the Family is a humorous story about growing up in 
Saskatoon in a household that indulges a boy's love of pets by 
allowing him to keep two owls. The story is set in the 1930's 
to 40's, and the young protagonist, Billy, is loosely based upon 
Farley Mowat as a child. 

After a violent storm, Billy and his friend Bruce save the one 
remaining fledgling in a nest and name it Wol. They manage 
to save a second owlet, Weeps, from an abusive situation. 
The book tells of the misadventures that ensue, as Wol 
terrifies the cook, a visiting minister and some town bullies, 
while Weeps never learns to fly and looks to Mutt, the family 
hound, for protection. 

Teachers will need to provide a historical context for students 
before reading this novel in order to support discussion about 
sensitive parts of the text. There are instances of stereotyping 
of First Nations people, reflecting the social attitudes of the 
time period, but there are also positive references to the two 
cultures co-existing peaceably within one community. There 
are also examples of animals being mistreated by some 
characters. Teacher-supported discussion about these 
instances will address any confusion or concerns that students 
may have, and help them form mature decisions about the 
appropriateness of these references. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Daisy Corning Stone Spedden and Laurie McGraw 


Polar 'is an eyewitness account of the Titanic shipwreck written 
in 1913 by Daisy Corning Stone Spedden for her 8-year-old 
son, Douglas, and told through the eyes of the boy's teddy 
bear, Polar. Watercolour illustrations, actual family 

photographs, keepsakes, and historic postcards support the 
printed text in providing a rich picture of the events. 

Corning weaves fact and fiction together by telling a story that 
begins in the toy workshop where Polar was born and tells how 
he was given to Douglas. When the Spedden family decides to 
tour the world, Douglas brings Polar with him. At the end of 
this trip, the family boards the Titanic to sail home to America. 
On the fateful night of the sinking, the Spedden's are fortunate 
to be rescued in a lifeboat. In the commotion, Polar is left 
aboard the sinking Titanic, but by the end of the book, Polar is 
reunited with his owner. 

This heart-felt retelling of a tragic story, written by a mother 
for her son, resonates with bravery, love and loss surrounding 
this historically significant event. 

"Soon everyone had 
been rescued — except 
for me. I lay alone in 
the empty lifeboat. 
Several minutes went 
by, but nothing 
happened. Everyone 
seemed to have 
forgotten me. My 
heart began to 
pound . . . Would I 
ever see Master 
again?" p. 45 

Toronto, ON: 

Madison Press Books 1994 


ISBN 0-316-80909-8 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Eleanor Coerr 

"She looked at her 
flock hanging from 
the ceiling. As she 
watched, a light 
autumn breeze made 
the birds rustle and 
sway. They seemed 
to be alive and flying 
out through the open 
window. How 
beautiful and free 
they were!" p. 63 

New York, NY: 
Puffin Books 1999 
[original 1977] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-69811-8022 

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is a biographical 
novel based on the life of a young Japanese girl, Sadako, who 
faces and eventually dies from cancer caused by radiation 
from the bombing of Hiroshima. Sadako is a star of her 
school's running team until one day she starts having dizzy 
spells. Soon Sadako learns that she has leukemia, the "atom 
bomb disease." Reminded of a Japanese legend that says if a 
sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will 
restore her health, Sadako keeps up her courage and her 
strength by folding hundreds of cranes. 

The story beautifully and sensitively retells Sadako's battle 
with leukemia, and reinforces the message of peace as the 
preferred way of solving world problems. Teachers will need 
to sensitively address the issues of illness, death and family 
grief with students. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Patricia MacLachlan 

Sarah, Plain and Tall recounts the difficulties experienced by 
two children and a single father on the mid-west American 
prairies after the premature death of their mother. Anna, the 
eldest child, narrates the story and acts as a maternal role 
model for her younger brother. However, recognizing the need 
for a wife and mother, the father advertises for such a person 
in the newspaper. 

Sara Elisabeth Wheaton replies to the ad and relocates from 
the eastern coast of Maine for a trial period. MacLachlan 
creates a realistic tension in this new family arrangement, with 
the strong-minded, independent Sarah often at odds with the 
traditional values and ideas expressed by the father. However, 
the family embraces Sarah and ultimately she decides to stay. 

The issue of the premature death of the mother will be difficult 
for some young readers and will need to be addressed 
sensitively by teachers. 

"My father did not 
see her look, but I 
did. And I knew that 
Caleb had seen it, 
too. Sarah was not 
smiling. Sarah was 
already lonely. In a 
month's time the 
preacher might come 
to marry Sarah and 
Papa And a month 
was a long time. 
Time enough for her 
to change her mind 
and leave us. " p. 20 

New York, NY: 
HarperCollins 1985 


ISBN 0-06440-205-3 


Newbery Medal, 1986 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Frances Hodgson Burnett 

"... she held back the 
swinging curtain of 
ivy and pushed back 
the door which 
opened slowly — 
slowly. Then she 
slipped through it, 
and shut it behind 
her, and stood with 
her back against it, 
looking about her and 
breathing quite fast 
with excitement, and 
wonder, and delight. 
She was standing 
inside the secret 
garden." p. 79 

New York, NY: 
Harper Trophy 1962 


ISBN 0-06440-188-X 

The Secret Garden is a timeless novel centred around, Mary 
Lennox, an unsociable and spoiled little girl who slowly 
changes her attitude after discovering a secret garden on her 
uncle's property. When Mary's parents die in a cholera 
epidemic in India, she is sent to Yorkshire to live with her aloof 
uncle and his protective housekeeper. Soon, Mary finds her 
way into the forbidden garden, which has been locked since 
the death of her aunt ten years ago. The garden quickly 
becomes Mary's getaway, a secret she shares with Dickon, an 
older boy who knows all about nature, and eventually with 
Colin, her fretful, bedridden cousin. Mary, Dickon and Colin 
work together to restore the neglected garden and soon 
become close friends. As the garden comes to life and 
blooms, so do the children. This novel prompts discussion 
about dreaming, believing and creating hope in the face of 
physical and emotional challenges. 

Before studying the novel, it is important to be aware that the 
book uses stereotypical terms such as "blacks," which are 
intended to reflect the social, political era in England at the 
time. Mature discussion and background information about 
this historical context will help students understand the 
inappropriateness of this language in today's society. A 
general discussion of the historical context of India as a British 
colony will enhance understanding. Finally, the book also 
contains references to magic, which may be interpreted as 
synonymous with the forces of God; these references will need 
to be dealt with through sensitive discussion. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Dick King-Smith 

The Sheep-Pig is a humorous animal tale about Babe, a 
"Never win nothing" pig, according to Farmer Hoggett who 
won him at a county fair by correctly guessing his weight. 
When Babe is taken in by Fly, the farm's British sheepdog, he 
learns how to be an effective, indispensable sheep herder by 
talking respectfully to the sheep. After Babe protects the 
sheep from thieves, the farmer's original plans to make dinner 
out of Babe change to further honing his skills as a "sheep- 

This charming, easy read will entertain children and lead to 
discussions about relationships, love, loyalty and heroism. 
Teachers may wish to lead a comparative analysis of the novel 
with the popular movie version since many children will already 
be familiar with it. 

"'If I might ask a 
great favour of you, ' 
he said hurriedly, 
'could you all please 
be kind enough to 
walk down to that 
gate where the 
farmer is standing, 
and go through it? 
Take your time, 
please, there's 
absolutely no rush.'" 
p. 51 

Toronto, ON: 
Random House 1983 


ISBN 0-67987-393-7 


Guardian Children's Fiction 
Award, 1984 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Celia Barker Lottridge 

"All winter he had 
worried that his 
horse would die on 
the winter prairie. 
Now Josie had come 
out with a new worry 
that he had pushed 
to the back of his 
mind. The horse he 
had seen leading a 
whole herd was King, 
not Prince. Maybe he 
had gone wild. " 
p. 131 

Toronto, ON: 
Groundwood/Douglas & 
Mclntyre 1992 


ISBN 0-88899-221-1 


Canadian Library Association 
Book of the Year for Children 
Award, 1993 

Ticket to Curlew tells the story of eleven-year-old Sam 
Ferrier, who moves from Iowa with his family to build a farm 
in southern Alberta. When Sam's father returns from a trip to 
Curlew with a white Mustang horse named Prince, the horse 
becomes a source of transportation, safety and love for Sam. 
As winter approaches, Sam is devastated to learn he must 
release Prince into the wild for the winter, a custom of prairie 
life. He worries that Prince will not survive or that he will 
become wild and not return. When Prince finally returns in the 
spring, stronger than ever, Sam is overjoyed and aptly 
renames him King. 

Lottridge sketches the Ferrier family and their small prairie 
community with loving detail, showing us both the daily 
routines of homesteaders and what special occasions such as 
Christmas were like. The book reveals some of the negative 
aspects of building a new life on the Canadian prairies, but 
balances these with the positives, including the ideas of 
community and helpfulness. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Cynthia Rylant 

The Van Gogh Cafe tells of a series of magical, mysterious 
occurrences that take place in the Van Gogh Cafe in Flowers, 
Kansas. Ten-year-old Clara has been helping Marc, her dad, 
run the cafe, serving coffee to the early morning customers 
before heading off to school. It is Clara who first notices the 
possum hanging upside down from a tree branch outside the 
cafe window. The possum becomes the centre of attention for 
cafe diners and is connected to magical happenings including 
Marc's ability to write poems that appear to foretell the future. 
Other serendipitous happenings involving sea gulls, an aged 
film star, healing muffins, lost pets and travellers reaffirms that 
"magic enough lasts forever in its walls" at the Van Gogh Cafe. 

Teachers should recognize that magic may be a controversial 
subject depending on the religious orientation of readers. The 
text also contains a subtle reference to a possible homosexual 

". . . pretty soon word 
spreads that there is 
a cafe — the Van Gogh 
Cafe — that is 
wonderful, like a 
dream, like a 
mystery, like a 
painting, and you 
ought to go there, 
they will say, for you 
will never forget it. 
You will want to stay, 
if you can. Some 
have for a while. 
Like the possum ..." 
pp. 2-3 

Toronto, ON: 
Harcourt Brace 1995 


ISBN 0-590-90717-4 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Sid Fleischman 

". . . Jemmy felt a 
bleak discomfort. He 
would miss the 
shelves of books he'd 
left behind in the 
castle. In the sewers, 
he hadn't been 
aware of his own 
ignorance. He saw no 
choice now but to 
return. But he 
realized that he'd lost 
his taste for 
ignorance." p. 66 

New York, NY: 
Morrow 1989 
[original 1986] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-81671-038-4 


Newbery Medal, 1987 

The Whipping Boy is the story of two young boys: the 
spoiled Prince Horace and his "whipping boy," Jemmy who 
must receive the prince's punishments. Although Jemmy 
annoys Prince "Brat" because he refuses to cry when taking a 
thrashing, the two are destined to become fast friends when 
the prince decides to run away from home. Before Jemmy can 
carry out his plan to slip away, they are captured by two 
fierce-looking highwaymen, Cutwater and Hold-Your-Nose 
Billy. When the robbers demand that the prince write a 
ransom note to his father, only to find him unable to write, 
they suspect that Jemmy is the true prince, a role Jemmy 
quickly assumes. This role reversal teaches both characters, 
especially Prince Brat, about dignity and respect, equality and 
diversity, loyalty and friendship. 

The references to spanking and physical abuse are articulated 
as a factual reflection of the era within which the novel is set. 
Discussion about royalty, hierarchy and punishment during the 
medieval era in England will support the reader's 
understanding of the deeper themes that underpin the text. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 4 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


■^- — I Grade 5 — 7- 

/ *^3 \^ \ 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 


Mary Norton 

"'Don't move!' said a 
voice, and the voice, 
like the eye was 
enormous but, 
somehow, hushed — 
and hoarse like a 
surge of wind 
through the grating 
on a stormy night in 
March, Arrietty froze. 
'So this is it,' she 
thought, 'the worst 
and most terrible 
thing of all: I have 
been seen'!" p. 71 

New York, NY: 
Harcourt Inc. 1989 
[original 1953] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-15209-990-5 

The Borrowers is a fantastical story about tiny blue-collar 
people living beneath the floorboards of a mansion in 
Edwardian Britain. Pod, his wife Homily and their daughter 
Arrietty thrive on Pod's ability to 'borrow' what they need, 
including furniture, clothing and food, from the upstairs 
occupants— an elderly, bedridden lady and her servants. 

Arrietty, who has never been allowed above the floorboards, 
begs to go with Pod on one of his borrowing expeditions. 
When he finally relents, she cannot resist sneaking out into the 
yard, despite her father's repeated warnings about the 
importance of not being seen. There, she is startled by a 
gigantic boy whom she quickly befriends. When the borrowers 
are discovered and suddenly endangered, the boy remains 
loyal to his unusual friend and protects the family. 

777e Borrowers is a clever satire on class distinctions in 
Edwardian Britain, but readers unfamiliar with this element will 
still appreciate the themes that the book highlights: friendship, 
loyalty, cultural diversity, trust and survival. This popular 
novel spawned a series of Borrowers adventures. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Roald Dahl 

In Boy, Roald Dahl takes a different approach to 
autobiography, sharing several humorous memories from his 
childhood rather than trying to recount the events of his entire 
life. He includes generous details about his family, including 
his Norwegian father and mother, as well as personally 
significant landmarks in his childhood. These anecdotes 
provide many opportunities for the reader to empathize and 
emotionally connect with his depiction of the innocence and 
mischievousness of childhood. For example, he tells in wry 
detail the story of how he got revenge on Mrs. Pratchett, the 
nasty candy store owner, by putting a dead mouse in one of 
her candy jars. 

Teachers should be aware that Dahl tends to get carried away 
with overly negative descriptions of teachers from his past, 
even referring to one of them as a "torturer." Discussion about 
punishment in English schools during Dahl's era in the early to 
mid 1900s may be helpful to address students' concerns and 

bristles?' I cried. 
'How can toothbrush 
bristles make your 
appendix go bad?' 
Nanny, who in my 
eyes was filled with 
more wisdom than 
Solomon, replied, 
'Whenever a bristle 
comes out of your 
toothbrush and you 
swallow it, it sticks in 
your appendix and 
turns it rotten. In the 
war, ' she went on, 
'the German spies 
used to sneak box 
loads of loose-bristled 
toothbrushes into our 
shops and millions of 
our soldiers got 
appendicitis."' p. 95 

New York, NY: 

Penguin Group Puffin Books 


[original 1984] 

paperback reissue 
ISBN 0-06^40184-7 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Katherine Paterson 

There in their secret 
place, his feelings 
bubbled inside him 
like a stew on the 
back of the stove — 
some sad for her in 
her lonesomeness, 
but chunks of 
happiness, too. To be 
able to be Leslie's 
one whole friend in 
the world as she was 
his — he couldn't help 
being satisfied about 
that." p. 76 

New York, NY: 
Harper Trophy, 1977 


ISBN 0-06440-1847 


Newbery Medal, 1978 

Bridge to Terabithia is a realistic depiction of the touching 
friendship between two Grade 5 classmates, Leslie and Jess, in 
the fictional town of Lark Creek, in rural Virginia. When Leslie 
moves with her family into the old Perkins place next to Jess's 
family farm, she surprises Jess not only with her "hippie" ways 
but also by outperforming him in a race. Even though they 
are competitors, Leslie and Jess share similar, quirky and 
secretive personalities and become fast friends. Soon they 
find their own meeting place, Terabithia, a secret location 
similar to Narnia in C. S. Lewis' classic fantasy series. 

Leslie's unexpected, tragic death midway through the book 
forces Jess to grieve and to mature quickly. The loss is 
delicately described and eloquently handled by Paterson, but 
readers will need to be warned before beginning the novel that 
the story requires them to look at death and grieving. 

This novel has support 
videos available through 
ACCESS: All About the 
Book: A Kid's Video 
Guide to "Bridge to 
Terabithia/' 2002 
[22 min. BPN 2076102] 
and Good Conversation: 
A Talk with Katherine 
Paterson, 1999 
[21 min. BPN 2075908]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Andrea Spalding 


Finders Keepers uses the relationship between two friends to 
explore discriminatory attitudes toward First Nations peoples 
and toward children with learning disabilities. The story 
centres around the discovery of an 8000-year-old stone point 
by Danny Budzynski, the main character, while he is wandering 
nearby fields. Danny's friend, Joshua Brokenhorn, who lives 
on the Peigan Reserve at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, 
confirms it is a lance head. Danny becomes determined to 
learn more about First Nations culture and artifacts in order to 
better understand this curious finding. 

But even though he dedicates himself to learning, he has 
difficulty sharing his ideas in writing. His teacher is easily 
frustrated by Danny's difficulties and responds impatiently, 
often treating Danny poorly and embarrassing him in front of 
his classmates. Giving in to the negativity, Danny chooses to 
abandon a traditional classroom for buffalo hunts, pow wows 
and archeological digs in the Alberta hills with Joshua. 

Readers will share Danny's rollercoaster of feelings as he 
experiences heart-breaking moments in school and makes 
exciting discoveries about the lance head and about himself. 
Teachers will need to discuss the themes of learning 
disabilities, discrimination, integration and segregation as they 
arise within the text. 

"You know about 
this stuff?' asked 
Danny eagerly as he 
rewrapped the point 
and thrust it in his 
pocket. 'Great, 
maybe we can make 
bows, or lances, or 
whatever, and play 
at being Indians. ' 'I 
don't have to play at 
being 'Indian',' said 
Joshua stiffly. 'I'm 
Peigan.'" p. 31 

Victoria, BC: 

Beach Home Publishing 1995 


ISBN 0-88878-359-0 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



E. L. Konigsburg 

"Jamie couldn't 
control his smile. He 
said, You know, 
Claude, for a sister 
and afussbudget, 
you're not too bad.' 
Claudia replied, You 
know, Jamie, for a 
brother and a 
cheapskate, you're 
not too bad. '" p. 38 

New York, NY: 
Dell Yearling, 1967 


ISBN 0-440-43180-8 


Newbery Medal, 1968 

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler 

begins when Claudia Kincaid decides to run away from home 
to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Claudia 
invites her younger brother Jamie to join her, since he has 
saved nearly twenty-five dollars from his allowances and she 
has sparse savings. After sneaking into the museum with a 
group of school children and hiding in the washroom at 
closing time, Claudia and Jamie have the vast building to 
themselves every night. The children spend a week in the 
museum until they become intrigued by a statue of an angel, 
donated by the wealthy Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which may 
or may not be a Michelangelo original. To find out the truth, 
the children travel to Connecticut where Mrs. Frankweiler lives 
and convince her to let them search her extensive files for 

Konigsburg's novel may be controversial for romanticizing 
running away as an exciting adventure with unexpected 
rewards. It is important to discuss the fictional, imaginative 
licence taken by the author and to examine the likelihood of 
events evolving this way in reality. 

This novel has a support 

video available through 


Conversation: A Talk 

with E L Konigsburg, 


[22 min. BPN 2075903]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Monica Hughes 

The Golden Aquarians is a science fiction novel set on the 
planet Aqua in 2092. The story centres around Walt, whose 
father is the chief engineer of a terraforming agency. For 
eleven years, ever since his mother died, Walt has been living 
with his aunt and has had little relationship with his father. 
When his dad finally summons Walt to live with him on Aqua, 
Walt anxiously tries to please his father but finds him to be 
distant and preoccupied with his work. On top of that, Walt's 
classmates on Aqua bully him. 

To escape these problems, Walt spends his time exploring the 
marshy channels of the planet. With each trip, he stumbles 
across more evidence that Aqua harbours intelligent life, a fact 
that would make his father's engineering project illegal. 
Eventually, froglike creatures reveal themselves to Walt and 
Solveig, the daughter of a biologist who has befriended him. 
The two try to put a halt to the destruction of the creatures' 
marshy home and in doing so, incur the anger of Walt's father. 
While exploring the hostility that can exist between father and 
son, Hughes uses name-calling and some questionable 

The Golden Aquarians is an accessible parable about 
humankind's capability to destroy worlds in the name of 
"progress." The story stresses the importance of respecting 
ecosystems and the right of survival for all species. 

"1 saw one of them. 
In the reeds. An 
alien, about the size 
of the one that made 
that print, I guess. ' 
'And you never told 
me. Anyway, they're 
not the aliens. We 
are.'" pp. 104-105 

Toronto, ON: 
HarperCollins 1994 


ISBN 0-00-647963-4 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Sheila Burnford 


The young dog saw 
the onrushing wave 
several moments 
before it reached 
them, and frantically 
tried to swim into a 
position upstream of 
the cat, instinctively 
trying to protect him; 
but he was too late, 
and the great curling, 
crested wave surged 
over, submerging 
them in a whirling 
chaos of debris. " 
p. 64 ' 

New York, NY: 

Bantam Doubleday Publishing 

Incorporated 1960 


ISBN 0-44022-670-8 

The Incredible Journey is a story about three pets who trek 
across the Ontario wilderness to return to their home. Tao (an aloof 
Siamese cat), Bodger (an old English bull terrier), and Luath (a large 
Labrador retriever) are temporarily residing with Longridge, a friend 
of their owners. When Longridge sets off for a three-week holiday, 
a miscommunication with the housekeeper results in the trio being 

Seeing Longridge leave, the animals decide to head home, some 
250 miles away across rugged Northwestern Ontario terrain. Tao is 
the most resourceful at finding food, and Bodger and Luath soon 
become ravenous with hunger. When Bodger collapses and a bear 
cub investigates, something is triggered in Tao. He drives away the 
bear and proceeds to bring food to the bulldog. Luath, too, learns 
to forage for frogs and rabbits. Ultimately the obstacle-filled journey 
teaches the trio the importance of relying upon each others' 
strengths. Loyalty, love, determination, adaptation and survival are 
central themes in this novel. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Barbara Greenwood 


The Last Safe House is an example of 'faction'— part fiction 
and part nonfiction. The fictional portion is set in 1896 and 
centres on Johanna Reid, a twelve-year-old girl who must live 
with an escaped slave named Eliza. While Eliza waits to be 
reunited with her mother and brother, who did not make it to 
the safety of the Reids' home, Johanna learns to overcome her 
own prejudices. Eventually the two girls become good friends. 

The nonfiction portions are interspersed throughout the text 
and include brief descriptions of plantation life and the 
Underground Railroad: how it worked, who risked their lives to 
escape or help others flee, and who profited from catching a 
fugitive slave. A balance of Canadian and American historical 
facts paints a complete portrait of these events. The text also 
includes suggested activities, such as songs and storytelling; 
directions for making important survival items, such as 
lanterns; and commonly used recipes, such as gingerbread 

The fiction and nonfiction text compliment each other and 
together help the reader to understand slavery and persecution 
in American and Canadian history, while also developing 
empathy for the people involved, especially children. Themes 
of loyalty, friendship, equality and cultural diversity, change 
and survival underpin this text. 

"Johanna struggled 
for words to comfort 
Eliza . . . Then she 
remembered the 
gingerbread girl. 
'Look!' She held it out 
to Eliza. 'It's you — 
running free.' Eliza 
looked at the little 
figure for a long 
minute. 'No.' She 
shook her head. 'Not 
free. Just runnin'. 
Til they find my 
momma and Ben — 
just runnin'.'" p. 33 

Toronto, ON: 

Kids Can Press Ltd. 1998 

paperback picture book 

ISBN 1-55074-509-3 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Betsy Byars 

"I had just gotten one 
window to jerk down 
about two inches 
when I heard the 
gunshot. I had never 
heard any worse 
sound in my life. It 
was a very final 
sound, like the most 
enormous period in 
the world. Bam. 
Period. The end. " 
p. 115 

New York, NY: 
Penguin Group 1968 


ISBN 0-14-031450-4 

The Midnight Fox tells the story of a young boy's growing 
fascination with a black mother fox he sees on his aunt and 
uncle's farm. Tom originally dislikes the idea of staying with 
his aunt and uncle for the summer, but after spotting the fox, 
he becomes mesmerized. When the fox begins stealing Aunt 
Millie's poultry, there can be only one solution, and it is too 
terrible for Tom to contemplate. Tom finally convinces Uncle 
Fred not to kill his beloved fox. 

The novel takes a compelling look at a boy's growing love for a 
wild, free animal. It is a beautifully-written book about the 
rights of all creatures and the need for compassionate 
solutions, which will likely raise discussions about hunting laws 
and animal rights. Other minor controversial points- 
references to corporal punishment child labour, and body 
image— can be dealt with through sensitive discussion and an 
understanding of the historical context. 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
Conversation: A Talk 
with Betsy Byars, 1994 
[20 min. BPN 2075902]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Richard Scrimger 

On the one hand, The Nose from Jupiter is a realistic story 
about Allan Dingwall, a young boy with typical worries: seeking 
approval and love from his divorced parents, dreading math 
because it is difficult for him and wishing that school bullies did 
not exist. On the other hand, it is a humorous story about an 
unreal event that brightens Allan's otherwise tough reality— a 
loud-mouthed but lovable alien named Norbert takes up 
residence in Allan's nose. Soon Norbert becomes known as 
"Squeaky," the school's suddenly gifted ventriloquist. This 
amusing gift reinvents Allan's social image into a popular 
classroom clown. 

The novel takes a creative approach to exploring common 
themes of peer pressure, bullying, insecurity, and overcoming 
these childhood frustrations. As Allan seeks acceptance from 
his parents and friends, and finally learns to stand up for 
himself, readers can easily empathize with both the realistic 
and imaginative methods the book suggests for dealing with 
life struggles. 

"'Bye, Mom,' said 
Victor, pulling me 
away. 'Bye, ' I said. 
— Farewell, 
mavourneen! called 
Norbert. Victor 
turned to me. 'What?' 
'It's my nose,' I said. 
'He speaks lots of 
languages. He's very 
talented.'" p. 36 

Toronto, ON: 
Tundra Books 1998 


ISBN 0-88776-428-2 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



William Kurelek 


There was 
something different 
about the snow on 
balmy late winter 
days: it was no 
longer powdery. 
Then, not even 
hockey could hold the 
attention of William's 
Everyone wanted to 
make snowballs." 
p. 36 

Toronto, ON: 
Tundra Books 1973 

paperback picture book 

ISBN 0-88776-102-X 

A Prairie Boy's Winter is a nonfiction picture book that 
describes life on the Manitoba prairies during the final years of 
the Great Depression. Written from the perspective of the 
author as a child, the beautiful paintings and short printed text 
share experiences such as first snowfalls, terrifying blizzards, 
typical farm chores and childhood games. 

Kurelek provides a joyous, rich depiction of life, and 
encourages the reader to fully appreciate and preserve the 
natural environment. Descriptions in the text continually 
reinforce the beauty of the prairies and the simplicity of 
meeting one's needs with community love and support. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 

Shiloh is a realistic depiction of a boy's love and loyalty to a 
pet beagle. Marty finds the dog in the fields behind his house 
and brings him home even though he realizes that money is 
tight and his dad would never approve of a pet. When his 
father makes him return the dog to his actual owner, Judd 
Travers, Marty is horrified to see Judd verbally and physically 
abuse the beagle and his other hunting dogs. 

When Marty is given the opportunity to keep Shiloh away 
from Judd, life begins to fill with moral dilemmas and 
complications— lying to his parents, figuring out ways to sneak 
food from the house to feed Shiloh, keeping Judd off the 
dog's trail. These ethical dilemmas present an opportunity for 
rich classroom discussion. 

References to animal abuse and hunting in the text will 
require careful, thoughtful discussion with students, 
emphasizing the time period and geographical location of the 
text. Reynolds Naylor gives readers an opportunity to witness 
acceptance and tolerance between Judd and Marty, and a 
peaceful, collaborative resolution to community and family 

This novel has support 
videos available through 
Conversation: A Talk with 
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor— 
first look, 1995 [25 min. 
BPN 2075916] and All 
about the Book: A Kid's 
Video Guide to "Shiloh, " 
[21 min. BPN 2076105]. 

"1 wonder if maybe, 
in time, if I never see 
Shiloh again, I'll 
forget about him. But 
then I'm lying on the 
couch that night after 
everyone else has 
gone to bed, and I 
hear this Jar-off 
sound again, like a 
dog crying. Not 
barking, not howling, 
not whining even. 
Crying. And I get this 
awful ache in my 
chest. I wonder if it 
is a dog. If it's 
Shiloh." p. 30 

New York, NY: 
Aladdin 2000 


ISBN 0-68983-582-5 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Kit Pearson 


"Escaping into books 
and having a friend 
made being a war 
guest more bearable. 
But now Norah lay 
awake worrying 
about her family. 
The radio reports 
from England were 
worse and worse — 
London was bombed 
every night now. She 
checked the hall table 
each day for mail, 
but still no letter 
came." p. 148 

Toronto, ON: 
Viking 1989 


ISBN 0-14-034189-7 


Canadian Library Association 
Book of the Year for Children 
Award, 1989 

The Sky Is Falling is set in the period in Canadian history 
when nearly 8000 British children were evacuated to Canada 
to escape the difficulties of World War II. In this novel, 
brother and sister, Gavin and Norah, are sent to live with 
Mrs. Ogilvie in her upscale Toronto home. While Gavin adjusts 
easily, Norah is miserable and resents Mrs. Ogilvie's preference 
for Gavin. Norah's aloof attitude also makes her unpopular at 
school, but she soon finds one friend in Bernard Gunter, 
another outcast. 

Eventually Norah's misery causes her to run away from 
Mrs. Ogilvie's home, taking Gavin with her. By the end of the 
novel, Norah grows to appreciate her brother and their 
relationship strengthens. She also makes peace with 
Mrs. Ogilvie and agrees to give the arrangement a second 

The text offers opportunities for rich discussion around the 
themes of survival and adaptation to uncontrollable 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Brenda Bellingham 

Storm Child tells the story of Isobel, a young girl of mixed 
ancestry living in Fort Edmonton in the early 1830s. Isobel, 
named "Storm Child" at birth, is the daughter of a Peigan 
mother and a Scottish father. When Isobel's mother receives 
word that her husband is not planning to return from 
Edinburgh, she and Isobel are devastated. While her mother 
moves in with a widower in town, Isobel is angry at her 
father's abandonment and, confused about where she fits in, 
decides to head south to live with her grandparents in a Peigan 
encampment. Isobel travels with Jamey Jock, another Peigan 
who is also relocating to the encampment. When Jamey 
betrays the Hudson Bay Company by trading illegally with 
Americans, Isobel has a difficult choice and this reflects the 
major theme driving the story: Isobel's conflicting loyalties and 
search for her own identity. 

Bellingham accurately and thoroughly represents the time and 
place of the novel, including the social, economic and racial 
inequities that existed. These references will require sensitive 
discussion about the historical context. Despite these realities, 
the underlying themes of the novel are positive: peaceful 
resolutions to problems, tolerance and acceptance of cultural 

"Isobel bowed her 
head. 'I have no love 
for white men, ' her 
grandfather had 
said. Had he 
forgotten that she 
was half white? It 
was what she had 
wanted — to be 
accepted as a real 
Peigan — and yet ..." 
p. 74 

Toronto, ON: 
Lorimer, 1985 


ISBN 0-88862-793-9 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Eric Walters 


"Out of the corner of 
my eye, I could see 
the bear. It was 
charging towards me 
in big loping strides, 
quickly closing the 
gap between us. I 
uncontrollably! It 
was getting bigger 
and bigger, coming 
closer and closer. I 
could see every ripple 
of its body, the 
muscles, the folds of 
the skin, the mouth 
partly open, the thick 
tongue hanging out of 
one side." p. 124 

Toronto, ON: 

Penguin Books Canada Ltd. 



ISBN 0-14-038626-2 


Shortlisted for the Ruth 
Schwartz Children's Book 

Trapped in Ice is set in the winter of 1913-1914 on an 
expedition launched by Vilhjalmur Stefansson to map 
uncharted Arctic islands in Canada's north. When their ship, 
the Karluck, became locked in ice en route to Herschel Island, 
Stefansson took a small contingent to try and reach land. The 
ship's captain, Robert Bartlett, faced the challenge of saving 
the remaining members of the expedition and the ship's crew 
as the ice in which they were encased drifted toward Siberia. 

In this exciting novel, Eric Walters presents this story of Arctic 
exploration from the perspective of thirteen-year-old Helen 
Kiruk, the daughter of the seamstress hired for the expedition. 
Partly through a diary format, we learn how Helen and her 
younger brother Michael find themselves drawing closer 
together in the face of an overwhelming task of dogsledding 
with the crew over precarious ice. Helen also discovers in the 
gruff captain, something of a kindred spirit who loves hearing 
her stories and who invites her listen to his favourite Mozart 

The novel also explores the themes of diversity and respect 
through the relationship between one of the scientists and the 
Inuit guide, Kataktovich. While the scientist initially refers to 
Kataktovich as a "dirty, filthy Indian," he later comes to learn 
Kataktovich's language and customs while spending a large 
amount of time with him. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Barbara Smucker 


Underground to Canada is a historical novel set in the 
period just before the Civil War, when the Underground 
Railroad was helping slaves escape to Canada. The novel 
centres on a female protagonist, Julilly, who is separated from 
her mother and relocated to a different plantation. Eventually, 
Alexander Ross, an abolitionist posing as an orthologist, 
devises an escape plan for Julilly and some other slaves on the 
plantation. As Julilly makes the difficult trek across the 
northern states, she finds the mental and physical strength 
from the belief that her mother has also found a way to escape 
to Canada. 

In his introduction to the 1999 reissue of this novel, 
Lawrence Hill argues that it is essential for teachers and 
parents to talk to students about the term "nigger" and how it 
represents the dehumanizing attitude many white people had 
toward black people in the days of slavery. Rich discussion 
about this terminology will enrich students' appreciation and 
understanding of this period in history, and reveal the 
underlying themes of tolerance, respect, sacrifice and freedom 
that pervade the text. 

There was moaning 
now and crying up 
and down the line of 
slaves. The big slave 
trader didn't care or 
hear. He lashed his 
whip in the air, 
pulling children from 
their mothers and 
fathers and sending 
them to the cart. " 
p. 20 

Toronto, ON: 

Penguin Books, a division of 

Pearson Canada 1978 


ISBN 0-14-130686-6 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Madeline L'Engle 

"Calvin's voice was 
still angry and his 
freckles seemed to 
stand out on his face. 
'Even traveling at the 
speed of light it 
would take us years 
and years to get 
here. ' 'Oh, we don't 
travel at the speed of 
anything,' Mrs 
Whatsit explained 
earnestly. 'We tesser. 
Or you might say, we 
wrinkle.'" p. 62 

New York, NY: 

Bantam Doubleday Dell Books 
for Young Readers 1973 
[original 1962] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-44049-805-8 

A Wrinkle in Time is a science fiction fantasy novel in which 
three children travel to a parallel universe and are forced to 
overcome dark forces. The story centres on a female 
protagonist, Meg, whose scientist father has disappeared. 
When Meg meets three unearthly strangers, Mrs. Whatsit, 
Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, she is determined to travel with 
them to find her father. Together with her genius younger 
brother, George Wallace, and her school friend, 
Calvin O'Keefe, Meg journeys through space and time on a 
daring rescue mission. 

When they finally get to the planet of Camazotz, 
George Wallace must face his own struggle in order to defeat 
"IT," a dark power that is sweeping the universe and has the 
inhabitants of the planet brainwashed. The children rely on 
their own strength and the strengths of each other as they 
face danger and darkness to overcome evil. The themes of 
courage, love and hope are subtly developed throughout the 
novel. Teachers should be aware that L'Engle makes many 
biblical references in the novel that may require discussion and 
explanation for students. 

This novel has a support 

video available through 


Conversation: A Talk 

with Madeleine L 'Engle, 


[22 min. BPN 2075913]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 5 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



■ ~^ , , ■ ■ ■ . -^m 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 

3 ^* 



L. M. Montgomery 


"She danced up to 
the little looking-glass 
and peered into it 
Her pointed freckled 
face and solemn gray 
eyes peered back at 
her. You're only 
Anne of Green 
Gables, ' she said 
earnestly, 'and I see 
you, just as you are 
looking now, 
whenever I try to 
imagine I'm the Lady 
Cordelia. But it's a 
million times nicer to 
be Anne of Green 
Gables than Anne of 
nowhere in 
particular, isn't it?'" 
p. 60 

United States of America: 
Random House 
of Canada Limited, 
Seal Books 1996 
[original 1908] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-7704-2205-5 

Anne of Green Gables \s a classic novel about Anne Shirley, 
a spirited orphan girl who finds acceptance and love in the 
rural town of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, in the Victorian 
era. Aging Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert own a farm that is 
becoming too onerous for them to manage on their own. 
They arrange to take in an orphan boy to help out on the 
farm, but are surprised to find an eccentric, red-headed girl 
has been sent by mistake. Fortunately, Matthew sees Anne's 
inner beauty immediately and convinces Marilla to give the girl 
a chance. The rest of the book tells of Anne's many mishaps 
and her growing sense of family and friendship in the town. 

Montgomery teaches young readers that differences in 
physical appearance and emotional makeup can be strengths 
rather than deficiencies: Anne begins her life with 
mistreatment by both adults and children because of her 
unusual red hair and hot temper, but she learns through 
Marilla and Matthew that she is loved, trusted and has 
potential to achieve scholastically and socially. Male students 
may find it difficult to relate to the female main character, but 
the book's universal themes and humorous events will likely 
win over many of them. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Deborah Ellis 


The Breadwinners a poignant novel about an 11-year-old 
girl who must take on the dangerous task of supporting her 
family in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. As a girl, Parvana is 
not allowed to attend school, but her bitterness about this is 
alleviated somewhat by the fact that she can accompany her 
father into the market where he makes a small living reading 
and writing letters for the illiterate. When the Taliban imprison 
Parvana's father, the family faces the horrifying prospect that, 
since women are not allowed outside the home alone, they will 
have no source of income. It is decided that Parvana, who can 
read and write, must disguise herself as a boy and take her 
father's place in the market. Later Parvana encounters 
Shauzia, another girl in disguise, and they decide to increase 
their income by collecting and selling bones from a bombed 
cemetery to a bone merchant. This experience in particular 
affects Parvana deeply and makes her long for a safer, easier 

Having worked with Afghan refugees, Deborah Ellis writes from 
a close knowledge of human rights abuses under the Taliban 
regime. Descriptions brutality and violence are particularly 
disturbing but ultimately The Breadwinner \s a story celebrating 
the stamina and spirit of a young girl in the face of great odds. 
Providing readers with a review of the historical context of 
Kabul from 1978-2001 will prepare them for the harsh reality 
of war described throughout the text. 

"We have to 
remember this, ' 
Parvana said. 'When 
things get better and 
we grow up, we have 
to remember that 
there was a day 
when we were kids 
when we stood in a 
graveyard and dug 
up bones to sell so 
that our families 
could eat.'" p. Ill 

Toronto, ON: 
Groundwood/ Doug las & 
Mclntyre 2002 
[original 2000] 


ISBN 0-88899-416-8 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Gail Carson Levine 

"J broke away from 
him and began to run 
as the clock struck 
midnight. Char 
would have caught 
me in a moment, but 
Hattie must have 
held him somehow. 
Outside, a huge 
pumpkin stood 
uselessly in the line 
of carriages. I 
continued to flee. A 
white rat skittered 
across my path. 
Somewhere I lost one 
of my slippers. I ran 
on, listening for my 
pursuers." p. 221 

New York, NY: 
Harper Collins 1997 


ISBN 0-06^40705-5 


Newbery Honor Book, 1998 

Ella Enchanted \s a modern retelling of the Cinderella story. 
In this version, a foolish fairy curses the feisty heroine, Ella, 
with the "gift" of always being obedient. After her mother 
dies, 15-year-old Ella finds her only comfort in the sympathy of 
Prince Charmont and the tender love and care of Mandy, the 
cook and wise fairy godmother. Ella's father is a cold and 
distant man, anxious to get Ella off to finishing school as he 
takes up life with his wealthy new wife, Dame Olga. Ella's new 
stepsisters devise ways to make life miserable for her, and Ella 
decides her only hope is to run away and find Lucinda, the 
fairy who cursed her. She learns that Lucinda will be 
attending a wedding of two giants, and goes to meet her 
there, hoping she can convince Lucinda to rescind her gift. 

Although the story is a fantasy, some allegorical connections 
can be made. First, the notion of magic is used to parody 
people who misuse power. Lucinda creates unending 
problems for people by assuming what will be good for them, 
while Mandy helps Ella by providing opportunities rather than 
magical certainties. Second, diverse groups of mythical 
characters interact to present themes of acceptance and 

This novel has a support 

video available through 


Conversation: A Talk 

with Gail Carson Levine, 


[21 min. BPN 2075904]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Polly Horvath 

Everything on a Waffle is a humorous and positive portrayal 
of life in a small fishing and whaling community on Vancouver 
Island. The main character is Primrose Squarp, a young girl 
whose parents were lost at sea. Primrose is sure her parents 
will return but is relieved when her Uncle Jack arrives to look 
after her— even though his main focus seems to be on the 
town as a property development opportunity. Primrose's 
guidance counsellor at school has other developments in mind 
when she meets the handsome ex-military man. 

Miss Bowzer, head cook and owner of "The Girl on the Red 
Swing Restaurant" has her own ideas about what Primrose and 
the customers from town need: everything on a waffle. While 
Primrose patiently awaits her parents' return, she practises her 
culinary arts, recalling her mother's recipes or jotting down tips 
from Miss Bowzer. Each chapter concludes with a recipe: 
everything from carrots in an apricot glaze to, of course, 
waffles. The book illustrates how achievement means different 
things to different people, and promotes the idea that everyone 
has something to contribute to society regardless of gender, 
age, race or disability. 

"... at The Girl on the 
Red Swing if you 
ordered a steak it 
came on a waffle, if 
you ordered fish and 
chips it came on a 
waffle, if you ordered 
waffles they came on 
a waffle. Miss 
Bowzer said it gave 
the restaurant class. " 
p. 24 

Toronto, ON: 

Groundwood Books/Douglas 
& Mclntyre2002 
[original 2001] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-88899-442-7 


Newbery Honor Book, 2002 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Philip Pullman 

"The doctor examined 
Roger all over and 
seemed to find only a 
healthy little boy. 'So 
what's this rodent 
delusion?' he said 
finally. 'Well, he 
says he was a rat, ' 
said Bob. 'He's 
convinced of it. ' 'A 
rat, were you?' said 
the doctor. 'When 
did you stop being a 
rat, then?' 'When I 
turned into a boy, ' 
said Roger. Yes, I 
see.'" p. 26 

New York, NY: Random 
House Inc. 2002 
[original 1999] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-440-41661-2 

I Was a Rat! is a humorous fantasy novel about an elderly 
couple, Bob, a cobbler, and Joan, a washerwoman, who take 
in a homeless, grubby boy named Roger who insists that he 
was, until quite recently, a rat. Bob and Joan are skeptical, 
but several incidents convince the couple that he may be 
telling the truth. Eventually we find out that this clever satire 
is revisiting the story of Cinderella. 

The narrative detailing Roger's trials and tribulations is 
interspersed with pages from a local tabloid, The Daily 
Scourge. Their biggest story is about a monster found in the 
city's sewers, a monster being defended by so-called scientists 
who contend that the creature from the darkness is actually a 
human and should be spared extermination. 

The news stories in The Daily Scourge are, of course, prime 
examples of media manipulation, half-truths and about-faces. 
Teachers will require time to discuss issues raised by the 
tabloid, including corporal punishment, juvenile crime, media 
responsibility, political reactions, fairness of the justice system, 
and treatment of children. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Linda Granfield 


In Flanders Fields recounts a significant time in world 
history through John McCrae's famous poem. This book 
beautifully illustrates each line of the poem with a painting by 
Janet Wilson. These vivid impressions of battle-torn cities, 
hospital wards, cemeteries, and soldiers bring new meaning 
and immediacy to the poem. Between verses, Linda 
Granfield informs the reader with factual details about World 
War I, John McCrae's life, the battle of Ypres, the grim 
realities of trench warfare, and the memorials that continue 

The poem itself can be read in different ways. Some see it 
as a call to arms, to the continuance of war. Alternatively, as 
Granfield suggests, some believe that "we continue to honour 
the memory of those who sacrificed themselves for a cause 
they believed to be great and just." Granfield provokes the 
reader to think about his or her individual perspective, and 
treats the issue with sensitivity and respect while still 
providing a realistic depiction of the First World War. 

". . . the Great War 
was unlike any other 
in history. It was a 
new and horrible 
artillery battle fought 
from rat-infested, 
water-filled trenches 
dug deep into foreign 
soil. There would be 
little noble about it, 
except the dedication 
of millions to fight for 
what they believed. 
Into the nightmarish 
terrain of the Western 
Front stepped 
John McCrae. " 

Markham, ON: 
Fitzhenry and Whiteside 
Limited 2002 
[original 1995] 

paperback picture book 

ISBN 0-7737-2991-7 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Scott O'Dell 

"... at dawn, as light 
spread across the 
sea, my first glance 
was toward the little 
harbor of Coral Cove. 
Every morning I 
would look for the 
ship there, thinking 
that it might have 
come in the night. 
And each morning I 
would see nothing 
except the birds 
flying over the sea. " 
p. 57 

New York, NY: 
Bantam Doubleday Dell 
Books for Young Readers 
[original 1960] 

Paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-440-43988-4 


Newbery Medal, 1961 

Is/and of the Blue Dolphins tells the true story of an 
Aboriginal girl, Karana, who spent eighteen years alone on San 
Nicolas, a tiny island off the California coast. The novel begins 
on the island with a battle raging between Aleut hunters and 
Russian fur traders. Karana's father and most of the other 
villagers are killed, leaving survivors to relocate to the 
mainland. As the ship is leaving, Karan realizes that her 
younger brother, Ramo, is not aboard and she returns to save 
him. Soon, though, a wild dog kills Ramo. Karana must 
survive alone on the island and, ironically, ends up relying on 
and befriending the leader of the dog pack that killed her 
brother. She is finally rescued after nearly eighteen years. 

O'Dell's novel offers readers an opportunity to observe the 
ways of life of Aboriginal peoples before Spanish explorers 
discovered and took over this island. Survival and loyalty are 
the novel's underlying themes, as Karana is forced to figure 
out ways to live independently and successfully in the rugged 
habitat and accept her growing attachment to the wild dog 
that killed her brother. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Jean Craighead George 

Julie of the Wolves focuses on an Inuit girl, Miyax, who lives 
in a sealing camp with her father. When Miyax's father dies, 
her aunt is determined to see her niece live with her, attend 
school and become an English-speaking girl with an English 
name— Julie. However, when she turns thirteen, Julie agrees 
to honour the terms of a marriage arranged years before by 
her father and his friend Naka. Julie is assured that Daniel will 
be more of a brother than a husband, but when he gets drunk 
and tries to take advantage of her, Julie is forced to run away. 

After finding her way to a port to attempt to board a ship for 
California, Julie ends up on the Alaskan tundra and becomes 
lost. Facing starvation, she discovers a wolf pack and slowly 
insinuates herself into their community where she is able to 
glean food from their kills. She recognizes in Amaroq, the 
leader of the pack, a creature who epitomizes the spirit of her 
people and their disappearing world. 

Teachers will need to discuss the importance of using correct 
terminology when referring to cultural groups. The term 
"Eskimo," used throughout the text, is inappropriate by today's 
standards and should be replaced by the term "Inuit." The 
issues of childhood marriage, alcoholism and sexual 
harassment will also require sensitive discussion. Ultimately, 
though, the novel provides rich themes for discussion including 
a powerful plea for respecting and preserving nature, and living 
attuned to "the rhythm of the beasts and the land." 

This novel has support 
videos available through 
ACCESS: All about the 
Book: A Kid's Video Guide 
to "Julie of the Wolves/' 
2002 [22 min. BPN 
2076104] and Good 
Conversation: A Talk with 
Jean Craighead George, 
[28 min. BPN 2075905]. 

"Here she was, 
watching wolves — 
she, Miyax, daughter 
of Kapugen, adopted 
child of Martha 
citizen of the United 
States, pupil at the 
Bureau of Indian 
Affairs School in 
Barrow, Alaska, and 
thirteen-year-old wife 
of the boy Daniel. 
She shivered at the 
thought of Daniel, for 
it was he who had 
driven her to this 
fate." p. 10 

New York, NY: 
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. 

paperback novel 

ISBN 0-06440-058-1 


Newbery Medal, 1973 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Jean Little 


"Little by little, I was 
sorting out when and 
whether belonging 
really mattered. 
Little by little, I was 
choosing to be me. 
Little by little, I was 
discovering what 
brought me joy and 
learning its price. " 
p. J 56 

Toronto, ON: 

Penguin Group,Penguin Books 


[original 1987] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-14-031737-6 

Little by Little is Jean Little's autobiographical telling of some 
of the milestones in her personal and professional life. Little 
reveals how those who rejected or patronized her exacerbated 
her struggle with vision impairment. To balance this 
treatment, Little describes several important people and 
experiences in her teenage and adult life that bolstered her 
self-confidence. For example, her brother took her to a high 
school dance where the two proudly won a waltzing contest. 
She also emphasizes her admiration for her father who 
encouraged her to improve her writing skills and to become a 
professional writer. 

Through these depictions, Little helps readers to appreciate 
how people can overcome many physical, social and emotional 
obstacles by relying on positive role models, maintaining a 
hopeful attitude, and challenging themselves to become better 
human beings. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Jean Little 


Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird is a touching 
story about an eleven-year-old boy struggling with the illness 
and then the death of his father. The story begins during the 
summer holidays at a lakeside cottage where Jeremy Talbot is 
staying with his little sister and their aunt. Jeremy's best 
friends have moved away; his dad is in the hospital undergoing 
an operation for cancer; and his mom has been staying in town 
to be near the hospital. By the end of the summer, when 
Jeremy's father is finally able to come to the cottage, Jeremy 
begins to realize for the first time that his dad is dying. 

Jeremy must deal with each new reality brought about by the 
start of school, the mother's daily drives to the hospital and the 
eventual death of his father. 

Jean Little creates a realistic portrait of a family dealing with 
the illness and eventual loss of a parent. The novel captures 
the ambivalent feelings of an eleven-year-old who feels that he 
has to be courageous but still can not help giving in, at times, 
to the temptation to quarrel with a little sister or to think 
selfishly of his own desires. Although Little's representation is 
thoughtful and sensitive, teachers will need to carefully attend 
to students' feelings and backgrounds when discussing death, 
family illnesses and grieving the loss of a parent. 

Tess came a step 
nearer to him. He 
flashed a glance at 
her and saw his own 
disbelief and sorrow 
mirrored in her eyes. 
All at once, he knew 
why he had come to 
find her. She had 
been the one person 
he could think of who 
would understand. 
She had spoken 
herself of her 
grandmother's death 
and her parents . . . 
Something must have 
happened to her 
parents." p. 93 

Toronto, ON: 

Penguin Books Canada 1984 


ISBN 0-14-031737-6 


Canadian Library Association 
Book of the Year for Children 
Award, 1985 

Ruth Schwartz Children's 
Book Award, 1985 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Jerry Spinelli 

The ball, the batter, 
the pitcher all racing 
for home plate, and it 
was the batter, the 
new kid out of 
nowhere, who 
crossed the plate 
first . . . And that's 
how Jeffrey Magee 
knocked the world's 
first frogball for a 
four-bagger. And 
how he came to be 
called Maniac. " 
pp. 27-28 

New York, NY: 

Little, Brown & Company 1990 


ISBN 0-31680-906-3 


Newbery Medal, 1991 

Maniac Magee is a tall-tale style novel in which Jerry Spinelli 
tells the origins of Maniac Magee, a boy who seems to arrive 
from nowhere and quickly shakes up the town of Two Mills. 
There, Magee meets many different people, learns how to read 
from an impoverished elderly man, and befriends an African- 
American girl named Amanda Beale. He also causes a bit of 
trouble in Two Mills by intercepting a pass at a football game, 
rescuing another boy from bullies, and stepping into a little 
league baseball game and connecting with Giant John McNab's 
fastball for half a dozen home runs. Of course, this last 
episode means that McNab and his gang of Cobras are out to 
get him. 

Nobody can believe it when they realize this white-skinned 
maniac is staying with Amanda Beale's family in the heart of 
the black side of town. Spinelli's novel presents such current 
issues as civil rights, racism, and bullying with poetry, humour 
and a sense for what it means to be part of a global human 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
Conversation: A Talk with 
Jerry Spinelli, 1994 
[20 min. BPN 2075906]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Norton Juster 

The Phantom Tollbooth is a clever fantasy about a young 
boy named Milo, who thinks that life is very boring and 
everything is a waste of time until one day a gigantic package 
arrives in his bedroom. Milo discovers that the package 
contains a tollbooth, and once he assembles it and climbs 
into the small electric car, he finds himself on the road to an 
adventure of mind-boggling proportions. Milo and the reader 
journey to a fantastical world of hilarious puns and double- 

While motoring Beyond Expectations, Milo is rescued from 
the Doldrums by Tock, a watchdog with a gigantic clock for a 
body. Tock becomes his guide as they travel to Dictionopolis, 
a city of letters and words. In the word market, they are 
befriended by the Spelling Bee, who flies about trying to 
dazzle everyone with his spelling proficiency, and the 
Humbug, a blowhard beetle in dapper dress. This journey 
continues until Milo and Tock set off toward the Mountains of 
Ignorance to rescue the twin princesses, Rhyme and Reason. 

Although the tone and language of the novel are witty and 
light, underpinning the story are themes of surviving, making 
choices, dealing with unpredictable circumstances and 
learning the importance of personal goals. 

"'Now would you like 
a long or a short 
sentence?' 'A short 
one, if you please,' 
said Milo. 'Good, ' 
said the judge, 
rapping his gavel 
three times. '1 
always have trouble 
remembering the long 
ones. How about I 
am? That's the 
shortest sentence I 
know.' Everyone 
agreed that it was a 
fair sentence, and the 
judge continued: 
There will also be a 
small additional 
penalty of six million 
years in prison. Case 
closed.'" p. 63 

New York, NY: 
Random House Children's 
Books 2001 
[original 1961] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-394-82037-1 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Janet Lunn 


"After a while her 
senses began to 
settle, and as they 
did the world became 
real to her as it had 
never seemed real 
before. Colors were 
brighter. Smells were 
stronger. Sounds 
were sharper. She 
looked around. She 
was sitting in the 
Chambers Street 
railroad depot in New 
York City in August, 
1865." p. 209 

Toronto, ON: 

Random House of Canada 

Limited 2001 

[original 1981] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-14038-036-1 


Canadian Library Association 
Book of the Year for Children 
Award, 1982 

The Root Cellar is a time-slip fantasy novel about a girl 
named Rose, who enters an abandoned root cellar and finds 
herself transported back to 1862. When her grandmother dies 
suddenly, Rose goes to live with her aunt and uncle and their 
four children in the family's old Ontario farmhouse. Rose 
discovers that a resident ghost who warns her that she 'shifts' 
from the past to the present haunts the house. Indeed, Rose 
herself is soon transported back to a time when the Civil War 
was raging in the United States. Before she finds her way 
back to the present, Susan and Will befriend Rose. 

After her first adventure, time in the present seems tortuously 
slow to Rose. In contrast, her trips into the past hurtle by with 
drama and excitement. Her friendship with Susan and Will 
bring Rose face-to-face with the realities of the Civil War. 
Lunn invites young readers to consider poverty and slavery. 
Lunn also presents the political relationship of the United 
States and Canada after the Civil War as well as various 
aspects of Canada's geography in the present and past. 

As Rose struggles with being an orphan, grapples with her 
dual realities and eventually discovers the joy of remaining in 
the present, readers will begin to think about how this 
character adapts to a new family, makes difficult choices and 
copes with being thrust into harsh life situations beyond her 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Kenneth Oppel 

Silverwing is Toronto writer Kenneth Oppel's first novel in an 
animal fantasy series that has quickly gained wide popularity. 
The main character, Shade, is a young silver wing bat. What 
Shade lacks in size and power, he makes up for in curiosity and 
courageousness. In fact, it is his curiosity that spurs him to 
watch the sunrise, breaking the ancient taboo that all bats are 
strictly nocturnal. With this breach, enemy owls declare war 
and attack the bats' nursery tree with burning sticks of wood. 

Escaping from the fire, Shade joins the colony as it begins its 
migration, but he is separated from the group by a fierce 
storm. Blown out to sea, he finds sanctuary on an island and 
is befriended by Marina, a bright wing bat who has been 
banded by humans. Once they get back to the mainland, 
Shade and Marina encounter a couple of rogue vampire bats, 
Goth and Throbb, who offer to protect them from warring 
pigeons and owls. As they try to catch up with the colony, 
Shade and Marina must deal with predator attacks, harsh 
environmental conditions and a growing threat from the 
vampire bats. 

While offering an engaging fantasy storyline, Oppel also 
provides readers with a wealth of information about bats, 
including their eating habitats and migratory patterns. The 
book is also woven through with rich themes of betrayal, 
friendship and bravery that readers can interact with on many 
levels depending on their maturity. 

"He was in the sun. 
In the light of day. 
No bat had been here 
for millions of years. 
He could feel the heat 
of it on his wings, the 
fur on his back, and 
even in the cold 
winter day, it sail felt 
glorious. It felt like 
victory. " p. 250 

Toronto, ON: 
HarperCollins 1997 


ISBN 0-00-648179-5 


Mr. Christie's Book Award, 

Canadian Library Association 

Book of the Year 

for Children Award, 1998 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Pat Cummings 

"Ifeel very fortunate 
to be able to illustrate 
children's books and 
be at home with my 
family. It is as if 
every day is a rainy 
day from my 
childhood and I am 
allowed to stay 
inside and color in 
my own imaginary 
world. " 
p. 29, Jane Dyer 

New York, NY: 

Houghton Mifflin 

Company, Clarion Books, 1999 

hardcover picture book 

ISBN 0-395-89132-9 

Talking with Artists provides biographical sketches of 
thirteen different artists that include practical advice for art 
enthusiasts of all ages. Encouraging quotes and words of 
wisdom are designed to inspire readers, and a consistent 
theme throughout the narratives is to be bold and take risks 
because mistakes are a necessary, integral part of the creative 

The text includes well-known samples of each artist's work, to 
give students a better appreciation for the artists' explanations 
of their professional growth. Cummings also includes 
childhood drawings by each artist that cleverly bring a sense of 
innocence and humanity to these accomplished professionals. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Natalie Babbitt 

Tuck Everlasting tells the story of the Tuck family, who have 
unwittingly drunk from a fountain of youth to find that 
immortality is a charm with a dark side. The Tucks were 
shunned by their neighbourhood amid talk of witchcraft, and 
his wife and family abandoned Miles Tuck when he stayed 
young while they grew older. Eventually, the youthful Tucks 
were forced into hiding. 

Winnie Foster becomes an unsuspecting victim of this mess 
when she witnesses a handsome teen drinking from a spring 
and insists that she too needs a drink. When he refuses her, 
she finds herself being kidnapped by other members of this 
strange clan. The Tucks are forced to tell Winnie their secret 
and now she is faced with a terrible dilemma. 

Teachers will need to address the representation of a murder 
as warranted within the circumstances of this fantasy and the 
underlying issues of the sanctity of human life. Students will 
be encouraged to think about natural rhythm of life, and death 
and the desire of mankind to control it. 

This novel has support 
videos available through 
ACCESS: All about the 
Book: A Kid's Video Guide 
to "Tuck Everlasting, " 
2002 [21 min. BPN 
2076106] and Good 
Conversation: A Talk with 
Natalie Babbitt, 1995 
[21 min. BPN 2075914]. 

"You can't have living 
without dying. So 
you can't call it living, 
what we got. We just 
are, we just be, like 
rocks beside the 
road. " p. 64 

Toronto, ON: 

Douglas & Mclntyre 1975 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-374-48009-5 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



John Christopher 

"Oxymandias had 
spoken of men 
working in mines 
underground to get 
metals for the 
Tripods, of the 
Tripods hunting men, 
of human beings 
serving them in their 
cities. But even if 
those things were 
true, they must 
happen far away. 
None of it touched 
this secure and 
pleasant life." p. 134 

New York, NY: Simon & 
Schuster Children's Publishing 
Division 1999 
[original 1967] 

paperback reissue 

ISBN 0-02-042711-5 

The White Mountains is a science fiction novel set in a 
ruined world of the future where giant creatures called Tripods 
use a ritualized "capping" ceremony to rob adults of their free 
will. When the main character, Will Parker, realizes that the 
time for his capping is quickly approaching, he decides to run 
away with the help of a mysterious outsider. Will is joined by 
his cousin Henry, and later by another adolescent, Jean Paul, 
whom they quickly dub "Beanpole." 

As the three try to reach The White Mountains, where it is 
rumoured that people are free from the Tripods, they explore 
the ruins of a gigantic metropolis, and eventually find 
themselves in strange, but beautiful chateau with knights and 
ladies. Even here, though, the Tripods rule and capping 
ceremonies occur twice a year. The three teens decide to slip 
away during the excitement of the next ceremony, but Will 
faces a difficult decision when he falls in love with the beautiful 
young Eloise, Queen of the Tournament. 

The book's themes of freedom, friendship and personal growth 
offer opportunities for rich classroom discussion. The 
potentially stereotypical and racially discriminatory language 
used is intended to reflect the time period represented in the 
novel; teachers will need to make students aware of this fact 
and discuss the social and political culture of the early 1900s. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 6 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


^ — I Grade 7 I — -7- 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 

"j AV/* 



Annette Curtis Klause 

"He took the 
chocolate gingerly 
and carefully placed 
it into his mouth. His 
eyes grew big, and 
his narrow lips 
pinched together. 
Oh, God. I've killed 
him, Puck thought. 
But his eyes closed, 
and his purple tongue 
snaked out to lick his 
lips. His throat 
gluggedfast in 
pleasure. 'A taste 
wonderful, ' he said. 
'My thanks. ' He likes 
chocolate, Puck 
thought triumphantly. 
He's a real person." 
p. 47 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Doubleday Dell Books for 
Young Readers, Yearling, 1995 
[original 1993] 

ISBN 0-440-41061-4 

Alien Secrets opens with feisty, thirteen-year-old Robin 
Goodfellow (nicknamed Puck) witnessing a fight on the 
evening before she boards the Cat's Cradle, a spaceship bound 
for the planet Aurora where her parents work. On board, an 
alien passenger, Hush, appears upset and later tells Puck that 
the sacred statue he's been carrying back to his home planet 
has been stolen. Hush also tells her that, ironically, their 
spaceship was once a Grakk slaveship that carried his 
forefathers to a terrible destiny. In fact, more than one 
passenger has heard the eerie cries of slave spirits on the Cat's 

The story of Hush and his race is very much a parable of what 
happened to enslaved people throughout Earth's history. 
However, the story is suspenseful and written at an average to 
below-average reading level. In the tradition of science fiction 
mystery, every chapter ends with a cliff hanger and there are 
a variety of suspicious characters: Michael, a young 
hyperspace navigator intern; Cubuk, the steely-eyed man from 
the fight; and Ms. Dante and Ms. Florette, two fussy ladies 
who make disparaging remarks about aliens. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Theodore Taylor 

The Cay is set in 1942, when Americans were becoming 
nervous over the possibilities of German attacks. After a British 
tanker burns and sinks within sight of Willemstad, the Enrights 
decide that eleven-year-old Phillip and his mother should book 
passage on a small freighter heading to Florida. When the ship 
is torpedoed, Phillip is flung into the water and soon discovers 
that he is blind. Only Timothy, an elderly negro deckhand, and 
the ship's cat also survive. They drift for three days before 
spotting a small cay. Timothy begins a regimen to help Phillip 
become self-sufficient. At first Phillip rails against being 
ordered around, but, after Timothy nurses him through 
malaria, Phillip realizes his love for his protector. When the 
island is hit by a hurricane, Timothy even protects the boy's 
body with his own by lashing them to a palm tree. When 
Timothy dies, Phillip must face the challenge of surviving on 
the cay alone. Phillip finally regains his sight, but realizes he 
has really learned how to see and what to see from Timothy. 

777e Cay is an engaging survival tale that draws on 
Theodore Taylor's experience with the merchant marine during 
World War II. It is also the story of a boy's learning important 
truths about living with a disability, caring for others and 
overcoming racial prejudice. Timothy emerges as the hero of 
the novel, a figure of great compassion, humility and dignity. 

This novel has a 

support video available 

through ACCESS: Good 

Conversation: A Talk 

with Theodore Taylor, 


[21 min. BPN 2075918]. 

happened to me that 
day on the cay. I'm 
not quite sure what it 
was even now, but I 
had begun to change. 
I said to Timothy, I 
want to be your 
friend. ' He said 
softly, 'Young bahss, 
you 'ave always been 
my friend.' I said, 
'Can you call me 
Phillip instead of 
young boss?' 'Phill- 
eep, ' he said 
warmly." p. 72 

New York, NY: Random 
House Children's Book, 
Dell Yearling, 2002 
[original 1969] 

ISBN 0-440-41663-9 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Sharon E. McKay 

"'... J am fourteen, 
only a Jew years 
younger than these 
soldiers. And I am a 
Newfoundlander, too, 
and you said yourself 
that I've done good 
work so Jar, and, 
well, going home 
seems-cowardly. ' 
There, he said it. He 
was not a coward, 
and if God himself 
had seen Jit to drop 
him in this spot, well, 
made sense that he 
was to do his bit right 
alongside everyone 
else." p. 145 

Toronto, ON: Penguin Group, 
Penguin Canada, 2003 

ISBN 0-14-301470-6 

Charlie Wilcox is a blend of fact and fiction that chronicles 
the adventures of a Newfoundland boy who is inadvertently 
put to sea with soldiers heading for the front during World 
War I. After a successful operation to repair his club foot, 
fourteen-year-old Charlie is certain he'll be able to go with his 
dad to hunt seals, but his mother is determined that he'll go to 
St. John's and complete his high school. Once in the city, 
Charlie decides to run away and join a sealing vessel. He 
finagles his way onto a ship and stows away inside a crate, 
only to discover later that the back-home bully has made him 
the butt of a cruel joke— Charlie is on a troop ship headed for 

From England, Charlie decides to cross to France and serve as 
a Red Cross volunteer with the Canadian hospital at Etaples. 
There, the blood, mire and horror of trench warfare are 
conveyed through Charlie's fourteen-year-old eyes. As Charlie 
takes on increasing responsibility, he demonstrates the book's 
themes of courage, perseverance, personal growth and the 
acceptance of differences. 

Ontario writer Sharon E. McKay, the great-niece of Charlie 
Wilcox, captures a feel of the historical period as well as the 
flavour of Newfoundland's customs and speech. The novel is 
written at an average reading level and a glossary is included. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Marilyn Halvorson 


Cowboys Don't Cry is set in a small rural community in the 
southern Alberta foothills in the 1970s. Shane Morgan, a 
bright fourteen-year-old, and his father, Josh Morgan, return to 
the farm left to Shane by his grandfather. Shane is thrilled to 
finally have a place to call home where he and his dad can 
keep their horses. In the four years between his mother's 
death and the inheritance of the farm, Shane has watched his 
father, once a bull-riding champion on the rodeo circuit, sink 
into depression, despair and alcoholism. When Shane gets 
home from a rough day at his new school and discovers his 
Dad has gone into Cochrane with an old buddy, likely to drink, 
he carelessly lets the horses out to graze. When the golden 
palomino that belonged to his mother becomes hung up on a 
barbed wire fence, Casey, a neighbour girl, and her mother, 
the town veterinarian, help rescue the horse. 

While there are some predictable elements to the story, 
Halvorson uses a richly-detailed rural backdrop to show 
Shane's resiliency as he struggles to fit into a new community 
while dealing with his father's grief and alcoholism. Teachers 
will require time to discuss the issues of family dysfunction and 

"J started to say, 
'What do you mean, 
too late? You can 
still be a champ, ' but 
I didn't say it. 
Because, for once in 
his life, Dad was 
seeing things like 
they really were. He 
was 36 years old, he 
had a kid to be 
responsible for, a 
ranch he couldn't 
leave, a drinking 
problem he couldn't 
drown, and a 
memory he couldn't 
bury. He was right. 
It was too late. " p. 69 

Toronto, ON: Stoddart Kids, 


[original 1987] 

ISBN 0-7736-7429-2 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Barbara Smucker 


"He hit harder and 
harder at the leafless 
tree until floods of 
bitterness surged 
inside him and 
seemed to rush 
through his swinging 
arms into the splitting 
woods. He hated the 
men who pounded at 
their door night after 
night. Why must 
they curse and steal 
from his family? 
Why must they point 
their loaded guns at 
Mother and Aunt 
Lizzie? Why must 
they destroy the 
beautiful village of 
Tiegen?" p. 95 

Toronto, ON: Penguin Group, 
Puffin Canada, 1981 
[original 1979] 

ISBN 0-14-031306-0 


Ruth Schwartz Children's Book 
Award, 1980 

Canada Council Children's 
Literature Prize, 1979 

Days of Terror portrays the plight of a Mennonite German 
family living in southern Ukraine during the World War I and 
the Russian Revolution. Although all Mennonites are pacifists, 
young Mennonite men were drafted as hospital workers or put 
into labour camps. When the army disintegrates with the 
outbreak of revolution in 1917, Otto Neufeld, a Red Cross 
worker, returns home. Ten-year-old Peter is thrilled about his 
brother's return, but a restless Otto soon leaves to make his 
own way in the world. He returns at Christmas with news of 
the intensifying civil war. Throughout the following year, 
invading soldiers and marauders burn much of the village, 
leaving the survivors stricken with typhus. Mennonite 
communities in North America rally to send food and 
encourage friends and family to leave Russia and emigrate to 
the new world. It is what the Neufelds decide to do, enduring 
a long journey to Winnipeg. 

Peter, a gentle, artistic and caring youth, is presented in sharp 
contrast to his cruel and hostile surroundings. Smucker draws 
from her own Mennonite background in this riveting reminder 
of fragility in an uncertain world and the strength of a family's 
bonds. Providing students with an historical and political 
context of the former U.S.S.R. from 1914 to 1924 will prepare 
them for the harsh reality of war the book portrays. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Gary Paulsen 

Guts is Gary Paulsen's autobiographical response to his 
readers' frequent questions about his life and his inspiration for 
his novels. The book is a short, easy and a compelling read, 
and a valuable nonfiction companion to the author's Brian 
Robeson series. Paulsen writes about his early determination 
to create bows and arrows from scratch, details the skills a 
person can develop to keep from starving in the wilds, and 
describes how hordes of insects can drive animals and men 
insane in northern woods. 

Graphic descriptions of hunting may be offensive to some 
readers. He also reviews his own experiences with heart- 
attack victims, plane crashes and a number of other high- 
drama incidents that contributed to Hatchet, included in the 
ELA 10-2 list, and its sequels. 

"Years later, when I 
came to write Hatchet 
and the scene where 
the pilot is dying, I 
remembered this man 
of all the men I saw 
dead from heart 
attacks and car 
wrecks and farm 
accidents. I 
remembered him and 
his eyes and I put 
him in the plane next 
to Brian because he 
was, above all 
things, real, and I 
wanted the book to 
be real. " p. 6 

New York, NY: Random 
House Children's Books, 
Dell Laurel-Leaf, 2002 
[original 2001] 

ISBN 0-440-40712-5 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



J.R.R. Tolkien 

"Out jumped the 
goblins, big goblins, 
great ugly-looking 
goblins, lots of 
goblins, before you 
could say rock and 
blocks. There were 
six to each dwarf, at 
least, and two even 
for Bilbo; and they 
were all grabbed and 
carried through the 
crack, before you 
could say tinder and 
flint. But not 
Gandalf." p. 57 

London, England: 
HarperCollins Publishers, 1999 
[original 1937] 
310 pages 

ISBN: 0-261-10221^ 

The Hobbit is a prelude to the popular Lord of the Rings 
trilogy. It is a fantasy saga set in the land of Middle Earth. 
Bilbo Baggins is a Shire Hobbit— a peace-loving creature who 
lives a life free of adventure. Gandalf the Wizard whisks him 
off for a series of adventures with a group of dwarves to seek 
a pot of gold that was stolen from their ancestors by Smaug 
the dragon. Along the way, the group encounters giant 
spiders, unfriendly elves and a creature named Gollum from 
whom Bilbo wins a magic ring in a riddle contest. 

Many elements of 7776 Hobbit are familiar archetypes: a quest 
must be undertaken, there is a mentor, good battles evil, the 
protagonist must find strength and courage within, and finally 
a significant character change occurs. Tolkien uses allusions 
and borrowings from ancient Norse legends. Many students 
will enjoy Tolkien's original vocabulary as they escape into his 
entertaining world. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Anne Holm 

I Am David follows a twelve-year-old Jewish boy fleeing from 
a concentration camp during the Holocaust to find safety in 
Denmark. David is bewildered and suspicious when a guard he 
has always despised arranges for his escape from the 
concentration camp, but he is willing to take the risk and follow 
the guard's plan of travelling to Salonica where he can work his 
way northward to Denmark. David finds his way to Salonica 
and stows away on a ship headed for Italy. When he is 
discovered, David experiences the first of many kind acts from 
strangers. Later, when David rescues a young girl named 
Maria from a burning shed, the grateful family takes him in. 
However, after a few weeks, David realizes Maria's mother is 
nervous about their mysterious houseguest and he leaves, 
continuing the long route to Denmark. 

/ Am David is a testimony to claiming one's identity and 
individuality. The novel shows the plight of countless children 
after World War II and the random relocation of shattered 
families, while emphasizing the value of courage, resilience and 
trust. Throughout David's profoundly moving journey to find 
his roots in Denmark during the 1950s, the reader shares his 
experiences as he discovers a world that is dramatically 
different from the only world he has ever known— the dull, 
colourless, mean existence of the camp. 

"David breathed 
deeply, hardly 
noticing the cold bite 
in the air. He was 
David. He was free 
and strong. He was 
on the move again, 
but this time he knew 
where he was 
making for. There 
might be many 
difficulties ahead 
before he reached his 
goal, but difficulties 
could be overcome ... 
The long winter had 
passed, and he was 
going down to meet 
the spring. " p. 1 67 

London, England: Egmont 
Children's Books Limited, 
Mammoth, 2000 
[original 1965] 

ISBN 0-7497-0136-6 


Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, 

An American Library 
Association Notable Book, 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Martyn Godfrey 

"Despite an outcry 
from the public, naval 
officials believed the 
Inuit stories and 
declared that all 
people on Sir John's 
voyage were dead. 
For me it is proof of 
nothing. The 
questions have yet to 
be answered. I have 
not given up hope 
that my uncle is still 
alive. That is why I 
am here, frozen in a 
foreign sea" p. 13 

Toronto, ON: James Lorimer & 
Company, Publishers, 1988 

ISBN 1-55028-137-2 

Mystery in the Frozen Lands is a historical novel that 
recounts the disaster of the Franklin Expedition through the 
journal of Peter Griffin, a fictional teenage cabin boy and 
nephew of Franklin, who has joined a mission to discover the 
fate of the lost expedition. In Peter's first entry, dated 
November 10, 1858, The Fox \s locked in ice and the suicide of 
one of the crew is fresh in Peter's mind. Through the following 
months, he writes of the cramped quarters, the monotonous 
routine of ship life, and his friendship with Anton, a young 
Inuit from Greenland, whose job it is to care for the dogs. 

In February, Peter is allowed to join Captain McClintock's 
expedition by sledge along the Boothia Peninsula, where they 
meet Aboriginal hunters with items that could likely have come 
from Franklin's men. In April, Peter joins another expedition 
exploring the west coast of King William Island. Eventually 
they find evidence of the Franklin Expedition including a large 
wooden boat with a sledge beneath it and two skeletons 

The author was inspired to write Mystery in the Frozen Lands 
when he read about the discovery of the graves from the 
Franklin Expedition on Beechey Island and the likelihood of 
lead poisoning contributing to mental disorders among the 
officers. Although an easy read, this is not a typical 
Martyn Godfrey novel. The story deals with themes of cultural 
difference and human reactions during crises. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Dianne Linden 


Peacekeepers is about the challenges of thirteen-year-old 
Nellie Letitia Hopkins. Nell's mother, Alice, is a reservist in the 
Canadian Armed Forces on a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. 
Nell and her brother Mikey have moved in with their bachelor 
uncle who means well but is eccentric and doesn't know much 
about kids. Nell resents her mother leaving and worries that 
she will be killed in a land mine explosion so she refuses to 
answer any of the e-mails her mother sends her. 

When both Nell and Mikey are forced to attend new schools, 
Mikey does all right but Nell becomes the target of increasingly 
vicious bullying. She knows she should speak up, but instead 
takes on the attitude of a victim, becoming withdrawn, refusing 
help from school staff and administration, and obsessing that 
the dangers she feels make her life similar to her mother's in 
Bosnia. Sam Hashi, the one friend that Nell makes, tries to 
support her as much as he is able and Nell opens up a little. 
Just when life seems to be improving, she is assaulted on her 
way home from school. In the end, Nell must dig deep within 
herself and accept all the help that is offered in order to turn 
her life around. Teachers will need to take time to discuss the 
issue of bullying with students. 

"After Mr. Melnyk 
moved on, Shane 
gave me the rogue 
animal look again. 
'You'd better be 
careful. Smelly, ' he 
said, 'I can make 
your life miserable. ' 
'I don't think so,' I 
said back, which 
goes to show what I 
know about 
anything." p. 5 

Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 

ISBN 1-55050-271-9 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Michael Dorris 

Then, from her sack 
she brought out a 
tightly woven sash, 
placed it over my 
eyes, and tied it with 
a length of grapevine. 
'What are you 
doing?' I wanted to 
know. 'Shhh, ' she 
said. 'Describe this 
place to me. ' 'But 
I've never been here 
before and I can't 
see. ' 'Shhh, ' she 
said again. 'Look 
with your ears. '"p. 5 

New York, NY: Hyperion 
Paperbacks, 1999 
[original 1996] 

ISBN 0-7868-1357-1 

Sees Behind Trees, set in North America's eastern 
woodlands in the 16th century, follows the journey of an 
Aboriginal boy who compensates for his poor eyesight by using 
his other senses to "see" things around him in a way that no 
one else in his village can. Walnut is frustrated that his poor 
eyesight makes hunting difficult, and afraid that he may never 
earn his adult name, until the expert on hunting arranges for a 
special trial, explaining that the village needs "someone with 
the ability to see what can't be seen." Walnut is able to 
identify the approach of a man with a limp so far away that 
none of the other contestants comes close to seeing him. The 
weroance pronounces Walnut's adult name: Sees Behind 

The man with the limp is Gray Fire, an old man who wants to 
make a trek back to a place of incredible beauty where a past 
mishap resulted in his limp. He asks Sees Behind Trees to use 
his special abilities to help him in his quest. The journey is 
filled with adversity, spirituality and self-discovery, and 
ultimately presents Sees Behind Trees with the sorrow of 
losing a friend and the joy of saving a child. The book 
presents an appreciation of the historical context and 
demonstrates cultural diversity in a very accessible read. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


David Almond 

Skellig \s a strange and wonderful story about a boy who finds 
a mysterious, sarcastic birdlike man living under a pile of 
cobwebs in the garage of his family's dilapidated new house. 
With his parents preoccupied with his chronically sick baby 
sister, Michael is often on his own and is drawn to the decrepit 
garage. It is packed with ancient furniture, rolled up carpets, 
pipes, spiders, bluebottle flies, and a man who looks like he 
might be dead— but isn't. In the days following his discovery, 
Michael begins tending the man, who he learns is named 
Skellig. He finally shares his secret with Mina, the quirky, 
strong-willed girl next door, and the two of them make a plan 
to try to help Skellig. 

Skellig combines themes of change, faith and friendship with 
frequent references to William Blake, science and art. The 
startling introduction sets the novel's haunting and 
atmosphere. True to the voice of the young narrator, the 
prose is spare: brief sentences, dialogue exchanges with little 
elaboration, details that would catch the eye of a boy. Put it all 
together and it evolves into a rich, high interest story with 
many levels to study. 

"She unfastened the 
buttons of his jacket. 
She began to pull his 
jacket down over his 
shoulders. 'No,' he 
squeaked. Trust 
me, ' she whispered. 
He didn't move. She 
slid the sleeves down 
over his arms, took 
the jacket right off 
him. We saw what 
both of us had 
dreamed we might 
see. Beneath his 
jacket were wings 
that grew out through 
rips in his shirt. " 
p. 94 

New York, NY: Random 
House Children's Books, Dell 
Laurel-Leaf, 2001 
[original 1998] 

ISBN 0-440-22908-1 


New York Times Best Book of 
the Year, 1999 

School Library Journal Best 
Books of the Year, 1999 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Paula Fox 

"I played on against 
the wind, the 
movement of the 
whip and my own 
self-disgust, and 
finally the slaves 
began to lift their 
feet, the chains 
attached to the 
shackles around their 
ankles forming an 
iron dirge, below the 
trills of my tune. " 
pp. 69-70 

New York, NY: Random House 
Children's Books, Dell Laurel- 
Leaf, 1975 
[original 1973] 

ISBN 0-440-96132-7 

The Slave Dancer \s the Newbery Medal award-winning story 
of thirteen-year-old Jessie Bollier who plays his fife at the 
great market on the levee in New Orleans to supplement his 
widowed mother's dress sewing business. One night Jessie is 
kidnapped and forced aboard 777e Moonlight, a slave ship en 
route to Africa. Jessie discovers it will be his job to play his 
fife when the captives are brought on deck to exercise. During 
the voyage to Africa, Jessie witnesses the cruelty of the ship's 
corrupt Captain Cawthome, but nothing can prepare him for 
the horror of loading black men, women and children into 
777e Moonlights cramped hold. 

Their return journey is plagued with disease and bad weather. 
Jessie's disgust at the slaves' living conditions is coupled by 
the growing realization that he is an unwitting accomplice to 
this atrocity. When a fierce storm hits off the coast of Cuba 
and the ship goes down, Jessie finds himself and a black boy 
about his age the sole survivors. 

The story of The Slave Dancer is almost unbearable at times, 
but demands to be told. The difficult content is softened 
somewhat by Paula Fox's challenging, lyrical prose and by the 
sifting of the story through Jessie's young eyes. Providing an 
historical context is one way to prepare students for the 
racism, graphic violence and offensive language (i.e., "nigger") 
that Jessie witnesses. 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
Conversation: A Talk with 
Paula Fox, 1995 
[25 min. BPN 2075915]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


William Armstrong 

Sounder is an engrossing and often heartbreaking tale of a 
black family's courage and endurance during the early years of 
the twentieth century in the southern United States. When a 
sharecropper, driven to desperation by hunger and poverty, 
steals a ham that he feels he has rightfully earned, the county 
sheriff tracks him down. As the sharecropper is taken away in 
a wagon, the family dog, Sounder, chases after the wagon and 
is shot by one of the deputies. The wounded animal 
disappears into the night, adding to the devastation of the 
family. Weeks later, it seems a small miracle when Sounder 
shows up on the shanty porch, emaciated and injured. 

In the following months that turn into years, the boy travels in 
search of his father who has been sentenced to hard labour. 
The boy must find him somewhere among the prison farms 
and stone quarries. 

Except for Sounder, Armstrong does not name any of the 
characters in this novel. By referring simply to "the man," 'the 
boy," "his mother" and "the younger children," Armstrong 
moves the story from being the plight of one individual family 
to the tale of an entire people. Stronger readers will find this a 
rewarding novel. 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
ACCESS: Sounder 
(feature film) 
[90 min. BPN 2079201]. 

"His mother fed him 
and said, 'Child, 
child ... Some people 
is born to keep. 
Some is born to lose. 
We was bom to lose, 
I reckon. But 
Sounder might come 
back.' But weeks 
went by, and 
Sounder did not come 
back." p. 52 

New York, NY: 
HarperTrophy, 1972 
[original 1969] 

ISBN 0-06^40020-4 


Newbery Award Winner, 1970 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Glen Huser 

"... Cosmo wipes his 
finger through the 
white of his cheek 
and uses the 
greasepaint to make 
a mark on Nathan's 
cheek. He does it to 
each of us in turn ... 
The touch of the 
clown, ' Cosmo says 
in a voice so soft it is 
almost a whisper. 
'We pass it on from 
one to another. It 
was given to me by 
my clown-master. A 
little smudge of 
Clown White. It 
enters our pores and 
we are changed 
forever ...'" p. 123 

Toronto, ON: Groundwood 
Books, 1999 

ISBN 0-88899-357-9 

Touch of the Clown is a sensitively written novel about a 
neglected thirteen-year-old, Barbara Stanwyck Kobleimer, who 
finds support and friendship from Cosmo Farber, a clown 
instructor living with AIDS. Since her mother's death, 
Barbara's father and grandmother drink the days away in front 
of the television, while Barbara looks after Liwy, her 
demanding little sister. One summer day, Liwy chases a ball 
onto a busy street and is struck by a man riding a bicycle. 
Right from the start, Barbara realizes this man in multicoloured 
clothes is someone extraordinary. Once they get Liwy off the 
street and onto the boulevard, Cosmo pulls some balls out of 
his backpack and adds Liwy's ball to them in a juggling act. 

When Cosmo realizes Barbara's situation, he urges her to 
register in an upcoming clown workshop while Liwy attends an 
art class nearby. Barbara forges her father's name on the 
application form and sneaks out of the house to attend. 
There, Cosmo helps Barbara develop a belief in her own 
creativity and talent and an awareness of people who can love 
and help her. Although Cosmo ultimately passes away, he 
leaves Barbara with the confidence she needs to seek help. 
Teachers will require time to discuss the issues of family 
dysfunction, alcoholism, AIDS and death. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Gloria Skurzynski 

Virtual War is set in 2080, on the brink of a "virtual" war to 
be fought through simulations. World federations will battle for 
twenty volcanic islands in the south seas that were once 
contaminated, as most of the earth was, but now, finally, are 
cleansed. Fourteen-year-old Corgan has led a privileged 
existence in the company of virtual beings in return for his 
willingness to train for the war. With the war only a few days 
away, Supreme Council introduces Sharla, a female 
"cryptanalyst" with an uncanny ability to break code, and a 
mutant boy, Brig, a genius at strategy. At night, Sharla 
manages to sneak her teammates out of the compound for a 
look at the world outside. These glimpses convince Corgan 
that they should bargain for their release and relocation to the 
Islands of Hiva if they win the war. Eventually, Corgan makes 
difficult decisions based on the inner strength and spirit 
nurtured by the love and friendship of his fellow warriors. 

As Lois Lowry does in The Giver, Skurzynski offers a new world 
where individuality and humanity are sacrificed for a smoothly 
running society. As Corgan finds out, virtual war has all of the 
horrific dimensions of the wars that have plagued human 
history, minus the bloodshed and pain. Other issues explored 
in the novel include isolation and desensitization. 

"Corgan felt his 
stomach heave as the 
battleground grew 
sticky with blood. He 
swallowed hard and 
focused on his 
soldiers, forgetting 
that they were only 
virtual images no 
bigger than the 
height of his hand. 
He smelled ozone 
and smoke and 
chemicals — 'Gas 
attack!' Brig 
screamed. 'Get them 
out of there, 
Corgan!'" p. 116 

New York, NY: Simon & 
Schuster Children's Publishing 
Division, Simon Pulse, 1999 
[original 1997] 

ISBN 0-689-82425-4 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Margaret Buffie 


"She grew clearer 
and clearer, almost 
like a Polaroid picture 
developing ... 'She's 
turning ... going back 
into the cabin. Wait. 
Now she's back with 
a pair of binoculars. 
It must be Frances 
Rain. It has to be. 
Omigod! What am I 
seeing? I'm seeing a 
ghost. I don't believe 
itr pp. 100-101 

Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press 
Ltd., 1987 

ISBN 0-919964-83-4 


Canadian Library Association 
Young Adult Canadian Book 
Award, 1987 

Combining ghost story and time-shift fantasy, Who Is 
Frances Rain? dramatizes the connections between the past 
and the present. Lizzie and her two siblings have always spent 
summer holidays at grandmother's cabin on Lake Winnipeg. 
The only difference this summer, when Lizzie is fifteen, is that 
her mother and new husband are joining them. Life has 
turned into a perpetual argument. For solitude, Lizzie explores 
Rain Island, where she stumbles across the crumbling remains 
of a small cabin and a pair of unbroken wire-rimmed 
spectacles. When Lizzie puts the glasses on, the world shifts 
and she realizes she is seeing Rain Island in the past, when 
the cabin still stood there. In recurring visits, she sees a stark, 
solitary woman and a girl who is wearing the spectacles. In 
the days that follow, Lizzie finds out everything she can about 
the mysterious Frances Rain, who chose to live— and die— by 
herself on the island. Like the pieces of Gram's jigsaw puzzle 
everyone works on, Lizzie begins to see that the mystery of 
Frances Rain connects to her own family. Lizzie's narrative 
voice is funny, self-reflective and heartfelt as it reveals a 
teenage girl's growing awareness of herself as an integral part 
of her family and a link between generations. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Barbara Demers 


Willa's New World begins in London, 1795, with recently- 
orphaned 15-year-old Willa Thompson boarding a merchant 
ship going to a Hudson's Bay post in the New World. Willa 
endures the cramped, difficult journey and makes her way to 
York Factory. 

There, Master George, the chief factor, who becomes her 
protector, gives her a job as a clerk. Amelia, an Aboriginal 
cook, befriends Willa and tells her about the customs and 
beliefs of her people. With the support of these two, Willa 
finally begins to adapt to her new life, but when Willa declines 
a marriage proposal from George, he "transfers" her to Fort 
Edmonton House. Amelia's brother, cousin and mother escort 
her there. During this long and difficult journey, she suffers a 
vicious attack by one of the townspeople, but ultimately begins 
to appreciate the beauty of the new world and its people. 

"Visions of parties 
past replayed in my 
head. Drunken 
brawls, blood, 
emergencies, shouts, 
and gunshots. Often 
impromptu, spilling 
out from the kitchen 
to the hall to outside. 
For some, Amelia 
said, the entire visit 
to the fort was a 
party — a reprieve 
from the arduous 
work trapping and 
hauling furs, 
traversing the land 
and water — a 
reprieve from the 
hazards of winter. " 
p. 167 

Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 

ISBN 1-55050-150-X 


R. Ross Annette Award for 
Children's Literature, 2000 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Iain Lawrence 

"Her voice dropped, 
and she shivered. 
The law said that 
anything that came 
from a wreck was 
free for salvage. But 
for it to be a wreck, 
no one could 
survive ... So it was 
the law, John, that 
made the devil's 
work of wrecking. ' 
'Because, ' I said, 
'they killed the 
people who got to 
shore. ' Yes. It came 
to that. ' She sat 
again, close beside 
me. 'But it got worse. 
It got much worse. '" 
p. 48 

New York, NY: Random House 
Children's Books, Dell Yearling, 
[original 1998] 

ISBN 0-440-41545-4 


Geoffrey Bilson Award for 
Historical Fiction for Young 
People, 1999 

The Wreckers is the first novel in Iain Lawrence's highly 
accessible High Seas Trilogy. This fast-paced, suspenseful 
story is about a village off the Cornwall coast where, the 
reader learns, people are luring ships to crash on the rocks so 
they can take their goods. The story is written from the 
perspective of 14-year-old John Spencer, who is taking his first 
ocean voyage, when the ship is lured to a dangerous part of 
the Cornwall coast and wrecked during a fierce storm. This 
casts John into the hands of the Wreckers, who would rather 
have no survivors to tell the tale of false beacons flashing 
along the cliffs. John finds safety with a family that has 
flourished from the spoils awarded through legitimate salvage 
rights, but he suspects the master of the house may be in 
league with the Wreckers. 

Each chapter of The Wreckers ends on its own narrative cliff, 
creating high interest. The plot follows the teenaged hero as 
he faces the challenges of saving another ship in distress and 
freeing his father, the ship's captain, from imprisonment. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 7 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


.*!■/■:■,.-.■ :.-'v- .■-..-.-, 

Grade 8 

^ — I oraae » I — -7 

> ^ c 1 <- 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 


Eoin Colfer 

"Artemis' s main 
problem was one of 
location — how to 
locate a leprechaun. 
This was one sly 
bunch of fairies, 
hanging around for 
God knows how 
many millennia and 
still not one photo, 
not one frame of 
video. Not even a 
Loch Ness-type hoax. 
They weren't exactly 
a sociable group. 
And they were smart, 
too. No one had ever 
got his hands on 
fairy gold. But no 
one had ever had 
access to the book 
either. And puzzles 
were so simple when 
you had the key. " 
p. 63 

New York, NY: Talk Miramax 
Books/Hyperion Paperbacks, 
[original 2001] 

ISBN 0-7868-1707-0 

Artemis Fowl combines fantasy and modern crime adventure 
into a fast-paced and humorous story. Artemis is a 
12-year-old criminal genius who obtains a copy of The Book— a 
mythical text that reveals all the secrets of The People (elves, 
fairies and dwarfs who have been forced underground by 
humans). Holly is a determined fairy creature who is the first 
female member of Commander Root's LEP (Lower Elements 
Police) recon patrol. When Holly goes to Ireland to replenish 
her magic, she encounters Artemis staking out the replenishing 
site. Despite Holly's incredible personal and technological 
resources, she becomes his hostage. Artemis demands fairy 
gold in exchange for her freedom. Commander Root and the 
LEP locate Holly at Fowl Manor on the outskirts of Dublin. 
Equipped with an arsenal of time-stops, mind-wipes, blasters, 
bio-bombs and a terrifying troll, they try to rescue her but 
Artemis is prepared and waiting for them. 

Colfer's ending may be disappointing to some readers, but the 
journey getting there is hilarious. The subterranean fairy 
world that Colfer details parallels the world above. The text is 
packed with witty dialogue, bright and not-so-bright 
characters, and action sequences that loop one cliffhanger to 
the next. While the humour and gadgetry may appeal more to 
boys, girls will enjoy the tough and gritty female fairy, Holly. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Susan Cooper 

The Dark is Rising is a high-level fantasy read that 
addresses the cosmic struggle between the forces of light and 
dark. The story begins when Will Stanton first hears a 
mysterious, ancient chant on his eleventh birthday. Though 
he has grown up in a happy, loving family, he now senses 
there are dark stirrings in the world. Even the animals are 
afraid of him, and Will sees things that no one else does, such 
as an olden-days blacksmith shop and a tall stranger who tries 
to get Will to come up onto his great black horse. Soon he 
meets Merriman, the first of the Old Ones, who tells him that 
Will, too, has the power of the Old Ones, an ancient group 
destined to battle the powers of evil that trouble the land. 
Will is assigned an enormous task: he must find and protect 
the six great Signs of the Light, which, when joined, will 
create a force strong enough to fight that of the Dark. 

In The Dark Is Rising, Cooper draws on rich sources of Celtic 
and Druidic mythology to create an epic fantasy that is 
grounded in the very real world of the child: a child's feelings 
and observations, a child's fear, wonder and surprise. This 
novel is the second in a series of five books. 

"You are the Sign- 
Seeker, Will Stanton. 
That is your destiny, 
your quest. If you 
can accomplish that, 
you will have brought 
to life one of the three 
great forces that the 
Old Ones must turn 
soon towards 
vanquishing the 
powers of the Dark, 
which are reaching 
out now steadily and 
stealthily over all this 
world ... For the 
Dark, the Dark is 
rising.'" p. 43 

New York, NY: Simon & 
Schuster Children's 
Publishing Division, Aladdin 
Paperbacks, 1999 
[original 1973] 

ISBN 0-689-82983-3 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Laurence Yep 

"Some Sundays, 
though, they would 
come to visit us and 
help fly Father's huge 
models. They were 
as thrilled at Father's 
progress as we were. 
And when we began 
to actually build the 
aeroplane, they made 
a point of coming 
down with an 
already fixed cold 
supper and helping 
us. But though they 
called it the 
aeroplane, or 
sometimes the flying 
machine, Father and 
I always thought of it 
as Dragonwings. " 
pp. 269-270 

New York, NY: HarperCollins 
Children's Books, 
HarperTrophy, 2001 
[original 1975] 

ISBN 0-06^40085-9 


Newbery Medal, 1976 

Dragonwings is built around the exploits of a fictional 
character, Windrider, and is presented through the eyes of his 
son, Moon Shadow, who comes from China to San Francisco at 
the age of eight to join his father. The America that Moon 
Shadow finds is no "Land of the Golden Mountain." 
San Francisco seems a drab and dangerous place where 
Chinese workers are ridiculed and sometimes attacked by the 
white populace. When Moon Shadow, now ten years old and 
helping with the bill collecting, is beaten and robbed, 
Windrider becomes caught up in a gang war. It is necessary 
for him to get out of Chinatown, and his skill with machinery 
and construction lands him a job as a maintenance man for a 
Polk Street landlady. Miss Whitlaw's niece befriends Moon 
Shadow and, on a beach outing, the two families are thrilled 
watching Windrider fly his amazing glider-kite. Windrider has 
been reading about the Wright brothers' experiments with 
motorized gliders, and he dreams of building one himself. The 
dreams and plans of all San Franciscans are interrupted, 
though, in April 1906, when the city experiences a devastating 

Yep's novel is a deft weaving of Chinese mythology, details of 
the Chinese immigrant experience, the famous earthquake 
disaster, the logistics of building and flying an airplane, and a 
young boy's own growth as he learns about compassion, 
perseverance and courage from his father. 

This novel has a 

support video available 

through ACCESS: Good 

Conversation: A Talk 

with Laurence Yep, 


[21 min. BPN 2075909]. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Rodman Philbrick 

Freak the Mighty \s a poignant tale of two misfits who find the 
power to overcome their fear of the intolerant outside world. 
Max, the narrator, is an overgrown eighth-grade kid who is 
labelled "learning disabled" by his teachers. With his mother 
dead and his father in prison, Max lives in the basement of his 
grandparents' house, where he can escape from a friendless 
world. Everything changes the day Kevin— "Freak"— moves in 
next door. Freak has a normal-sized head but a body the size of 
a two-year-old. He gets around on crutches, but is soon riding 
on Max's shoulders, creating a formidable Arthurian knight. 
Their imaginary quests form an invincible bond. Freak helps 
Max get moved from the learning disabled class into an 
academic class and supports him when his father gets out of jail 
and goes on a rampage. In the end, Freak gives Max something 
magical: a blank book for writing down their legend. 

Rodman Philbrick portrays both Max and Freak with a skill that 
makes their vulnerabilities and their triumphs come alive for 
students. The voice of Max as the narrator is touching and 
funny. Freak the Mighty explores loyalty and friendship within 
an easy and high-interest read. 

"Freak is still holding 
tight to my shoulders 
and when they ask 
him for his name, he 
says, 'We're Freak 
the Mighty, that's 
who we are. We're 
nine feet tall, in case 
you haven't noticed. ' 
That's how it started, 
really, how we got to 
be Freak the Mighty, 
slaying dragons and 
fools and walking 
high above the 
world." pp. 39-40 

New York, NY: Scholastic 
Inc., Scholastic Signature, 
[original 1993] 

ISBN 0-439-28606-9 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Lois Lowry 

"The Giver shrugged. 
'Our people made 
that choice, the 
choice to go to 
Sameness. Before 
my time, before the 
previous time, back 
and back and back. 
We relinquished color 
when we 
sunshine and did 
away with 
differences.' He 
thought for a 
moment. 'We gained 
control of many 
things. But we had 
to let go others. ' 'We 
shouldn't have!' 
Jonas said fiercely. " 
p. 95 

New York, NY: Random 
House Children's Books, Dell 
Laurel-Leaf, 2002 
[original 1993] 

ISBN 0-440-23768-8 


Newbery Medal, 1994 

The Giver is a science fiction novel that presents a 
utopian/dystopian future in which colour, pain and variation 
have been erased. Conformity, good manners, precise 
language, and work for the common good are the most highly 
valued virtues. We discover this world through Jonas, a boy 
approaching the "Ceremony of Twelve," 

a coming-of-age ritual in which young people receive life 
assignments such as birth mothers, caring for the elderly, or 
nurturers of the young. Jonas finds that his assignment will 
be something very different: he is to train as the Receiver of 
Memory under an aging, bearded sage, the only person with 
access to the history of humankind. Through mental 
transmission and the laying-on of hands, "the Giver" allows 
Jonas to experience everything that has been lost to the new 
society— everything from the colour and warmth of summer 
sailing and a family gathering at Christmas to the pain of 
battle and starvation. Jonas begins to realize that while his 
carefully modulated society avoids the larger tragedies of 
history, it creates a more subtle kind of horror. 

Lowry's 1993 Newbery Medal winner is at once spellbinding 
and disturbing. Euthanasia, an infant being put to death, and 
post puberty medication to eliminate sexual urges are all 
treated with sensitivity and occur only where integral to the 
plot. These issues may be difficult for some students. 
Although Jonas' rejection of these norms provides the central 
conflict, the story's resolution creates an open-ended 
interpretation that encourages critical thinking and debate. 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
Conversation: A Talk 
with Lois Lowry, 2002 
[22 min. BPN 2075911]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Louis Sachar 

In Holes, Stanley Yelnats finds himself plunked down in Camp 
Green Lake, a work-camp for juvenile delinquents, after being 
wrongfully accused of theft. Stanley discovers there is no lake, 
just a gigantic, dry wasteland where daytime temperatures 
hover around 95 degrees in the shade. All of the boys are sent 
out each day in the heat to dig holes. The warden, it seems, is 
convinced that there is buried treasure on the site. When 
Stanley digs up a tiny cartridge with the initials 'KB' on it, 
enclosed in the shape of a heart, he's sure he has found a clue. 

Stanley learns that one hundred and ten years ago, Katherine 
Barlow, the schoolteacher, refused an offer of marriage from the 
son of the richest man in the country. Instead, she fell in love 
with Sam, a negro. There was a law in Texas forbidding their 
romance, so the gentle schoolmarm became the notorious 
outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow. 

Holes subtly addresses the themes of justice and friendship 
through a humourous, descriptive and accessible style that has 
wide appeal for students. 

This novel has support 
videos available through 
ACCESS: All About the 
Book: A Kid's Video Guide 
to "Holes," 2002[21min. 
BPN 2076103], Good 
Conversation: A Talk with 
Louis Sachar, 1999 
[21 min. BPN 2075912] and 
Holes (feature film) 
[120 min. BPN 2079101]. 

"One thing was 
certain: They weren't 
just digging to build 
character. They were 
definitely looking for 
something. And 
whatever they were 
looking for, they were 
looking in the wrong 
place. Stanley gazed 
out across the lake, 
toward the spot 
where he had been 
digging yesterday 
when he found the 
gold tube. He dug 
the hole into his 
memory." p. 71 

New York, NY: Random 
House Children's Books, Dell 
Laurel-Leaf, 2001 
[original 1998] 

ISBN 0-440-22859-X 

ALA Best Books for Young 
Adults, 1978 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Monica Hughes 

"'But why've they 
done it? Why such 
an elaborate scheme 
just to entertain us? I 
think there's more to 
The Game than 
meets the eye. Even 
now we know how 
it's done, we still 
don't know why.'" 
p. 93 

Toronto, ON: HarperCollins 
Publishers Ltd., 1992 
[original 1990] 

ISBN 0-00-647414-4 


CLA Notable, 1991 

Invitation to the Game is set in a 2154 dystopia where 
machines and robots do all the work, and humans are forced 
to live on welfare or become colonists. Sixteen -year-old Lisse 
and her friends live in an abandoned warehouse provided to 
them by the government. Anxious to escape their dreary lives, 
the friends brave their Designated Area's nightlife, shunning 
drugs and easy pleasures to seek out an invitation to the 
mysterious "Game" they have heard about. When they finally 
get an invitation, they discover the game is an amazing 
adventure that allows them to escape their reality. It seems 
like paradise, but they cannot help but wonder what the point 
of it is. Eventually the friends finish the game and as a reward 
are transported to Prize, another planet; however, the author 
leaves us wondering if the youths have gone to a real paradise 
or if it is, in fact, just an illusion. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Eva Ibbotson 

Journey to the River Sea follows Maia, an orphan, as she 
travels to Manaus, Brazil to live with relatives. On the voyage 
across the Atlantic, Maia befriends Clovis King, teenage member 
of an acting troupe who is fretting over the fact that he is 
outgrowing the child roles he was hired to play. 

The dreams Maia has of the exotic life she will lead at the 
Carters' rubber plantation come crashing down when she finds 
herself suddenly in Brazil with a family determined to live, dress 
and eat as if they were in Britain. The spoiled twin daughters 
make it a project to see how miserable they can make things for 
their new foster sister. In desperation, Maia heads into the city 
by boat on her own. The journey begins with her becoming lost 
but ends with her meeting a mysterious boy of the river. Their 
paths are destined to cross again soon, and when Clovis shows 
up, his life too will become intertwined with theirs. 

The novel uses very descriptive passages at an average reading 
level to demonstrate cultural diversity in this humourous 

"Clovis had come up 
the river in on old 
tramp steamer which 
carried anything from 
cattle to timber. He 
had paid the last of 
his money to the 
captain, who had 
allowed him to crouch 
on deck between a 
crate of bleating 
nanny goats and a 
leaking sack of 
maize. But he 
wouldn't put Clovis 
off at the Carters ' 
landing stage. 'Bad 
place, ' he said. " 
p. 109 

London, England: Macmillan 
Publishers Limited, 2002 
[original 2001] 

ISBN 0-330-39715-X 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Michael Morpurgo 

"He was right. We 
were happy, and I 
was his family. But I 
had another family 
too. 1 thought of the 
last time I had been 
out in a boat, of my 
mother and my father 
and how they must 
be grieving for me 
every day, every 
night. By now they 
must surely believe I 
was drowned, that 
there was no chance 
I could be alive. But I 
wasn't drowned. I 
was alive. Somehow 
I had to let them 
know it. " 
pp. 126-127 

London, England: Egmont 
Children's Books Limited, 
Mammoth, 2000 
[original 1999] 

ISBN 0-7497-3639-9 


Winner of the Children's 
Book Award, 1999 

Kensuke's Kingdom is a survival story that begins in 
England when 11-year-old Michael's parents decide to buy a 
small second-hand yacht. After fixing and outfitting the Peggy 
Sue and learning how to navigate, they become sailors in the 
south seas. Michael is thrilled with their travels. Then disaster 
strikes. One night, Michael goes to retrieve his dog when a 
sudden gust of wind rocks the boat and the two fall overboard. 
After what seems like hours someone helps him into a boat. 
He regains consciousness on a beach of a small island, 
seemingly alone with his dog. Michael can find no water and 
no edible vegetation. Parched and hungry, he finally falls 

With morning, Michael discovers someone has left a bowl of 
water and some strips of fish. His benefactor does not reveal 
himself until Michael starts a small fire on the beach. Suddenly 
a small, enraged man emerges and hastily extinguishes the 
fire. He is Kensuke, a Japanese man, and in time, Michael will 
come to know Kensuke's story: how he survived a naval battle 
at the end of World War II, how he hid from American marines 
and how he heard them talk of the destruction of Nagasaki 
where his family lived. Fond as Michael becomes of Kensuke, 
he longs for his parents and searches for a way to get back to 
them without betraying the Japanese man's whereabouts. 
Morpurgo's spare text and Michael Foreman's pen sketches 
make this a very accessible novel for below grade level 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Lois Lowry 

Looking Back is Lois Lowry's generous and richly-illustrated 
response to her readers' interest in how fiction is shaped from 
the events of a life. The memoir has a general chronological 
movement to it; however, much of the material is arranged 
thematically. For example, a photo of Lowry as a one-day-old 
baby in 1937 is followed by very similar pictures of her 
grandchildren in 1983 and 1993. Other clusters explore the 
relationships of siblings. Along with humour and nostalgia, we 
find Lowry writing through the grief of losing her older sister to 
cancer, and later the heartbreaking loss of her own son in a 
flying accident. 

For readers familiar with Lowry's work, it is easy to match the 
author's reminiscences of her childhood exploits with those of 
the irrepressible Anastasia Krupnik, one of the characters she 
created. Each chapter in the memoir opens with a brief quote 
from Lowry's published works, and through the photographs and 
anecdotes, we gradually learn how her experiences influenced 
all her novels, including award-winning titles such as Number 
the Stars and The Giver, included in the Grade 4 and Grade 8 
lists, respectively. 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
Conversation: A Talk 
with Lois Lowry, 2002. 
[22 min. BPN 2075911]. 

"Looking back at the 
child I was, I smile. 
She was right to be 
wary. There were 
going to be a lot of 
pitfalls ahead, for 
her. But I know, too, 
that her serious, 
suspicious gaze was 
momentary. Most of 
the time the little girl 
was laughing." p. 19 

New York, NY: Random 
House Children's Books, 
Delacorte Press, 2000 
[original 1998] 

ISBN 0-385-32699-8 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Katherine Paterson 

"He reached up to 
untie the puppet ... 
Hejelt instead 
something quite hard. 
He put his fingers 
around it. It was 
smooth and shaped 
like a slightly 
flattened pipe. With 
a sort of mild 
curiosity he pulled it 
down off the rafter to 
have a look. To his 
surprise he found 
that he was grasping 
a sheathed samurai 
sword." p. 125 

New York, NY: 
HarperTrophy, 1989 
[original 1975] 

ISBN 0-06^40281-9 

The Master Puppeteer is a 'Robin-Hood' story set in feudal 
Japan. For five years, the country has been in the grips of 
famine, with the shogun blaming his government ministers, 
the ministers blaming the rice merchants, the merchants 
blaming the farm landlords, and the landlords blaming the 
peasantry. The peasants have only the gods to blame. The 
only beacon in this bleak landscape is Saburo, a bandit king 
who uses surprise and trickery to steal food and riches from 
wealthy merchants that he distributes to the poor and hungry. 
The story follows Jiro, the 13-year-old son of a puppet-maker, 
who is apprenticed to the harsh, ill-tempered Yoshido, master 
of the most famous puppet theatre in Japan. When Jiro finds 
a sheathed samurai sword in Yoshido's closet, he wonders if 
there is a connection between his master and Saburo, the 
bandit king. 

While this easy reading novel focuses on the likeable male 
protagonist, Japanese culture is woven into the tapestry of the 
story. Paterson, who lived in Japan for four years, revisited 
the country to do research on Banraku puppet theatre for the 

This novel has a 
support video available 
through ACCESS: Good 
Conversation: A Talk 
with Katherine 
Paterson, 1999. 
[21 min. BPN 2075908]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Michael Bedard 


Redwork explores the relationship that develops between Cass, 
a resourceful and sensitive young protagonist, and Mr. Magnus, 
his mysterious landlord. Cass has just moved to yet another 
run-down apartment with his mother, who is trying to work days 
as a cleaning lady while finishing a doctoral thesis on William 
Blake. To make ends meet, his mother needs Cass to take an 
usher job at the movie theatre. There he meets Maddy, and 
together they face neighbourhood bullies and delve into the 
world of alchemy with Mr. Magnus. Mr. Magnus is an eccentric 
man who practises the strange arts of alchemy that were passed 
on to him by a friend that he lost in the Great War. Despite the 
local rumours and Mr. Magnus's eccentric mannerisms, Cass and 
Mr. Magnus become both friends and co-workers in the tasks of 

Michael Bedard explores the relationships between teens, and 
with seniors, while maintaining an easy level of reading for wide 

There was a sudden 
glint of gold on the 
frail hand as the 
ringed finger caught 
the light. And for one 
impossible instant 
the scene was 
overlaid with the 
image of an aging 
alchemist tending his 
sacred fire, trying 
desperately to coax 
magic from the mud. 
Could the old man 
actually believe such 
things were 
possible?" p. 192 

Toronto, ON: Stoddart 
Publishing Co. Limited, 2001 
[original 1990] 

ISBN 0-7737-3332-9 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Kevin Crossley-Holland 

u 'So, Arthur,' says 
the hooded man in 
his deep voice, 'what 
will your quest be?' 
Then the hooded man 
and the knight take 
Arthur by the left arm 
and the right, and 
raise him to his feet. 
They bow to him, and 
give him the reins of 
the riderless horse. 
Then they mount 
their own horses and 
ride away, deeper 
into the forest. 
Arthur is alone. He 
turns around, very 
slowly, and I 
recognize him. I am 
Arthur: Arthur-in-the- 
stone is me. " p. 1 55 

London, England: Orion 
Paperbacks, 2001 
[original 2000] 

ISBN 0-75284-42^-6 

The Seeing Stone is an historical fantasy that melds the 
story of Arthur, a foster child in a nobleman's home in 1199, 
with the story of the legendary King Arthur. Arthur is a 
sensitive thirteen-year-old boy who longs to be a knight but 
also likes to write poetry. He bemoans the fact that he lacks 
the skills for becoming a squire like his brother Serle, and he 
raises his father's hackles by too readily helping peasants such 
as his friend, Gatty, the reeve's daughter. When Merlin gives 
the boy of the twelfth century a magical stone, it reveals the 
future King Arthur as a boy like himself, on the threshold of 
manhood in a time, like his own, when the knights of the 
realm are in turmoil over who shall succeed to the crown. 

Kevin Crossley-Holland presents this lengthy story from the 
point of view of Arthur in one hundred short chapters. The 
text captures details of day-to-day life in a great manor of the 
twelfth century, including accounts of special occasions such 
as Halloween and Yuletide. Teachers will want to discuss the 
treatment of women in the context of medieval times. 
Throughout, pages are decorated with woodcuts in the style 
of early manuscript motifs. The Seeing Stone is the first novel 
in a projected trilogy. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Janet Lunn 


Shadow in Hawthorn Bay is the story of a Scottish girl who 
leaves her Highland home for Upper Canada in 1815 to seek her 
cousin and childhood friend, Duncan, who she believes has 
called to her in distress. Although it can be a handicap more 
than a blessing, Mary Urqhart has the "gift" of second sight. 
She can see into the past, future, distance, and even into the 
hearts of others. Mary makes the difficult ocean voyage to 
Hawthorn Bay on Lake Ontario. She arrives to find that her 
cousin has died and her aunt and uncle have moved on. 

Instead of returning home, she finds a place with the friendly 
Colliver family. Mary also agrees to go and help with Luke 
Anderson's ailing sister. Although she cannot save the baby in 
the squalid Andersen homestead, Mary finds she has healing 
capabilities, something she can build a new life on. She 
continues to learn from Owena, an Indian healer. There is also 
a growing place for Luke in her life. Eventually, Mary comes to 
accept her new life, to give up the ties of a dead love, and to 
relinquish the Gaelic spirits that seem to be misplaced in this 
new world. 

Janet Lunn weaves together very descriptive passages and a 
strong female protagonist to address issues of tradition, values 
and responsibility in this more challenging read. 

"'What kind of 
country is it?' she 
demanded. 'Is there 
none among them 
who has the two 
sights? Is it only the 
Indians who have the 
gift of healing? — who 
speak the charms 
against ill- wishing 
here? Och, how 
could there be fairies 
in this flat, tree- 
covered place?'" 
p. 157 

Toronto, ON: Random 
House of Canada Limited, 
Seal Books, 2001 
[original 1986] 

ISBN 0-7704-2886-X 


Canada Council Children's 
Literature Prize, 1986 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Jack Schaefer 

U 'I like hint ' Mother's 
voice was serious. 
'He's so nice and 
polite and sort of 
gentle. Not like most 
men I've met out 
here. But there's 
something about him. 
underneath the 
gentleness ... 
Something ...' Her 
voice trailed away. 
s ugges ted father. 
'Yes, of course. 
Mysterious. But 
more than that. 
Dangerous.'" p. 10 

New York, NY: Random 
House Children's Books, 
Bantam Books, 1975 
[original 1949] 

ISBN 0-553-27110-5 

Shane embodies the elements of a classic western through 
the fresh and innocent eyes of a child. 

When the mysterious stranger, Shane, rides up to the 
Starrett's small homestead, Bobby is mesmerized. Joe and 
Marian Starrett are drawn, as well, to this man who manages 
to have entire conversations without really telling anyone 
anything about himself. Shane stops for a drink of water, but 
ends up staying on as the Starrett's hired man. It is not long 
before he is caught up in an ongoing feud between the 
homesteaders and Fletcher, a cattle baron determined to keep 
the range open. When Fletcher's men bait him at the saloon 
in town, they discover that Shane will tolerate their insults only 
to a point. After Shane knocks down a couple of the ranch 
hands, Fletcher decides to hire a gunman. 

Schaefer's novel sensitively tells the story of a boy's growing 
up. Bobby becomes aware of the desperate loneliness of a 
man who cannot shake his past, and he takes to heart Shane's 
words that encourage him to live and grow strong in the 
caring, loving heart of his family. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Rhoda Blumberg 

Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy 

chronicles the amazing true story of Manjiro (later renamed 
John Mung), the first Japanese to set foot in America. Manjiro 
was a lowly fishing boy in 1836 who gained a position with the 
crew of a small fishing vessel only to be swept far out to sea by 
a storm. The crew managed to land on a tiny island where they 
survived for five months before American sailors from a whaling 
ship finally discovered them. However, Japan's isolationist 
policy at the time forbid foreign ships access to the country and 
stated that any person leaving the country and returning later 
would be put to death. 

Captain Whitfield found a safe haven for the Japanese men in 
Hawaii, but took the eager Manjiro with him back to New 
England. For three years he worked on a sailing ship where the 
crew eventually mutinied against its insane captain. Manjiro 
then panned for gold during the California gold rush, earning 
enough to buy a whaling boat and return to Japan with three 
others of the castaways. When the four arrived, they were 
immediately imprisoned, but following the arrival of Commodore 
Perry in 1854 and the end of Japan's isolationism, Manjiro rose 
to be a samurai and ambassador. 

The account is interspersed with a wealth of archival 
photographs and graphics, as well as whaling prints, whimsical 
Japanese illustrations and sketches by John Mung himself. 

"Manjiro dreamed of 
digging enough 
treasure to finance 
his return to Japan. 
He was tormented by 
a vision of his mother 
begging for food. He 
had not seen her for 
nearly ten years. 
Although aware that 
he could be 
imprisoned and killed 
for the sin of visiting 
a foreign country, he 
would risk death for 
peace of mind. " p. 53 

New York, NY: 
HarperCollins Children's 
Books, HarperTrophy, 2003 
[original 2001] 

ISBN 0-688-17485-X 


New York Public Library's 
"One hundred titles for 
Reading and Sharing", 2003 

Judy Lopez Memorial Award, 

ALA Notable Children's 
Book, 2001 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Linda Sue Park 

"Holding the pouch 
clear of the boulders 
with one hand, he 
climbed back to the 
path. His every 
movement was quick 
with purpose; to 
hesitate was to 
doubt. He had made 
up his mind: he 
wouldjourney on to 
Songdo and show the 
emissary the single 
shard." p. 130 

New York, NY: Random 
House Children's Books, 
Dell Yearling, 2003 
[original 2001] 

ISBN 0-440-41851-8 

A Single Shard portrays the loyalty and courage of a young 
potter's apprentice in a small Korean village in the 
12 th century. For years, Tree-ear, an orphan, has lived without 
a home. While scavenging meals for his friend and protector, 
Crane-man, Tree-ear discovers the master potter, Min, plying 
his craft. Of all the ceramics in Ch'ulp'o, Min's reveal the finest 
craftsmanship and showcase the exquisite grey-green colour of 
celadon. Tree-ear cannot help but dream of one day 
becoming such a craftsman himself. 

When he is startled and drops a box that Min has set out to 
dry, Tree-ear makes a deal to work for nine days to pay for 
the damage. It is grueling labour, but when the term is over 
Tree-ear offers to continue working for the old potter. 
Gradually, he learns the painstaking skills. Because a potter 
will only pass on the skills of the wheel to a son, Min refuses to 
let Tree-ear further his skills even though Min's son died many 
years ago. Tree-ear thinks if he can make the long journey to 
Songdo, to show Min's vases and seek a commission from the 
royal household, he may yet win Min's favour. 

Linda Sue Park's extensive research into an ancient art is 
woven seamlessly into this story of a boy's growth as he takes 
on responsibilities beyond his years. In examining Korean 
society of the period, Park presents a culture in which the 
humanism of the Buddhist and Confucian traditions were 
strong features. 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
Conversation: A Talk with 
Linda Sue Park, 2002 
[21 min. BPN 2075910]. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 




The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle tells a tale of 
adventure and mutiny on the high seas. When her father's 
business recalls him to America, Charlotte remains to finish her 
term at the Barrington School for Better Girls in England and 
then boards a brig, The Seahawk, for the ocean voyage home. 
Once aboard, Charlotte finds that the families that were to 
accompany her are not there; she is not only the sole child but 
also the sole female aboard. When the grizzled black cook 
offers to be her friend and presents her with the gift of a knife, 
Charlotte's sense of uneasiness grows. To occupy her time, she 
records each day's events in a journal her father gave her as a 
going-away gift. 

Compared to the rag-tag sailing crew, Captain Jaggery's air of 
refinement and authority provides her with a feeling of comfort, 
but when she sees the punishment of a stowaway turn into 
murder, she realizes that her allegiance has been misplaced. 
Taking off her ladies' apparel, she dons the clothing of a sailor 
and tells the crew she has decided to join them. 

Suspenseful and inviting, this novel explores the society-driven 
stereotypes and limiting class structure during colonial times. 
An unexpected ending, in which young Charlotte is forced to 
make a choice, reinforces the strength and hope this female 
protagonist exhibits. 

"You will understand 
that there was no 
doubt in my mind 
regarding what I had 
seen. There had 
been a pistol. There 
had been a round 
robin. With the 
warnings given to me 
by Captain Jaggery — 
and ever mindful of 
the possibilities 
revealed to me by 
Zachariah — J had 
little doubt about the 
meaning of my 
discoveries. The 
crew was preparing a 
rebellion." p. 81 

New York, NY: Avon Books, 
Inc., Avon Camelot, 1997 
[original 1990] 

ISBN 0-380-72885-0 


A School Library Journal Best 
Book of 1990 

ALA Notable Book, 1990 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Don Trembath 


"... at the end of 
class, Josh came up 
and said, 'See, you 
sure got them 
interested ... That's 
good writing. ' I 
didn't know whether 
I should believe him 
or not, but when Mom 
came and asked if I 
wanted to come back 
next week, I said 
sure. Why not? I'd 
spent two hours in a 
classroom and I 
didn't look at the 
clock even once. " 
p. 56 

Victoria, BC: Orca Book 
Publishers, 1996 

ISBN 1-55143-074-6 

The Tuesday Cafe is a warmly-humorous coming-of-age 
story about a troubled teenager who learns about himself and 
connects with others through an unlikely writing group. The 
novel begins with Harper Winslow being sentenced to forty 
hours of community service and a 2,000-word essay about 
"How I Plan to Turn My Life Around" after setting a fire in his 
high school. To help him with his essay, he is enrolled in The 
Tuesday Cafe, a writing group that Harper soon discovers is 
geared towards adults with special needs. For example, there 
is short, stout Patty, who likes to poke people in the back, and 
Lou, with shaggy grey hair who dropped out of school in Grade 
4 and does not talk to anyone. 

In Harper, Alberta writer, Don Trembath, offers the kind of 
wise-cracking teenage cynic who appeals to teens in general. 
Harper is convinced the class is going to be useless, and thinks 
their first writing assignment— "My Sunday"— is a dumb idea. 
But when he finally manages to get something written down 
and reads it out, he realizes that it has touched all of them. 
He decides to come back, and as he gets to know and care 
about his unusual classmates at The Tuesday Cafe, Harper 
begins to see his own problems in perspective. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Graham Salisbury 

Under the Blood-Red Sun is a story about the prejudice 
experienced by a Japanese-American family in Hawaii during 
the attack on Pearl Harbour. Tomi Nakaji and his little sister, 
Kimi, were born in Hawaii, but their parents were born in Japan. 
When their grandfather, Joji, comes from Japan to live with the 
family and displays a Japanese flag in their yard, the family's 
Japanese heritage stands out even more. 

Tomi's best friend, Billy, a haole (white boy), shares a love of 
baseball and dogs. Tomi and Billy are out for baseball practice 
one morning when the sky is suddenly filled with low-flying 
aircraft. Within minutes, they hear explosions and gunfire and 
see black smoke rising from the navy yards at Pearl Harbour in 
the distance. Immediately, Tomi's life is changed as his family 
struggles to survive in the face of numerous calamities. 
Mr. Nakaji is arrested in a roundup of Japanese men, and his 
boat is scuttled. A vengeful neighbour boy draws attention to 
the family's cages of racing pigeons, and Grampa's old Japanese 
sword. Tomi and Grampa are forced to slaughter the birds, and 
soon Joji is among those arrested and sent to camps on the 
mainland. Tomi's mother, a housemaid, loses her job. 

Salisbury's depiction of a teen caught in the chaos following the 
infamous attack on Pearl Harbour is vivid, compelling reading. 
The story deals with themes of cultural differences, racism and 
war within a historical context. Teachers may wish to relate 
Tomi's story to the experiences of Japanese-Canadians at that 

"By noon, everything 
we had that had 
anything to do with 
Japan was spread 
out over the kitchen 
table — Mama's 
beautiful traditional 
kimono; a bundle of 
letters tied together 
with white ribbon; a 
photograph of me 
when I was younger, 
standing in the front 
row of my language 
class with a 
Japanese flag in the 
background ... 'Bury 
it, ' Mama finally said, 
her eyes glistening. " 
p. 137 

New York, NY: Random 
House Children's Books, Dell 
Yearling, 1995 
[original 1994] 

ISBN 0-440-41139-4 


Scott O'Dell Award for 
Historical Fiction, 1995 

ALA Best Book for Young 
Adults, 1995 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Sharon Creech 

"We walked out onto 
her porch and there, 
lying on the top step, 
was a white 
envelope ... Phoebe 
picked it up and 
opened it. 'Gosh, ' 
she said. Inside was 
a small piece of blue 
paper and on it was 
printed this message: 
Don'tjudge a man 
until you've walked 
two moons in his 
moccasins. 'What an 
odd thing, ' Phoebe 
said." pp. 44-45 

London, England: Macmillan 
Children's Books, 2001 
[original 1994] 

ISBN 0-330-39783-4 


Newbery Medal, 1995 

Hartland Award for 
Excellence in Youth Adult 
Literature, 1995 

Walk Two Moons is a funny, bittersweet story about two 
13-year-old girls whose mothers have disappeared. 
Salamanca Tree Hiddle is retracing her mother's final steps on 
a car trip from Ohio to Idaho. Her free-spirited grandparents 
are driving and request a story to pass the time. The story 
comes to us through Sal's voice as she fills the hours and days 
of the trip with an account of her and her best friend, Phoebe 
Winterbottom. Like Sal, Phoebe's mother left the family 
suddenly. Phoebe is convinced the strange young man who 
appeared on the Winterbottom's doorstep a while back has 
kidnapped her mother, especially when she begins receiving 
secret, cryptic messages on her doorstep. The two girls try to 
unravel the mystery. 

Sal tells Phoebe's story with a humorous tone and rich 
backwoods flavour. She is also candid about the rebellion the 
last year has raised within her. In telling the story to her 
grandparents, Sal figures out some important things about her 
own life. At journey's end, she is finally able to accept what 
happened to her mother and close a puzzling and painful 
chapter in her life. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Anita Horrocks 


What They Don't Know is a dramatic story about a 
14-year-old girl named Hannah trying to deal with the sudden 
discovery that the man who raised her is not her biological 
father. This discovery, however, is not revealed to the readers 
immediately. Instead, the story is narrated by Kelly, Hannah's 
17-year-old sister, who is trying to uncover the reason for 
Hannah's increasing depression and misbehaviour by going 
through her sister's secret box, filled with stories, notes and 
school documents. These documents are presented at the 
beginning of each chapter. Kelly's voice provides balance and 
realism, as we watch Hannah spinning out of control and getting 
involved in alcohol, drugs and crime. Eventually Kelly learns the 
truth, and helps her sister back from the brink of disaster. 

The context of the story is both familiar and convincing: the 
girls' parents are divorced, their mom is pursuing a career, and 
their dad is about to remarry. Horrocks provides a glimpse of 
the dark alleys that wait for teens determined to find them, and 
creates high interest with a family almost brought to ruin. What 
They Don't Know uses the intricacies of narrative in prose that is 
graceful, poetic and spare when it needs to be. 

"In Hannah's box of 
secrets I found a 
battered and torn 
poster from her 
science fair project 
last February. I 
found a lot of things, 
but the poster 
reminds me it was at 
the science fair that 
Hannah's story, 
which began who 
knows when, first 
screamed to be 
heard." p. 5 

Toronto, ON: Stoddart Kids, 

ISBN 0-7737-6001-6 


Alberta Book Award for 
Children's Literature, 1999 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Mary-Ellen Lang Collura 

"Everything was 
clear now and the 
world was brand 
new. His father was 
a star. His mother 
was a winner. He 
had been a rodeo 
man. She had been 
beautiful. Imagine if 
they had lived, where 
he'd be now. He 
would be the junior 
rodeo champion of 
North America 
Everyone would 
know who he was. 
He would be a rider 
above the walkers. A 
winner." p. 16 

Vancouver, BC: Greystone 
Books, 1993 
[original 1984] 

ISBN 1-55054-223-0 


Canadian Library Association 
Award, 1985 

Winners is set in southern Alberta on the Ash Creek Reserve. 
Fifteen-year-old Jordy Threebears has already lived in eleven 
foster homes; now he is sent to live with Joe Speckledhawk, a 
grandfather who has been released from prison for 
manslaughter. Joe is a taciturn, introspective old man, but 
Jordy does not mind being left alone. He attends Grade 9 in 
the small town high school. Slowly, with the help of the 
community and Mr. Campbell, his social worker, he pieces 
together the history of his deceased parents. 

When his grandfather gives Jordy a horse as a Christmas gift, 
both Jordy and Joe begin opening up to one another. 
Miss MacTavish, one of Jordy's teachers, offers to give him tips 
on riding if he will spend some time with another pupil, Emily 
MacKenzie, a blind girl who loves to ride but requires a riding 
companion. Jordy revels in having his own horse and being 
with Emily. Complication is introduced with the sudden 
disappearance of Jordy's horse. Jordy cannot help thinking 
that one of the ranch hands is involved. 

When Jordy finally gets his horse back, he trains for and 
participates in a one hundred mile endurance race in the 
foothills. The whole community rallies in preparation for the 
race. In detailing Jordy's education, Collura brings out a 
number of acculturation issues but also underlines the fact that 
winning lies within the heart of the individual. Some coarse 
language is used to develop characters. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 8 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


■ I 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 



Carol Matas 


There are about fifty 
other kids our age 
there, who have 
obviously been at the 
camp for awhile. We 
are told that it will be 
our job to help make 
the children better. 
(And who will make 
us better, I wonder?)" 
p. 62 

Markham, ON: Scholastic 
Canada Ltd., 1994 

ISBN 0-590-12384-X 


American Library Association 
Best Book of the Year Award, 

After the War looks at what happened to the young people 
who, against all odds, survived the Holocaust. The story 
follows Ruth Mendenberg as she returns to her uncle's house 
in Ostroviec, Poland, the last place where her family was 
together before being sent to the death camps at Auschwitz 
and Buchenwald. After an unfriendly former servant tells her 
that none of her family has returned, Ruth joins a group to 
escape from Poland through Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, and 
then by water to Palestine. The 15-year-old lies about her age 
saying she is seventeen and is put in charge of a group of 
children, some nearly her own age. 

The personal story of Ruth and her family unfolds in brief 
flashbacks. At the same time, Ruth's story reflects that of 
many of the 69 000 Jews who managed to get to Palestine 
illegally between the time the end of World War II in 1945 and 
May 1948. The journey is filled with continued persecution, 
suspenseful border crossings, narrow escapes, and finally the 
crossing by boat to Palestine. Ruth finds herself growing to 
care about the children in her group, as well as Zvi, a boy with 
whom she forms a special relationship. 

Winnipeg writer Carol Matas has written a number of powerful 
historical novels that articulate the Jewish Holocaust 
experience. After the War shows how a group, almost beyond 
weariness and care, can slowly forge on, spurred by the 
determination to find a home for their people. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Peter Dickinson 

AK depicts the horrible story of child warriors in Africa. Paul 
was a homeless orphan boy when guerilla soldiers found him 
wandering in the bush. The soldiers taught him to carry a 
gun, an old AK, and become a "Warrior"— someone to prepare 
meals for a soldier "uncle," serve as a sentry or act as a decoy 
in ambushes. When the war ends, Paul's uncle, Michael, 
declares that the boy is to be his adopted son. It will be 
Paul's job to get an education, learn English and study the 
country's dominant cultures. All arms are to be turned in to 
the government, but Paul buries his AK in a secret place. 

Paul is learning the Fulu language in a settlement away from 
Dangoum, the capital city, when word comes that there has 
been a coup. Along with a couple of the other boy Warriors 
and Jilli, the young girl teaching him Fulu, Paul strikes out for 
Dangoum where he is certain his uncle's life is in danger. It is 
a route that will take him past the spot where the AK is 
buried, and Paul knows the time has come to dig it up. 

Written at an average reading level with graphic depictions of 
war, the story presents two possible results of the violence- 
one showing a positive direction; one locked into the bleak 
recurrence of strife and warfare— and challenges the citizens 
of today to effect a change for the better. 

"At once the dream- 
world was forgotten 
and he knew exactly 
who he was, Paul, 
Warrior, of the Fifth 
Special Commando of 
the Nagala Liberation 
Army, now out on a 
mission to blow up 
and ambush the 
Grand Trunk Railway 
between Dangoum 
and Jomjom. Who he 
was, what he was, 
all he was. Paul. 
Warrior. A boy with 
his own guns. " p. 5 

London, England: Macmillan 
Children's Books, 2001 
[original 1990] 

ISBN 0-330-48204-1 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Katherine Holubitsky 

"1 want this sadness 
that's been part of 
me since she died to 
go away. It's like 
this mean little 
animal deep inside 
me. Munching at my 
guts. Feeding on me 
day after day after 
day after day. Once 
in a while taking a 
great vicious chomp. 
It hurts so much 
sometimes, it's just 
about more than I 
can take." p. 51 

Victoria, BC: Orca Book 
Publishers, 2001 

ISBN 1-55143-204-8 


Canadian Library Association 
Book of the Year, 1999 

Alone at Ninety Foot is a funny, powerful story about a 
14-year-old girl trying to deal with her mother's suicide. A 
year ago, Pam's mother ended her life by jumping from a 
suspension bridge at Vancouver's Lynn Gorge. Now, Pam goes 
to an isolated spot at the bottom of the gorge to cope with her 
loss, as well as the normal confusion and self-doubt she feels 
in her life. She would like to get through the next while 
without anything creating a stir, at school or at home, but it is 
not that easy. She has to deal with friends, teachers, her 
father's awkward new girlfriend, and Matt, a new boy at school 
who does not seem to recognize the defenses she has built 
around herself. 

Many teenage students will recognize and relate to Pam. Her 
journal entries are often self-deprecating, filled with the kind 
of doubts that come from the physical and emotional changes 
that are happening to her. However, her voice also conveys 
humour, irony, and a growing sense of her own strength and 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Kevin Major 

Blood Red Ochre combines two plot lines: the historical 
story of two Beothuk Indians in the 19 th century and the 
contemporary story of two teens. Fifteen-year-old David has 
just discovered that the man he believed to be his dad is, in 
fact, a stepdad. His edginess now makes him ashamed that 
his mother has been so nice to him. Thankfully, there is a 
new girl in class: dark-haired, quiet Nancy with her 
resourceful and intriguing ways. When David picks the 
Beothuk Indians for a social studies project, he finds out that 
Nancy has chosen the same topic, and she even suggests an 
excursion to Red Ochre, a small island off the coast of 
Newfoundland where archaeologists discovered the skeleton 
of a single Beothuk Indian. 

Simultaneously, the story of Dauoodaset, a young Beothuk, is 
revealed. It has been a troubling spring, for Dauoodaset. His 
band, already decimated by the violence and diseases of the 
white men, has faced a harsh winter with little food. 
Dauoodaset decides to make a trip by canoe to the seacoast 
to replenish their food supplies. It will be an arduous journey 
with many dangers, but he is sustained by the knowledge that 
Shanawdithit, a girl from another Beothuk encampment, will 
become his wife. 

The two stories come together in a dramatic confrontation 
between past and present on Red Ochre Island. The dual 
narratives provide an opportunity to explore the effective use 
of point of view. 

The history of the Beothuk is one of the darkest chapters in 
colonial exploitation, with an entire Indian Nation dying out 
because of disease and murder. Historical white men are 
portrayed negatively in what may be a challenging read for 
some students. 

"A sound like thunder 
cracks the air! ... It is 
the sound of a 
whiteman's gun! I 
paddle as fast as 
ever I can away from 
it and out to the sea. 
I must get to the 
island. I must not 
lose my life. Not for 
me, for my people. I 
paddle with every bit 
of strength I have, 
harder and harder. " 
p. 114 

Toronto, ON: Random House 
of Canada Limited, Seal 
Books, 1996 
[original 1984] 

ISBN 0-7704-2717-0 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Nancy Farmer 

"Out over the vlei 
came a distant cry. 
They couldn't hear 
the words yet, but 
Tendai knew what 
they said. 'Run!' he 
shouted. They 
stumbled on. The cry 
approached them, 
speeding under the 
earth, echoing out of 
the mine shafts ... 
The She Elephant's 
commands burst out 
of the ground. Bits of 
the hills began to 
detach and creep 
after them. 'Find 
children! Bring them 
to meeee!'" p. 95 

New York, NY: Penguin 
Putnam Books Inc., Firebird, 
[original 1994] 

ISBN 0-14-131109-6 


Newbery Honor Book, 1995 

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm, which takes place in 
futuristic Zimbabwe, is named after three sleuths who possess 
special abilities. Arm has an electrical sensitivity in his hands, 
Ear has extraordinary hearing ability, and Eye has amazing 
eyesight. It is 2194 and the trio has been hired to track down 
General Matsika's children, who left their privileged, automated 
compound for an adventure and were kidnapped in the 
market. The sleuths learn that the children have been carried 
through a vast wasteland, Dead Man's Vlei, and are to be 
slaves in a terrifying underworld. 

Nancy Farmer's book is a fast-paced and challenging science 
fiction adventure. The world it depicts combines some 
fascinating aspects of a possible future with many of the 
societal and political problems we associate with the world 
today. The story contains references to witchcraft and 
sacrifice; teachers should be prepared to discuss these topics 
in class. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Orson Scott Card 

Ender's Game is a science fiction novel where students in a 
special Battle School engage in war "games" and video games 
in training to fight an alien race known as the "buggers." The 
world has won a series of battles with the buggers, but there 
is always the likelihood of their resurgence. Andrew Wiggin, 
called Ender, is a "third"— an additional child allowed to a 
family through a government waiver. The government has 
been monitoring Ender with an implant. With its removal, the 
six-year-old erupts into violence when confronted with a class 
bully. This behaviour is noted and he is seen to be a 
candidate for leadership training and he is invited to Battle 

At Battle School, children are trained to take the place of the 
leader who brought them through the last war. Ender is the 
brightest, outwitting those who are older and have been at 
the school longer. Ender's video game is a fairy tale where he 
gets "killed" over and over again until he steps outside the 
rules and tries tactics no one else might think of. The military 
government has its eye on Ender's sister, Valentine, and 
considers how she might be manipulated to achieve the other 
desired characteristics of a perfect commander. 

This is a challenging read with questionable language, 
violence and a negative portrayal of adults. Orson Scott Card 
developed this speculative fiction around the question of how 
military training in the future might be carried out, focusing 
on the question of whether the ends justify the means. While 
ultimately optimistic about the human condition, Card's dark, 
edgy novel suggests that military training has always included 
some brainwashing and that great leadership requires 
creativity, spontaneity and adaptation to new circumstances. 

"As Ender left the 
room, he heard 
somebody say, 'It's 
Wiggin. You know, 
that smartass 
Launchiefrom the 
game room. 'He 
walked down the 
corridor smiling. He 
may be short, but 
they knew his name. 
From the game room, 
of course, so it meant 
nothing. But they'd 
see. He'd be a good 
soldier, too. They'd 
all know his name 
soon enough. " p. 81 

New York, NY: Thomas 
Doherty Associates, LLC, 
Starscape Books, 2002 
[original 1977] 

ISBN 0-765-34229-4 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Philip Pullman 

The consul turned to 
Farder Coram and 
said: 'Do you realize 
who this child is? ... 
The witches have 
talked about this 
child for centuries 
past, ' said the 
consul. 'Because 
they live so close to 
the place where the 
veil between the 
worlds is thin, they 
hear immortal 
whispers from time to 
time, in the voices of 
those beings who 
pass between the 
worlds. And they 
have spoken of a 
child such as this, 
who has a great 
destiny that can only 
elsewhere — not in 
this world, but far 
beyond. Without this 
child, we shall all 
die.'" p. 154 

New York, NY: Ballantine 
Books, Del Rey, 1997 
[original 1995] 

ISBN 0-345-41335-0 

The Golden Compass is an elaborate, high-level fantasy that 
follows Lyra Belacqua, a precocious 11-year-old orphan who 
has been left by her uncle, Lord Asriel, to be raised by the 
instructors of Jordan College in Oxford. Her studies focus on 
the interconnections of science, theology and magic, but Lyra 
refuses to be confined by courses and becomes more 
interested in the discoveries on the streets and alleys of 
Oxford. Lyra is puzzled by sinister and mysterious happenings 
at the College: she observes an attempt to poison Lord Asriel 
and listens to discussions of "dust" and a barely-visible city 
suspended in the aurora borealis. 

After Lyra's friend, Roger, is one of many children kidnapped 
by "Gobblers," Lyra realizes that Mrs. Coulter, her London 
benefactress, has been using her to lure children to a fate that 
is difficult to imagine. Lyra takes it upon herself to find out 
what has happened to Roger and the other children, and 
rescue her now imprisoned uncle. It is a mission that takes 
her to the far north where she finds allies ranging from 
"gyptians" to witches and even an armour-clad polar bear. 

Pullman's story deals with demons and witches, but the focus 
is more on fantasy than on the occult. The novel is filled with 
unique touches and exacting detail that brings fantasy to life. 
For example, each person (and each witch) has a personal 
daemon— a manifestation of the soul in animal form, which 
can shift forms according to the mental state of its master. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Gloria Whelan 

Homeless Bird is an easy read about the plight of young 
widows in India. The story follows Koly, a 13-year-old girl 
who must take a husband. Money set aside for her education 
is now for her dowry, and Koly learns the skills of a master 
embroiderer rather than reading and writing. A betrothal is 
finalized when the family sells their valued possessions, and 
Koly moves in with her in-laws. 

It is immediately apparent that her teenage husband, Hari, is 
terribly ill, and Koly realizes that the family has acquired her 
dowry money in order to take him to Varanasi where he can 
bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges. But the trip only 
serves to hasten Hari's death, and Koly finds she is an 
unwanted widow with a sass (a mother-in-law) who despises 
her. However, Hari's sister Chandra is friendly, and Hari's 
father (her sassur) agrees to teach her how to read. In the 
next few years, Chandra marries and then Hari's father dies. 
Her sass persuades Koly, now seventeen, to go with her to 
Delhi, and intentionally abandons her in Vrindavan, a city of 
four thousand temples and a multitude of widows. Destitute, 
Koly is helped by Raji, a young rickshaw driver who puts her 
in touch with Maa Kamala, who runs a charity organization 
that helps abandoned widows. 

The story takes on a difficult social issue while portraying the 
individual growth of a teenage girl. Koly's spirit grows as she 
rebuilds her life using her skillful, creative fingers and quick 
mind. Eventually, she even finds love with a young man who 
cherishes her. 

"Whatever my sassur 
had said, I knew 
Sass would never 
think of me as a 
daughter. I was 
nothing now. I could 
not go back to my 
parents and be a 
daughter again. I 
was no longer a wife 
or a bahus, a 
Yes, I thought, I am 
something. I am a 
widow. And I began 
to sob. " pp. 45-46 

New York, NY: HarperCollins 
Children's Books, 
HarperTrophy, 2001 
[original 2000] 

ISBN 0-06^40819-1 


National Book Award, 1993 

ALA Best Book for Young 
Adults, 1993 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Tim Wynne-Jones 

"'Please, don't call 
me sir. Call me 
Baron, if you like. 
No, I don't feel like a 
baron any more. 
Nathaniel. Better 
still, call me Maestro. 
Yes, I like that. What 
do you think?' 
'Maestro, ' said Burl. 
That's like a 
conductor?' 'OK 
more than just a 
conductor. Master. 
Teacher. Here, I'll 
teach you something. 
Then you'll have to 
call me Maestro. '" 
p. 54 

Toronto, ON: Groundwood 
Books, 1996 
[original 1995] 

ISBN 0-88899-263-7 


Governor General's Literary 
Award, 1995 

The Maestro focuses on the unlikely friendship that forms 
between a teen runaway from the Ontario backwoods and a 
reclusive middle-aged musical genius. For years, 14-year-old 
Burl Crow has tried to make himself invisible around his 
physically abusive dad. All of his hopes and dreams are 
secrets. When Burl is caught spying on his father and a 
waitress, he must run into the forest to escape his father's 
violent temper. In the Northern Ontario wilderness, he finds 
an old cabin to hole up in. The next day brings rain, hordes of 
mosquitoes and gnawing hunger. Then in the middle of the 
wilderness, Burl discovers piano music coming from an 
unusual-looking cabin. The pianist, a stooped, balding, 
strangely-dressed man, emerges and addresses Burl. The 
man is willing to share his Arrowroot biscuits with him, so Burl 
listens to his banter. He learns that the man is Nathaniel 
Orlando Gow, a composer taking advantage of the rural quiet 
and solitude to concentrate on his work. Gow reluctantly 
allows Burl to stay the night, but Burl figures out this eccentric 
figure can use someone to do the chores, make coffee, and 
fetch medicine from an arsenal of pills in the medicine cabinet. 
When the composer decides to return to civilization, Burl 
convinces Gow to leave him at the retreat as a caretaker. 
When Burl gets news that Gow has died, his long experience 
with living a secret life and telling lies presents Burl with a 
daring plan to keep the cabin as his own. 

The story's unique spin on the "odd couple" theme, combined 
with Wynne-Jones's graceful prose, helped it capture the 
Governor General's Award and makes it a rewarding novel for 
better readers. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Gayle Friesen 

Men of Stone is a coming-of-age story that draws parallels 
between people caught up in the currents of political strife in 
post-revolution Russia and current-day teens caught up in their 
own territorial wars. Fifteen-year-old Ben is feeling 
overwhelmed: he's started senior high, his best friend Stan is 
having problems at home, and he is being bullied by a group of 
other boys who call him "ballerina boy." The leader of the 
group, Claude, has even warned him to stay away from Kat, 
the girl Ben would most like to befriend. The prospect of a 
visit from Great-Aunt Frieda doesn't appeal to Ben any more 
than contact with the rest of his family. At school, however, 
his class has begun a social studies unit on Russian history, 
and Frieda, born just before the Russian Revolution, has lived a 
good part of that history. Frieda tells Ben about her life in a 
Mennonite community, separated from her baby son, with her 
husband imprisoned by soldiers with their rifles— men of stone. 
Amazingly, the old woman has kept a graceful balance to her 
life. As he spends time with Frieda and struggles to help Stan, 
Ben gradually realizes how fortunate he is to have a family- 
including Aunt Frieda. A very accessible read, the story 
portrays bullying and some violence. 

"A thousand thoughts 
crowded into my 
mind as she left the 
room: horses 
walking into living 
rooms, chewing 
freshly baked buns; 
twelve laughing and 
crying children in one 
small house; tree- 
lined streets; men in 
army boots, storming 
through doors, taking 
people from their 
warm beds. Men of 
stone, she had said. 
Men with no eyes. 
Strangers with no 
reason to hate, who 
hated all the same. 
Claude." pp. 90-91 

Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press 
Ltd., 2000 

ISBN 1-55074-782-7 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Anita Lobel 

"During the years of 
flight I had heard the 
fearful world 
so many times. But I 
had never had a 
picture in my head of 
what a concentration 
camp might really be 
like. All I knew now 
was that what we 
had dreaded the 
most had finally 
happened. I was ten 
years old. My 
brother was eight. 
We were Jews. The 
Nazis had found us 
out and caught us at 
last." p. 87 

New York, NY: Avon Books, 
Inc., Avon Camelot, 2000 
[original 1998] 

ISBN 0-380-73285-8 


ALA Best Book for Young 
Adults, 1998 

No Pretty Pictures is the autobiographical story of 
Anita Lobel's childhood, as she struggled to survive the 
programs against the Jewish populace of Poland during the 
Nazi occupation. Anita was barely five when her father went 
into hiding to escape the roundup of Jews in Krakow. Her 
mother had falsified papers allowing her to move freely for a 
while, but when the program against them intensified, the 
family's Polish-Catholic nanny, Niania, fled with the children to 
her own small village. Anita's younger brother was disguised 
as a girl and Niania declared that the two were her daughters. 
When the village was combed by the Nazis looking for Jewish 
hideaways, the trio escaped back to Krakow and found 
sanctuary in a Benedictine convent. Before long they were 
discovered there, and the children were wrested away from 
Niania, imprisoned and sent to a nearby concentration camp. 
Auschwitz and Ravensbruck were the next stops along the line. 
There, the children faced starvation and disease but 
miraculously made it through to their liberation in 1945, and 
against all odds, were reunited with their parents in Sweden 
following the war. 

Lobel writes about the horrors of the Holocaust with heart 
wrenching detail. Reviewing both her incarceration and the 
slow recovery afterwards, Lobel writes candidly of the loathing 
she had for herself as part of a reviled group, and the slow 
healing that allowed her to rebuild and grow. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Karen Hesse 

Out of the Dust is an unusual example of historical fiction 
that tells the story of a family in Texas during the 
Great Depression in a unique free verse form. Billy Jo is 
14 years old in 1934, when Arley Wanderdale asks her if she 
would like to play the piano at the Palace Theatre on 
Wednesday nights. Mama is expecting and Daddy is trying to 
figure out how to keep the farm going. By summer, Billy Jo is 
playing gigs with the Black Mesa Boys in spots all around 
Lubbock, Texas, where crowds are grateful to hear a rag or 
two played by a long-legged red-haired girl. 

In July, everything changes when Ma, mistaking a pail of 
kerosene for water, is badly burned. Billy Jo, trying to toss the 
flaming pail out of the kitchen, ends up splashing it over her 
mother and burning her own hands horribly. When the baby is 
born, Ma dies first and then the newborn boy. Billy Jo's father 
tries to drown his sorrows in alcohol. By winter, Billy Jo 
begins, painfully, to try to play piano again, but her wounded 
hands can no longer create the kind of music that could make 
people forget their misery. In the presence of her father, Billy 
Jo feels ever more invisible and alone, until she finally decides 
to run away. 

Hesse captures the emotion and the landscape of the story 
through lyrical language and precise use of detail. The book's 
unusual format— brief chapters that unfold in free verse — is 
accessible to all levels of readers. 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
Conversation: A Talk 
with Karen Hesse, 1998 
[21 min. BPN 2075907]. 

Tonight, for a little 

in the bright hall 
folks were almost 

almost free of dust, 
almost free of debt, 
almost free of fields 
of withered wheat. 
Most of the night 1 
think I smiled. " 
p. 116 

New York: Scholastic Inc., 
Scholastic Signature, 1999 
[original 1997] 

ISBN 0-590-37125-8 


Newbery Medal, 1998 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



J. B. Cheaney 

"I dared not show my 
face on the docks; 
they would no doubt 
be watching, as they 
had before. Stading 
had been right about 
that. Perhaps she 
was right about other 
things as well. What 
I needed was a place 
in London where I 
might be free from 
detection and still 
earn a living. A place 
where I could fit 
immediately into a 
set or trade and go 
about in company — 
unnoticed, even 
disguised. A place 
where no one 
watching for me 
would ever think to 
look." pp. 60-61 

New York, NY: Random House 
Children's Books, Dell Yearling, 
[original 2000] 

ISBN 0-440-41710-4 

The Playmaker is a mystery-adventure set in Elizabethan 
England. With the sudden death of his mother, 14-year-old 
Richard Malory finds himself in London trying to track down a 
lawyer who may know the whereabouts of Richard's father 
who abandoned his family and disappeared years ago. 
Richard gets a job with a wine merchant but is soon robbed 
and realizes his life is in danger. He meets a girl named Star 
who, after hearing him recite psalms, suggests he approach 
her employer. Richard seizes the opportunity only to discover 
that it is a company of actors and he will be expected to play 
the female roles. At first he is not very good at it, but he gets 
better, even winning the role of Perdita in William 
Shakespeare's new play A Winter's Tale. During the months 
that the theatres are closed in London, Richard works as a 
copier and is sent by The Globe to the rival theatre, The Rose, 
where he discovers they have stolen the plot of Shakespeare's 
new play. There he also hears familiar lines penned by his 
father to his mother many years ago, and begins to wonder if 
his father is alive— perhaps even watching him. 

Cheaney's robust and rousing story has some dramatic twists 
and turns of plot. Elizabethan London is effectively displayed, 
as is the rich, behind-the-scenes detail of Shakespearean 
theatre. The story is set against the Catholic-Protestant 
conflict in England at the time. In 1597, with an aging Queen 
Elizabeth on the throne and no heir, it seems that a Catholic 
may again rule the country that has been fiercely Protestant 
over the decades of Elizabeth's reign. Providing information 
on this historical context will prepare students for the violence 
in this lengthy but rewarding read. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Ji-li Jiang 

Red Scarf Girl recounts author Ji-li Jiang's personal nightmare 
during the Cultural Revolution. In 1966, Chairman Mao, 
disillusioned with perceived failures in rebuilding the nation, 
begins the Cultural Revolution to erase any vestiges of the old 
order or foreign influence. At the time, Ji-li lives in Shanghai 
with her father, an actor at a children's theatre, her mother, 
once an actress and now with a secure job at a sports- 
equipment store, her younger sister and brother, and her 
doting grandmother. Life for the family includes an apartment 
with running water, a maid, and the laughter and talk of 
visiting theatre friends. 

The novel tells how Ji-li's comfortable world begins to unravel 
from the day the 12-year-old was invited to audition for the 
elite Central Liberation Army Arts Academy. The move from 
elementary school to junior high spirals into horror as 
classmates learn that the Jiangs were landowners in Shanghai 
before the revolution— a taint that marks them in the eyes of 
the new order. Her closest friend is An Yi, also from a 
blacklisted family, and Ji-li is shocked when An Yi's 
grandmother commits suicide because of the harassment of the 
Red Guards. In the coming months, the Jiang apartment is 
raided, Ji-li's father is imprisoned, and her grandmother is given 
the humiliating job of sweeping the alley outside the apartment 
twice a day. Ji-li herself is urged by the Revolutionary 
Committee to denounce her parents, but it is something she 
cannot do. 

"I wondered what I 
would be doing if I 
had been born into a 
red family instead of 
a black one. 
Searching people's 
houses? Hating 
landlords and 
rightists? Of course I 
would hate them; I 
hated them even 
now ... But I had felt 
sorry for Old Qian 
even though he was 
wrong ... The harder I 
tried to figure things 
out, the more 
confused I felt. I 
wished I had been 
born into a red family 
so I could do my 
revolutionary duties 
without worrying. " 
p. 126 

New York, NY: 
HarperTrophy, 1998 
[original 1997] 

ISBN 0-06^46208-0 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Sonia Levitin 

"We had been 
hearing rumors. 
Jews leaving 
Ethiopia, a Jew at a 
time, walking Jar, Jar, 
then getting to the 
land promised in the 
Bible. Zion. Israel. 
Every day oj our lives 
we have prayed that 
we might someday 
return to Jerusalem. 
But a prayer is one 
thing, reality is 
another." p. 10 

New York, NY: Ballantine 
Books, Fawcett Juniper, 1987 

ISBN 0-449-70280-4 


ALA Best Book for Young 
Adults, 1987 

The Return recounts a terrible chapter in modern history: the 
persecution of Jewish communities in Ethiopia. The story 
begins in a small village high in the Ethiopian mountains, 
where the main character, Desta, and her siblings were raised. 
Desta's older brother, Joas, is convinced that it is time for 
them to join a group headed first for Sudan and then Israel. 
When a rendezvous with a larger group fails, Desta, Joas and 
their younger sister Almaz decide to continue the tortuous 
journey that even brought abuse to their attempts to buy food. 
Finally Joas believes they have caught up to the others, 
spotting a camp in the distance. He has his sisters stay hidden 
while he scouts ahead. To the girls' horror, he is shot by 
brigands. After burying Joas, Desta is determined to continue 
the journey that meant so much to him. 

Before reaching Sudan, they catch up with the advance group, 
which has hired a guide to do their marketing for them and to 
help them avoid attacks. In Sudan, they confront massive 
refugee camps where there is little shelter and inmates fight a 
constant battle with disease, famine and a scarcity of water. 
There are rumours, though, of Jewish refugees being spirited 
away by bus to a new life in Israel, which Desta, thinks is an 
impossible dream. 

Sonia Levitin presents Desta as a character with realistic hopes 
and fears, thrust from a tradition-locked community into a 
world of great change. The novel brings to life the children's 
Jewish community, with its customs, language and religious 
rituals developed over centuries. It also creates a vivid picture 
of the persecution, abuse and genocide that Jewish Ethiopians 
suffered because of their religion and ethnic background. 
Within this context, the book presents violence, 
religious/ethnic intolerance and sexual content, which will 
require sensitive discussion with students. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Jennifer Armstrong 

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World recounts the 
1914 true story of the Endurance, which Shackleton planned 
to sail from South America to Antarctica. The journey failed 
when the ship became locked into pack ice a hundred miles 
from the Antarctic coast. What emerged from the venture 
was a true-life survival story unrivaled in the history of polar 
exploration. Against incredible odds, Shackleton managed to 
bring his entire crew back to England in 1916. This 
nonfiction account tells how the crew watched their vessel 
being crushed to pieces by ice, dragged supplies and 
lifeboats over disintegrating ice floes, survived blizzards and 
managed to navigate, in their small boats, the earth's most 
treacherous waters. Finally reaching solid ground on 
Elephant Island, Shackleton decided that he, along with five 
of the crew, would sail on to South Georgia Island and make 
their way to one of the whaling stations there to get help. 
Forced to land on an inhospitable side of the island, he left 
half of his contingent and crossed a glacial mountain range to 
reach the nearest whaling station. Numerous photographic 
plates taken by the crew during the adventure enhance 
Armstrong's well-researched account of the events. 

"On the next day, 
January 19, the fist 
of the Antarctic 
closed around the 
ship: Endurance 
was surrounded by 
ice pack, with no 
open water in sight. 
They had sailed 
12,000 miles from 
London. They had 
picked their way 
through 1,000 miles 
of icepack. Now 
they were less than 
100 miles from the 
continent itself, but 
Endurance would 
never reach it. " p. 22 

New York, NY: Crown 
Publishers Inc., 2000 
[original 1998] 

ISBN 0-375-81049-8 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Ben Mikaelsen 

"As he tossed and 
turned, Cole found 
himself growing 
angry again. He 
tried to fight back the 
familiar rage with his 
memory of touching 
Spirit Bear, but 
nothing seemed to 
ward off the 
bitterness and 
frustration that 
flooded his mind. 
Edwin had been right 
when he said that 
anger was never 
forgotten." p. 141 

New York, NY: HarperCollins 
Children's Books, 
HarperTrophy, 2002 
[original 2001] 

ISBN 0-380-80560-X 

Touching Spirit Bear is an easy to read, high-action 
adventure story about a troubled teenager learning to survive 
in the wilderness while dealing with his anger. After a brutal 
assault on a Grade 9 classmate, Cole Matthews must spend a 
year by himself on an isolated island off the BC coast. The 
idea is developed by a Native program— Circle Justice— in 
which those concerned devise a healing path for the offender. 
But Cole is not interested in healing; his plan is to play along 
and stay out of jail. 

Garvey, an Aboriginal parole officer, and Edwin, a Tlingit elder, 
accompany Cole to the island and arrange to periodically bring 
food and supplies. Edwin tells Cole that there is a Spirit Bear 
off the coast of British Columbia, which is pure white and 
revered by the Tlingit for its pride, dignity and honour. Cole 
boasts that he would kill the bear if he saw it. Once the men 
leave, Cole lets loose his contained rage and burns everything, 
including the shelter. His attempt to swim to another island 
fails and Cole finds himself back on the shore, cold, exhausted 
and hungry. After his failed escape attempt, Cole encounters 
the Spirit Bear and almost loses his life when the bear mauls 
him. Fortunately, Garvey and Edwin return and find Cole. 

After six months of physical rehabilitation, they are not sure 
whether Cole should be allowed to return to the island and 
complete his sentence. They are concerned, too, that Peter, 
Cole's victim, has slipped into a deep depression and has 
attempted suicide. The book portrays graphic violence and 
deals with difficult issues, but it also presents an intriguing 
look at justice, reformation and personal responsibility. 
Ultimately, Cole has a moment of revelation from touching the 
Spirit Bear, and begins to change his attitude and his life. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Henry A. Oertelt, Stephanie Oertelt Samuels 

The Unbroken Chain retraces a chain of 18 harrowing 
events that Henry Oertelt experienced as a Jewish teenager 
in Berlin during World War II. Each event in the chain was 
essential for Oertelt to survive the Holocaust. The story 
begins in 1933, when Oertelt was 12 years old. At 14 his 
education was halted, so he became a furniture apprentice. 
By describing the restrictions imposed on him— restrictions on 
shopping hours, attendance at public events, ownership of 
bicycles and radios— Oertelt clearly establishes the dramatic 
changes that quickly evolved in his life. At 22, Oertelt and 
his family were arrested and shipped to Theresienstadt in 
Czechoslovakia. This was the first of five concentration 
camps and twenty-two months of captivity. 

This is a gripping memoir of adventure and survival. Some 
students might find the vivid presentation of atrocities 
disturbing but these scenes are made more bearable by the 
knowledge that Oertelt survived due to his own optimism and 
the kindness of others. 

"No more than two 
feet in front of me 
stood an SS officer, 
with his back turned 
half way toward me. 
His gun slung over 
his shoulder, he was 
guarding the truck 
and apparently the 
door. This was 
obviously not the first 
time he had 
experienced people 
trying to escape. We 
were trapped!" p. 52 

Minneapolis, MN: Lerner 
Publications Company, 2000 

ISBN 0-8225-2952-1 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Lloyd Alexander 

"'Even if the cause is 
good, ' said Theo, 
'what does it do to 
the people who stand 
against it? and the 
people who follow it?' 
'Next time you see 
Jellinek, ' said 
Florian, 'ask him if 
he's ever found a 
way to make an 
omelet without 
breaking eggs. ' 
Yes, ' Theo said. 
Yes, but men aren't 
eggs.'" p. 138 

New York, NY: Penguin Putnam 
Inc., Firebird, 2002 
[original 1981] 

ISBN 0-14-131068-5 

Westmark is an historical fantasy novel featuring Theo, an 
orphan and printer's apprentice, who flees from town after his 
master is killed by the militia, and ends up travelling around 
the kingdom of Westmark with a troupe of roadside 
performers. Count Bombas (a charlatan with many aliases) is 
the leader of the group, and puts Theo to work in their act as 
a wild Trebizonian. In the next town, Mickle, a street urchin 
with a talent for ventriloquism, joins the troupe. It is Mickle's 
skill, in fact, that brings them their greatest success as she 
uses her projected voice to simulate contact with the dead in 
seances. The troupe's reputation reaches King Augustine who 
is grieving the loss of his only child. Through a seance, he 
believes he may be able to contact her. Never did anyone 
anticipate the truth: that Mickle might actually be the lost 

The Westmark trilogy is filled with adventure and skullduggery. 
It explores a number of human foibles and examines the uses 
and abuses of political power. Alexander's witty and elegant 
prose, splashes of word play, and traces of romance make this 
an ideal fantasy series for maturing readers. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Felice Holman 

The Wild Children is a story of homeless orphan children, 
struggling for survival during the Russian revolution around 
1925. Twelve-year-old Alex wakes up one morning to 
discover that the rest of his family has been arrested by 
soldiers. On the advice of his teacher, Katriana Sokolova, 
Alex goes to Moscow to find his uncle. Cold and starving, 
travelling on foot, Alex arrives to find that his uncle is gone 
and his house has been taken over by the state. Close to 
collapse, Alex is taken in by a gang of boys living in the cellar 
of an abandoned bakery. They survive by begging and 
stealing. Peter, who seems to be the leader, has set down 
rules that the boys live by: everyone works and shares what 
they get; no one brings vodka or cocaine into the cellar. Alex 
decides to remain with them. 

When the Moscow winter makes survival increasingly a 
struggle, Peter leads the group to a warmer area in southern 
Russia. Hitching rides on trains, they jump off at a rural spot 
and hide in some caves in the nearby hills. When a couple of 
the older boys get caught drug running and betray Peter to 
the authorities, the children are placed in an orphanage that 
is as bad as anywhere they have been. Alex remembers 
Katriana telling him of her brother in Leningrad who has 
helped people to escape from Russia. After Miska, one of the 
smallest boys, dies following a beating, the ragtag gang of 
twelve decides that they must escape. 

The Russian vocabulary does not detract from the novel's 
wide appeal to male readers. A glossary is provided. 

"If they could have 
looked down upon 
themselves from the 
height of a cloud, 
they would have 
seen that they were 
just a wave, a small 
one, in a large ocean 
of people along the 
roads to Moscow: 
people in wagons, 
people in sleds, 
people carrying 
people, but mostly 
people on their own 
two feet, dragging 
themselves by force 
toward something 
better — something 
less bad, at least — 
than they were 
leaving. From the 
known to the 
unknown." p. 25 

New York, NY: Puffin Books, 


[original 1983] 

ISBN 0-14-031930-1 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Ursula Le Guin 

"You summoned a 
spirit from the dead, 
but with it came one 
of the Powers of 
unlife. Uncalled it 
came from a place 
where there are no 
names. Evil, it wills 
to work evil through 
you. The power you 
had to call it gives it 
power over you: you 
are connected. It is 
the shadow of your 
arrogance, the 
shadow of your 
ignorance, the 
shadow you cast.'" 
p. 79 

London, England: Penguin 
Group, Puffin Books, 1971 
[original 1968] 

ISBN 0-140-30477-0 

Le Guin's fantasy trilogy, beginning with A Wizard of 
Earthsea, offers an elaborately detailed locale with its own 
peoples, beasts, culture and beliefs. A Wizard of Earthsea 
follows the coming-of-age of a young mage. As a boy, Duny 
learned spells and charms from his aunt, a witch. When their 
village is besieged by fierce fair-haired kargs, Duny summons 
fog and spins a concealment spell that sends the enemy 
scattering back to their ships. Duny's skill as an enchanter 
attracts the attention of Olgion, a mage who urges Duny's 
father to release the boy into his care. The thirteen-year-old is 
ready to receive his true name, Ged, and to begin his training 
as a mage. 

On Roke Island, Ged attends the famous School for Wizards 
and advances into a thoughtful young scholar whose skills as a 
mage grow daily. However, he still has a reckless side. 
Although cautioned not to use his abilities before he is truly 
ready, Ged is goaded into a display of magic that releases an 
evil shadow-beast into the land. Facing the consequences 
alone, he decides to pursue it, even if it means sailing to the 
farthest reaches of Earthsea. 

The lyrical prose in the book challenges readers to think about 
the power of language and how the act of naming is in many 
ways an act of creation. Themes of responsibility and 
friendship are established through vocabulary. Teachers 
should be aware that some students or communities might be 
offended by the presentation of magic in the book. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grade 9 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 





English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 

Hi A!// * . * 



Mark Twain 

"And when we 
stepped onto the raft 
I says: 'Now, old Jim, 
you're a free man 
again, and I bet you 
won't ever be a slave 
no more. ' 

'En a mighty good job 
it wuz, too, Huck. It 
'uz planned beautiful, 
en it 'uz done 
beautiful; en dey 
ain't nobody kin git 
up apian dat's mo' 
mixed up en splendid 
den what dot one 
wuz.'" pp. 382-383 

Markham, ON: Penguin Books, 


[original 1884] 

ISBN 140430180 

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck Finn, son of 
the town drunk, runs away to escape his father's brutality and 
the tender ministrations of the well-meaning woman who 
wishes to "civilize" him. He joins Jim, a runaway slave, who is 
fleeing to avoid being sold "down the river." The narrative 
traces the adventures of the two fugitives as they float down 
the Mississippi on a raft. The novel begins as a boy's 
adventure story, moves into a devastating criticism of society 
in the central part of the book, and returns once more to 
youthful adventure at the conclusion. 

The strength of the novel lies in its delineation of character, its 
humour, its satire, and is an excellent basis for discussion of 
society and human nature. The novel also allows for 
discussion of such concepts as point of view, thematic 
development, plot structure and the characteristics of the 
picaresque novel. 

The book reflects that the society of the time supported 
slavery and denied the slaves any opportunities. Jim's 
apparent ignorance, therefore, loses all taint of discrimination 
and becomes not only understandable but inevitable. It is the 
white society Mark Twain criticizes, not the black. However 
ignorant Jim may appear, he is immensely superior in his 
humanity and moral standards to the majority of the whites he 
and Huck encounter on their travels. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Paulo Coelho 

The Alchemist is a gentle and charming adventure fable. It 
is told with magic and wonder by Brazilian author Paulo 
Coelho. The main character of the book, Santiago, is an 
Andalusian shepherd boy who leaves Spain in search of 
treasure. Eventually, Santiago finds his way to the Egyptian 
desert where he meets an alchemist who offers metaphysical 
lessons and wisdom on life. 

The message of the book is suggested by the subtitle: you 
find your purpose by following your own dreams and bliss. 
The book suggests that we must often go on a metaphorical 
and spiritual quest to fulfill our nature and destiny. However, 
despite some incidental allusions to God, Allah, the 
Philosopher's Stone, the Elixir of Life, angels, rabbis and Sons 
of God, this novella does not demand religious belief and does 
not favour any specific religious denomination. Rather, it is 
an open-ended fable that will appeal to high school students 
who are beginning to ask their own questions about life's 
purpose and meaning. The story is simply written and 
appropriate for students at diverse reading levels. 

"'My heart is a 
traitor, ' the boy said 
to the alchemist, 
when they had 
paused to rest the 
horses. 'It doesn't 
want me to go on. ' 
That makes sense, ' 
the alchemist 
answered. 'Naturally 
it's afraid that, in 
pursuing your dream, 
you might lose 
everything you've 
won.' 'Well, then, 
why should I listen to 
my heart?' 'Because 
you will never be 
able to keep it quiet. '" 
p. 130 

New York, NY: 
HarperCollins Inc., 1998 
First Harper Perennial 

[original 1988] 
167 pages 

ISBN 0-06-250218-2 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



George Orwell 

"Is it not crystal 
clear, then, 
comrades, that all the 
evils of this life of 
ours spring from the 
tyranny of human 
beings? Only get rid 
of Man, and the 
produce of our labour 
would be our own. 
Almost overnight we 
could become rich 
and free. What then 
must we do? Why, 
work night and day, 
body and soul, for 
the overthrow of the 
human race!" p. 5 

Middlesex, England: Penguin 
Books, 1979 
[original 1945] 

ISBN 0451514696 

Animal Farm is a satiric Utopia, an indictment of dictatorship 
and the abuse of power. The animals on Manor Farm drive 
out their master, Jones, and take over and administer the 
farm, adopting new principles consisting of seven 
commandments. The last of these is: "All animals are equal." 
Conditions on the farm soon become oppressive again and the 
animals discover that, "All animals are equal, but some animals 
are more equal than others," especially the intelligent pigs that 
administer the rules and assume dominate positions. 

This fable satirizes dictatorship and the abuse of power, 
integrating complex political ideas and paralleling closely the 
events of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. Orwell 
believed that Stalin betrayed the Marxist revolution and 
wanted to expose the nature of Russian communism. 

The novel is reinforced by irony and symbolism, revealing both 
the good and evil aspects of society. The plot moves full circle 
from hopelessness to optimism to hopelessness, and is likely to 
generate a great deal of class discussion. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Emily Carr 

In The Book of Small, Emily Carr, one of Canada's great 
painters, recalls her growing-up years in Victoria, British 
Columbia, in the 1870s. "Small" is her nickname as the 
youngest of three sisters: Big, Middle and Small. 

This series of short, readable, lively literary sketches provides a 
sense of a Victoria which, even in its pioneer days, displays the 
Englishness and eccentricity that becomes part of its character. 
It also reflects the sensitivity to vivid detail of the artist as a 
child. The writing is simple, unaffected; the tone warm, often 
whimsical and humorous. 

The Book of Small might be used to encourage students to 
write their own autobiographical sketches— or writing up the 
reminiscences of family members— with particular attention to 
imitating Carr's selectivity, economy and eye for detail. It 
would also be suitable for oral reading or readers' theatre. 

The wind sauntered 
up the stream 
bumping into 
everything. It was 
not strong enough to 
sweep boldly up the 
tunnel, but quivered 
along, giving bluff's 
and boulders playful 
little whacks before 
turning the next 
corner and crumbling 
the surface of that 
pool." p. 71 

Toronto, ON: Clarke, Irwin 
& Company Limited, 1966 
[original 1942] 

ISBN 0772002231 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



John Wyndham 

"And God created 
man in His own 
image. And God 
decreed that man 
should have one 
body, one head, two 
arms and two legs: 
that each arm should 
be jointed in two 
places and end in 
one hand: that each 
hand should have 
Jour fingers and one 
thumb: that each 
finger should bear a 
flat fingernail ..." 
p. 72 

London, England: Penguin 
Books, 1955 

ISBN 774010991 

The Chrysalids tells of a time after a nuclear war in Labrador 
when the survivors believe the devastation is a punishment 
from God; and as a result, rigidly structure society so that any 
deviation from the "norm" is considered to be seditious. David 
Strom leads a group of young people who have telepathic 
powers and when their deviation is discovered, they must 
escape. At the climax of the pursuit, David and his friends are 
rescued by the New Zealanders, members of a neighbouring 
society that depicts the next stage of evolutionary 
development where telepathic communication is accepted. 

Two themes are strongly emphasized. First, humankind must 
be able to accept individual differences and to adapt to 
change, while intolerance leads to hate and the destruction of 
civilization. Second, ambition and pride may be destructive 
when one attempts to control all others. The novel provides for 
interesting small and large group discussions. As with all 
speculative fiction, there may be concerns regarding future 
worlds with different ideologies. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Barbara Hambly 

Dragonsbane is a fantasy in which John, a dragonslayer, and 
Jenny, a mage, journey to kill the dreaded Morkeleb, the 
fiercest of dragons. Through a series of adventures, Jenny is 
able to search for truth and realize her destiny. Jenny's sense 
of purpose and growing awareness of her needs and desires 
provides a powerful ending when she realizes that she can 
become a dragon— all powerful, or a human wife and mother. 

Interesting discussions will develop regarding good versus evil, 
the use of power, and the giving up of one's life in the aid of 
others. There are strong thematic links to our struggles 
against evil while searching for truth are universal to 

The use of magic and sorcery does not demand that students 
believe in this fantasy, but rather it is a tool to develop plot. 
The strength of this novel is in its writing style, character 
development, and decision-making processes. Students should 
enjoy class discussions regarding the moral dilemmas 
encountered by Jenny and John. 

"I cannot save you 
without knowing your 
name, ' she said. 'If 
you slip beyond the 
bounds of your flesh, 
I need something by 
which to call you 
back.' Still that 
molten wrath surged 
through the 
weakness and pain. 
She remembered 
Caerdinn saying, 
'Save a dragon, slave 
a dragon.'" p. 212 

New York, NY: Ballantine 
Books, 1986 
[original 1985] 

ISBN 0345349393 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Forrest Carter 

"I liked the field 
plowing, though. It 
growed me up. When 
we walked down the 
trail to the cabin, it 
'peared to me that 
my steps was 
lengthening quite 
some bit behind 
Grandpa. Granpa 
bragged on me a lot 
to Granma at the 
supper table and 
Granma agreed that 
it looked like I was 
coming on to being a 
man." p. 50 

Albuquerque, NM: University 
of New Mexico Press, 1976 

ISBN 0826308791 

The Education of Little Tree tells the story of a young 
Cherokee boy who is brought up by his grandparents in a 
small mountain community in early 20th century America. He 
grows and matures as he learns about tolerance and 
understanding, while becoming sensitive to other people and 
the world of nature around him. Not only is Little Tree 
educated, but the reader also gains great respect and love for 
the Cherokee way of life. The story is told by Little Tree and is 
limited by his perceptions as a child, suggesting naivete and 
honesty. The novel should promote an understanding of and 
empathy for Native peoples, as well as pride in Native culture. 

Portrayals of animals are both positive and sensitive, using 
some Native cultural symbols and their implications to life. 
The Cherokee are presented as thrifty, sensitive and full of 
love, while the Caucasians are seen as powerful and 
insensitive. Any stereotyping of Native or white cultures 
reflects the values of the characters and can be dealt with in 
the classroom context. It is recommended that critical thinking 
exercises be presented that would enable a student to obtain a 
more balanced perspective on the racial-ethnic, religious, 
social-economic, and political aspects of the novel. These 
issues should be discussed during the study of this novel. 
Physical violence, racial epithets and profanity are reflective of 
the early 20th century. 

Each chapter lends itself to being discussed independently. 
The novel's humorous style and use of satire develop the 
story's gently mocking tone. While the novel uses an 
autobiographical voice, it is a fictionalized account using a 
child's perception to enhance the humorous style. Character 
development and point of view are also strong features of the 
novel. It may be most appropriate for either small group or 
individual study. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Imre Kertesz 

Fate/ess, a nobel prize-winning novel is about the experiences 
of George Koves, a Jewish boy surviving in a concentration 
camp during the Holocaust. Although the book is fictional, it is 
informed by Imre Kertesz's own life as a Hungarian Jew who 
was imprisoned at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during his 

Fate/ess is a mixture of history and strong emotional content. 
It provides basic information about the appalling living 
conditions and constant fight for survival of those who were 
trapped by circumstances beyond their control. The narrative 
is told in a matter-of-fact manner in harrowing detail. The 
book's sometimes graphic language and references to violence, 
cruelty, racism, gender orientation and sexuality may be 
objectionable to some students and community members; 
however, these elements serve to vividly illustrate the 
treatment of Jewish people in concentration camps during 
World War II. Some of the scenes are intensely unnerving and 
may be particularly troublesome to students whose lives have 
been directly affected by racism, war, incarceration, violence or 
death. Teachers will need to provide some historical context 
and guide students' interpretations around these very sensitive 

"Only in Zeitz did I 
realize that captivity 
also has its gray, 
everyday days, or, 
rather, that true 
captivity is really a 
row of gray, 
everyday days. " 
p. 99 

Evanston, IL: 

Northwestern University 


Hydra Books edition 

[original 1975] 

191 pages 

ISBN 0-8101-1049-0 


Nobel Prize, 2002 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Tracy Chevalier 

"I had not looked at 
the painting long — it 
was too strange 
seeing myself— but I 
had known 
immediately that it 
needed the pearl 
earring. Without it 
there were only my 
eyes, my mouth, the 
band of my chemise, 
the dark space 
behind my ear, all 
separate. The 
earring would bring 
them together. It 
would complete the 
painting. It would 
also put me out on 
the street." p. 195 

New York, NY: Penguin Group, 
Plume Books, 2001 
[original 1999; English 
translation 1992] 

ISBN 0-452-28215-2 

The Girl with a Pearl Earring is a simple, readable novel 
inspired by Johannes Vermeer's famous painting alluded to in 
the title. In a 1600s household, Griet, a sixteen -year-old 
servant becomes involved with the famous Dutch artist. 
Vermeer eventually paints her wearing his wife's pearl 
earrings, which are immortalized in the painting. 

Although the narrative reflects the morals and values of the 
17 th century, it avoids the heavy descriptions frequently 
associated with historical fiction. Rather, the story focuses on 
Griefs maturation— emotionally, physically and sexually 
(teachers should be aware that some students or communities 
might be offended by the description of sexual acts in the 
text). The book explores gender politics, class structures and 
morality, as well as themes of loyalty and self-discovery: Griet 
is a survivor and protects her family despite the pressures of 
class difference in the Netherlands at that time. 

This vibrant novel contains rich examples of characterization, 
setting and atmosphere, irony and symbolism. Introducing 
students to background information and examples of 
Vermeer's work early in the study may enhance students' 
understanding and interest of the text. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Gerald Durrell 

A custom official aptly describes the Durrell family in My 
Family and Other Animals as a "travelling circus and staff." 
Persuaded by her eldest son, Larry, Mrs. Durrell sells her home 
in England and takes her family to live on the island of Corfu 
for five years. The amusing and eccentric antics of the family 
are rivalled only by the author and youngest child's 
reminiscences of his boyhood. Gerald's fascination with 
animals resulted in incidents, such as snakes living in the 
bathtub and magpies ransacking the house. Freed from the 
rigours of regular schooling, Gerald spends his time 
investigating nature and acquiring a miscellany of oddly named 

Durrell's deft touch in creating humour is rare in nonfiction. 
Students may wish to use his writing as a model for creating 
their own comedy. The book inspires personal response and 
may be presented for full class, small group or individual study. 

"Suddenly there 
came a rapid series 
of colossal explosions 
that rocked the house 
and set all the dogs 
barking downstairs. 
I rushed out on to the 
landing, where 
reigned: the dogs 
had rushed upstairs 
in a body to join in 
the fun, and were 
leaping about, 
yelping excitedly. 
Mother looking wild 
and distraught, had 
rushed out of her 
bedroom in her 
voluminous nightie, 
under the impression 
that Margo had 
committed suicide. 
Larry burst angrily 
from his room to find 
out what the row 
was about, and 
Margo, under the 
impression that Peter 
had returned to claim 
her and was being 
slaughtered by 
Leslie, was fumbling 
at the lock on the 
attic door and 
screaming at the top 
of her voice. " 
pp. 172-173 

Toronto, ON: Penguin 
Books, 1977 
[original 1956] 

ISBN 0140013997 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Walter Lord 

"And in a story 
headlined, 'Desirable 
Immigrants Lost,' the 
New York Sun 
pointed out that, 
along with the others, 
78 Finns were lost 
who might do the 
country some good. 

But along with the 
prejudices, some 
nobler instincts also 
were lost. Men 
would go on being 
brave, but never 
again would they be 
brave in quite the 
same way. These 
men of the Titanic 
had a touch — " 
p. 112 

New York, NY: Bantam Books, 


[original 1955] 

ISBN 0553205099 

A Night to Remember is on April 12, 1912 when the Titanic, 
the "unsinkable" British liner began its maiden voyage from 
Southampton to New York with over 2000 passengers, 
including the elite of British and American society. When the 
Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, over 1000 people drowned. 
This account emphasizes a fatal sense of invulnerability on the 
part of owners, crew and passengers. The fairly rigid class 
system in the early part of the 1900s is seen, to some extent, 
as determining the fate of all. 

A Night to Remember is retold as a moment-by-moment, 
person-by-person account, from the sighting of the deadly 
iceberg to the rescue of survivors by the Carpathia, five hours 
later. The emphasis is on individual human reactions to the 
disaster as it occurs, and on the memories of survivors, 63 of 
whom the author interviewed in the process of writing the 
book. In spite of the number of people followed in the 
account, the story is relatively fast-paced and gripping. Lord's 
style is simple, clear, dispassionate; the vocabulary 

The sinking of the Titanic holds a continuing fascination for 
students that is increased by the saga of the search for, and 
discovery of, the wreckage. This book could be used as part 
of a "survival" nonfiction unit; or in conjunction with the 
equivalent type of "disaster" fiction, to examine significant 
differences in approach and treatment. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Homer Hickam 

October Sky, easier-to-read than its length belies, is a 
rewarding book about a vanishing lifestyle represented by the 
1950s small-town America. This entertaining and nostalgic 
memoir is centred on a group of high school friends in 
Coalwood, West Virginia, who share an avid enthusiasm for 
rocketry at a time when the United States space program was 
beginning. The boys experiment with scrap metal from the 
town's company mines, and eventually succeed in building 
functioning rockets. At the same time, Hickam struggles to 
avoid the fate of so many teens in his area— working in the 
mine— and for this reason, he comes into conflict with his 

Themes of sibling rivalry, the generation gap, freedom versus 
parental authority, marital difficulties and family loyalty are 
particularly well developed. Teachers may want to provide 
additional information on Wernher von Braun, Sputnik, the 
Space Race or life in the 1950s; however, the book connects 
with the dreams and problems of today's students despite the 

"There was, he 
reported, a huge 
flash in Hickam's 
yard and a sound 
like God Himself had 
clapped his hands. 
Then an arc of fire 
lifted up and up into 
the darkness, turning 
and cartwheeling 
and spewing bright 
sparks. The way the 
man told it, our 
rocket was a 
beautiful and glorious 
sight, and I guess he 
was right as far as it 
went. The only 
problem was, it 
wasn't our rocket 
that streaked into 
that dark, cold, clear, 
and starry night. It 
was my mother's 
rose-garden fence. " 
pp. 43-44 

New York, NY: 
Dell Publishing, 2000 
[original 1998] 
428 pages 

ISBN 0-440-23550-2 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Charles Dickens 

"7 want a boy, and 
he mustn't be a big 
un. Loral' said Mr. 
Sikes, reflectively, 'if 
I'd only got that 
young boy of Ned, the 
chimbley -s weeper's ! 
He kept him small on 
purpose, and let him 
out by the fob. But 
the father gets 
lagged; and then the 
Juvenile Delinquent 
Society comes, and 
takes the boy away 
from a trade where 
he was aming 
money, teaches him 
to read and write, 
and in time makes a 
'prentice of him. '" 
p. 141 

New York, NY: Bantam Books, 
Inc., 1981 
[original 1838] 

ISBN 0553210505 

The overall tone of Oliver Twist is romantic and sentimental, 
and the characters are charming, but the events do reveal the 
miseries of the poor. It is also a bitter social criticism set in 
London during the early 1800s. Oliver, who is illegitimate, 
starved and ill-treated, eventually becomes involved with a 
gang of thieves and pickpockets. After many adventures, he 
finds both friends and fortune. 

The plot provides for interesting discussion on the varied 
characters, most of whom are one-sided, and reveals the 
extremes of human nature. Dickens' novel reflects how 
society at that time discriminated against the Jews and the 

Experienced readers should enjoy the novel, and class 
discussion may lead to further research into that era. The 
events that surround Oliver Twist may well surround some of 
our own poor, and that should encourage some interesting 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Bernice Morgan 


Random Passage is regarded as one of the most widely 
read books about Newfoundland and is considered 
representative of its culture. The protagonist Lavinia Andrews 
is a seventeen-year-old living in a tiny outport of early 
Newfoundland. In her journal, she records the adventures of 
her family in this barren land in the language of the time and 

This rich book deals with love, power, greed, forgotten pasts, 
missed opportunities, and the importance of community. The 
effect of adversity on character is the main focus in this 
coming-of-age romance. It also contains many 'exotic' 
elements associated with romantic historical fiction or 
adventure writing: privateers, polar bears, tragic love, 
madness and murder. 

Morgan's novel lends itself to creative response and would 
make students more aware of a unique regional culture quite 
different from that of the prairies. The book does include 
negative references to Aboriginal peoples, violence, sexual 
references, and occasional inappropriate language. Teachers 
should be advised to discuss the concerns critically within 
their historical context. 

They come around 
the corner below the 
fish store and see, 
well down the beach, 
a sight so terrible 
that they cannot at 
first make any sense 
of it. A dirty white 
animal rears up on 
its hind legs, 
towering over and 
half -hiding the man it 
is attacking. The two 
are locked in a silent, 
deadly embrace, Ned 
clinging with all his 
strength to the 
beast's great paw, 
trying to force its 
claws back from his 
face." p. 174 

St. John's, NL: Breakwater, 

[original 1992] 
269 pages 

ISBN 1-55081-051-0 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Daphne du Maurier 

"Rebecca, always 
Rebecca Wherever I 
walked in Manderley, 
wherever I sat, even 
in my thoughts and 
in my dreams, I met 
Rebecca" p. 244 

Toronto, ON: Random House 
of Canada 
Arrow edition 
[original 1938] 
344 pages 

ISBN 0-09-986600-5 

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier's Gothic romance-melodrama- 
mystery remains a popular literary staple. The story is narrated 
by the second wife of wealthy Maxim de Winter. The new 
Mrs. de Winter, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Rebecca, 
Maxim's dead wife, comes to live at the Manderley mansion on 
the Cornish coast. Feeling unwelcome and plagued by the 
presence of Rebecca in the house, 

Mrs. de Winter begins to unravel the mysterious sailing accident 
in which Rebecca was killed. 

The novel illustrates the influence that charismatic people can 
have on the lives of others. This is especially evident with the 
new Mrs. de Winter as she wrestles with overcoming her own 
insecurities. Rebecca also deals with the feelings of loyalty, 
obsession, possessiveness and jealousy, and how these 
adversely affect the lives of others. Teachers will want to 
provide their students guidance as they explore some of the 
complex ethical questions that the novel explores. 

This novel would lend itself to an examination of genre 
conventions of mystery, romance and melodrama. It could also 
be used effectively to study first-person point of view, setting 
and atmosphere, and would be appropriate for evoking personal 
response and creative assignments such as diaries, letters and 
student artwork. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Rick Hansen and Jim Taylor 

Rick Hansen: Man in Motion is the modern success story of 
a man who gives hope and encouragement to all people, as 
well as to those in circumstances similar to his own. Hansen's 
activities, supported by many volunteers, created a recognition 
of and commitment to an awareness of the hopes, dreams and 
feelings of those with disabilities. 

Born in British Columbia, Rick Hansen was disabled at a young 
age, but never let this inhibit his athletic or other endeavours. 
While in his 20s, he undertook a world Man in Motion tour, in 
his wheelchair, to draw attention to persons with disabilities, 
their aspirations and needs. 

The book promotes critical thinking and an evaluation of 
personal values and attitudes toward people with disabilities. 
Students could be encouraged to look for similarities among all 
people. For example, Rick has a romance with his 
physiotherapist, Amanda Reid, whom he later marries. While 
Rick Hansen's Man in Motion tour occurred in the mid-1980s, 
he remains an excellent role model of a very successful 

The hoy was coming 
off the shoes. I was 
growing more relaxed 
and comfortable in 
the outside world, 
accepting and 
beginning to 
understand who this 
Rick Hansen person 
really was, relishing 
the companionship as 
much as the 
competition. And 
while all this was 
going on, I was 
learning more about 
the sport that would 
really become my 
passion." p. 55 

Markham, ON: Penguin 
Books Canada Ltd., 1988 
[original 1987] 

ISBN 014011713X 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



George Eliot 

"'Nancy,' said 
Godfrey, slowly, 
'when I married you, 
I hid something from 
you — something I 
ought to have told 
you. That woman 
Mamer found dead in 
the snow — Eppie's 
mother — that 
wretched woman — 
was my wife: Eppie 
is my child. ". . . 

'I oughtn't to have left 
the child unowned: I 
oughtn't to have kept 
it from you. But I 
couldn't bear to give 
you up, Nancy.'" 
pp. 162-163 

Oxford, England: Heinemann 
Educational, 1993 
[original 1861] 

ISBN 0435126040 

Silas Marner is a relatively short, yet stylistically polished 
novel providing a social, moral, religious and psychological 
commentary on 19th century rural England. 

Eliot traces the life of Silas Marner, a skilled weaver in the 
village of Raveloe and a reclusive miser. His beloved gold is 
stolen but its place in his heart is taken by a small golden- 
haired child who mysteriously arrives at Manner's cottage, and 
whom Marner adopts and cares for. The plot has other 
mysterious and dramatic events, but it is essentially a fable of 
loss and redemption through love. 

In spite of its brevity, this is a complex novel with a slow 
moving, two-fold plot that is united in the last third of the 
book. The vocabulary and use of dialect may prove 
challenging, but this edition contains a helpful glossary. There 
is also a good introduction and end pages of interesting 
"Activities" that are adaptable to students of different ability 

This may be a novel best reserved for a more advanced 
English 10 class, or for individual study. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Ray Bradbury 

In Something Wicked This Way Comes, suspense and 
foreboding emanate from the very beginning of two boys' 
involvement with the Carnival and Pandemonium Shadow 
Show. They are caught in an evil nightmare where the old turn 
young and the young turn old, mirrors steal souls, and the 
exhibits within a wax museum are of living people. Before they 
can escape, they must confront the ultimate evil. This fantasy 
develops the idea of a secret dream or wish, but after that wish 
is granted, things are never the same. 

The plot develops the idea of youth and goodness versus the 
carnival of evil. Youth is presented as wise, while those who 
are older, especially males, are shown to be desirous of the 
qualities of youth. One of the themes of the novel is that our 
own fears may destroy us. While there is horror, there is no 
descriptive violence. The book provides an opportunity to look 
at language and the power of indirect description. There are 
some racial and religious references, but they are used as a 
backdrop for the social setting of the carnival. 

This is an excellent novel for small group discussions or for 
those students who enjoy speculative fiction and would like to 
enhance their reading skills in this area. 

"'Jim, the music that 
the calliope played 
when Mr. Cooger got 
younger — ' 

'It was the 'Funeral 
March'! Played 
'Which 'Funeral 

'Which! Jim, Chopin 
only wrote one tune! 
The 'Funeral March!' 
'But why played 
'Mr. Cooger was 
marching away from 
the grave, not 
towards it, wasn't 
he, getting younger, 
smaller, instead of 
older and dropping 
dead?'" p. 65 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Books, 1963 
[original 1962] 

ISBN 0553280325 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Robert Bateman (with Rick Archbold) 

The human race 
may finally be 
starting to learn from 
its mistakes. We 
may be standing on 
the brink of a 
revolution in the way 
we relate to all other 
creatures and living 
systems on the 
planet. But before 
we can find a new 
path, we need to take 
our heads out of the 
sand and embrace 
new ways of life. We 
need to pay 
attention." p. 33 

Toronto, ON: Penguin Books 
Canada Ltd., 2002 
[original 2000] 
130 pages 

ISBN 014301272-X 

Thinking Like a Mountain is a passionate, eloquent plea for 
conservation of nature and the planet. Bateman is a well- 
known Canadian artist and environmentalist who writes 
movingly about how nature has changed from his childhood to 
the present day. In thoughtful, concise chapters, he clearly 
indicts the influence of capitalistic greed and consumption on 
the destruction of nature. The book is also illustrated by 
Bateman's own drawings. 

Bateman's tone is positive and passionate. The book urges 
immediate change and includes a bibliography for further 
reading on the topic. The accessibility and balanced 
perspective of Bateman's text provides a good introduction to 
ecological issues. This reflective, user-friendly text invites 
personal, creative, critical and problem-solving responses on 
many levels. In particular, most students will have strong 
opinions about his assessment of their age group in the 
chapter titled "Homo sapiens Teenager consumerensis." 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Harper Lee 

In Alabama, during the Depression, Scout, the protagonist of 
To Kill a Mockingbird, develops a growing awareness of 
good and evil in the world around her; racial and class 
prejudice within both the black and white communities, and the 
religious prejudices of the various sects of the area. 
Counterbalancing this are the positive qualities of compassion, 
sympathy, understanding and wisdom demonstrated by various 
characters, primarily Scout's father, Atticus. 

Told from Scout's point of view, the novel is a look at the past: 
a child's experiences described with the perception of an adult. 
The novel deals with complex ethical issues, and may require a 
great deal of class discussion. Characters, such as Atticus, 
demonstrate that one individual can make a difference. 

Treatment of blacks in Alabama is described clearly and 
movingly, and the historical time frame is accurate. Some of 
the characters use language indicating racial and class 
prejudices; however, this language reflects the attitudes and 
circumstances of the people at that time. The novel promotes 
tolerance and understanding through the main characters of 
Scout and Atticus Finch. 

"You think about 
that' Miss Maude 
was saying. 'It was 
no accident. I was 
sittin' there on the 
porch last night, 
waiting. I waited 
and waited to see 
you all come down 
the sidewalk, and as 
I waited I thought, 
Atticus Finch won't 
win, he can't win, but 
he's the only man in 
these parts who can 
keep a jury out so 
long in a case like 
that. And I thought 
to myself, well, we're 
making a step — it's 
just a baby-step, but 
it's a step.'" p. 216 

New York, NY: J. B. 
Lippincott Company, 1960 

ISBN 044508376X 


Pulitzer Prize, 1961 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Karen Connelly 


"He talks about spicy 
food, a famous 
Buddhist monk who 
is also a great 
fortune-teller, the 
school I will go to, the 
people who are 
anxious to meet me. 
When I ask why 
these people want to 
meet me, he giggles. 
'Why, because you 
are a f along. ' A 
foreigner. It is my 
first Thai word. " p. 2 

Winnipeg, MB 
Turnstone Press, 1992 
206 pages 

ISBN 0-8801-162-8 

Touch the Dragon is a first-person journal recounting Karen 
Connelly's one-year stay in Thailand as a 17-year-old exchange 
student. The memoir made Connelly, at 24 years old, the 
youngest writer to win a Governor General's Award. 

The book is about the honest frustrations of a teenager trying 
to cope with the alienation and cultural shock of living in a 
foreign country away from her family, boyfriend and familiar 
surroundings. With passion, humour and some mildly course 
language, the memoir gradually reveals how Connelly comes 
to understand, appreciate and eventually miss the exotic 
beauty of the Thai people. The accessible style of this text 
could lead naturally to student writing as well as travel-focused 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Waiting for the Rain is a South African tale of a friendship 
between two boys, one black and one white. The boys 
develop a harmonious childhood relationship oblivious to the 
discord around them. As the boys grow older, their differences 
are accentuated. Unlike Tengo, Frikkie has many opportunities 
for advancement in society. Tengo is shocked by the injustice 
to and maltreatment of his people on the farm, in the 
townships and cities. When Tengo and Frikkie meet again, 
both their dreams have been altered by the demands of their 
respective societies. 

Through this rather simple narrative, the writer presents 
opposing views, factions and precepts of South African society. 
The innocence of youth is transformed by the burdens and 
tensions of a troubled society. While this subject matter may 
be challenging and sensitive to some students, the strength of 
this novel is its structure, character development, point of view, 
setting and symbolism. 

Sheila Gordon 

"He remembered 
how, when he had 
been unpacking the 
first box of books, he 
had felt it held 
something magic for 
him. Perhaps the 
magic, he thought 
now, was in 
knowing — 
under s tanding 
certain things that 
Frikkie and the 
oubaas were ignorant 
of, which gave him a 
power that lessened 
their hold on him ..." 
p. 48 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Books, 1989 
[original 1987] 

ISBN 0553279114 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



W. O. Mitchell 


"Within him 
something was 
opening, releasing 
shyly as the petals of 
a flower open, with 
such gradualness 
that he was hardly 
aware of it. Bat it 
was happening: an 

imperceptible as the 
morning wind, a 
growing elation of 
such fleeting delicacy 
and pregnancy that 
he dared not turn his 
mind to it for fear 
that he might spoil it, 
that it might be 
carried away as 
lightly as one strand 
of spider web on a 
sigh of a wind. He 
was filled with 
breathlessness and 
expectancy, as 
though he were going 
to be given 

something, as though 
her were about to 
find something. " 
p. 107 

Toronto, ON: Seal Books, 1982 
[original 1947] 

ISBN 0770417701 


Eugene Field Award, 1947 

Canadian Classics Committee, 

Who Has Seen the Wind, a Canadian classic, tells the story 
of Brian, a boy growing up in a small prairie town during the 
thirties. He gradually comes to accept life as he finds it- 
imperfect, sometimes brutal and tragic, but ordered somehow 
by a benevolent, all-pervading power. 

Failure and frustration are often visible as Brian looks at the 
life of his small town. Superficially, the view is tragic despite 
its whimsically humorous atmosphere. Brian encounters 
defeat, cruelty, injustice, misunderstanding and death. But, in 
spite of his personal contact with the harsh realities of 
existence, he emerges with a view of life that is essentially 
positive: birth and death, struggle and failure, are a part of 
nature and belong in the scheme of things. The book offers 
rich material for the study of symbolism, prose style, 
character, setting, plot structure, philosophy and psychology. 

The novel can be approached from the philosophical, the 
psychological or the literary point of view. A thorough study 
should include all aspects. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 




English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 

3 HM> * , # 


Ernest J. Gaines 

"'Just one more time, 
and I'll kill you. ' She 
looked at everybody 
there. That go for 
the rest qfy'all,' she 
said. 'You free, then 
you go'n act like free 
men. If you want to 
act like you did on 
that plantation, turn 
around now and go 
on back to that 
plantation.'" p. 19 

New York, NY: Bantam Books, 
Inc., 1972 
[original 1971] 

ISBN 0553205854 


Commonwealth Club of 
California, 1972 

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a searching 
portrayal of life as a black woman living in the deep American 
south. Ernest Gaines taped Miss Jane Pittman's reminiscences 
in 1962 when she was already over 100 years old. Her 
account details the suffering and humiliations that blacks faced 
in their daily lives. However, through it all, Pittman maintains 
her faith. As a result, this uplifting perspective celebrates the 
unfolding of a determined spirit in the face of adversity. 

Gaines writes in a clear, readable style, using Pittman as the 
first person narrator. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Robin McKinley 

In The Blue Sword, Harry Crewe's father dies, so she leaves 
her home and travels to the frontier where her elder brother, 
Richard, is stationed. Living under the care of her brother's 
superiors, Sir Charles and Lady Amelia, Harry finds life 
confining until Corlath, ruler of the neighbouring kingdom of 
Daria, comes seeking an alliance against the threat of Thurra 
and his empire. Inspired by his "gift," or "kelar," Corlath 
believes that Harry is important to the survival of his people, 
and so he kidnaps her. She trains as a king's rider, and in the 
end defies Corlath, whom she has come to love, and saves his 
kingdom. Corlath admits his misjudgement, and this fantasy 
ends happily. In this novel, women are shown to be equally 
powerful and worthy of respect as are men. The relationship 
between Harry and Corlath demonstrates the importance of 
love and respect in keeping people together. Tolerance for 
other cultures and for the differences between people is 
encouraged. The Blue Sword may appeal particularly to female 
readers, though the action should attract the interest of all 

"Take strength from 
your own purpose, 
for you will know 
what you must do, if 
you let yourself, trust 
your horse and the 
cat that follows you, 
for there are none 
better than they, and 
they love you; and 
trust your sword, for 
she holds the 
strength of centuries 
and she hates what 
you are learning to 
hate. And trust the 
Lady Aerine, who 
visits you ... and 
trust your 

friendships. Friends 
you will have need 
of, for in you two 
worlds meet." p. 164 

New York, NY: The Berkley 
Publishing Group, 1987 
[original 1982] 

ISBN 0441068804 


Best Young Adult Book 
Award, American Library 
Association (ALA), 1982 

Newbery Honor Book, 1983 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Ruth Minsky Sender 

"I must remember my 
number. But I must 
not forget my name. I 
must not let them 
wipe out my name. 
Riva Minska. Number 
55082." p. 175 

New York, NY: 
Simon & Schuster 
Children's Publishing 
Division, 1997 
[original 1986] 
264 pages 

ISBN 0-689-81321-X 

The Cage, set in and around 1942, is an autobiography relating 
coming-of-age experiences during the Holocaust. Sixteen-year- 
old Riva is a Jewish girl living in a hopeless Polish ghetto. After 
Nazis take her mother away, Riva struggles to care for her 
brothers and maintain a sense of family despite the horror 
around them. The narrative is presented as easy-to-read 
fragments of experience in Riva's diary. She uses the writing to 
keep herself together in an atmosphere of prejudice, 
discrimination and daily hardship. 

Students will appreciate this enthralling perspective on 
adolescent suffering in the context of the Holocaust. Students 
might be invited to write their own memoirs and narratives 
about keeping themselves together during their own times of 
hardship. The novel contains ethnic/religious epithets, gender 
references, and descriptions of intolerance and violence. 
Teachers should discuss these issues critically within their 
historical context. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Shizuye Takashima 

In A Child in Prison Camp, artist Shizuye Takashima records 
in words and paintings, her experiences as a child in a prison 
camp. At the age of 11, she and her family, along with other 
Japanese Canadians, were removed from their homes on the 
West coast of Canada and sent by the Canadian government to 
an internment camp in the interior of British Columbia. The 
family lost their civil rights, their home, and their business. 
Takashima vividly describes the actual camp, the housing, the 
schooling, the humiliation, and the loss of freedom and rights. 

The book is an example of racism in Canadian history. Not 
only does it describe the actual happenings, but Takashima's 
story shows the effects of childhood experiences on one's life. 
It was not until 1984 that the Canadian government 
condemned this internment and offered financial restitution. 

Teachers may need to explain the historical background before 
beginning the book. Sensitivity to the subject is needed for 
successful presentation of this personal account. Discussion of 
why and how people react in a time of crisis is important. This 
book would work well with a combined English-social studies 
approach and could lead to student research on such topics as 
World War II, the atom bomb, Japanese culture, the human 
will to survive, and prejudice. Either full class or small group 
study would be effective. 

"That's nothing — a 
Jap is a Jap, whether 
you're born here or 
not!' 'Even if I 
changed my name?' 
'Yes, you look 
oriental, you're a 
threat ' 'A threat? 

'God only knows!' 
Yuki replies. 'It's 
mostly racial 
prejudice, and 
jealousy. Remember 
we had cleared the 
best land all along 
the Fraser Valley. 
Good fisherman. 
This caused envy, so 
better to kick us out. 
The damn war is just 
an excuse.'" p. 46 

Montreal, PQ: Tundra 
Books, 1989 
[original 1971] 

ISBN 0887762417 


Canadian Association of 
Children's Librarians Gold 
Medal, 1971 

Look of Books Award, 1972 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Linda Crew 

"She liked the 
American ideal of 
everyone being 
equal — even a peanut 
farmer could be 
President — but at 
times like this she 
missed the strict 
rules one followed in 
Kampuchea. At 
home she would have 
known their 
respective ranks and 
spoken accordingly, 
but here it was all so 
treacherously free 
and loose. A person 
might make a terrible 
mistake without 
knowing it." p. 101 

New York, NY: Doubleday 
Canada Ltd., 1989 

ISBN 0440210224 


Best Young Adult Book Award, 
American Library Association 
(ALA), 1989 

Children's Book Award for older 
readers, International Reading 
Association, 1989 

In Children of the River, Sundara flees Cambodia with her 
aunt, uncle, grandma and two nephews to the United States, 
where they struggle to make a living and adapt to a new 
culture. Sundara falls for an all-American boy, but their 
different political and cultural backgrounds make a relationship 
impossible until they are able to reach an understanding of 
each other's heritage. Sundara also has to face her 
overwhelming feeling of responsibility for her niece's death. 

A tender, moving and believable story, this novel identifies and 
highlights the difficulties of moving into a different culture, 
especially when the past involves violence and sexual abuse. 
The flashbacks are well-integrated, and students in small 
group or full class study should find an interesting blend of 
internal and external conflicts that lead naturally to research. 
The book strongly emphasizes the idealistic universal message 
that individuals have a personal responsibility to make a 
positive difference. 

Regardless of origin or mother tongue, students should be able 
to identify with the intergenerational conflicts and can be 
expected to respond strongly to the differences between 
Cambodian and North American culture and politics. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


William Bell 


Crabbe is a highly entertaining novel by popular Canadian 
author William Bell. It captures the wilderness adventure of a 
mixed-up adolescent. The first-person narrator is Franklin 
Crabbe, a chatty, funny but troubled eighteen-year-old. 
Feeling like an outsider and fed up with what he sees as adult 
hypocrisy, Crabbe runs away from home and goes off to seek 
freedom. As he learns to survive in the Algonquin Park 
wilderness, he meets and falls in love with Mary Pallas, a kind 
woman who has her own secrets to hide. Through his 
relationship with her, Crabbe finds his identity and purpose, 
ultimately taking the help she gave him to become 
independent, be himself and learn to survive in a confused, 
often irrational world. 

Crabbe contains minor contextualized coarse language, 
references to mercy killing and a few sexual references. 
Because the book is set up in journal entries, it provides 
opportunities to explore how point of view influences the 
presentation of characters and conflict. Students might also 
be encouraged to try their own journal writing. 

"Layer by layer I was 
being stripped away: 
the ordeal with the 
bear; the waterfall; 
my breaking down 
tonight and admitting 
what I never before 
admitted to anyone, 
including myself. 
What would happen, 
I wondered, when the 
last layer was peeled 
off? What would be 
left?" p. 81 

Markham, ON: 
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2002 
[original 1986] 
169 pages 

ISBN 0-7736-7483-7 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Marilyn Halvorson 

"He didn't belong 
there. He belonged 
here. And that meant 
I was trapped. Life 
was such a rip-off. 
The whole world was 
full of people who 
wanted someone to 
need them. Me, I just 
wanted to be a loner 
and what did I get? 
A kid brother who 
thought I was the 
Lone Ranger and 
who just wanted to 
hang around with me 
and be Tonto. " p. 65 

Toronto, ON: General 
Paperbacks, 1990 
[original 1988] 

ISBN 0773672672 

Dare is the name of the angry and confused 15-year-old who, 
with his 12-year-old brother, Ty, have lived with their 
grandmother in the same small Alberta town for five years. 
When they are left orphaned after her stroke, Laura 
McConnell, a substitute teacher and rancher, lets them live 
with her. Dare is the typical rebel character— swearing, 
drinking and driving, fighting, and even spending some time in 
jail. However, Dare matures as he learns to accept 
responsibility and confronts his part in his mother's death. 

The realistic dialogue and intensity of Dare's emotions enable 
students to identify with this character's turmoil, yet realize 
how feelings can be changed without losing face. Effective 
characterizations of a rebellious, defiant teenager and sensitive 
and believable adults add to an action-filled story that is best 
suited for full class study. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Robb White 

Deathwatch, a fast-moving and easy-reading narrative, 
revolves around the tale of Ben, a young geology student 
working as a hunting guide. Ben finds himself locked in an 
intense struggle to survive when the expedition he is on turns 
into a manhunt. 

Madec, an oil executive, hires Ben to escort him through the 
Southern California mountains in search of bighorn sheep. 
Madec accidentally kills an old prospector, and Ben's sense of 
justice demands that he report this incident to the authorities; 
however, Madec wants to ignore the death and continue the 
hunt. These two men are chained together by their different 
outlooks on the situation. A struggle to outwit each other soon 

Deathwatch presents clear contrasts in setting, mood and 
character types. A study of foreshadowing, symbolism, conflict 
and plot could also be undertaken. The ending, although 
abrupt, provides opportunity for open-ended discussion and 
various writing projects relating to decision making and the 
question of ethics. 

"He and this man 
Madec were locked 
together, chained 
together in a struggle 
for life itself— a 
struggle with no 
niceties, no rules of 
behavior, no 
sportsmanship, no 
gentlemanly conduct 
Madec could not 
leave him. The 
struggle had gone too 
far for that. Nor, on 
the other hand, could 
Ben escape." p. 67 

Toronto, ON: Doubleday 
Canada, 1972 

ISBN 0440917409 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Robin Lee Graham (with Derek L.T. Gill) 

"Loneliness was to 
ride with me for a 
thousand days, and 
throughout the 
longest nights. At 
time it was like 
something I could 
touch. Loneliness 
slunk aboard as the 
lights of Catalina 
Island began to fade, 
and I told myself that 
time and distance 
would destroy it. 
How wrong I was. " 
p. 19 

New York, NY: HarperCollins 
Publishers, 1991 
Harper Perennial edition 
[original 1972] 
199 pages 

ISBN 0-06-092047-5 

Dove is an inspirational nonfiction account of the author's 
remarkable five-year solo voyage around the world when he 
was only sixteen years old. Graham journeyed 30 000 nautical 
sea miles with his cats on a twenty-four foot sloop. Along the 
way, he became homesick, was joined by his father and 
friends, met his future wife Patti in Fiji, married her in Africa, 
and later returned home expecting their first child. Graham 
presents this odyssey chronologically, and has included 
photographs of different people and experiences from his 

The book portrays Graham's conflict with nature, contact with 
other cultures, personal growth, and battles with loneliness in 
a straightforward, entertaining journal style. In a postscript, 
there is a very brief reference to the Christian faith that the 
Grahams feel guides their lives. Teachers should be aware of 
a few examples of coarse language in the book. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Kathy Stinson 

In Fish House Secrets, Chad and his father arrive at his Nova 
Scotia grandparent's house, and it is here where Chad mourns 
and accepts his mother's death. He meets Jill, a Halifax 
runaway, and while helping her elude the authorities, Chad 
comes to terms with his own grief, guilt and rebellion. 
References to emerging sexuality and abortion reveal empathy 
for others and are dealt with sensitively. 

Chad and Jill have typical teenage actions and characteristics, 
but their portrayals go beyond stereotyping. The clashing of 
youth and parents, the need to assert oneself, the need to 
communicate, the need for self-esteem and the need for 
independence are some of the discussion topics that this book 
should generate. The novel's style, using inner chapters, 
reveals both Chad's and Jill's personal struggles and their 
willingness to forgive and begin again. It could be used either 
for small group discussion or for full class study. 

"I say, 'my dad's a 
nice guy, I just wish 
he'd give me a little 
space, that's all. ' 
'Parents don't like to 
do that unless you 
make them, ' Ian 
says, and sounds 
like he knows what 
he's talking about. If 
he's taken a job that 
gets him away from 
home for six weeks I 
guess he does. I 
have to admire his 
doing that, like some 
part of me admires 
the nerve of that girl 
hiding in our barn, 
asking me to feed 
her, then just — 
moving on. " p. 60 

Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown 
Press Ltd., 1993 
[original 1992] 

ISBN 1895449103 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Paul Brickhill 

There's one thing 
we've got to keep in 
mind. Glemnitz 
doesn't know how 
many tunnels there 
are or how advanced 
they are, and he 
won't have the 
faintest idea 
everything is so 
organized. He 
mustn't get to 
thinking it's anything 
more than a little 
effort of a few blokes. 
If he does, he'll turn 
the whole bloody 
camp inside out. He 
mustn't find anything 
more." p. 89 

New York, NY: Fawcett Crest 
Books, 1978 
[original 1950] 

ISBN 0449237176 

The Great Escape is a suspenseful and spine-chilling thriller 
in which a World War II POW tells how more than six hundred 
British and American air force officers escaped from Stalag Luft 
III. Under cunning leadership, these prisoners outsmarted, 
even manipulated, their Nazi captors into unwittingly assisting 
them in their escape; which was made possible through 
persistence, camaraderie, humour and the coordination of a 
multitude of talents. The author follows the experiences of 
key individuals through to eventual escape or death, and 
includes the later war trials and the sentencing of the Nazi 
officers who ran the stalag. 

The book is written in short chapters full of action and 
adventure. Brickhill inserts sketches of the compound, 
equipment used in the escape, maps and drawings. He uses 
technical vocabulary when describing the construction and 
excavation of the tunnels. Even though this book was written 
just five years after the war ended, Brickhill remains fairly 
objective in his portrayal of prison life. He writes with a sense 
of excitement, a touch of humour and dwells on the enormity 
of the task rather than the daily drudgery of living in a prison. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Gary Paulsen 

The engaging story of Hatchet unfolds as 13-year-old 
Brian Robson flies to visit his father in the Canadian wilderness. 
The pilot of the plane dies from a massive heart attack. Brian 
crash-lands the plane in a remote lake and survives a two- 
month ordeal with only a hatchet, a few camping skills, and his 
instinct for survival. 

This action-packed adventure offers plot detail and character 
development. Students should be interested in the physical 
and emotional growth of Brian, as well as his ability to cope 
with insurmountable odds. 

Brian's fragmented thinking is juxtaposed with the narrator's 
sequential descriptions. This style of writing will be highly 
appealing to many readers. The novel is an easy read, but can 
provide interesting discussions in small group or full class 
situations. Gary Paulsen's autobiography Guts is included in 
the Grade 7 list. 

"And a watch. He 
had a digital watch 
still on his wrist but it 
was broken from the 
crash — the little 
screen blank — and he 
took it off and almost 
threw it away but 
stopped the hand 
motion and lay the 
watch on the grass 
with the rest of it. 
There. That was it. 
No, wait. One other 
thing. Those were all 
the things he had, 
but he also had 
himself. Perpich 
used to drum that 
into them — 'You are 
the most valuable 
asset Don't forget 
that. You are the 
best thing you have. '" 
p. 51 

Toronto, ON: Puffin Books, 


[original 1987] 

ISBN 014032724X 


Newbery Honor Book, 1988 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Monica Hughes 

"They loved him. 
They wanted to 
protect him, but he 
couldn't let them do 
that any more. When 
he got back he was 
going to have to be 
strong enough to find 
a way past his own 
fear to his parents' 
fear for him, and 
somehow cancel that 
out. Could he do it? 
Could they find a 
new way of being 
close and truthful? 
He could sure as hell 
try, though it wasn't 
going to be easy. " 
pp. 53-54 

New York, NY: Avon Books, 


[original 1982] 

ISBN 0380677024 


Alberta Culture Juvenile Novel 
Award, 1981 

Canada Council prize for 
children's literature, 1982 

Best Young Adult Book Award, 
American Library Association 
(ALA), 1983 

Young Adult Canadian Book 
Award, 1983 

In Hunter in the Dark, 16-year-old Mike Rankin comes to 
terms with himself, his family and his fear of death. The 
author develops relationships and conflicts through a rapidly- 
moving plot with realistic characters and dialogue. The 
survival theme is developed through the goal of taking one 
more hunting trip. 

Tact and delicacy should be used in dealing with the mortality 
theme in this novel as many students have some personal 
knowledge of someone who has, or had, a terminal illness. 
The family's attitude of denial in this story may mirror the 
students' own experiences. This novel could facilitate 
discussions leading to creative writing and/or research. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Valerian Albanov 

In the Land of the White Death is an engaging true 
account of the Saint Anna, a Russian ship that became frozen 
for a year-and-a-half in the Kora Sea in 1912. The author and 
13 other crew members finally made sledges and kayaks and 
set out for Franz Josef Land. This straightforwardly written 
thirteen-chapter book is a suspenseful, gripping diary written 
in the first person by one of the survivors. It tells a typical 
but amazing survival narrative, with humans overcoming 
isolation and seemingly impossible odds. The ship had 
inadequate provisions, an incompetent commander and 
inaccurate mapping. Over the course of the 18-month 
disaster, the crew members faced sub-zero temperatures, 
scurvy, starvation, blizzards, collapsing ice floes, wild animal 
attacks, snow blindness and rebellion. Although most of the 
crew eventually perished from starvation or hypothermia, 
Albanov persisted and finally found help. 

The book includes a preface written by Jon Krakauer, as well 
as maps and photos to illustrate different aspects of the 
odyssey. Students might use a problem-solution approach in 
discussing or writing about the experiences of the crew. The 
epilogue suggests some further research possibilities for 
Internet or library explorations. 

"Why had I come to 
this frozen 
wilderness on the 
edge of an icy sea, 
when the weather 
was so beautiful in 
the sunny lands to 
the south? What 
madness! ... But 
what good would 
complaining do? All 
this torture is simply 
deserved retribution. 
One should not poke 
one's nose into 
places where Nature 
does not want the 
presence of man. " 
p. 45 

Toronto, ON: Random House 

of Canada, 2001 

Modern Library Paperback 


[original 1917] 

243 pages 

ISBN 0-679-6836 1-X 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Katherine Paterson 

"She has me. Oh 
Charlie, I ain't 
perfect, but I do my 
best. Can't you see? 
I done my best for 
you. She's all I got 
left now. How can I 
let her go? But even 
as she stormed 
within herself, she 
knew she had no 
choice. Like the rusty 
blade through her 
heart she felt it. If 
she stays here with 
me, she will die. " 
p. 143 

Toronto, ON: Puffin Books, 


[original 1991] 

ISBN 0140349812 


International Board of Books 
for Young People (IBBY) Honor 
Book, 1994 

Set in the United States during the Industrial Revolution, 
Lyddie is a story of unions and personal courage. It follows 
Lyddie, a young girl who goes to work in the garment factories 
where she learns to weave and read— thereby finding her 
future. Lyddie's struggle for independence, for her rights as a 
woman, and for her rights as a factory worker, reflect the 
social conditions of that time. 

The novel should encourage interesting discussions on 
character development, on the conflict between right and 
wrong, and on the value of education. Gender references, and 
the treatment of the birth of a child out of wedlock according 
to the social mores of the 1800s, are also potential topics. 
Some students might be interested in researching the 
emergence of unions and women's rights. 

While the topic is universal, students may wish to consider the 
changing roles of women and examine the issues of women's 
rights today. 

This novel has a support 
video available through 
Conversation: A Talk with 
Katherine Paterson, 1999 
[21 min. BPN 2075908], 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Farley Mowat 


In his fictional narrative, Never Cry Wolf, Farley Mowat 
embarks on a mission to investigate claims about the wolves' 
role in the diminishing caribou population. Isolated in the 
frozen tundra among howling wolf packs, Mowat develops a 
respect and admiration for these animals. The narrative is 
developed with humorous recollections of encounters between 
man and animal. In his journal, Mowat writes of observations, 
enlightened feelings and lonely encounters with the wolves. 
His findings conclude that the wolves have been wrongfully 
blamed for the destruction of other animals in the North. 

This deceptively simple narrative with its humorous details 
provides another perspective about an animal that has been 
falsely maligned. The appeal of this book is in its presentation, 
simplicity and anecdotal recording. 

"He was lying down, 
evidently resting 
after his mournful 
singsong, and his 
nose was about six 
feet from mine. We 
stared at one another 
in silence. I do not 
know what went on 
in his massive skull, 
but my head was full 
of the most disturbing 
thoughts. I was 
peering straight into 
the amber gaze of a 
folly grown arctic 
wolf, who probably 
weighed more than I 
did, and who was 
certainly a lot better 
versed in close- 
combat techniques 
than I would ever 
be." p. 36 

Toronto, ON: McClelland- 
Bantam, Inc., 1979 
[original 1963] 

ISBN 0770421377 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Ron Finn (with David Boyd) 

"Ifell hard and I'm 
thankful that I didn't 
break anything, but 
my legs, knees, and 
my back were sore 
for weeks. I was 
dazed for a few 
seconds because I 
didn't know what 
had hit me, but when 
I turned and realized 
it was Mason . . . well, 
I was ready to go! 
All I wanted was a 
clean shot. That's 
when Andy stepped 
in and got Manson off 
the ice for the second 
and last time." 
pp. 112-113 

Oakville, ON: Rubicon 
Publishing Inc., 1993 

ISBN 0921156464 

In On the Lines, Ron Finn tells a story of hockey from 
another point of view— that of a linesman in the National 
Hockey League. After he realizes he will not make the "big" 
league as a player, Finn begins to take up officiating. As a 
linesman, he is able to relate many important hockey incidents 
from the best view in the house. Finn's love of hockey has 
continued throughout his life. To him, hockey is a part of 
Canadian culture and tradition, and he displays a positive 
outlook toward life and people through his association with 

This book will appeal to any student who has a strong interest 
in sports. Finn talks of not only the hockey players from the 
1970s and 1980s, but also of others who are behind the 
"stars." He reinforces the view that, in order for a sport to 
continue at any level, there must be more than the "stars." 

Coarse language is used in the book, but it is an easy read and 
will appeal to students interested in hockey. The foreword is 
written by Wayne Gretzky. Individual or small group study 
would be effective and could lead to research in areas such as 
hockey biographies, aspects of the National Hockey League, 
media in sports, violence in sports, and careers in sports. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


John Steinbeck 

The Pearl tells the story of a Mexican pearl diver, Kino, and 
his wife who discover a valuable pearl. To Kino, this prize 
symbolizes comfort, security, health and happiness; and his 
dreams become larger and more urgent. Three attempts are 
made on Kino's life as thieves try to steal the pearl. 
Desperation and greed alter the lives of all who covet the 
wealth of the pearl. 

In this novel, Steinbeck captures the ethnic flavour of this 
Mexican family, using a smooth -flowing style; many references 
reflect the rich musical heritage of the people. Detailed 
descriptions of the land and sea are presented. 

The main characters are representative of human frailties. The 
structure is conducive to plot mapping, and the study of 
symbols, conflict and character. The novel can be used easily 
for either small group or individual study. 

"Kino had found the 
Pearl of the World. 
The essence of the 
pearl mixed with 
essence of mean and 
a curious dark 
residue was 
precipitated. Every 
man suddenly 
became related to 
Kino's pearl, and 
Kino's pearl went into 
the dreams, 
speculations, the 
schemes, the plans, 
the futures, the 
wishes, the needs, 
the lusts, the 
hungers, of everyone, 
and only one person 
stood in the way and 
that was Kino, so 
that he became 
curiously every 
man's enemy. " p. 23 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Books, 1947 
[original 1945] 

ISBN 0670545759 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 10-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Michele Marineau 
(Translated by Susan Ouriou) 

"Glancing up, I saw 
Karim, on his feet 
looking totally 
shattered. There 
was nothing left of 
cold indifference in 
him. In his eyes 
were rage, horror, 
fear, but mostly 
terrible sadness. 
That's when I 
understood that the 
newcomer wasn't 
haughty or disdainful 
like some said. He 
was simply in 
despair." p. 24 

Calgary, AB: Northern Lights 
Young Novels 

Red Deer College Press, 1995 
[original 1992] 

ISBN 0-88995-129-2 

The Road to Chlifa is a heartbreaking tale of what many 
young people in war-torn areas of the world face. It is 
midyear when Karim, a handsome Lebanese youth, registers in 
a Quebec high school. Right from the start, he attracts 
attention and seems to polarize factions. After living in a 
country torn by war, where bombs and bullets and land mines 
are part of daily existence, his life in Montreal should be easy, 
but Karim feels out of place and haunted by the memories of 
his horrible journey to Chlifa. When Karim discovers other 
students trying to take advantage of another newcomer during 
a ski outing, Karim is enraged. He attacks the students, ends 
up being knifed and almost loses his life. 

The reasons for Karim's anger become apparent when, in a 
lengthy flashback, the story of his life in Lebanon is revealed. 
His family had already left for Montreal, but Karim remained in 
Beirut to continue school and experienced the civil war in 
Lebanon. Finally, Karim makes a treacherous journey through 
the mountains to Chlifa. There, he finds safety but not 
without a tremendous price: the life of a young girl he is 
travelling with. 

The story unfolds in a variety of narrative voices: Karim's 
journal entries, a first-person account by a girl in Karim's high 
school in Quebec, and third-person narration in the flashback 
to Lebanon. Students will need some background material 
about Lebanon and reasons for the civil war. The language 
and violence is hard hitting but credible, in the context of both 
the war in Lebanon and the locker rooms of a high school. 
The book emphasizes friendship, courage and the freedoms 
enjoyed in Canada compared to the homelands of some 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Laurie Halse Anderson 

Speak is a painful but redemptive young adult novel about a 
Grade 9 student suppressing and eventually dealing with the 
trauma of a rape. The narrator, Melinda Sordino, is a high 
school freshman who is struggling in school and feels like an 
outsider. Gradually the reader learns the reason for her 
depression and withdrawal: during the summer she was raped 
by another student. In the ending, she finally confronts her 
attacker, thereby learning to stand up for herself and to 
become more self-empowered. Melinda's final character 
change is inspiring and progressive; she finds her literal and 
figurative voice and learns to "speak" up against what is wrong 
and unjust. 

This gritty, realistic book will have an empathetic resonance for 
many female readers, especially those struggling in school. 
Overall, it is an easy read— episodic, and gripping. It is written 
in short descriptive paragraphs with some sections set up as 
dialogue suitable for reading aloud. Teens are realistically 
portrayed and students will likely want to discuss and write 
about Melinda's experiences as compared with their own. 

"We fail into clans: 
Jocks, Country 
Clubbers, Idiot 
Human Waste, 
Eurotrash, Future 
Fascists of America, 
Bit Hair Chix, the 
Marthas, Suffering 
Artists, Thespians, 
Goths, Shredders. I 
am clanless. " p. 4 

Toronto, ON: 

Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 


Puffin Books edition 

[original 1999] 

198 pages 

ISBN 0-14-131088-X 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Leslie Scrivener 

"He told them people 
could get cancer and 
die from, it and still be 
winners. He told 
them he would never 
be called a quitter. 
Then he repeated a 
couple of sentences 
that made a few of 
the audience feel 
uneasy .... If I stop, ' 
he said, 'it's because 
happened. I'm in bed 
but I'm sail going to 
think of myself as a 
winner. ' 

He knew just how 
good it felt to give. " 
p. 128 

Toronto, ON: McClelland and 
Stewart Limited, 1981 

ISBN 0771080174 

Terry Fox: His Story is Leslie Scrivener's sensitive account 
of the Marathon of Hope based on Terry Fox's personal diary 
of the journey. The book begins by describing Terry's first day 
of the cross-Canada run and then fills in his background. He 
was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma just after entering 
university. The amputation of his leg, and subsequent drug 
treatment, terminated Terry's studies but did not dampen his 
determination to conquer his illness. His personal pledge to 
run across Canada was the result. In four and a half months, 
Terry ran two-thirds of the distance before he was again 
stricken with cancer. His run was given national news 
coverage and raised 18.5 million dollars for cancer research. 
Since his death on June 28, 1981 Canadians have continued to 
raise funds in his memory. 

Scrivener follows Terry's diary closely, quoting him directly in 
journalistic style and filling in details of the run from her own 
observations and from interviews with Terry, his brother Doug, 
friends, family and roadside observers. The story is an 
objective account of one of Canada's modern heroes, and 
concludes with an epilogue written by Terry. 

Terry Fox is portrayed as a man determined to reach his goal. 
This universal theme contributes to a reader's knowledge and 
understanding of self. The book is enjoyable and thought- 
provoking, eliciting an emotional response from all who read it. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Eric Walters 


War of the Eagles is set in World War II on the West Coast 
of Canada. This young adult novel is about an Aboriginal 
youth, Jed, who is torn between loyalty to his country or his 
Japanese-Canadian friend. While his father is away flying 
fighter planes in Europe, Jed and his mother work at the 
nearby military base. Jed's world is shaken when his best 
friend Tandashi and his family, along with all the other 
Japanese-Canadians in the community, are declared enemies 
by the government and sent away to detention camps. 

The theme of Walters' book is about choosing what one 
personally believes is right. This is symbolized through Jed's 
release of a bald eagle that was being contained on the military 
base after he and Tandashi nursed it back to health. 

War of the Eagles is an appropriate, balanced text for 
presenting racial and cultural conflicts. This readable 
coming-of-age novel will have a special appeal to students 
from Asian-Canadian, Aboriginal-Canadian or military families. 
It provides a reasonable critical reading challenge with respect 
to character, conflict, theme and symbolism. 

"'You got to 
remember my people 
feel like that eagle 
chained out to your 
flagpole. We've had 
so much taken away; 
so much that 
belonged to us is 
gone, forever.' There 
was a pause, a long 
pause. 'Now, all that 
seems left to some of 
them is to snap and 
claw and fight. Like 
the eagle.'" p. 93 

Victoria, BC: 

Orca Book Publishers, 2000 

[original 1998] 

224 pages 

ISBN 1-55143-118-1 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



James Houston 


They broke and 
flung away the 
wind-packed chunks 
of snow, then using 
all their strength 
heaved back the 
snow-laden bearskin. 
Jon jumped with 
fright when the small 
gray bitch that led 
the team scrambled 
out ofPanee's arms. 
They lifted the girl 
from her gravelike 
shelter." p. 187 

Toronto, ON: General 
Paperbacks, 1991 
[original 1988] 

ISBN 0773673458 

Jonathan Aird, the protagonist of Whiteout, is a rebellious 
and fatherless 17-year-old city boy who is sent to a remote 
Arctic settlement on Baffin Island to fulfill his community work 
requirements as part of a rehabilitation program. Jonathan 
must come to terms with the harsh reality of the environment. 
While doing so, he matures and learns to accept responsibility 
for his actions. 

Jonathan's self-discovery is paralleled by his initial stereotyping 
of the Inuit and his final understanding of their ways. As he 
learns to admire their strength and courage, he develops into 
a mature young man. A strong emphasis on action and plot is 
highlighted by accurate descriptions of life in the Arctic. 

The story contains characters of Scottish, Inuit and Polish 
origins, and these individuals are portrayed in 
traditional/stereotyped roles. Inuit religious beliefs are 
presented and the novel provides an empathetic look at Inuit 
culture, thus demonstrating a need for acceptance and 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Max Braithwaite 


In Why Shoot the Teacher?, Braithwaite writes about his 
first year of teaching in a small school district during the Dirty 
Thirties. He talks, in a series of light and humorous anecdotes, 
of the Depression years and the people who survived them. 
His experiences with school dances, Christmas concerts and 
political rallies present a good description of social activities in 
rural Saskatchewan. 

The author's style is direct. He creates a concise set of 
episodes that facilitate easily organizable units for classroom 
discussion. The vocabulary is medium range. The point of 
view is that of an insecure, self-doubting young man who 
encounters employment, meager subsistent living, and poverty 
on the prairies. The book is recommended, not only for its 
historical perspective, but also for its readability and humour. 

"I was up before 
daylight to stoke my 
fire and, after eating, 
went up to the 
schoolroom and 
looked out the 
window. The wind 
hadn't reached its 
full force. I could still 
see the barn, but 
beyond that was a 
grey mass of swirling 
snow. No children 
would show up 
today, I knew, 
because this had the 
look of a two- or 
three-day blow. 
There was enough 
water in the cooler to 
last a couple of days, 
if I didn't wash, but 
the prospect of being 
with my self for that 
long made me sick to 
the stomach. " 
pp. 128-129 

Toronto, ON: McClelland and 
Stewart, 1965 

ISBN 0771015992 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



R. P. Maclntyre 

"It's one thing when 
you find out 
something about your 
friends that you don't 
particularly want to 
know, hut it's a 
different thing again 
when you find out 
something about 
yourself that you 
don't particularly 
want to know. " p. 99 

Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown 
Press Ltd., 1992 
[original 1991] 

ISBN 1895449049 

Yuletide Blues begins when Lanny, a young hockey player, 
plans to stay with his favourite aunt while his parents are on 
holidays. Before their departure, this aunt, an artistic 
eccentric, attempts suicide and Lanny must go to a reclusive 
great-aunt's place. During his stay, he breaks his leg, and 
discovers that his best friend has become a thief. Lanny 
comes to terms with individual differences and deals with the 
emotional, physical and psychological limitations of both aunts. 

Students can easily relate to this episodic, humorous story that 
should lead to excellent class discussion and personal 
reflection on issues, such as delinquency, sexuality, aging, 
depression, loneliness, personal responsibility and peer 
pressure. The teenage vernacular will be appealing to 
students as well. Because the novel contains some swearing 
and references to sexuality and suicide, the book might best 
be offered for either small group or individual study. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Robert C. O'Brien 

In Z for Zachariah, sixteen-year-old Ann Burden believes she 
is the last survivor of an atomic war. She has subsisted by 
eating "safe" food from the nearby village store, farming her 
father's land as best she can, and keeping her sanity by writing 
a diary. The discovery of another individual, Loomis, leads to 
doubt and confusion, resulting in an escape from the 
comfortable valley. The conclusion amplifies Ann's courage 
and desire for self-preservation. 

The narrative is straightforward, the vocabulary terse, and the 
structure chronological. Students should be able to 
comprehend the actions of the characters and go beyond the 
plot to understand the emotions that Ann describes so well in 
her diary. This novel can provide for interesting discussions 
regarding speculative fiction. 

"'Except for this 
valley the rest of the 
world, as far as we 
know, is dangerous 
and uninhabited. I 
don't know how long 
its going to be that 
way — maybe 
forever. ' 

'But as long as it is, 
the suit is the only 
way to go out there 
and stay alive.' ... 
'. . . we've got to plan 
as if this valley is the 
whole world, and we 
are starting a colony, 
one that will last 
pp. 150-152 

New York, NY: Dell 
Publishing Co., Inc., 1974 

ISBN 0440999014 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 10-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 




172/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 10-2 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


z k 2M J x 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 

:!: AV/* 


Annie Dillard 

"The things in the 
world did not 
necessarily cause my 
feelings; the feelings 
were inside me, 
beneath my skin, 
behind my ribs, 
within my skull. 
They were even, to 
some extent, under 
my control. 
I could be connected 
to the outer world by 
reason, if I chose, or I 
could yield to what 
amounted to a 
narrative fiction, to a 
tale of terror 
whispered to me by 
the blood in my 
ears...." p. 22 

New York, NY: Harper & Row, 
Publishers 1988 
[original 1987] 

ISBN 0060915188 


National Book Critics Circle 
Award nomination, 1987 

An American Childhood focuses on the memories of Annie 
Dillard's childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dillard 
particularly focuses on the nuances of her growing up that 
bring meaning and beauty to youth. Her writing style, which is 
simple and direct, paints clear and vivid accounts of her youth, 
and provides an excellent model for detailed student personal 

Do not be deceived by the word "American" in the title. This is 
a collection that transcends national boundaries and can easily 
be used, understood and enjoyed by Canadian students. Many 
of Dillard's memories are common to Canadian youth and 
should offer insight and delight. In particular, Dillard's 
accounts of winter in Pittsburgh should ring true for 

The author's partisan views of the wars between the Natives 
and Caucasians as childhood memories are based upon the 
literature of the times that she read as a child. There is some 
stereotyping of Natives in these sections. As well, Dillard 
reveals her childhood anti-Catholic bias. These issues of 
stereotyping and negative images should be critically examined 
by students during this nonfiction study. An American 
Childhood may be most appropriate for individual or small 
group study. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Mordecai Richler 


The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz traces Duddy's 
important relationships with his grandfather, Simcha; his 
father, Mack the Hack; his French-Canadian girlfriend, Yvette; 
the "Boy Wonder," Jerry Dingleman; his brother, Lennie; his 
friend, Vergil, and some other characters. Even before Duddy 
leaves high school, his every action is motivated by the need to 
acquire enough money to buy land. During his first summer 
job as a waiter in a posh Laurentian hotel he sights a piece of 
resort property he covets and, throughout the novel, uses any 
method to obtain money to purchase this land. Much of the 
comedy is situational and satirical, with the dialogue in 
colloquial, often coarse language. Duddy's use of a more 
formal and correct style, including his change of name to 
Duddy Kane, is reserved for situations when he is "wheeling 
and dealing." Richler develops the novel as satirical comedy, 
directed not only against the culture, setting and characters of 
the novel, but also Duddy's actions must be analyzed in the 
light of any individual who is totally devoted to rising above his 
own social station. Some students may have difficulty 
comprehending Duddy's single-mindedness, his motivation and 
drive at the age of 17, but the plot movement and character 
schemes sweep readers along, if only to find out who Duddy 
will "con" next. 

"Duddy Kravitz 
believed what his 
grandfather had told 
him: a man without 
land is nobody. He 
set his heart on land, 
and if he made 
himself hated along 
the way... he couldn't 
care less. " p. 43 

Harmondsworth, England: 
Penguin Books, 1964 
[original 1959] 

ISBN 0140021795 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Hugh MacLennan 


"Thank you Angus. 
For two years my 
family has been 
insinuating that if 
Neil had faced a 
court-martial he'd 
have been shot. In 
that event, 

presumably, Father's 
military career would 
have marched 
gloriously on, and 
he'd not be in Halifax 
now. They don't 
mean to persecute 
me, but that's what 
they'll never allow 
me to forget. If Neil 
had been convicted 
before he was killed, 
Father would have 
been freed to all 
official responsibility 
for the failure." p. 37 

Toronto, ON: McClelland & 
Stewart Inc., 1989 
[original 1941] 

ISBN 0771099916 

Set in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1917, Barometer Rising is a 
story of entrapment and colonization. The focus of the novel 
is as much on the city as it is on its inhabitants. This work is a 
study of catastrophe: the explosion of the ship Mont Blanc in 
the Halifax Harbour, the burning of the city, and the raging 
blizzard that followed. The elements of earth, fire and water 
purge the city as well as the novel's characters. Havoc by 
nature is paralleled to the distant destruction of World War I 
and the more immediate personal plights of the characters. 

The lives of Penelope Wain and Neil Macrae are the centre of 
the character study. Presumed dead by Penelope, Neil returns 
home to reveal the truth about his military action overseas. 
The lovers are reunited only hours before the Halifax explosion 

The graphic description of physical devastation is balanced by 
minute details of character study. Halifax is symbolically 
reflected in the strong but isolated characters. Occasionally, 
the language used is graphic and may be considered offensive 
by some. 

The time frame of the novel is short. The story begins 
Sunday, December 2 and ends Monday, December 10, 1917. 
The events of these eight days provide a window through 
which we view the years that bring the characters and culture 
to this precise historical moment. The work is an investigation 
of how time is both arrested and accelerated by catastrophe. 
The city is levelled, and the novel closes with the suggestion 
that new life and hope will be built from ruin. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Margaret Laurence 

A Bird in the House is a collection of closely connected short 
stories set in the small Manitoba town of Manawaka in the 
1930s and '40s. Each story presents an episode in the growing 
awareness and maturity of Vanessa MacLeod, from the age of 
6 to about 20. The same family characters appear and 
reappear: on her father's side the Connors, dominated by the 
uncompromising patriarch Grandfather Connor; on her 
mother's side the MacLeods and the gentler but equally 
unyielding Grandmother MacLeod. Amongst them they present 
a vivid picture of the Scottish-Irish protestant values that 
pioneered the West and can still be detected today. In many 
of the stories Vanessa sees herself rebelling against her 
grandfather, but in maturity, comes to recognize, reluctantly, 
that she is his "monument." 

Margaret Laurence has identified this work as being "semi- 
autobiographical." The young Vanessa, who plans to be a 
writer, records with shrewd observation, sympathy and humour 
the tensions within the family. Vanessa, like Laurence in her 
growing years in a small prairie town during the Depression, 
develops "the sight of her own particular eyes." 

Each story is well-crafted and can be studied separately, with 
focus on the use of narrative voice, character development, 
irony, symbolism and theme. The book can also be read as a 
whole as a varied chronicle of a girl's growing up, with the 
opportunity for individual or small group presentation on how 
each story contributes to the total impression. 

"No human work 
could be applied. 
The lake was not 
lonely or untamed. 
These words relate to 
people, and there 
was nothing of 
people here. There 
was no feeling about 
the place. I looked at 
the grey reaches of it 
and felt threatened. 
It was like the view 
of God which I had 
held since my 
father's death. 
Distant indestructible, 
totally indifferent." 
p. 138 

Toronto, ON: McClelland & 
Stewart Inc., 1989 
[original 1963] 

ISBN 0771099851 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Aldous Huxley 

"'But I don't want 
comfort. I want God, 
I want poetry, I want 
real danger, I want 
freedom, I want 
goodness, I want sin' 

'In fact, ' said 
Mustapha Mond, 
'you're claiming the 
right to be unhappy. ' 

'All right then, ' said 
the Savage defiantly, 
Tm claiming the right 
to be unhappy.'" 
p. 240 

New York, NY: Harper and 
Row, 1969 
[original 1932] 

ISBN 0060830956 

A few hundred years into the future, a Brave New World 

has been established in which science reigns supreme. 
Reproduction, from fertilization of the egg to birth and after, is 
a laboratory process. Workers are mass-produced according 
to specifications. Family life, and its related emotional 
involvements, are forbidden. However, in New Mexico, an 
area of primitive culture is kept for scientific study. There, a 
young man is found who is the offspring of a forbidden alliance 
between two visiting research workers. The young man is a 
"savage," self-educated with the aid of an old copy of 
Shakespeare's plays. As an experiment, the young man and 
his mother are brought to London, where the mother dies 
shortly thereafter. The son, appalled by a society that stifles 
all beauty and all humanistic endeavour, eventually commits 

Rather than merely a story of human beings living in a world 
of the future, the book is an examination of that world. The 
reader's attention is directed to the mechanical and 
philosophical aspects of the society. Appreciation of such a 
society requires an understanding of satire. Discussion could 
centre on such topics as the importance of the arts and 
humanities to the quality of human life; the problems arising 
from the artificial and controlled propagation of the species; 
the breakup of family life; the use of drugs; promiscuous 
sexuality; government control. 

This novel requires teacher assistance to guide most students 
to an understanding and appreciation of the specific elements 
of Huxley's moral satire. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Kurt Vonnegut 

Cat's Cradle is narrated by a young American writer named 
Jonah, who is collecting material for a book to be called The 
Day the World Ended (the day the first atomic bomb was 
dropped on Hiroshima). His research takes him to the fictional 
and fantastic Caribbean republic of San Lorenzo, where he is 
caught up in events that lead to the end of the world. The 
end, however, is not fire, but ice. And the agent of destruction 
is "ice-nine," which alters molecular structures and locks all 
moisture into rigidity. This rigid misapplication of science 
produces a world in which people cannot choose to be human; 
they choose, instead, to die. 

The combination of science fiction, fantasy, comedy, satire, 
and a deliberately choppy narrative, make it difficult on a first 
reading to see the moral and spiritual values that Vonnegut is 
asserting. Some readers may misinterpret the novel as 
satirizing all organized religion. 

Nevertheless, Vonnegut's novel is a comedy, not a tragedy. 
The author's humour and playfulness permeate the novel, 
although the humour is sometimes grim and sardonic, and the 
playfulness can be bizarre and fantastic. The tone is not 
pessimistic or despairing. Critical satire, particularly of 
technology, is combined with a sympathetic treatment of 
humanity's strengths and weaknesses. 

"And Castle nodded 
sagely. 'So this is a 
picture of the 
meaninglessness of it 
all! I couldn't agree 
more. ' 

'Do you really agree?' 
I asked. A minute 
ago you said 
something about 
Jesus. ' 

'Who?' said Castle. 
'Jesus Christ?' 
'Oh, ' said Castle, 
'Him. ' He shrugged. 
'People have to talk 
about something just 
to keep their voice 
boxes in working 
order, so they'll have 
good voice boxes in 
case there's ever 
anything really 
meaningful to say. '" 
p. 140 

New York, NY: Dell 
Publishing Company, 1974 
[original 1963] 

ISBN 0440511496 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


OF 1914 

Cassie Brown (with Harold Horwood) 

"In all, thirty-four 
men turned back. 
As the break between 
the two parties 
widened, many 
others in the column 
wavered. Even the 
youngsters were 
beginning to lose 
their nerve, seeing 
their weather-wise 
elders so uneasy. 
But Cecile Mouland 
was astonished that 
they should even 
think of turning back. 
A cowardly thing to 
do!' he declared and 
firmly believed that it 
was. Still murmuring 
about the weather, 
they went on. " p. 76 

Toronto, ON: Doubleday 
Canada Limited, 1974 
[original 1972] 

ISBN 0385050372 

In Death on the Ice, Cassie Brown documents the 1914 
Newfoundland disaster in which a series of blunders, and some 
callous misjudgements resulted in the deaths of 78 sealers. 
This "investigative journalism" is based on a meticulous study 
of primary sources, such as newspapers, court records, 
transcripts and interviews. Maps and photographs are 
provided for clarification. 

The author reveals an underlying sympathy with the sealers, 
who are treated with indifference by their skippers and by ship 
owners who are concerned only with profit. A new perspective 
is provided on the whole topic of sealing: the men are the 
victims, not the seals. It is debatable whether or not students 
will be able to see this irony, but they might be encouraged to 
do some similar research into the conflicting sides of a public 
concern, or into similar current problems in Newfoundland and 
the Maritime provinces. 

The dramatic qualities of the account override the amount of 
historical detail. The dialect used should present no problem 
to the average reader. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Anne Tyler 

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant opens as Pearl, on her 
deathbed, contemplates her life. Abandoned by her husband 
in 1944, Pearl Tull raises their three children on her own. Her 
reveries are the framework for the plot line that follows each of 
the children through childhood to adulthood. The connections 
made and paths followed by each reveal obsessions, hates and 
passions, which are rooted in the life of the family. These 
elements have affected decisions made by the characters, and 
the ways in which they have influenced each other, as well as 
others who have entered their lives. Jenny is strong, 
deliberate and controlled in her goals and self-discipline but 
cannot deal with the emotional issues of her relationships. 
Cody is obsessed by the drive to be economically successful, to 
control and manipulate but is never able to be satisfied or to 
curb his personal jealousies. Ezra, the unwitting hub of the 
family, is driven by an obsession to mold the Tulls into the 
perfect family. Characterization is strong and deliberate, and 
the emotional isolation of each is believable in spite of the 
eccentricity of the Tulls. 

The writing is straightforward and the flashback technique is 
effectively used. The tone is bittersweet and invites the 
inquiring mind to search for motive and consequence in the 
obvious dysfunction of this family. 

"Why did Ezra go on 

Why did the rest of 
them go on showing 
up, was more to the 

In fact, they probably 
saw more of each 
other than happy 
families did. It was 
almost as if what 
they couldn't get 
right, they had to 
keep returning to. 
(So if they ever did 
finish a dinner, 
would they rise and 
say goodbye forever 
after?)" pp. 154-155 

New York, NY: Ivy Books, 


[original 1982] 

ISBN 080410882X 


PEN/Faulkner Award for 
fiction, 1983 

Pulitzer Prize nomination for 
fiction, 1983 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Robert Louis Stevenson 

"... all human beings, 
as we meet them, are 
commingled out of 
good and evil: and 
Edward Hyde, alone 
in the ranks of 
mankind, was pure 
evil. " p. 84 

Toronto, ON: 
Bantam Books, 2002 
[original 1886] 
128 pages 

ISBN 0-553-2 1277-X 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde provoked sermons and scandals in 
the past and continues to be an intriguing, relevant morality 
tale for modern times. Henry Jekyll is a respectable Edinburgh 
doctor whose experiments with the unknown transform him 
into the notorious Edward Hyde, an antisocial criminal 
alter-ego. The story is told from the perspective of Mr. 
Utterson, a lawyer who becomes entangled in the situation 
after one of his clients is murdered and Hyde is suspected. 
Eventually Utterson learns that Jekyll has invented a drug that 
separates the good and evil within him, purifying the doctor 
himself but also causing periods as the monstrous Hyde. 

Stevenson's presentation of the dual nature of humankind, and 
the relationship between reality and illusion, make this a 
worthy alternative or supplement to Tragedy of Macbeth or 
Lord of the Flies. Though Stevenson employs semicolons, 
longer sentences, and unfamiliar vocabulary, the mystery, 
suspense, pacing, and the book's relative brevity make it 
compulsively readable to the climax and denouement. 

Teachers should discuss the book's religious references within 
their historical context and ask students to critically examine 
the references to violence and other sensitive issues. 
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde lends itself well to critical and creative 
assignments such as video-making, collages, imagined unsent 
letters, and trading cards. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Edith Wharton 

Ethan Frome is a tragic love story set in a wintry and bleak 
New England. It is told by an observer who comes into the 
community of Starkfield (well-named) twenty years after the 
events and is curious about Ethan Frome. Local residents tell 
him what they know, and the story is retold of Ethan's 
suppressed love for Mattie, a young cousin of his sickly wife, 
Zena. Their love is initially unspoken, deeply felt, but hopeless. 
Eventually, desperate at the thought of losing each other, they 
attempt suicide on a toboggan run. The ironic ending is 
suggested by the narrator at the start, but the reader is still 
kept in suspense throughout. 

Ethan Frome is a novel with an almost perfect, seamless form 
and with a deceptively simple but very evocative style. It is 
very short and easy to read, but requires a fairly mature reader 
who can appreciate the narrative and descriptive skills, as well 
as Wharton's keen psychological revealing of character. It is 
excellent for the teaching of narrative techniques, particularly 
novel structure and economical character delineation. It would 
be interesting as part of a thematic unit on choices or the 
sense of identity. 

"With the sudden 
perception of the 
point to which his 
madness had carried 
him, the madness fell 
and he saw his life 
before him as it was. 
He was a poor man, 
the husband of a 
sickly woman, whom 
his desertion would 
leave alone and 
destitute; and even if 
he had had the heart 
to desert her he could 
have done so only by 
deceiving two kindly 
people who had 
pitied him." p. 118 

New York, NY: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1970 
[original 1911] 

ISBN 0684174871 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



(The Lord of the Rings, Part 1) 

J. R. R. Tolkien 

"With a terrible cry 
the Balrogfell 
forward, and its 
shadow plunged 
down and vanished. 
But even as it fell it 
swung its whip, and 
the thongs lashed 
and curled about the 
wizard's knees, 
dragging him to the 
brink. He staggered 
and fell, grasped 
vainly at the stone, 
and slid into the 
abyss. 'Fly, you 
fools!' he cried, and 
was gone. " p. 434 

London, England: 
HarperCollins Publishers, 1994 
[original 1954] 
535 pages 

ISBN 0-00-714921-2 

The Fellowship of the Ring is an archetypal mythological 
fantasy that is the follow-up to The Hobbit and the first book 
in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Frodo Baggins, a young 
hobbit, becomes the unwitting keeper of the One Ring, a 
powerful and evil force. Along with a fellowship of two men, a 
dwarf, an elf, three other hobbits and the wizard Gandalf, 
Frodo must begin a monumental quest to travel across middle- 
earth to destroy the ring and end Dark Lord Sauron's rule. 
The book includes a prologue that gives background to the 
tale and maps of places relevant to the plot. 

The book is a rich presentation of the quest motif as well as a 
study of power and corruption and the need for cooperation in 
overcoming evil. Many readers will enjoy the imaginative 
exoticness of this fantasy, its fascinating creatures and 
powerful scenes. Teachers will find numerous possibilities for 
creative work and comparison of Tolkien's book to similar 
works of literature and film. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Robertson Davies 

Fifth Business begins, "My lifelong involvement with 
Mrs. Dempster began at 5:58 o'clock p.m. on 27 December 
1908, at which time I was ten years and seven months old." 
This richly comic, offbeat novel chronicles Dunstable Ramsey's 
lifelong journey into the inner realms of hagiography, magic, 
guilt, psychology, religion and the theatre. The story begins in 
Deptford, a small village in turn-of-the-century Ontario. An 
errant snowball thrown at Dunstable causes Mary Dempster to 
slip on the ice, go into labour, and deliver her son Paul 80 days 
early, which in turn causes her to "go-simple." Since the 
snowball was aimed at him, Dunstable develops a lifelong 
sense of guilt, which he tries to absolve by proving 
Mrs. Dempster to be a true saint. 

The story follows Dunstable through childhood, World War I, 
his teaching post at a private boy's school and on various 
journeys around the world studying saints, and the dual world 
of history and legend. As well, much of the novel focuses on 
his relationship with his "lifelong friend and enemy" Boy 
Staunton. It is paradoxes such as this that Davies uses, not 
only to develop plot and character, but to reveal several of his 

There are two scenes of a sexual nature in this novel, which 
serve as vehicles in developing Dunstable's character. One 
occurs in his youth when he discovers Mrs. Dempster and a 
tramp copulating in the local gravel pit; the second occurs late 
in his life when he is seduced by the hideously beautiful Liesl. 

"The saint triumphs 
over sin. Yes, but 
most of us cannot do 
that, and because we 
love the saint and 
want him to be more 
like ourselves, we 
attribute some 
imperfection to him 
. . . Mankind cannot 
endure perfection; it 
stifles him. He 
demands that even 
the saints should 
cast a shadow. If 
they, these holy ones 
who have lived so 
greatly but who still 
carry their shadows 
with them, can 
approach God, well 
then, there is hope for 
the worst of us." 
pp. 172-173 

Toronto, ON: Penguin 
Books Canada Ltd., 1977 
[original 1970] 

ISBN 014004387X 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Fannie Flagg 

"Come to think of it, 
Idgie and Ruth 
bought the cafe in 
1929, right in the 
height of the 
Depression, but I 
don't think we ever 
had margarine there. 
Leastways, I cain't 
recall if we did. It's 
odd, here the whole 
world was suffering 
so, but at the cafe, 
those Depression 
years come back to 
me now as the happy 
times, even though 
we were all 
struggling. We were 
happy and didn't 
know it." p. 318 

New York, NY: McGraw-Hill 
Book Company, 1988 
[original 1987] 

ISBN 0070212570 

The narration of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle 

Stop Cafe is controlled by Mrs. Threadgoode, a colourful 
elderly woman who is living in the Rose Terrace Nursing Home 
in the 1980s. She slowly unravels the history of the people of 
Whistle Stop, Alabama to Evelyn Couch, an unhappy, middle- 
aged woman who accompanies her husband on weekly visits 
to his mother, Big Momma. As the visits and weeks go by, 
Mrs. Threadgoode tells the story of the two powerful women 
who ran the Whistle Stop Cafe, a cafe known for fine 
barbecue, good conversation and fair play. Superimposed on 
this main plot is the modern dilemma of Evelyn, which is 
gradually shaped, as she herself is, by the inadvertent 
influence of Mrs. Threadgoode's storytelling. 

Both plots are based on the theme of victimization. The 
primary plot centres on murder as a result of racial prejudice 
and sexual inequality in the 1930s; the secondary plot explores 
contemporary issues of self-discovery and the role of the 
middle-aged, middle-class woman of the 1980s. 

The flashback technique and narration style may cause 
problems for some students. Flagg deals with interesting but 
sensitive issues, and the language, which is graphic and racist 
at times, may offend some readers. Students should critically 
examine the negative behaviours exhibited by a few 
characters. There are violent scenes in the novel, but they are 
necessary to the representation of particular characters and 
the development of the plot. This novel may be most 
appropriate for individual or small group study, or offered on 
an optional basis. 

Fannie Flagg writes with strength, humour and poignancy. 
The important individuals in this novel take responsibility for 
one another, and in so doing, shape their own lives of integrity 
and worth. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Owen Beattie and John Geiger 

Frozen in Time is an account of the investigative scientific 
expeditions led by Dr. Owen Beattie, a forensic pathologist at 
the University of Alberta, to the Arctic grave site of three of the 
sailors from the doomed Franklin expedition. This 1848 British 
expedition to find a North-West passage ended in the 
mysterious disappearance of all 129 crew members. The 
mystery has aroused speculation for more than a century. 

The first four chapters set out background information: the 
nature and personnel of the Franklin expedition, and the 
documentation of previous findings. The rest of the book is a 
painstaking, detailed account of the exhumation of the frozen 
and well-preserved remains and the subsequent solution of a 
133-year-old mystery. Beattie, and a team of Alberta 
scientists, applied the techniques of physical anthropology to 
investigate the Franklin remains in the same way that modern 
forensic science determines the causes of death. Thus, the 
book combines the elements of a good detective story with 
history and science. 

The account is scientific and the descriptions detailed without 
approaching the macabre. There may be readers whose 
fascination is moderated (but more likely increased) by the 
vivid photographs of the bodies and by the clinical description 
of autopsy methods, or hints of cannibalism. Further research 
and study projects should promote lively discussion. 

"When their food 
finally ran out, and 
they were too 
ravaged by hunger 
and disease to 
continue, the men sat 
down and prepared 
to die. But with the 
first death came new 
hope. The survivors 
must have found 
contemplating a stark 
fact; starvation need 
not be a factor any 
more. Cannibalizing 
the trunk of the body 
would have given 
them enough strength 
to push on. " p. 62 

Vancouver, BC: Douglas & 
Mclntyre, 1992 
[original 1987] 

ISBN 1550540483 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



R.D. Lawrence 


"Even so the moment 
her body came to 
rest, the torn landed 
on it. In swift 
sequence, as his hind 
feet came to rest on 
the animal's back, he 
reached out with his 
leftforepaw and 
grabbed the cow's 
nose, pulling it 
violently toward 
himself as he 
clutched the quarry's 
neck with his right 
paw and at the same 
time sank his fangs 
into the back of her 
neck." p. 148 

Toronto, ON: HarperCollins 
Publishers Ltd., 1991 
[original 1983] 

ISBN 0006377041 

In The Ghost Walker, Lawrence spends ten continuous 
months observing a cougar in its natural habitat. A naturalist 
and an environmentalist, he describes his interest in and 
previous experience of the study of the puma and his decision 
to settle on a specific territory in the Selkirk mountains for an 
extended field study. He tells of his preparation for living in 
isolated territory and details precise observations of many 
kinds of wildlife: bears, wolverines, porcupines, pack rats. 

His eventual discovery of one puma, which he calls Ghost 
Walker, is followed by a close study of its behaviour and the 
development, of what Lawrence calls, his own kind of strange, 
extrasensory ability to communicate with the animal. He 
describes not only his observations of the puma, but also the 
gradual intensification of his own senses through isolation and 
patient concentration. 

The work is well-written, easy to read, and has enough 
suspense and stylistic skill to hold student interest. Lawrence's 
experiences as a naturalist and writer are evident, and the 
association between man and animal is not sentimental. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, moves to 
New York and rents a home in the Long Island colony of West 
Egg. From a relatively neutral vantage point, Nick is able to 
observe the lives of those he encounters. The contrast 
between poverty and wealth and the struggles to achieve an 
"American Dream" are depicted through each character. 

A reflection of the historical values and morality of the 1930s 
becomes evident as Nick examines the plight of Gatsby in his 
pursuit of Daisy, Tom Buchanan's wife, Tom Buchanan's 
adultery, the escapades in New York, and the adherence to the 
superficial values of riches and self-gratification. Despondent 
by what he sees and learns, Nick leaves New York. 

This edition contains introductory material, a glossary, and 
study suggestions. The novel provides students with an 
opportunity to examine structure, style, character 
development, narrative voice and point of view, and symbolism 
and setting. 

"He wanted nothing 
less of Daisy than 
that she should go to 
Tom and say: 'I 
never loved you, ' 
After she had 
obliterated four years 
with that sentence 
they could decide 
upon the more 
practical measures to 
be taken. One of 
them was that, after 
she was free, they 
were to go back to 
Louisville and be 
married from her 
house— just as if it 
were five years ago. " 
p. 70 

Essex, England: Longman 
Group UK Limited, 1991 
[original 1925] 

ISBN 0582060230 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Thomas Wharton 


"I closed my eyes. 
And then I was 
upside down again, 
hanging in the 
crevasse. The 
graceful, motionless 
figure there before 
me. All around us, 
silence and stillness. 
The meditation of ice 
and rock. " p. 58 

Edmonton, AB: 
Newest Press, 2000 
Nunatuk Fiction edition 
[original 1995] 
274 pages 

ISBN 0-920897-87-8 

Icefields, set in Jasper, is an unusual story that tells of 
Dr. Edward Byrne, who falls into a crevasse in the icefields in 
1898 and becomes haunted and inspired by the figure of an 
angel he sees suspended in the ice. The interlocking or 
parallel stories of the rest of the novel's diverse characters 
provide various views on the glacier, reflecting the characters' 
different goals or ends: money, inspiration, adventure or 

Short episodes and simple vocabulary make this textured, 
poetic novel an engaging read. Thematically, the book is 
about the quest for self-discovery and the sublime, 
transcendent beauties of nature. Its subject matter and style 
are both unique, and illustrate how rich and experimental 
Canadian literature has become. Wharton's book also 
demonstrates the influence of setting and atmosphere on 
character and plot, and could be used to teach novel structure, 
thematic development, irony and symbolism. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Cecil Foster 

Island Wings is Cecil Foster's memoir of growing up in 
Barbados after his parents left him and his brothers behind 
when they moved to England after World War II. This was a 
common experience at the time, producing what Foster refers 
to as "barrel children." Although he experienced loss, regret 
and a difficult life being raised by his grandmother, he 
eventually educated himself and became a nationalist and a 
reporter. In 1979, Foster left the Caribbean to settle in 

This thoughtful fourteen-chapter book is noteworthy for its use 
of local colour to describe the author's homeland. Foster 
celebrates community and cultural diversity, and illustrates the 
loyalty, courage and determination that help people to make a 
better life. Island Wings may be of particular interest to 
immigrant students. Some pre-reading background on the 
political history and culture of Barbados would enhance 
students' understanding and appreciation of the text. 

"Years after we met, I 
would eventually 
know from my own 
personal experience 
what caused my 
father to spend most 
of his life feeling 
compelled to 
vindicate himself 
For him the spark 
was music; for me it 
was when I realised I 
could write. I often 
think this his greatest 
gift to me is an 
artistic mind — even if 
he never hugged me. " 
p. 217 

Toronto, ON: 
HarperCollins Publishers 
Canada, 1998 
Harper Perennial edition 
313 pages 

ISBN 0-00-63849-8 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Charlotte Bronte 

"1 will keep the law 
given by God; 
sanctioned by man. I 
will hold to the 
principles received by 
me when I was sane, 
and not mad — as I 
am now. Laws and 
principles are not for 
the times when there 
is no temptation: 
they are for such 
moments as this, 
when body and soul 
rise in mutiny against 
their rigour; stringent 
are they; inviolate 
they shall be. If at 
my individual 
convenience I might 
break them, what 
would be their 
worth?" p. 349 

Toronto, ON: Bantam Books, 


[original 1847] 

ISBN 0553210203 

In Jane Eyre, the protagonist recounts her life through a 
series of dramatic, even melodramatic, events: an unhappy 
orphaned childhood, her grim schooling, employment as a 
governess, a brief period of happiness as the intended bride of 
her employer, Mr. Rochester, a disastrous wedding day 
disruption, her desperate flight and near destitution, and 
finally, independence and a happy reconciliation with the 
blinded Rochester. 

The choice of Jane Eyre as first person narrator places her 
firmly at the centre of the story. The style is highly subjective, 
mirroring the inner development and spiritual and emotional 
struggles of Jane who is, from the first, a strong character 
refusing to accept her appointed place in society and holding a 
"passionate sense of the dignity and needs of her sex." Jane 
is not the traditional heroine: she is neither pretty nor passive. 
She possesses an independent moral force that pervades the 

As a mid- 19th century novel, it is interesting to study as a 
forceful and realistic examination of a woman's struggle for 
self-fulfillment in an era that had yet to come to terms with 
such issues. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Amy Tan 

Jing-mei, also known as June, is invited to take her late 
mother's place in a mah-jong foursome and begins The Joy 
Luck Club, a powerful and compelling journey recounting the 
stories of immigrant Chinese mothers and their very American 
daughters. Chapters alternate the very diverse stories of the 
lives of the older and younger generations, and promote 
empathy for mothers and daughters alike. The novel is an 
especially rich source for character studies that would allow 
students to apply critical thinking skills in judging people and 
their actions. 

The book provides much insight into Chinese and Chinese- 
American lifestyles. The chapters about the mothers' lives in 
China cover a difficult time in its history, and the novel 
includes examples of the mistreatment of women, as well as 
violence, death, robbery and abortion. There is some use of 
vulgar language. Hardships, poverty, family pride and the fear 
of losing face dominated the lives of the mothers; however, 
they survive incredible hardships and still strive to help their 

Some research on Chinese culture should be done by the 
teacher or students. While many students of Chinese origins 
may welcome the opportunity to read and discuss their 
culture, there should be sensitivity to the discomfort that can 
accompany an in-depth exploration of one's culture. 

"But I worried for 
Rich. Because I 
knew my feelings for 
him were vulnerable 
being felled by my 
mother's suspicions, 
passing remarks, an 
innuendoes. And I 
was afraid for what I 
would then lose, 
because Rich 
Schields adored me 
in the same way I 
adored Shoshana. 
His love was 
unequivocal." p. 193 

New York, NY: Ivy Books, 


[original 1989] 

ISBN 0804106304 


Commonwealth Club gold 
award for fiction, 1989 

Best Young Adult Book 
Award, American Library 
Association (ALA), 1989 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Yann Mattel 


"1 will tell you a 
secret: a part of me 
was glad about 
Richard Parker. A 
part of me did not 
want Richard Parker 
to die at all, because 
if he died I would be 
left alone with 
despair, a foe even 
more formidable than 
a tiger." p. 182 

Toronto, ON: 

Random House of Canada 


Vintage Canada, 2002 

[original 2001] 

368 pages 

ISBN 0-676-97377-9 


Man Booker Prize, 2002 

Life of Pi, a fable-like fantasy-parable, is about Pi (Piscine 
Molitor Patel), an intelligent sixteen-year-old East Indian boy. 
A zookeeper's son and practising Christian-Moslem-Hindu, he is 
on his way to Canada when he is shipwrecked with four wild 
animals. Pi and the tiger Richard Parker have to come to 
terms in order to survive during the 227-day raft journey. 

Life of Pi is cleverly and thoughtfully composed, and 
interweaves many themes: religion, survival, ecology, isolation 
and love for life. The book lends itself to problem-solving and 
decision-making responses, as well as creative writing. It 
could be analyzed for the conventions of fantasy and fables, 
but its main value will be in its presentation of a philosophy for 
survival and enhanced living. Teachers should be aware of 
extended discussions on beliefs related to Christianity, Islam 
and Hinduism. Also, scenes of carnivorous animals killing their 
prey may make some students uncomfortable. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


William Golding 

Lord of the Flies, an allegory in which a group of English 
schoolboys, being evacuated during a nuclear war, are 
stranded on an uninhabited tropical island. Under the 
leadership of Ralph, who is staunchly supported by the 
pragmatic Piggy and the visionary Simon, all goes well initially. 
But irrational fears arise threatening the boys' sense of 
security. Irresponsible behaviour increases; the children, under 
the dictatorial influence of Jack, rapidly sink into savagery. 
Simon is mindlessly and brutally killed. Evil has been 
unleashed. At the culmination of the story, help arrives in the 
person of a naval officer; ironically, the boys will return to an 
adult world where the apparent order of civilization is 
threatened by the same forces of disorder they have just 

Golding has said that his purpose in the novel was to trace the 
defects of society back to basic defects in human nature. 
Several elements combine to illustrate the forces of reason and 
morality at war with the dark forces of human nature. The 
same evil forces prevail in the adult world as well. 

Characterization, conflict, plot development, foreshadowing, 
irony, suspense, imagery and symbolism are prominent 
aspects. A careful reading of the book reveals a critical view of 
modern society. The tightness of structure, the power of the 
narrative and the imaginativeness of the writing give a 
dramatically forceful depiction of the "darkness in the human 

The three boys 
rushed forward and 
Jack drew his knife 
again with a flourish. 
He raised his arm in 
the air. There came a 
pause, a hiatus, the 
pig continued to 
scream and the 
creepers to jerk, and 
the blade continued 
to flash at the end of 
a bony arm. The 
pause was only long 
enough for them to 
understand what an 
enormity the 
downward stroke 
would be." p. 31 

New York, NY: Coward- 
McCann, 1962 
[original 1954] 

ISBN 0698102193 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



David Suzuki 


"My parents had 
faith that if I worked 
hard and did well, 
the opportunity 
would arise. They 
still carried the 
tremendous respect 
for education that the 
Japanese have. ...To 
my parents, 
education was the 
magic key to 
changing one's status 
from an outsider to a 
respected Canadian. " 
p. 106 

Toronto, ON: General 
Paperbacks, 1988 
[original 1987] 

ISBN 077367215X 

Metamorphosis is an autobiography by David Suzuki that 
adds "some meat to [his] electronic persona." Suzuki 
organizes the book as a series of transformations in his life, 
which he identifies as the metamorphoses necessary to the 
development of the human as well as of the fruit fly. 

The early chapters are particularly interesting because of the 
author's candid examination of the "hybrid" quality that he 
sees as an essential part of being Japanese-Canadian. Suzuki 
identifies, without rancor, the racism and suspicion that sent 
his Japanese family to internment in interior British Columbia 
during World War II. Along with changes in his personal and 
family life, Suzuki comments on his career in genetics, his 
teaching, and his role in the media. It is heartening 
throughout to note Suzuki's emphasis on, and loyalty to, his 
Canadian identity. 

The last two chapters seem rather disjointed, but in them 
Suzuki examines such dilemmas as "genetics and social 
responsibility" and "the media: news versus truth." The book 
might be useful in a humanities approach, as an introduction 
to a variety of related discussion topics such as Canadian 
history and social justice, or the ethical roles of genetics and 
the media. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Diane Ackerman 

The Moon by Whale Light is a collection of four "nature" 
essays that originally appeared in The New Yorker magazine. 
Ackerman, author of bestselling A Natural History of the 
Senses, describes her adventures in field studies of creatures 
that have not always had good press: bats and crocodilians, as 
well as the more popular whales and penguins. 

The approach is personal, perceptive and fresh, without being 
cute. Bats are discovered to be "shy and winsome creatures," 
and wry connections are often made with the human animal, 
such as the penguins' view of humans as freakish fellow 
specimens who "stand upright, travel in groups, talk all the 
time, sort of waddle." Ackerman corrects common 
misconceptions and myths, asks curious questions, and 
provides new and shrewd observations from her own 
experience of a 20-million bat cave, an alligator farm, a whale 
study station and an Antarctic expedition. 

Developing sensitivity in both scientific and human terms, the 
essays make easy and fascinating reading, suitable for a range 
of student abilities and interests: natural history, biology, the 
environment, adventure. They might be used separately, with 
small groups of interested students or for individual study. 

"The louder the song, 
the plumper and 
juicier the frog. This 
puts the frog in an 
awkward position, of 
course. It needs to 
sing for a mate to 
perpetuate its kind, 
and in the tropical 
night it is full of 
sexual longing, but 
singing also reveals 
its whereabouts to 
any hungry Trachops 
cirrhosis. If it sings 
halfheartedly, the 
female frog won't be 
impressed, even 
though the bat might 
think it's just the call 
of a lovesick runt. If 
it sings about its 
prowess with large, 
croaking swollen 
pride, then a bat 
devours it." p. 20 

New York, NY: Vintage 
Books, 1992 
[original 1991] 

ISBN 0679742263 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Chaim Potok 

"My father went into 
my room one night 
that week and found 
my desk strewn with 
drawings. There 
were drawings on the 
dresser and on the 
floor. I saw him 
peering at the 
drawings on the desk 
when I came in from 
the bathroom. 
'What's all this?' he 
'Don't be 

disrespectful to me, 
Asher. I see they're 
drawings. You can't 
study Chumash, but 
this you have time 
for.'" p. 99 

New York, NY: Fawcett Crest 
Books, 1972 

ISBN 0449234983 

My Name Is Asher Lev is the story of an Hasidic Jew, the 
son of two important members of Brooklyn's Ladover 
community. This novel tells of the conflicts he faces between 
his artistic talent and his deep religious faith and traditions. 
He is expected to follow the traditions of his family and faith, 
and work to help spread Ladover Hasidism when he comes of 
age. However, even at a young age, Asher is a gifted artist, 
and it is this gift that moves him into conflict with his 
community, faith and father. In the middle of this clash 
between father and son is Asher's mother, who becomes 
embroiled in a painful struggle to remain loyal to her husband 
and to her son. As a result of her suffering, Asher, now in his 
late teens, creates two symbolic paintings of her crucified 
between her husband and Asher. These two paintings bring 
the conflict to an explosive ending, and send Asher into exile 
to Paris. 

This novel is a demanding one for student and teacher alike. 
Students may require information on the differences between 
Judaism and Christianity, and care must be taken to ensure 
that no misconceptions develop about either. Equally 
important, students must be aware that Hasidic Jews are 
representative of only one sect of the Jewish faith. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Chris Czajkowski 

Nuk Tessli is an elegy to wilderness and a plea for its 
preservation by British Columbia author Chris Czajkowski. "Nuk 
Tessli Alpine Experiences" is the name of the author's hiking 
business on remote Spinster Lake in B.C.'s Coast Mountains. 
She lives there with her dogs Lonesome and Sport. Nuk Tessli 
is also about self-reliance; the author, for instance, builds her 
own cabins. Hardly a hermit, though, Czajkowski leads a busy 
life running her tourist business, giving art courses, and 
attending fairs in the outside world. This affectionate ode to 
conservation leaves off as logging companies prepare to move 
into the author's solitude. 

Beautiful descriptions and drawings by the author make this a 
memorable read. Most readers will be charmed by the author's 
honesty and lifestyle. This is a book that will promote 
discussions on environmental issues and invite personal 
response. The writing itself can also be used as a model of 
descriptive prose. 

"Pessimism is an 
integral part of a 
make-up; unless you 
can imagine 
everything that might 
possibly go wrong, 
you cannot be 
prepared for it when 
it does. " p. 60 

Victoria, BC 

Orca Book Publishers, 2001 

[original 1999] 

180 pages 

ISBN 1-55143-133-5 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Joy Kogawa 

"We were defined 
and identified by the 
way we were seen. 
A newspaper in B.C. 
headlined, They are 
a stench in the 
nostrils of the people 
of Canada. ' We were 
therefore relegated to 
the cesspools. . . . we 
lived in tents, in 
bunks, in skating 
rinks, in abandoned 
hotels. Most of us 
lived in row upon row 
of two-family, three- 
room huts, controlled 
and orderly as 
wooden blocks. " 
p. 118 

Toronto, ON: Lester & Orpen 
Dennys, 1981 

ISBN 0140067779 


Books in Canada First Novel 
Award, 1981 

Canadian Authors Association 
Book of the Year Award, 1982 

Obasan depicts the evacuation, internment and dispersal of 
British Columbia's Japanese Canadians during World War II. 
Naomi and her brother are separated from their mother and 
father and others of their extended family, and are raised, 
during the war years, by their aunt (Obasan) and uncle. 

Despite being treated as outcasts, the characters maintain 
their identity, dignity and self-worth at a time when racism and 
intolerance were accepted and promoted in Canada. 

Contrasts between hope and despair, anger and resignation, 
beauty and ugliness, and pleasure and pain are presented 
through calm documentation. One of the strengths of the 
novel is its poetic and lyrical style, which should inspire 
personal response and provide a model for student writing. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Ernest Hemingway 

In The Old Man and the Sea, an old Cuban fisherman, 
Santiago, who has lived with the hope that he will catch the 
largest fish in the ocean— does. Without appropriate fishing 
equipment or sufficient food, he uses his wit and skill to 
conquer this prize, a large marlin. Throughout the struggle he 
is buoyed by the memories of his youthful, competitive arm 
wrestling and his baseball hero who never gave up. Badly cut, 
exhausted and hungry, Santiago begins the long sail home with 
his large fish, only to fight off numerous vicious sharks who are 
after an easy meal. In the course of a day and a night, the 
prized marlin is completely consumed by ocean scavengers. 
Santiago arrives home in the night to a deserted dock, single- 
handedly secures his boat, and furls the sail. Manolin, a 
devoted young friend, finds him close to death the following 

Written in short, descriptive sentences and with minute detail, 
Hemingway draws the reader into Santiago's struggle. The 
novel is one long chapter emphasizing the extended battle. 
Hemingway makes use of figurative language, foreshadowing, 
irony, allegory and symbolism. Although teachable as a story 
of personal struggle, there are deeper implications. Santiago is 
figuratively struggling with life: its obstacles and triumphs. 

"I wonder why he 
jumped, the old man 
thought. He jumped 
almost as though to 
show me how big he 
was. I know now, 
anyway, he thought. 
I wish I could show 
him what sort of man 
I am. But then he 
would see the 
cramped hand. Let 
him think I am more 
man than I am and I 
will do so. I wish I 
was the fish, he 
thought, with 
everything he has 
against only my will 
and my intelligence. " 
p. 64 

New York, NY: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1952 

ISBN 0684718057 


Pulitzer Prize, 1953 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 




Sharon Butala and Courtney Milne 

"I think now, 
although I'd never 
have admitted it 
then, nor for years 
afterwards, that I 
married this stunning 
landscape as much 
as I married Peter. 
To live in such beauty 
seemed to me nothing 
short of a gift from 
God." p. 4 

Toronto, ON: 

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. 
(and the Nature Conservancy 
of Canada), 2002 

ISBN 0-00-200085-7 (paper) 

Old Man on His Back tells about how Saskatchewan writer 
Sharon Butala and her husband came to sell 13 000 acres of 
their prairie ranchland to the nature Conservancy of Canada in 
order to protect its heritage value. Butala celebrates the 
prairies while describing her own personal connections to the 
landscape. The book's themes include alienation, 
environmental conservation, the relationship between humans 
and landscape, and the discovery of the sacred in nature. 
Butala makes references to Christianity, spiritualism of 
Aboriginal peoples and her personal, very strong 
environmental beliefs. 

This coffee table book is a beautiful fusion of Milne's photos 
and Butala's descriptive, reflective narrative style. The book's 
photographs give teachers an opportunity to discuss visual 
texts and representational skills and approaches. Students 
might be asked to meditate on their own connections with 
nature or their region. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Shelley Fraser Mickle 

The Queen of October is the story of 14-year-old Sally 
Maulden, who is living with her grandparents in Coldwater, 
Arkansas while her parents are getting a divorce. She meets a 
variety of interesting, and often eccentric, people in Coldwater 
and matures in the process. 

This is a sympathetic story of a girl eventually coming to terms 
with a fairly common family situation. Her initial anger with 
her parents' "bust-up" gives way to tolerance and a learning 
"to love herself." She also learns to understand her aging 
grandparents and the variety of off-beat characters of different 
races and backgrounds that she encounters. 

The simple, straightforward narrative avoids sentimentality, 
and the tone is warm and humorous. Colloquial language, 
occasional racial slurs and frank prejudices reflect the 
sometimes stereotyped characters, but lead to increased 
understanding and sensitivity, all reinforced through a child's 
voice and perceptions. 

"My grandmother 
had already passed 
me several pearls 
about Jews. She 
said they were big 
eaters and were 
oversexed. She told 
me that I must never 
get into a car with 
one. Guy Levy was 
wealthy, though — 
very wealthy. He 
owned a lot of the 
town and most of the 
houses people rented. 
My grandmother said 
that if Benjamin Levy 
ever stopped the car 
for me, it would be all 
right to get in. In 
fact, she encouraged 
it. But Joel Weiss, 
Mr. Weiss' s son — 
now, he was a 
different story. " 
p. 67 

Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin 
Books of Chapel Hill, 1992 
[original 1989] 

ISBN 1565120035 


Best Young Adult Book 
Award, American Library 
Association (ALA), 1989 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Gabrielle Roy 


"But always the 
slave of our needs, 
when and how could 
she have yielded for 
even a day to the still 
eager desires of her 
own spirit — those 
wide ranging desires 
that were turned 
always toward 
water, toward the 
open plains, and 
toward those distant 
horizons which alone 
reveal to us some 
part of our truest 
selves? And was she 
not beginning to 
realize that for her it 
was late now and not 
much time remained 
to appease those 
longings that, if not 
satisfied, leave us as 
if imperfect in our 
own eyes, in a train 
of nostalgic regrets? 
But for this reason 
she had become 
vigilant to obtain for 
us, at least, the 
things she had not 
possessed of the 
world." pp. 52-53 

Toronto, ON: McClelland & 
Stewart Inc., 1989 
[original 1966] 

ISBN 0771098561 

In The Road Past Altamont, eight-year-old Christine, a 
young girl from St. Boniface, Manitoba, eloquently describes 
her adventures and presents the reader with impressions of 
her mother, Eveline, her grandmother, and the neighbours of 
her childhood. 

This novel is divided into four sections, each of which is a 
complete story and could be read as such. Each section 
describes a journey: to the grandmother's house on the edge 
of the Manitoba prairie; to the lake; from one side of Winnipeg 
to the other in a mover's cart; and to Altamont, a country of 
memory and dreams that may or may not exist. For Christine, 
these journeys recalled from childhood to adulthood serve as a 
foundation for her writing. 

The tone of each adventure is nostalgic and should engage 
student interest. Roy's writing can also be studied in terms of 
structure and style. This delightful first person narrative is 
easy to read and is ideal for small group study. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


John Knowles 

Set during World War II, A Separate Peace tells of boys in a 
New England preparatory school that are eagerly anticipating 
the day when they will turn 18 and be drafted. Gene causes 
Phineas, his best friend, to fall from a tree and severely 
fracture his leg, thus ending Phineas' hopes of ever enlisting. 
Phineas returns to school and appears to have accepted his 
new limitations, but Gene is guilt-ridden. He is accused of 
purposely causing the fall. Phineas, angry and disbelieving, 
accidentally falls again and dies, leaving Gene with a reinforced 
sense of his responsibility in the death. The plot moves swiftly 
and the characters are well -developed. Symbolism adds to the 
texture of this novel, and the emotional moods of gloom and 
sorrow make this a powerful and moving work. Knowles' 
characterization is an effective topic for class discussion. 

"He possessed on 
extra vigor, a 
confidence in himself, 
a serene capacity for 
affection which saved 
him. Nothing as he 
was growing up at 
home, nothing at 
Devon, nothing even 
about the war had 
broken his 
harmonious and 
natural unity. So at 
last I had. " 
pp. 194-195 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Books, 1959 

ISBN 0553104403 


Rosenthal Award, National 
Institute of Arts and Letters, 

William Faulkner Foundation 
Award, 1960 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Christopher Reeve 

"I mouthed my first 
lucid words to her: 
'Maybe we should let 
me go. ' Dana started 
crying. She said, Tm 
only going to say this 
once: I will support 
whatever you want to 
do, because this is 
your life, and your 
decision. But I want 
you to know that I'll 
be with you for the 
long haul, no matter 
what. ' Then she 
added the words that 
saved my life: 
You're still you. And 
I love you.'" p. 28 

Toronto, ON: Random House 
of Canada Ltd., 1999 
Ballantine Books edition 
[original 1998] 
344 pages 

ISBN 0-345-4324 1-X 

St/7/ Me is the challenging but interesting autobiography of 
Christopher Reeve, the movie star/director who was left 
quadriplegic after a tragic 1995 equine accident. The book 
recounts Reeve's personal and his family's courageous 
three-year adjustment to his changed condition. It also 
reviews his Hollywood career, as well as his efforts to raise 
public awareness on spinal cord injuries. On the surface, Still 
Me is about Reeve's struggle with his disability, but at a deeper 
level, it is a study of fame, true greatness, real heroism and 
healing. This easy-to-read, positive and passionately-written 
book also includes four of his post-accident speeches in the 

Still Me would provide an interesting real-life perspective 
within the context of media or film studies. It may also be 
particularly for individual study by students who have been 
affected by disability in their own lives. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Charles Dickens 

Set in London and Paris during the French Revolution, A Tale 
of Two Cities is the story of Doctor Alexander Manette, his 
daughter Lucie, and Charles Darnay. Dr. Manette, having been 
unjustly imprisoned for crimes committed by the Marquis of 
St. Evremonde, is called to identify Darnay at a trial in London 
years later. Darnay is accused of treason and is only saved by 
Sidney Carton, a dissolute man who bears a striking 
resemblance to Darnay. Darnay and Carton become friends of 
the Manette family and Darnay eventually marries Lucie. After 
the birth of their first child, Darnay returns to France at the 
height of the revolution to rescue an old servant of his 
aristocratic family, the St. Evremondes. Caught, imprisoned, 
and sentenced to death, Darnay is rescued by Carton who then 
dies in Darnay's place. Darnay and Lucie are reunited in 

This classic novel has a complicated plot replete with intrigue 
and suspense. The important element in the novel is the 
portrayal of the social conditions of Dickens' era, with such 
themes as "violence begets violence," "the gap between rich 
and poor," and the "sacrifices required of individuals to 
overcome poverty and the abuse of power." While not 
precisely accurate from a historical point of view, this novel 
does give the reader a sense of history. 

This edition contains biographical notes on Dickens and a 
helpful introduction. Teachers may wish to offer the novel in a 
humanities unit, or study the novel at the same time that the 
French Revolution is being discussed in social studies. 

"He was driven on, 
and other carriages 
came whirling by in 
quick succession; the 
Minister, the State- 
Projector, the Farmer- 
General, the Doctor, 
the Lawyer, the 
Ecclesiastic, the 
Grand Opera, the 
Comedy, the whole 
Fancy Ball in a bright 
continuous flow, 
came whirling by. 
The rats had crept 
out to their holes to 
look on, and they 
remained looking on 
for hours; soldiers 
and police often 
passed between 
them and the 
spectacle, and 
making a barrier 
behind which they 
slunk, and through 
which they peeped. " 
p. 143 

Markham, ON: Penguin 
Books Canada Ltd., 1985 
[original 1859] 

ISBN 0140430547 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Anita Rau Badami 


"'Walking away is 
hard, ' I reply. 'It's 
easier to grit your 
teeth and stay. ' 'No- 
no, you have got it 
wrong,' protests 
Latha. 'Going away 
is the easiest thing in 
the world. It is like 
dying. So simple it is 
to die . . . The real 
test is life itself, 
whether you are 
strong enough to stay 
and fight.'" p. 208 

Toronto, ON: Penguin Books 
Canada Ltd., 2001 
[original 1996] 
266 pages 

ISBN 0-14-100249-2 

Tamarind Mem is a loving portrait of two generations of 
women in an East Indian family. The protagonist, Kamini, is a 
newcomer to Canada. She has left her eccentric family back in 
India, including her mother Saroja (nicknamed Tamarind Mem 
after a sour fruit). When Kamini receives a postcard from her 
mother saying she has sold their home and is travelling 
through India, both women are forced into the past to 
confront their dreams and losses and to explore the love that 
binds them as mother and daughter. 

British Columbia author Anita Rau Badami successfully 
captures the rhythms of Indian English speech while sticking to 
traditional storytelling. This is a strong, humorous novel that 
invites personal response from students to write about their 
own families. This is also a model text for celebrating and 
building community, and could be used to prompt discussion 
about the differences between old and new world cultures. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Arthur C. Clarke 

2001: A Space Odyssey, a classic speculative fiction novel, 
with a new introduction by Clarke, explores the origin and 
development of humankind. It begins as early civilization is 
visited by aliens from outer space, and follows human progress 
to the time of space travel. 

When a mysterious object called TMI is detected close to 
Saturn, a manned-mission flight is launched to determine if 
other life forms exist in the Universe. Guided by HAL, an 
almost-human computer, the voyage ends in chaos and David 
Bowman, the only surviving crew member, encounters the 
unknown by himself. Isolated from Earth, David experiences a 
shocking journey and undergoes a transformation that changes 
his life forever. 

This novel presents an intriguing plot and an unusual view of 
humankind. The philosophical concepts, the symbols and 
ethics regarding computers and technology, should arouse 
student interest, particularly in small group study. 

"When Earth was 
tamed and tranquil, 
and perhaps a little 
tired, there would 
still be scope for 
those who loved 
freedom, for the 
tough pioneers, and 
restless adventurers. 
But their tools would 
not be ax and gun 
and canoe and 
wagon; they would 
be nuclear power 
plant and plasma 
drive and hydroponic 
farm. The time was 
fast approaching 
with Earth, like all 
mothers, must say 
farewell to her 
children." p. 66 

Markham, ON: Penguin 
Books Canada Ltd., 1991 
[original 1968] 

ISBN 0451450639 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Earl Lovelace 

"One day he tell 
Buntin, 'I feel as if 
time flying away and 
leaving me. ' 
You's a young man, ' 
Buntin tell him. 
'What you would say 
if you was old like 

One day Buntin ask 
him, when he come 
back from one of his 
trips, "What you want 
with this place? . . . 
He didn't have an 
'You search for 
something, what it 

It was as if he was 
searching for 
something, like a 
woman, Buntin say. 
But it wasn't a 
woman, it was his 
life he was looking 
for." p. 91 

Oxford, England: Heinemann 
International Literature and 
Textbooks, 1986 
[original 1982] 

ISBN 0435988808 

The Wine of Astonishment presents the history of a 
Trinidadian Spiritual Baptist ("Shouter") community, from the 
time when the sect's practices of worship were banned in 1917 
until the ban was lifted in 1951. This edition has a good 
introduction that deals with both contextual issues and 
characterization, thus providing a solid starting point. 

The novel is excellent social history, but social history made 
vivid and immediate by a first person narrator— Eva, a black 
peasant woman who has lived through these years. The 
rhythms of her dialect and her eye for the significant details of 
life, are the strong points of this novel. Some students may 
need assistance with the Trinidadian dialect, and oral reading 
might be helpful in this regard. 

Major characters in the work show different reactions to 
colonialism. Ivan Morton chooses an "English" education, 
losing touch with his community as a result. Corporal Prince 
chooses to serve his colonial masters, and deals even more 
callously with his people than do they. Bolo is courageous and 
defiant, wanting to aid his people, yet unable to direct his 
anger effectively. Bee, in some ways a Christ-figure, is heroic 
in his spiritual growth and adherence to his ideals. Lovelace's 
characters all have human strengths and weaknesses, and he 
presents them with sympathetic insight. 

Colonialism, oppression, civil rights, religious beliefs and the 
value of human dignity are major issues in this novel, and 
students should critically examine them in order to gain a more 
balanced perspective. Some research may also be required in 
order to enhance meaning and students' understanding of the 
social and historical context of the novel. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Terry Pratchett 

Wyrd Sisters identifies the magic and mystical world of the 
kingdom of Lancre. Another of his Discworld novels, Wyrd 
Sisters is the rollicking story of three witches who, while 
gathered around their cauldron, are interrupted by murder and 
mayhem. Worse yet, they are burdened by the sudden arrival 
of a royal baby. The sisters give the prince away to a travelling 
troupe of actors, and assume their troubles are over. 
However, their lives are further complicated by the appearance 
of the King's ghost, who petitions them to recover his child and 
restore the kingdom to the rightful heir. 

This fantasy novel is designed with clever allusion and word 
play. The dialogue is rich and engaging and the imagery 
imaginative and colourful. Plot complications are funny and 
fast-moving, and the role of the occult is not to be taken 
seriously in this work. The tone is richly comic and cleverly 
delivered tongue-in-cheek. 

Granny Weatherwax and the spell sisters provide a comic 
characterization in a farcical plot, which is a counterpoint to 
Macbeth. The use of language is a delightful modern parody of 
Shakespearean word play. The book should provoke some 
interesting discussion on style and satire, and may be most 
appropriate for individual or small group study, or on an 
optional basis. 

"'If you do confess,' 
said the duchess, 
'you will merely be 
burned at the stake. 
And, please, no 
humorous remarks.' 


The duke closed his 
eyes, but the visions 
were still there. 
'Concerning the 
accidental death of 
the late King 
Verence, ' he 
hoarsely. . . . 

'Oh, I don't know 
nothing false, ' she 
said. 'I know you 
stabbed him ....'" 
pp. 136-137 

Toronto, ON: Penguin Books 
Canada Ltd., 1990 
[original 1988] 

ISBN 0451450124 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



212/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-1 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



:■,:.. : ::; ,■ 

English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 

Hi Al// * . * 

It* 5 J 


Steven Callahan 

"Presuming the raft 
stays intact, and I 
acquire no additional 
food or water, I can 
last at best until 
February 22, fourteen 
more days. I may 
just reach the 
shipping lanes, 
where I will have a 
remote chance of 
being spotted. 
Dehydration will take 
its toll by that time. 
My tongue will swell 
until it fills my mouth 
and then will 
blacken. My eyes 
will be sucked deeply 
into my head. Death 
will knock at the door 
of my delirious 
mind." p. 61 

New York, NY: Ballantine 
Books, 1987 
[original 1986] 

ISBN 0345340833 

In Adrift, Steven Callahan, sailing solo across the Atlantic, is 
left with only a life raft, knife, emergency kit, small sail and a 
sleeping bag when his sloop sinks. For 76 days, his ingenuity 
and resourcefulness keep him alive in his small life raft, 
Rubber Ducky III. He survives on raw fish, tiny amounts of 
painstakingly collected water and anything even remotely 
edible. He expresses clearly the emotional roller coaster of 
hope and despair as he is at the mercy of the weather, the 
sea, sharks and large fish during his lengthy ordeal. 
Emaciated and covered in sores, he lands in Guadeloupe, 
having saved his own life with his initiative, skill and 

This is a survival story that should especially appeal to male 
students, and to students who are able to empathize with 
Callahan. Diagrams and illustrations allow the reader to 
visualize the hardships endured by the author. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Brian Maracle 


Back on the Rez is the nonfiction account of Mohawk writer 
Brian Maracle who returned to his boyhood reserve home in 
the 1990s. The book tells of Maracle's adjustment to simpler, 
rural living conditions and describes his attempt to "find his 
roots." It also explores contemporary social issues related to 
cultural heritage, change, adaptation and the community's 
attempt to revitalize. 

Back on the Rez is thoughtfully-written in short digestible 
chapters, each about three to four pages long. The author is 
honest and critical in his approach, attacking corruption and 
fearlessly assessing Aboriginal issues such as gambling, tax 
exemptions and media coverage. However, it is important to 
note that the book is told from only the author's point of view. 
Some readers may find problematic statements about 
Caucasians, Aboriginals, politicians, and the discord among the 
governing bodies of the Six Nations. Teachers should 
undertake the teaching of this book with considerable care and 
preparation, including research into the other perspectives on 
key issues. 

This would be a good model for Aboriginal students to explore 
their own cultural roots, but will also be of interest to 
non-Aboriginal students who want a better understanding of 
Native issues in Canada. The text suits interdepartmental 
curricular approaches to teaching English language arts, social 
studies and Aboriginal studies. 

The reserves mean 
many things to the 
Onkwehonwe. On 
one level, these 
remnants of our 
original territories are 
nagging reminders of 
the echoing vastness 
of what we have lost 
On another, they are 
the legacy and 
bastion of our being. 
They are a refuge, a 
prison, a haven, a 
madhouse, afortress, 
a birthplace, a Mecca, 
a resting place, 
Home-S weet-Home, 
Fatherland and 
Motherland rolled 
into one. " p. 3 

Toronto, ON: 

Penguin Books of Canada 

Ltd., 1997 

[original 1996] 

306 pages 

ISBN 0-14-024361-5 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Beth Goobie 


"She turned back to 
the spirits. They had 
stopped wailing and 
were floating on the 
quiet water, their 
bodies intertwined as 
if they were 
extensions of one 
another. She wasn't 
certain, but she 
thought they were 
watching her." p. 91 

Victoria, BC: 

Orca Book Publishers, 2003 

[original 2000] 

203 pages 

ISBN 1-55143-163-7 

Before Wings is an honest, intense book by one of Canada's 
top young adult fiction writers. The main character, Adrien, is 
an intelligent, tough fifteen-year-old who survived a near-fatal 
brain aneurysm two years earlier. Now she consumed by 
thoughts of her own mortality. In hopes of helping her move 
beyond her terrifying experience, Adrien's parents send her to 
Camp Lakeshore, owned and operated by her Aunt Erin, a 
woman with a haunted past of her own. While she is there, 
Adrien bonds with Paul, a teen who is convinced that he has 
dreamt and foreseen his own death. Adrien also begins 
receiving visions and messages from the spirits of five young 
women: a group of campers who died long ago in a tragic 
accident. As Adrien learns to deal with her fear of death, she 
becomes more focused on how to live a better life. Goobie's 
theme is about the precarious coming-of-age of an unusual 

This rich, realistic mystery-love story does justice to the 
sensitivity and sensibilities of teenagers. Before Wings is 
easy-to-read with lots of dialogue and an upbeat ending. The 
book also powerfully captures the atmosphere and mores of a 
youth summer camp. There is some contextualized coarse 
language that effectively adds realism. The book also contains 
references to gender orientation and a tactful scene of 
premarital adolescent sex. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Robert Cormier 

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway is about sixteen-year-old 
Barney Snow who can't remember what life was like before he 
came to the experimental clinic for the terminally ill. He 
mistakenly believes that he is a control subject and that it is all 
the other patients who are sick. However, while he helps a 
fellow patient, Mazzo, Barney unexpectedly uncovers the secret 
that he too will die. 

The construction of the Bumblebee, a car, on the rooftop of the 
clinic, and its ultimate flight, are the result of the love, the 
compassion, and the empathy the boys share with, and for, 
each other. The flight does question assisted suicide and 
moral obligations to the terminally ill. 

The theme needs to be dealt with sensitively and requires a 
great deal of acceptance and understanding. Small group 
discussions leading to full class discussions may facilitate 
increased comprehension of the novel. It is eloquently written, 
and students should have no problems visualizing the 
characters and the action. It is a compelling story. 

"Sad somehow, one 
life ending while 
another began. But 
he drew a kind of 
comfort from this 
knowledge, seeing for 
the first time the 
continuity of life, 
nature at work in the 
world, providing a 
never-ending process 
of life in all its forms. 
Maybe there was 
some kind of 
continuity in people 
too. Nature at work 
in people. Or was it 
God? He shivered at 
the thought." p. 126 

New York, NY: Dell 
Publishing, 1991 
[original 1983] 

ISBN 04409087 IX 


Best Young Adult Book 
Award, American Library 
Association (ALA), 1983 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Frank W. Abagnale 

"Once I embarked on 
counterfeiting checks, 
I realized I had 
reached a point of no 
return. I had chosen 
paperhanging as a 
profession, my 
means of surviving, 
and having chosen a 
nefarious occupation, 
I set out to perfect my 
working skills. " 
p. 128 

New York, NY: Random 
House, Inc., 2002 
Broadway Books edition 
[original 1980] 
293 pages 

ISBN 0-7679-0538-5 

Catch Me If You Can is an easy-to-read example of true- 
crime nonfiction about an individual who has had a successful 
career on both sides of the law. A challenge-seeker, Frank 
Abagnale flew a jet, practised law without a license, and 
pretended to be a sociology professor. He lived out his wildest 
fantasies cashing over 2.5 million dollars in forged cheques 
before he was twenty-one. Living on the lam, he was pursued 
in twenty-six countries and fifty American states. Then, he 
experienced a life change and is currently a respected 
authority on security and counterfeiting, working for the FBI 
crime unit. 

This popular, richly-detailed memoir is a psychological study of 
a daring, intelligent and fascinating individual whose exploits 
are strangely impressive for their flamboyance and sheer 
audacity. Students could be asked to respond personally to 
Abagnale's methods and analyze the reasons for his success as 
well as his life change. The book contains minor examples of 
1960s male chauvinism that does not detract from the 
narrative but will need some teacher direction. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Michael Blake 

Dances with Wolves begins with the ironic circumstances 
under which Lieutenant Dunbar is assigned to an abandoned 
prairie army outpost. Isolated in the wilderness, Dunbar is 
drawn irrevocably to the nearby Comanche camp where he 
begins a cultural odyssey that changes him forever. He 
gradually becomes part of the proud nomadic people who 
fascinate him so much. Finally, he faces a critical choice by the 
inevitable movement of the army against his new home and 

Although lengthy, the story line is fast-paced and should hold 
student interest. Specific characterization, although 

interesting, is secondary to the study of the moral dilemma 
that Dunbar faces; essentially this is a story of one man's 
choices. The plot has the classic elements of isolation and 
survival; it is the study of "civilized man" and what that means 
to Dunbar, and more importantly, what that means to the 

The writing is descriptive and image-laden and has the ability 
to transport readers to the world Dunbar inhabits. His motives 
are essentially understandable and noble in spite of the brutal 
and tragic elements of his life. 

The white soldier 
with blood on his 
face had brought 
back Stands With A 
Fist, and Ten Bears 
was convinced that 
this surprise was a 
bright omen, one that 
should be followed 
through on. The 
issue of the white 
race had troubled his 
thoughts too long. 
For years he had not 
been able to see 
anything good in 
their coming. But he 
wanted to 
desperately. Today 
he had seen 
something good at 
last, and now he was 
determined not to let 
what he considered a 
golden opportunity 
slip past." p. 106 

New York, NY: Fawcett 
Gold Medal, 1988 

ISBN 0449134482 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



John Wyndham 

"'If we face it 
squarely, there's a 
simple choice, ' I said. 
'Either we can set out 
to save what can be 
saved from the wreck 
— and that has to 
include ourselves: or 
we can devote 
ourselves to 
stretching the lives of 
these people a little 
longer. That is the 
most objective view I 
can take. But I can 
see, too, that the 
most obviously 
humane course is 
also, probably the 
road to suicide.'" 
p. 103 

Toronto, ON: Penguin Books 
of Canada Ltd., n.d. 
Penguin Putnam edition 
[original 1951] 
272 pages 

ISBN 0-140-00993-0 

The Day of the Triffids is a science fiction classic in which 
carnivorous alien plants invade 21 st century Earth. After a 
meteor shower blinds most of the population, the triffids use 
their poison stingers to paralyze humans before they devour 
them. The protagonist William Masen is in a London hospital 
with bandaged eyes when the showers occur, protecting him 
from the blinding effect. He and another patient, Josella 
Playton, team up and go looking for other unblinded humans 
to organize and resist the triffids. 

This doomsday book suggests an unexpected way that alien 
life might destroy the planet and examines how human beings 
respond to a serious crisis. It raises problem-solving and 
decision-making possibilities and scenarios that could be 
explored and discussed by students. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Berlie Doherty 

Helen, the main narrator of Dear Nobody, is pregnant as a 
result of a brief sexual relationship with a young man named 
Chris. Her letters to her unborn child, whom she calls 
"Nobody," are a record of her anxieties, her confusion and her 
growing maturity. At first, she hates the unborn child and 
attempts, unsuccessfully, to abort it. As her pregnancy 
progresses, the letters to "Nobody" develop a very real bond. 
When Helen gives birth to her baby, she names her daughter 
Amy, a name meaning loved one, or friend. 

Chris, in contrast, has no sensitivity. He has some short-lived 
feelings of guilt, but runs away from the consequences of his 
actions. Chris shares the narration with Helen, and his 
thoughts and deeds show that he cares for no one but himself. 
Only at the end of the novel does he begin to admit his 

The issues in this book are difficult and, for some readers, 
perhaps controversial. Yet this British author's focus is clearly 
on the importance of moral choices. There are no depictions of 
sexual intercourse, or even of childbirth. Throughout her 
novel, Doherty emphasizes the importance of responsible 
behaviour, of self-knowledge and of love. 

"We walked back to 
Helen's house in 
silence, so full of 
thoughts that there 
was nothing to say. I 
had my arm round 
her. 'It'll be all right, ' 
I kept saying. Til 
stay with you, 
whatever happens. ' 
The words just came 
out. I've no idea 
what I meant by 
them. When I 
thought of them 
afterwards I went 
cold and scared 
inside, but at the time 
it seemed to be the 
only thing to say, so I 
said it. " p. 30 

London, England: Hamish 
Hamilton Ltd., 1991 

ISBN 0241130565 


Carnegie Medal, 1991 
Sankei Award, 1991 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Jack Higgins 

"'You have brought 
me nothing and yet 
with men like that, 
with such facilities, 
you should have 
been capable of 
bringing me Churchill 
out of England.' 
There was a moment 
of complete silence as 
Hitler glanced from 
face to face. 'Is that 
not so?' 

Mussolini looked 
hunted, Goebbels 
nodded eagerly. It 
was Himmler who 
added fuel to the 
flames by saying 
quietly, 'Why not, my 
Fuhrer. After all, 
anything is possible, 
no matter how 
miraculous, as you 
have shown by 
bringing the Duce of 
GranSasso.'" p. 27 

London, England: 
Ltd., 1976 
[original 1975] 

ISBN 0330246305 

Pan Books 

In The Eagle Has Landed, after intense training, a small 
force of German paratroopers lands on the Norfolk coast of 
England in November 1943, with the aim of capturing Winston 

This action-packed wartime thriller contains elements of 
heroism, duplicity, bloodshed, irony and surprise. The theme, 
though certainly subordinate to plot and character, focuses on 
the fact that war is a fight for survival and, therefore, will 
expose many people to danger. This novel is an excellent 
vehicle for the study of plot development. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Daniel Keyes 

Flowers for Algernon is told through the voice of Charlie 
Gordon, who has an IQ below 70. He participates in an 
experiment that gives him above average intelligence. 
Recorded as a diary, Charlie's progression is revealed through 
his initial poor writing skills and his later sophisticated language 

The novel focuses on man's inhumanity to man. Charlie is 
seen by his co-workers as a source of humour, but as he 
progresses intellectually, he is shunned by these same people. 
The novel criticizes science for pursuing knowledge without 
considering moral implications, and suggests that the 
intellectual side of human nature needs to be balanced with 
compassion and love. Charlie's progression from his childlike 
state of innocence to his intellectual-social maturity prompts 
the reader to question society and its motives. 

Class discussion should include the idea that loneliness and the 
inability to communicate occur at both ends of the intellectual 
spectrum. The novel may promote an interesting study of 
acceptance and understanding. 

"But with the 
freedom came a 
sadness. I wanted to 
be in love with her. I 
wanted to overcome 
my emotional and 
sexual fears, to 
marry, have children, 
settle down. 
Now it's impossible. I 
am just as far away 
from Alice with an 
I.Q. of 185 as I was 
when I had an I.Q. of 
70. And this time we 
both know it. " p. 1 26 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Books, 1966 

ISBN 0553124986 


Nebula Award, Science 
Fiction Writers of America, 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



William Bell 


"Up until then, 
thousands had 
refused to leave the 
square and every 
day the place was a 
carpet of humanity. 
But on the thirteenth 
one thousand 
students started a 
hunger strike and 
vowed to keep it up 
until either they died 
or the government 
promised to meet 
with their 

representatives and 
the begin reforms. 
When I heard that I 
rushed down there. " 
pp. 66-67 

Toronto, ON: General 
Paperbacks, 1991 
[original 1990) 

ISBN 0773673148 


Belgium Award for Excellence 
in Children's Literature, 1990 

Ontario School Librarians' 
Award for Excellence, 1990 

In Forbidden C/fyAlex Jackson, the 17-year-old son of a CBC 
news cameraman, is with his father on assignment in China's 
capital, Beijing. As Alex relishes the excitement and 
adventures of his new residence, he reveals to the reader the 
events leading up to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 
and the forces controlling the lives of the Chinese people. 

The events are told through personal accounts in Alex's diary. 
His sojourns into a tranquil city, his zest to understand the 
language and the people, and his encounter with the university 
students are suddenly transformed into a battlefield. 
Government forces are horridly depicted as opposing unarmed 
citizens, whose goal is simply to seek an audience with those 
in authority. 

The novel provides us with an outsider's view of conditions 
within China. As the opposing forces clash, Alex is shot and 
seeks refuge in strange surroundings. As a student 
sympathizer, he is now the one who is being entrusted with 
the responsibility to capture the scenes of injustice and 
present the truth to the outside world. What began as an 
adventure now becomes a mission. 

This is a thought-provoking novel that lends itself to discussion 
about changing political and social order in the world. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Ben Carson (with Cecil Murphey) 

Abandoned by his father, the protagonist of Gifted Hands 

grows up in the tenements of Boston. The son of a single, 
uneducated mother, Ben Carson is an unlikely candidate to 
become a leading neurosurgeon. Yet, he overcomes 
disadvantages, such as prejudice and peer pressure, to 
succeed. His ability to work hard and laugh, and his belief in 
God, permeates his story. 

This easy-to-read biography offers the example of a positive 
role model who overcomes much adversity with the support 
and encouragement of adults. The narrative enhances the 
reader's views of blacks and single mothers. 

Ben Carson's story proves that one can achieve goals with 
dedication and discipline. Students could discuss or write 
about how they or their families have overcome adversity in 
their lives. 

"This is crazy,' I 
finally mumbled. 'I 
must be crazy. Sane 
people don't try to kill 
theirfriends.' The 
rim of the tub felt cool 
under my hands. 1 
put my hands on my 
face. Tm doing so 
well at school, and 
then I do this. ' 
I'd dreamed of being 
a doctor since I was 
8 years old. But how 
could I fulfill the 
dream with such a 
terrible temper. " 
p. 57 

New York, NY: 
HarperCollins Publishers, 
[original 1990] 

ISBN 0061042536 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Douglas Adams 

"'My God,' 
complained Arthur, 
'you're talking about 
a positive mental 
attitude and you 
haven't even had 
your planet 
demolished today. I 
woke up this morning 
and thought I'd have 
a nice relaxed day, 
do a bit of reading, 
brush the dog ... It's 
now just after four in 
the afternoon and I'm 
already being thrown 
out of an alien 
spaceship six light 
years from the 
smoking remains of 
the Earth!'" p. 57 

London, England: Pan Books 
Ltd., 1979 

ISBN 0330258648 

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a classic episodic 
science fiction novel made up of equal parts of adventure and 
humour, Arthur hitch hikes through space in a quest for the 
meaning of life, the Universe, and everything! Arthur Dent, 
resident of a perfectly uneventful British town, is rescued by 
Ford Prefect, editor of the electronic book, Hitch Hiker's Guide 
to the Galaxy, just as Earth is blasted apart by Vogons. A 
nontraditional female character provides added zest to the 
unexpected, fast-paced happenings. 

This somewhat irreverent approach to the creation of the 
Universe and humankind is essentially British in approach and 
language. It uses both subtle and slapstick humour to parody 
revolution, racism, government, politics, religion, and even 
literature. Mature students, working individually or in small 
groups, should have ample opportunity to critically examine 
popular opinions and a variety of ideologies during this novel 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Jack Gantos 

Hole in My Life is an autobiographical exploration of how a 
Florida teen with a promising school record and a burning 
desire to become a writer ends up in doing time in a medium- 
security prison for drug offences. Although Gantos does not 
attempt to absolve himself of his past, he does explicate how 
easily a youth may be seduced into a life of quick money and 
easy living. Gantos tells of a trail of circumstances that lead to 
his unthinking involvement in a drug smuggling venture, his 
descent into heavy drug use and his eventual conviction for 
selling marijuana. By 1971, at the age of 20, Gantos was 
serving a six-year sentence in a U.S. federal prison in Ashland, 

Gantos writes openly and candidly of a life lived on the edge of 
poverty in Fort Lauderdale and St. Croix, the underworld of 
drugs, and the brutality of prison. Teachers need be aware 
that this text contains inappropriate language, and descriptions 
of sexuality, prison behaviour, and drug and alcohol use. It 
also contains references to race and social/economic difference 
that will need sensitive discussion. However, Gantos writes 
with equal power of his pursuit of the dream of becoming a 
writer and of the redemptive power of literature. The positive 
aspect of the book is that the writer survived prison, drugs and 
alcohol to become a positive contributor in society and today is 
the celebrated author of over thirty books for young readers, 
most recently the highly-acclaimed Joey Pigza series. 

"I wasn't raised 
around this level of 
violence. I wasn't 
prepared for it, and 
I've never forgotten it. 
Even now, when 
walking some of 
Boston's meaner 
streets, I find myself 
moving like a knife, 
carving my way 
around people, 
cutting myself out of 
their picture and 
leaving nothing of 
myself behind but a 
hole." p. 5 

New York, NY: 

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 


ISBN 0-374-39988-3 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



John Dudley Ball 

That was what hurt. 
An outsider might be 
all right if her were a 
good fellow and all 
that, but the idea of a 
black man stuck up 
like a jagged rock in 
the middle of a 
channel. By the time 
they had reached the 
police station, Sam 
had still not made up 
his mind. He wanted 
the crime to be 
solved, but he 
wanted it solved by 
someone whom he 
could look up to and 
respect." p. 60 

New York, NY: 

Carroll & Graf Publishing, 


[original 1965] 

185 pages 

ISBN 0-88902-029-9 

In the Heat of the Night is an intelligent but readable 
formula murder mystery set in the Deep South of the 1960s, at 
the time of the Civil Rights Movement. Virgil Tibbs, a black 
homicide detective in California, is mistakenly picked up and 
arrested in a murder case while passing through a small town. 
Eventually, the somewhat- bigoted Chief Gillespie enlists Tibbs' 
help to solve the case and find the real murderer. As the 
investigation continues, Caucasian officer Sam Woods starts to 
emulate Virgil and his methods, suggesting that the detective 
has become his role model. 

This is a whodunit, read principally for the challenge of solving 
the crime. It provides opportunities to study the form and 
technique of the detective novel, including the use of stock 
characters to advance the plot and the introduction of a red 
herring to create obstacles. 

It is also a study of prejudice and discrimination with a 
message of hope, and could be studied for its positive insights 
on tolerance and understanding. In a crisis, people of 
different backgrounds are able to cooperate and overcome 
their differences to deal with a challenge. Teachers should be 
aware of potentially problematic language references, 
especially to African-Americans and Italians. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


John Steinbeck 

In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck tells the story of two 
ironically-named drifters, George Milton and Lennie Small, who 
arrive at a California ranch during the Depression. Not 
realizing his own strength or size, the intellectually disabled 
Lennie has, in the past, accidentally killed his pet mice, and 
eventually he kills his boss' daughter-in-law. George, who has 
lovingly cared for and looked after Lennie, realizes that this 
death has killed his dream of acquiring his own ranch, and that 
he must find Lennie before the ranch hands do. George does 
find Lennie first and realizes that he must kill his friend as an 
act of love, in order to remove him from further suffering. 

"A guy needs somebody— to be near him. A guy goes nuts if 
he ain't got nobody ... I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he 
gets sick." These words, spoken by Crooks, a black ranch 
hand, identify the theme. The style of the novel is simple— the 
words are mainly monosyllabic, suggesting the nature of the 
people Steinbeck is describing. The sentence structure is often 
rhythmic, poetic, portraying sometimes a mood of peace and 
tranquility, and sometimes one of violence. The simplicity of 
the setting lends itself to a discussion of unity, symbol and 

In the classroom, it is important to reflect on the social 
considerations of alienation, desire, love, dignity and 
commitment. Some of the characters use profane language, 
but this punctuates the emotions that have been stirred up and 
reflects the attitudes found in the lives and circumstances of 
American workers at that time. 

u 'Funny how you an' 
him string along 
together. ' It was 
Slim's calm invitation 
to confidence. 
'What's funny about 
it?' George 
'Oh, I dunno. Hardly 
none of the guys ever 
travel together. I 
hardly never seen 
two guys travel 
together. You know 
how the hands are, 
they just come in and 
get their bunk and 
work a month, and 
then they quit and go 
out alone. Never 
seem to give a damn 
about nobody.'" 
p. 43 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Books, 1972 
[original 1937] 

ISBN 0553131001 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Sebastian Junger 

The transition from 
crisis to catastrophe 
is fast, probably 
under a minute . . . 
There's no time to put 
on survival suits or 
grab a life vest; the 
boat's moving 
through the most 
extreme motion of her 
life and there isn't 
even time to shout ... 
The TV, the washing 
machine, the VCR 
tapes, the men, all go 
flying. And, seconds 
later, the water 
moves in. " p. 1 77 

New York, NY: 

HarperCollins Publishers, 2000 
Harper Torch edition 
[original 1997] 
344 pages 

ISBN 0-06-10 135 1-X 

The Perfect Storm, popularized by a hit movie, concerns the 
'storm of the century' that happened in October 1991 off the 
coast of Nova Scotia. The Andrea Ga/eand its six-man crew of 
fishermen were deluged by one-hundred-foot waves and 120 
mile-per-hour winds. Based on radio, dialogue interviews and 
eyewitness accounts, the book documents the final minutes of 
the Andrea Gale, along with the successful rescues of other 
several boats. The book also deals with the meteorological 
background and follow-up damage, while instilling empathy 
and sympathy for the various victims. 

This factual and suspenseful text is an excellent example of 
realistic, evocative journalism. It is an objective study, first 
and foremost, of humans fighting the destructive aspects of 
nature. Secondly, it is an appreciation of true heroism arising 
from disaster. 7776 Perfect Storm might stimulate research on 
a number of topics, including the history of the fishing 
industry, the science of storm prediction, and naval rescue 

Plot, characterization, suspense, setting, atmosphere, point of 
view and irony are writing elements that could be analyzed 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Pierre Boulle 

Planet of the Apes, a 21 st century tale, is about three 
astronauts who land on a planet that resembles Earth, but with 
one crucial difference: the planet is ruled by intelligent, 
cultured apes, while humans are wild, mute and used for 
scientific research. After being captured during a terrifying 
manhunt and locked in a cage, the first-person narrator, Ulysse 
Merou, tries to become the self-appointed saviour of 
humankind. Studying his simian captors and learning their 
language, Ulysse struggles to convince the apes that he 
possesses intelligence and reason. 

Planet of the Apes prompts readers to re-examine notions 
about the relationship between humans and animals on Earth. 
Boulle's satire is witty and moving. This social commentary is a 
quick read and would be ideal for personal and creative 
response work. 

"I kiss my son with 
passion, without 
allowing myself to 
think of the clouds 
gathering over our 
heads. He will be a 
man, a proper man, 
I'm sure. Intelligence 
sparkles in his 
features and in his 
eyes. I have revived 
the sacred flame. 
Thanks to me, a new 
human race is rising 
and will bloom on 
this planet." p. 251 

Toronto, ON: Random 
House of Canada Ltd., 2001 
Del Rey/Ballantine Books 

[original 1963] 
268 pages 

ISBN 0-345-44798-0 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Cynthia Voigt 

"Strong and hard — in 
your spirit — pitiless 
and ruthless, that 
too. Alone. They 
were men of bronze. 
I thought, when I first 
met you, that it was 
curious to meet such 
a man when he was 
a boy. In a different 
time of history — do 
you know? You 
captured my 
imagination, to see 
how you would grow 
up." p. 144 

New York, NY: Fawcett 
Juniper, 1986 
[original 1985] 

ISBN 0449702944 


Silver Pencil Award (Dutch), 

Deutscher Jugend Literatur 
Preis, 1989 

Set in a small rural community in North Carolina, The Runner 
tells the story of Bullet, a young man from a dysfunctional 
family who struggles to maintain his self-worth by becoming a 
top, cross-country runner. His father is overly restrictive, his 
siblings have run away from home, and his mother acquiesces 
to whatever his father wishes. In this loveless existence, 
Bullet retains his sanity through stoicism, self-discipline and 
exercise. His relationship with a black runner allows Bullet to 
deal with his own racial prejudice and stereotyping. It is 
untimely that the Vietnam war ends Bullet's struggle to escape 
from his father's domination. 

The story accurately reflects the racist language and social 
climate and attitudes of the times, focusing on the racial 
tension in the United States of the 1960s, the integration- 
segregation issue, and the Vietnam war. Through full class, 
small group, or individual study, students should appreciate 
how the author skillfully illustrates breaking down barriers 
through communication and understanding. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Ryan White and Ann Marie Cunningham 

Ryan White: My Own Story is the biography of a 
hemophiliac who is determined to live a normal life. However, 
at age 13, he is diagnosed with AIDS as a result of receiving 
contaminated blood while being treated for hemophilia. Ryan 
recounts his experiences with being shunned by friends, barred 
from attending school, the legal battle to return to school, and 
having to move to another community. Before his death, at 
age 16, Ryan was befriended by a number of celebrities who 
helped publicize his difficulties and the plight of many AIDS 

Biographies of teenagers are rare, and Ryan's widely publicized 
fight for fair treatment should interest many students. His 
ability to cope with a life-threatening and socially unacceptable 
disease is a strength of the book. 

Teachers should be prepared to discuss frankly the issue of 
AIDS, if this nonfiction work is selected. The candid discussion 
of discrimination faced by Ryan and his family offers many 
possibilities for comment on an important social issue. 

"The Concerned 
Citizens even tried to 
have our county's 
welfare director 
declare Mom an unfit 
mother, take me 
away from her, and 
make me a ward of 
the court. Then, they 
figured, the court 
would keep me out of 
school. They said by 
letting me go to 
school, Mom was 
allowing me to kill 
other kids — and even 
to be killed myself if I 
picked up some 
illness from them!" 
pp. 131-132 

New York, NY: Signet, 1992 
[original 1991] 

ISBN 0451173228 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



W. P. Kinsella 

"'And then you not 
only see, but hear, 
and smell, and taste, 
and touch whatever 
is closest to your 
heart's desire. Your 
secret dreams that 
grow over the years 
like apple seeds 
sown in your belly, 
grow up through you 
in leafy wonder and 
finally sprout through 
your skin, gentle and 
soft and wondrous, 
and they breath and 
have a life of their 

You've done this?' 
A time or two.'" 
p. 84 

New York, NY: Ballantine 
Books, 1983 
[original 1982] 

ISBN 0345342569 


Books in Canada First Novel 
Award, 1983 

Canadian Authors Association 
prize, 1983 

In Shoe/ess Joe, Ray Kinsella, a small time farmer with a 
mission, dreams that he is destined to build a baseball stadium 
to which his hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson, will come to play ball. 
Ray begins his quest, makes a baseball field, brings J. D. 
Salinger to his farm, and watches as the ghosts of great 
players from the 1920s arrive to replay timeless games. Ray's 
conversations with the spirits of past baseball heroes are 
nostalgic and unusual, as the ghosts are able to right the 
wrongs of the past. Ray dreams of correcting errors from the 
past, and thereby achieving self-fulfillment. 

An interesting blend of fantasy and history, this well-crafted 
novel allows students the opportunity to reflect on the power 
of dreams and on the possibility of attaining them. The many 
allusions and interesting characterizations may be best suited 
to small group or individual study. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Richard E. Peck 

Something for Joey is the story of Joey Cappelletti who is a 
victim of leukemia. This story tells of himself and his brother 
John, their mutual love and support, and their struggle to 
overcome life's hurdles. 

John was a football halfback at Pennsylvania State University. 
Joey was a feisty 8-year-old who idolized his older brother. 
When Joey was diagnosed with leukemia, his parents put him 
on an experimental treatment program. An attack of chicken 
pox put him into a coma. With constant stimulation from 
family members, Joey slowly revived from his unconscious 
state. Meanwhile, John's popularity and skill grew with each 
football game. 

Peck skillfully draws the parallel between Joey's fight to 
overcome his infirmity and John's struggle to reach professional 
standards in football. Joey is able to travel to New York to 
watch his brother win the Heisman Trophy. An emotional 
climax is reached when John presents the trophy to his ailing 

The author writes in an easy-flowing, conversational manner, 
showing the Cappelletti family's strength and love for one 
another during a time of crisis. This story provides an 
opportunity to look at the family unit— its strengths and its 
weaknesses. Students who have experienced a death in the 
family, or know someone who suffers from a life-threatening 
illness, may need support during the discussion of this book. 

"...she was right 
about his not being 
needed at home. It 
would be much better 
for him to concentrate 
on a contribution to 
Joey's happiness 
that the others 
couldn't make. 
Everyone knew how 
Joey lived for the 
Penn State football 

After Joey's success 
at learning to walk 
all over again, it was 
now John's turn to 
repay his fierce 
determination." p. 66 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Books, Inc., 1978 

ISBN 0553142259 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Tony Hillerman 

"'Did she say which 
one?' Leaphorn 
asked. Here might 
be an explanation of 
how she had 
vanished. If she had 
been dealing directly 
with a pot hunter, he 
might have had 
second thoughts. 
Might have thought 
he had sold her 
evidence that would 
put him in prison. 
Might have killed her 
when she came back 
for more." p. 114 

New York, NY: Harper & Row, 
Publishers, Inc., 1990 
[original 1988] 

ISBN 0061000043 

In A Thief of Time noted anthropologist, Dr. Eleanor 
Freidman-Bemal, walks into a moonlit canyon of Anasazi 
pictographs and hears the flute sounds of Kokopelli, the 
"Humpbacked Flute Player" god of those vanished, ancient 
people. That night, the Anasazi are not the only missing 
people. Dr. Freidman-Bernal herself vanishes, which brings 
Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee of the Navajo 
Tribal Police onto the scene to investigate her disappearance. 
When two bodies later appear amid bones at an ancient burial 
site, Leaphorn and Chee must rely on their own knowledge of 
history, archeology, religion and the "Navajo way" to solve the 
murders and find the missing Eleanor. 

The protagonists, Leaphorn and Chee, are strong, well- 
developed characters who do not fall into the category of stock 
or stereotype "Natives." They exhibit the full range of human 
emotions and provide much for the study of character 
development in this novel. 

This is a detective novel that blends strong characterization 
with a riveting plot to create empathy and respect for the 
Navajo people and their complex culture. Hillerman takes 
great care in creating, with precise details, the intricacies and 
nuances of Navajo social and family structures, and their 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Robert Specht 

In Tisha, Anne Hobbs, a 19-year-old school teacher from 
Colorado, moves to the isolated gold mining community of 
Chicken, Alaska. There she finds herself the centre of interest 
and curiosity. 

Few of her nine pupils, from Grade 1 to Grade 8, have formal 
schooling or knowledge of the outside world. In the beginning, 
she pleases students and parents alike. She gains her 
nickname, Tisha, from one young student who couldn't say 
"teacher." However, as time passes, community animosity 
grows toward Anne as a result of her adoption of two Native 
children, and her romantic relationship with a young male 

Based on a true story, Specht constructs a realistic scenario, 
using techniques of fictional writing, emphasizing action and 
character conflict. This biography introduces some 
controversial issues concerning the cultural differences 
amongst the inhabitants of Chicken. Teachers should be aware 
that this book may evoke discussion concerning racism, 
stereotyping and isolation. 

The longer I stood 
there listening to the 
whole bunch of them 
talking about Chuck 
and Ethel as if they 
were dirt, the more I 
wanted them. Maybe 
it was because 
nobody had ever 
wanted me either 
when I was a little 
kid — nobody except 
Granny. They 
needed somebody to 
take care of them, 
and I could do it. " 
p. 221 

Toronto, ON: Bantam 
Books, 1977 
[original 1976] 

ISBN 0553145662 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 




238/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 20-2 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 




English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 

3 <M> # . * 



Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger 

"Swigert checked the 
panels and saw that 
there appeared to be 
an abrupt and 
inexplicable loss of 
power in what the 
crew called main bus 
B ... If one bus lost 
power, it meant that 
half the systems in 
the spacecraft could 
suddenly go dead. 
'Hey, ' Swigert 
shouted down to 
Houston, 'we've got a 
problem here.'" 
p. 103 

New York, NY: 

Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1995 

Pocket Books edition 

[original 1994] 

418 pages 

ISBN 0-671-53464-5 

Apollo 13 was previously published as Lost Moon: The 
Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13. This popular reprint is one 
of the more accessible books on space travel ever written. 
Specifically, it is an account of the problem-filled 1970 Apollo 
mission to the moon. Co-author Jim Lovell was an astronaut 
on the mission who was afterward named Time magazine's 
Man of the Year. He tells about a mysterious explosion that 
led to power and oxygen failure and the subsequent famous 
radio message: "Houston, we have a problem." This adventure 
is narrated chronologically with dates and times, and the book 
also includes photographs and an Afterword on events after 

Apollo 13 is an inspiring study of heroism and courage. The 
main focus is the rescue itself, as the crew goes through 
various crises but survive because of cooperation and 
overwhelming human effort. The book uses ironic humour, 
occasional technical language, and minor examples of coarse 
language to convey the events and the mood of the story. 

Apollo 13 would be a good choice for students who have a 
strong scientific interest or for programs where courses are 
taught interdepartmentally. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Dennis Bock 


The Ash Garden is a three-character fictional view of the 
bombing of Hiroshima and its profound, long-term effects. 
Anton is a proud German physicist who works at Los Alamos. 
Sophie is his young wife who fled from the Nazis and ended 
up quarantined on a ship in the Atlantic. Emiko is a six-year- 
old girl who is playing on a riverbank when the atomic bomb 
goes off, and later ends up as a documentary filmmaker after 
receiving corrective surgery. The destinies of all three 
characters are interwoven through the use of alternating 
points of view. 

Bock's focus is the moral ambiguities of war and how humans 
learn to live with tragic events of history. The book does not 
lay blame, but instead emphasizes, as Anton states, that "We 
have all paid." The war topic is timely, relevant and helpful in 
showing how humans cope with adversity and suffering. This 
is also a useful novel for teaching character development, 
point of view, plot structure, and the influence of plot on 

Teachers should be aware that some communities might find 
offence in some of the language and references to sexuality, 
race/ethnicity and people with disabilities. There is a brief, 
contextualized and thematically-relevant description of 
Sophie's physical emergence into womanhood. 

"I know the world 
requires a certain 
payment from us all, 
pain and suffering, 
hunger, destitution, 
solitude, for the 
freedoms we enjoy. 
We have all paid. Or 
will. It is not right or 
wrong to have used 
the bomb. But it was 
necessary." p. 203 

Toronto, ON: 

HarperCollins Canada, 2001 
First Perennial Canada 
281 pages 

ISBN 0-00-648545-6 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Barbara Kingsolver 

"To hear you tell it, 
you'd think man was 
only put on this earth 
to keep urinals from 
going to waste.' 
That's not true, I like 
Estevan. ' My heart 
sort of bumped when 
I said this. I knew 
exactly how it would 
look on an EKG 
machine; two little 
peaks and one big 

'He's taken. Who 

'Just because I don't 
go chasing after 
every Tom's Harry 
Dick that comes 
down the pike. ' 
"Who else?'" p. 112 

New York, NY: 
HarperPerennial, 1992 
[original 1988] 

ISBN 0060915544 

In The Bean Trees, Taylor Greer escapes rural Kentucky in a 
dilapidated '55 Volkswagen. She arrives in Tucson, Arizona at 
an auto repair shop called "Jesus Is Lord Used Tires," which 
also doubles as a sanctuary for Central American refugees. En 
route, she is persuaded to take responsibility for a 3-year-old 
Native American child whom she names Turtle. Together, they 
become an unlikely family, bonded by love and optimism, 
helping others and being helped, as they make their way 
through life. 

Thematically, the book is warm and rich, loving and wise. 
Trauma is counterbalanced by genuine humanity, and violence 
is tempered by the warmth of human relationships. 
Stylistically, the narration is casual and relaxed, but the novel 
does contain some coarse language and controversial religious 
references that may be offensive to some readers. The 
characters are driven by understandable human motives in 
such a way that they, and the reader, can laugh in spite of 
some of life's tragedies and injustices. 

Although the author deals with the trauma of child sexual 
abuse, and the distress that comes of abandonment and 
poverty, these issues are relevant to the plot and consistent 
with the characterization and development of theme. 
Teachers may also want to address the issue of inter-racial 
adoption. The wisdom of the book is simple and clearly 
drawn. It encourages the reader to acknowledge the power of 
unexpected alliances and resources. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Michael Dorris 

The Broken Cord is the story of Michael Dorris, a young 
bachelor, who adopts Adam. Over the course of the next 15 
years, Michael gradually and painfully discovers that his 
adopted son is epileptic and severely limited developmentally. 
The challenges of physical and mental limitations strain 
Michael's resources, and when he marries, family relationships 
as well. Finally, after years of uncertainty, Adam is diagnosed 
as a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS. The effects of 
his mother's drinking during pregnancy have been catastrophic 
to Adam and eventually lead to his death. Adam is unable to 
imagine, to foresee the consequences of his behaviour, or to 
remember from one time to the next the results of his actions. 
As Adam becomes an adult, his adopted parents are less able 
to protect him from himself and from others. 

This account reads like a novel, though it includes scientific 
evidence and statistics, as well as a brief autobiography of 
Adam. But most of all, it shines with love and impotent fury 
for a life destroyed before it was ever lived. Dorris, a well- 
educated, articulate Native American, draws attention to FAS 
and its effects. This book is best suited to the mature reader 
and offers a sensitive yet important issue for students to 

"As time passed I 
blamed racism: 
negative evaluators 
underrated Adam 
because of 
unexpressed negative 
feelings about 
minorities. I 
discounted as 
'cultural biased' the 
IQ tests that 
consistently scored 
my son in the upper 
sixties to low 
seventies. I 
concluded that 
Adam's teachers 
must be incompetent, 
badly trained, or lazy 
when they failed to 
stimulate his 
performance in the 
classroom." p. 65 

New York, NY: 
HarperPerennial, 1990 
[original 1989] 

ISBN 0060916826 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Fedor Dostoevsky 

"Kill her, take her 
money, on condition 
that you dedicate 
yourself with its help 
to the service of 
humanity and the 
common good; don't 
you think that 
thousands of good 
deeds will wipe out 
one little, 
transgression? For 
one life taken, 
thousands saved 
from corruption and 
decay!" p. 62 

Oxford, England: Oxford 
University Press, 1980 
[original 1866] 

ISBN 0192815490 

Crime and Punishment is the story of a murder committed 
on the principle of the superman who places himself above 
society. In an effort to prove he is intellectually and morally 
superior to Russian society, Rodion Raskolinikov brutally 
murders a pawnbroker and her innocent sister with an axe. 
The novel traces the psychological breakdown that leads to 
Raskolinikov's eventual confession and sentence to a Siberian 

This classic is a study of the complexities of human 
psychology. It examines the processes that lead an individual 
to break under the pressure of a flawed philosophy. 
Dostoevsky's sinister portrait of life in 19th-century 
St. Petersburg, with its gloomy tenements and rampant 
drunkenness, contributes to Raskolinikov's psychological 
breakdown and adds to the debate of nature versus nurture. 

This is a lengthy, complex novel that provides insights into 
psychology and the nature of human suffering and 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Chaim Potok 

In Davita's Harp, Ilanna Davita Chandel is the daughter of 
David and Channah Chandel. Her father is a nonbelieving 
Christian, her mother a nonbelieving Jew, and both are 
Communists. Davita's story begins in pre-World War II 
Brooklyn, where her parents are workers for the communist 
cause. Her world is anything but normal. Because of their 
views, her parents are forced to move from one apartment to 
another, and their home is always alive with meetings 
promoting communism. The family is thrown into turmoil 
when Davita's father is tragically killed in Guernica, Spain while 
covering the Spanish Civil War as a reporter. Furthermore, 
when Stalin signs the nonaggression pact with Hitler, Davita's 
mother becomes disillusioned with communism, which 
exacerbates her crisis of faith. However, this crisis eventually 
brings Channah and Davita closer to one another and 
eventually leads them both back to the mother's Jewish roots. 

Students may require extensive background information on the 
differences between Christianity and Judaism, the Spanish Civil 
War, and pre-World War II America and Europe. There is one 
mention of a rape, a scene of sexuality, some violence and a 
description of a lynching. However, none is gratuitous; each 
incident helps to shape Davita's character. 

Davita and Channah are strong female protagonists who defy 
or overcome many of the conventions and traditions placed 
before them. Davita's Harp is a poignant coming-of-age story 
that may be most appropriate for the mature reader in small 
group or individual study, or offered on an optional basis. 

"You can't forget the 
bad things that are 
done to you by telling 
yourself the world 
isn't all bad. We 
really can know only 
the people and things 
that touch us. 
Everything else is 
like words in a 
dictionary. We can 
learn them but they 
don't live deep inside 
us. Can you 
understand that, 
'I think so. ' 
'Religion is a 
dangerous fraud, 
liana, and an 
illusion.'" p. 315 

New York, NY: Fawcett 
Crest, 1986 
[original 1985] 

ISBN 0449207757 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Alan Lightman 

"It is a world of 
impulse. It is a world 
of sincerity. It is a 
world in which every 
word spoken speaks 
just to that moment, 
every glance given 
has only one 
meaning, each touch 
has no past or no 
future, each kiss is a 
kiss of immediacy. " 
p. 42 

New York, NY: 
Random House, Inc., 1994 
Warner Books edition 
[original 1993] 
179 pages 

ISBN 0-446-67011-1 

Einstein's Dreams is a series of poetic meditations on time, 
written as the fictional dreams of Albert Einstein as he was 
putting the last touches on his famous theory of relativity. 
What Lightman's fantasy proposes is that Einstein must have 
speculated about his theory in the context of his daily life. 
Einstein's thoughts and impressions are recorded in a series of 
thirty short, diary-style meditations that present variations on 
the given theme: in one world, time is circular; in another a 
man is occasionally plucked from the present and deposited in 
the past. 

This novella is deceptively brief, charmingly and cleverly 
written, and effectively captures the elusive and illusive 
aspects of time. Einstein's Dreams can be read in its separate 
'bits and pieces' or as a cohesive whole. It argues implicitly for 
more thoughtful, sensitive, conscious living in the 
here-and-now, and will have a special appeal to students who 
are beginning to philosophize about life. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Ernest Hemingway 

In A Farewell to Arms, Lieutenant Henry, an American 
ambulance driver on the Italian front, meets and falls in love 
with a beautiful English nurse, Catherine Barkley. The intensity 
of their love is juxtaposed with descriptions of soldiers 
demoralized by war. It is a story of love amidst a world of 
chaos, where love and pain co-exist, yet move toward a 
fatalism that is felt by Henry and Catherine. 

War is not glorified, and the soldiers speak with characteristic 
earthiness and irreverence. Students should be reminded that 
the novel is set in the trenches of the Italian countryside and 
stereotyping of women was common at that time. After 
Hemingway's description of the German attack on Corpetto, a 
better understanding of the grim realities of a soldier's world is 

Considered to be one of Hemingway's finest novels, A Farewell 
to Arms is focused on the pointlessness of war and is a lyrical 
novel of great power. It is an intense masculine portrayal of 
the effects of war, and reveals an attitude and a literary 
method characterized by Hemingway in the 1930s. The use of 
rich language and detailed description should be of interest to 
students, and the contrasting actions of loyalty and desertion 
should provoke discussion and emphasize the futility and 
horrors of war. The novel is appropriate for small group 
discussion and is best suited to the mature reader. 

"If people bring so 
much courage to this 
world the world has 
to kill them to break 
them, so of course it 
kills them. The world 
breaks every one and 
afterward men are 
strong at the broken 
places. But those 
that will not break it 
kills. It kills the very 
good and the very 
gentle and the very 
brave impartially. If 
you are none of these 
you can be sure it 
will kill you too but 
there will be no 
special hurry. " 
p. 249 

New York, NY: Collier 
Books, 1986 
[original 1929] 

ISBN 0020519001 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



John Steinbeck 

The two men squat 
on their hams and 
the women and 
children listen. Here 
is the node, you who 
hate change and fear 
revolution. Keep 
these two squatting 
mean apart; make 
them hate, fear, 
suspect each other. 
Here is the anlage of 
the thing you fear. 
This is the zygote. 
For here "I lost my 
land" is changed; a 
cell is split and from 
its splitting grows the 
thing you hate — 'We 
lost our land. ' The 
danger is here, for 
two men are not as 
lonely and perplexed 
as one. " p. 1 94 

New York, NY: Penguin Books, 


[original 1939] 

ISBN 0140042393 


Pulitzer Prize, 1940 

The Grapes of Wrath traces the journey of the Joad family 
in the mid- 1930s from a dried-out Oklahoma tenant farm to 
the "Promised Land" of California, where they desperately 
struggle to make a living picking fruit. In spite of the efforts of 
Ma Joad to keep the family together, the hardships 
encountered— hunger, sickness, discrimination, exploitation, 
death— all take their toll. 

The Joads are one fictional family intended to represent the 
thousands who followed the same route and encountered 
similar problems. Steinbeck, himself, travelled with these 
migrants in 1937 and published newspaper articles and 
documentary evidence of their plight. The Grapes of Wrath is 
a social novel, a vivid protest against the victimization of 
workers in a time of crisis; yet, despite the grim story line, it is 
not pessimistic in tone, but rather celebrates the beauty and 
triumph of the human spirit. 

The novel is useful for a variety of teaching purposes: social 
criticism; in conjunction with parallel Canadian literature about 
the 1930s; for close study of varied novel techniques, such as 
the use of interchapters; and for Biblical parallels and 
symbolism. It lends itself well to small group work, to 
background research, to the comparison of fiction to 
documentary, or art to propaganda. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 30-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Charles Dickens 

Philip Pirrip, the protagonist of Great Expectations, is an 
orphaned village boy who, through a series of mysterious 
events, finds himself expecting to become a gentleman. His 
new-found good fortune takes him to London and elevates his 
social class, but does nothing to improve his character. The 
startling discovery of the real source of his fortune, and the 
eventual recognition of the needs of others, finally shows him 
the true meaning of "gentleman." By the end of the novel, Pip 
has become one, in the real sense. 

The book could be useful in the study of the novel: structure, 
character development, point of view, setting, symbolism, 
style. It relates well to other fiction on the theme of innocence 
and growth through experience. 

Great Expectations is considered by many to be Dickens' 
greatest literary achievement. It contains the usual Dickensian 
variety of characters, humour, pathos, mystery, plot 
complications and suspense. Thus, it sustains reader interest 
over its considerable length, though it should probably be 
chosen for the more skilled reader. 

"'But as she grew 
and promised to be 
very beautiful, I 
gradually did worse, 
and with my praised, 
and with my jewels, 
and with my 
teachings, and with 
this figure of myself 
always before her, a 
warning to back and 
point my lesson, I 
stole her heart away 
and put ice in its 
place. ' 

'Better, ' I could not 
help saying, 'to have 
left her a natural 
heart, even to be 
bruised and broken. " 
p. 313 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Classic Press, 1958 
[original 1861] 

ISBN 0553210157 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 30-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Anita Rau Badami 

"She was losing all 
that was familiar and 
beloved, thought 
Sripathi He wished 
then that he could 
promise her that 
everything would be 
all right. He had 
even reached out to 
pat her shoulder, to 
tell her that she 
would be okay — he 
was going to take her 
home to India — but 
the child had shrunk 
away from him. " 
pp. 142-143 

Toronto, ON: Random House 
of Canada Ltd., 2001 
Vintage Canada edition 
[original 2000] 
359 pages 

ISBN 0-676-97360-4 

The Hero's Walk is about Sripathi Rao, an unhappy, 
unremarkable middle-aged man living in Toturpuram, India 
with his eccentric extended family. His domineering mother is 
making his life miserable, his son is becoming dangerously 
involved in political activism, and his daughter has broken off 
her arranged engagement to a local man in order to marry a 
white Canadian. At the opening of the book, Sripathi learns 
his daughter and her husband have died in an auto accident 
leaving a daughter, seven-year-old Nandana, who reluctantly 
comes to live with her grandparents. The novel portrays the 
difficult relationship that forms between the child and her 
traditional Indian grandparents, and Sripathi's struggle to let 
go of the failures and tragedies of the past in order to move 
on with life. 

This rich, detailed book captures the atmosphere of East 
Indian life with warmth, humour and insight. The Hero's Walk 
lends itself to personal response and problem-solving or 
decision-making work. Teachers need to be aware that the 
book contains references to domestic violence, sexual 
activities, masturbation and mercy killing. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Jon Krakauer 

Into Thin Air is the nonfiction classic that started a major 
craze of books about mountaineering and climbing disasters. 
Jon Krakauer was a journalist-mountain climber who had 
originally gone to report on the commercialization of the 
Everest and found a much more dramatic story. During the 
climb, in May 1996, a freak blizzard overcame the group of 
twenty climbers, killing five of them and leaving another minus 
a hand from severe frostbite. Krakauer uses interviews, 
corroborated details and first-hand accounts (some of which 
include mildly inappropriate language) in this intense 
examination of the tragedy. 

This book is a fascinating study of humans against the 
elements of nature, which critically explores the behaviour of 
the other climbers and Krakauer himself. Perhaps even more 
so, Into Thin Air is about why people are obsessed with 
climbing a deadly mountain like Everest, and the triumph of 
desire over common sense. Climbing is presented as an 
intrinsically irrational activity that can lead to elation and 
heroism but also hubris, frustration, guilt and death. 

Into Thin Air may inspire students to research this specific 
disaster, similar climbing tragedies or other high-risk 

"If you can convince 
yourself that Rob 
Hall died because he 
made a string of 
stupid errors and 
that you are too 
clever to repeat those 
same errors, it makes 
it easier for you to 
attempt Everest in 
the face of some 
rather compelling 
evidence that doing 
so is injudicious. In 
fact, the murderous 
outcome of 1 996 was 
in many ways simply 
business as usual. " 
pp. 356-357 

Toronto, ON: 

Random House of Canada, 


Anchor Books edition 

[original 1997] 

374 pages 

ISBN 0-385-49208-1 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Franz Kafka 

"'What a quiet life the 
family has been 
leading, ' Gregor said 
to himself, and while 
he stared rigidly in 
front of him into the 
darkness, he felt very 
proud that he had 
been able to provide 
such a life in so nice 
an apartment for his 
parents and his 
sister. But what now 
if all the peace, the 
comfort, the 
contentment were to 
come to a horrible 
end?" p. 22 

New York, NY: Bantam Books, 


[original 1915] 

ISBN 0553213695 

In The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa awakens one morning 
to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect. He has 
become a "filthy stinking vermin," and is increasingly rejected 
and ignored by his family and all other persons who encounter 
him. Confined to his room, excluded from any human 
relationships, Samsa deteriorates, messily disintegrates, and 

The story is often read allegorically: as a depiction of 
alienation; as a religious parable dealing with the loss of faith; 
as an indirect version of a psychoanalytical case study of 
delusion and despair. Biographical comparisons can also be 
made to Kafka's own circumstances as an Austrian Jew. 

The text of The Metamorphosis is short, only 58 pages. 
However, included in this edition is an introduction by the 
editor-translator, explanatory notes, material by and about 
Kafka, and a lengthy selection of critical material (much of 
which may be too specialized for all but advanced students). 
A selected bibliography is also appended. 

Some students may have difficulty accepting the initial, 
unusual premise. Once it is accepted, however, readers can 
respond to the story's clarity and its careful use of descriptive 
detail. Then, various interpretations can be developed, 
interpretations that need not be either allegorical or 

This work is best suited for advanced students. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Graham Greene 

Monsignor Quixote is an engaging dialogue between two old 
friends who are travelling the countryside together. The novel 
affords the reader the opportunity to explore two apparently 
diverse points of view, but these marked differences between 
the characters mask profoundly similar hearts. Father Quixote 
and his Sancho Panza, an unseated communist mayor, are two 
innocents abroad in modern Spain, embarked on a journey that 
humorously, but philosophically, parallels Cervantes' 
17th-century story of Don Quixote. 

Despite different political, religious, economical, even sexual 
perspectives, the priest and the mayor are bound together by 
generosity of spirit, appreciation of creation and a longing for 
truth. Their friendship and their growth allow the reader to 
uncover the enigmatic elements of human goodness and moral 
responsibility to society. Their journey provides background for 
witty conversation and allows the reader to explore how 
differences of opinion can lead to strong bonds of friendship. 
The book is a commentary on the moral person as well as the 
moral citizen. 

Readers should not be put off by the seemingly irreverent 
treatment of Christianity and the Roman Catholic church. 
While it may appear that Greene is delving into profound 
theological issues, he is really dealing with basic human 
struggles common to all denominations, and is simply using 
Catholic theology and socialism as the symbolic language of 
the novel. 

In order to understand the difficult references and allusions in 
this novel, the reader needs to acquire a substantial knowledge 
of Christianity, Marxism, communism and the Roman Catholic 
church. It is also recommended that students be aware of 
tone and theme in the writing styles of both Cervantes and 
Graham Greene. Time, maturity and critical thinking skills 
should lead to an understanding of Monsignor Quixote on a 
symbolic level. 

"You make the world 
of the future sound 
like Utopia, father. ' 

'Oh no, humanism 
and religion have not 
done away with 
either nationalism or 
imperialism. It's 
those two that cause 
wars. ... From 
unhappy memories 
too. That's why I'm 
glad to have the short 
memory of a priest. '" 
p. 125 

Markham, ON: Penguin 
Books Canada Limited, 1983 
[original 1982] 

ISBN 0140065970 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Paul Theroux 

"We drove past Tiny 
Polski's mansion 
house to the main 
road, and then the 
Jive miles into 
Northampton, Father 
talking the whole 
way about savages 
and the awfulness of 
America — how it got 
turned into a dope- 
taking, door-locking, 
ulcerated danger 
zone of rabid 
scavengers and 
criminal millionaires 
and moral sneaks." 
p. 3 

New York, NY: Avon Books, 


[original 1982] 

ISBN 0380619458 


James Tait Black Memorial 
Prize for Best Novel, 1981 

In The Mosquito Coast, Allie Fox packs up his family and 
escapes the capitalist world of America for the Mosquito Coast. 
An eccentric misfit in the United States, he transfers his 
inventive way of life to his new world. Allie believes that "any 
sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from 
magic," and therein lies the motivation for his personal 
pilgrimage and his attempts to overpower others. Theroux 
interweaves the physical and metaphorical details of the 
deliverance of this family in such a way as to engage the 
reader in their isolation and turmoil. Allie is abusive but 
spellbinding in his eccentricity. The narrator, his son Charlie, 
is one of his victims, and yet Charlie's experiences are also his 
adventures. Although exploited by his father, Charlie's 
confusions are both understandable and compelling. 

The Mosquito Coast is a powerful social satire because the 
control exercised by the self-centred Allie Fox parallels the 
rapid industrialization of the western world. He leads himself 
to self-destruction, taking with him those he loves. The novel 
can be a vehicle for an exploration of many issues in our 
technological and capitalistic society. Because religious 
references may be controversial in some communities, and the 
treatment of theme and character are earthy and sometimes 
vulgar, the novel may be most appropriate for mature 
students, or offered on an optional basis. This is a story of 
desperation and the breakdown of individuals and society. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Elie Wiesel 

Night is the terrifying account of a Nazi death camp as told by 
survivor Elie Wiesel. Wiesel was still a teenager when he was 
taken from his home in Signet, Transylvania, to the Auschwitz 
concentration camps and then to Buchenwald. The horror 
turned this young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the 
death of his family, the death of innocence and the death of his 
God. Even through all this, the story is one of hope and 
bravery. Night is a warning to humankind to ensure that such 
an atrocity never happens again. 

Teachers should undertake the teaching of this novel with 
considerable preparation and care. The topic is, by its very 
nature, a sensitive one. The descriptions of violence and 
cruelty may be objectionable to some students and community 
members; however, they reinforce that the treatment of Jews 
in concentration camps during World War II was focused on 
humiliation, suffering and deprivation. Some of the scenes are 
particularly unnerving and depressing. Reference is made to 
cultured people who were victims of genocide while the world 
remained silent. 

Although this personal account deals with an historical event, 
the issues are timeless— man's inhumanity to man, the struggle 
to survive against all odds, and the hope that such things will 
never happen again. 

Through a series of short, powerful, painful glimpses, its pace 
and style make Wiesel's story agonizing and convincing. This 
excellent cross-curricular book could lead to related research 
about genocide today. The book is suitable for full class, small 
group or individual study. 

"1 ran off to look for 
my father. And at 
the same time I was 
afraid of having to 
wish him a Happy 
New Year when I no 
longer believed in it. 
He was standing 
near the wall, bowed 
down, his shoulders 
sagging as though 
beneath a heavy 
burden. I went up to 
him, took his hand 
and kissed it. A tear 
fell upon it. Whose 
was that tear? Mine? 
His? I said nothing. 
Nor did he. We had 
never understood one 
another so clearly. " 
p. 65 

New York, NY: Bantam 
Books, 1982 
[original 1958] 

ISBN 0553272535 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Gene Lees 


"So just remember 
one thing, Mr. 
Higgins, when you go 
up there to play, 
don't compare 
yourself to me or 
anyone else. You 
play your music your 
way, and play it the 
best you have in you, 
every set, every 
night. That's called 
professionalism. " 
p. 149 

Toronto, ON: Lester & Orpen 
Dennys Limited, 1988 

ISBN 0886191297 

In Oscar Peterson: The Will to Swing, Gene Lees 
examines the challenges and struggles that a young black man 
faced as he worked to become one of the world's greatest jazz 
pianists. Oscar Peterson, from Montreal, became an 
internationally known musician while still in his 20s. 

Peterson is characterized as a positive role model. He works 
hard, he actively fights to combat racism, and he exemplifies 
those who lack economic advantages and still succeed. 
However, some students may be offended by the coarse 
language and examples of racial discrimination and prejudice 
that appear in this work, and should critically examine these 
instances as well as the negative behaviours of some of the 
individuals presented. The book promotes the idea that 
people of all racial/ethnic groups can achieve and interact 

The content of the book should be interesting to those 
students with musical interests and would be most appropriate 
for either small group or individual study. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Albert Camus 

The Outsider was first published 
L'Etranger. Meursault, a young man 
Algiers, tells the story of the last year 
equal emphasis— or lack of it— he 
funeral, a casual affair with a woman, 
neighbour and his dog, a day at the 
Arab under the hot sun, his trial and 
thoughts in prison before his execution. 

in French in 1942 as 
in the French colony of 
of his life. With almost 
describes his mother's 
his acquaintance with a 
beach, his killing of an 
conviction, and his last 

The simple, frank and unemotional narration reflects a man 
who refuses to "play the game": to pretend more than he 
feels, to lie, to judge himself or others. He is, therefore, seen 
as a threat to a conventional colonial society, to the legal 
system, and to the Christian church. As a result, he is 
condemned to death as much for his refusal to conform as for 
his killing of the Arab. Meursault is an example of what Camus 
calls "the Absurd Hero," one who finds himself a stranger in an 
indifferent universe, and who does not require explanation of 
or justification for his existence, but rather, accepts the simple 
fact of life itself. 

The novel is short and deceptively simple in narration. Its 
unconventional protagonist, unexpected development and 
strangely flat style attracts the interest of students and 
stimulates thoughtful discussion and evaluation of the 
existential view of life. It is also useful in the study of novel 
techniques: structure, style, character development, and social 
and metaphysical themes. 

The prosecutor then 
rose, looking very 
grave, and in a voice 
which I thought 
sounded truly 
emotional, and with a 
finger pointing in my 
direction, he slowly 
'Gentlemen of the 
jury, on the day after 
the death of his 
mother, this man was 
swimming in the sea, 
entering into an 
irregular liaison and 
laughing at a 
Fernandelfilm. I 
have nothing more to 
say to you. ' He sat 
down, still amid 
silence." p. 91 

London, England: Penguin 
Books, 1983 
[original 1942] 

ISBN 0140180184 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Annie Dillard 

The mating rites of 
mantises are well 
known: a chemical 
produced in the head 
of the male insect 
says, in effect, 'No, 
don't go near her, 
you fool, she'll eat 
you alive. ' At the 
same time a chemical 
in his abdomen says, 
Yes, by all means, 
now and forever yes. ' 
While the male is 
making up what 
passes for his mind, 
the female tips the 
balance in her favor 
by eating his head. " 
p. 57 

New York, NY: 
HarperPerennial, 1985 
[original 1974] 

ISBN 0060915455 


Pulitzer Prize, 1975 

Best Foreign Book Award 
(France), 1990 

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a season-by-season series of 
Annie Dillard's personal observations of nature. She says of 
herself, "I am above all an unscrupulous observer." They 
centre on a poet and naturalist's "receptiveness and 
concentration" on the countryside around Tinker Creek, 
Virginia and range from minute observations of such 
phenomena as caddis fly larvae to speculations about the 
principle of indeterminacy, or Einstein's "holy curiosity" about 
the nature of the Universe. 

There is a passing allusion to a "simple and cruel Eskimo tale" 
(source, Farley Mowat) that is effective in a disturbing way. 
This work alludes mainly to male philosophers, artists and 
scientists but this is counterbalanced by the overall strong and 
sensitive voice of the woman who is writing. Dillard's style is 
lucid, often witty, and personal. The writer moves calmly, and 
often poetically, from the concrete to the abstract, from 
observation to introspection. The scientific eye is balanced by 
a very human approach and a reverence for the dignity of all 
forms of life. 

Since the whole work may demand more staying power than 
can be expected from all but the most able and determined 
readers, teachers might consider using excerpts from this 
book. Passages from it would be excellent as models for the 
teaching of writing and for developing "the secret of seeing," 
which lies behind most effective writing. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Jane Austen 

This opening statement from Pride and Prejudice neatly 
combines the typical Austen subject matter, the search for a 
suitable marriage partner, with the ironic tone of the novel: 

"It is truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in 
possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." 

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet of Longbourne, Hertfordshire, with an 
estate entailed on a fatuous male cousin, have five unmarried 
daughters, and so the quest for wealthy husbands for at least 
the two oldest daughters is a serious matter. The arrival in the 
neighbourhood of an eligible young bachelor, Mr. Bingley, sets 
all the mothers atwitter and scheming. The eldest and most 
beautiful Bennet daughter, Jane, seems a perfect choice for 
Bingley, but the plot of the novel centres on her sister, the 
lively and opinionated Elizabeth, and Bingley's supercilious and 
aristocratic friend, Darcy. Pride and prejudice— on both sides- 
complicate the plot. 

This classic novel is probably the best known, and most 
popular, of the Austen canon. It can be read not only for its 
story but studied for its fictional techniques, especially the 
development of character by speech and gesture, and a subtly 
controlled ironic style. This edition contains a substantial 
introduction, a select bibliography, Austen's chronology and 
some explanatory notes. 

"I might as well 
enquire, ' replied she, 
'why with so evident 
a design of offending 
and insulting me, you 
chose to tell me that 
you liked me against 
your will, against 
your reason, and 
even against your 
character? Was not 
this some excuse for 
incivility, if I was 
uncivil? But I have 
other provocations. 
You know I have. " 
p. 169 

Oxford, England: Oxford 
University Press, 1990 
[original 1813] 

ISBN 019282760X 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Lesley Choyce 

The island needed 
saving and it needed 
it now. Not 
tomorrow. Not after 
some goddamn 
election or after a 
dozen cabinet 
meetings. My father 
had started out in 
politics as an 
anarchist, but now he 
was something else 
that I didn't care to 
think about." p. 277 

Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane, 


363 pages 

ISBN 0-864-92153-5 

The Republic of Nothing \s set in the 1950s in Whalebane, a 
small island off of Nova Scotia that has declared itself an 
independent republic without a government. Ian, the narrator, 
tells of the eccentric islanders with offbeat, character-driven 
humour. This tone is set early with an incident involving a 
missing G on a typewriter, to be followed by similar odd 
moments such as when the moon talks to a villager or when a 
dead elephant washes ashore. 

This novel is an excellent example of wry Canadian humour 
that examines themes of family struggle, independence and 
political idealism. It is an imaginative and entertaining piece of 
Maritime writing that presents a catalogue of human foibles 
from a patently satirical perspective. To benefit most from 
The Republic of Nothing, students will require maturity, a 
sense of irony and a willingness to imaginatively "go with" the 

The inclusion of a graphic description of sex, as well as coarse 
language and references to drugs and abortion, may be 
problematic to some students and community members. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Anne Tyler 

Baltimore, Maryland is the home of the ideal, "all-American" 
family, the Bedloes, the subject of the novel Saint Maybe. 
However, this idyllic world is soon shattered when Ian, the 
youngest child, learns a secret that has tragic consequences for 
Dan, his older brother. This tragedy alters Ian, sending him on 
a lifelong and painful search for redemption. His journey 
begins at "The Church of the Second Chance" whose theology 
expounds that forgiveness is not given freely, but must be 
earned. After years of arduous labour, Ian finally gains his 
redemption when he meets Rita, marries her, and they have a 

In typical Tyler fashion, the characters in Saint Maybe are 
quirky and off-beat, yet are easily understood and accepted by 
the reader. Some characters, however, are presented as stock 
figures. For example, the Bedloes have a series of "Middle 
Eastern" neighbours, university students, who are never 
named, and are portrayed as people who never seem to adapt 
to "Western standards," yet become part of the Bedloes' 
extended family. Students could examine whether or not Tyler 
does this to ridicule a particular ethnic group, or is she using 
satire as a way of examining society's views toward 

Tyler also uses many religious references to depict Ian's quest 
for forgiveness and makes his religion one of the focal points of 
the novel. When pre-reading, the teacher should consider 
possible community concerns about the ethic or religious 
references Tyler presents. During novel study, students should 
critically examine these issues as well as the references to 
foreigners, particularly those of Middle Eastern origin. 

Overall, this is an excellent novel to use in examining character 
development, an individual's search for redemption, and the 
evolution of family. 

"'God wonts to know 
how for you'll go to 
undo the harm you've 
done. ' 

'But He wouldn't 
really make me 
follow through with 
it, ' Ian said. 
'How else would He 
know then?' 
'Wait. ' Ian said. 
You're saying God 
would want me to 
give up my 
education. Change 
all my parents' plans 
for me and give up 
my education. ' 
'Yes, if that's what's 
required, ' Reverend 
Emmett said." p 133 

Toronto, ON: Penguin 
Books Canada Ltd., 1992 
[original 1991] 

ISBN 0140159592 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Kitty Ferguson 

"In the academic 
world physicists 
continued to express 
tremendous respect 
for Hawking but were 
a little nonplussed by 
all the media hype. It 
didn't take higher 
math to multiply book 
sales figures in the 
millions.... There 
was the occasional 
hint of sour grapes, a 
mutter of 'His work's 
no different from a lot 
of other physicists; 
it's just that his 
condition makes him 
interesting.'" p. 137 

New York, NY: Bantam Books, 


[original 1991] 

ISBN 055329895X 

Stephen Hawking: Quest for a Theory of Everything is 

an account of the life and work of Stephen Hawking, eminent 
physicist of the 20th century who is diagnosed with 
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) at the age 
of 20. His quest for truth in the world of theoretical physics 
becomes a triumph of the spirit and mind over extreme 
physical disability. 

Hawking's search, discoveries and theories are discussed in 
relatively simple terms. Numerous clarifying diagrams are 
provided, as well as a glossary at the end, which will aid the 
reader in understanding. His quest covers the exploration and 
explanation for "a theory of everything," which is nothing short 
of an explanation of the Universe and everything that happens 
within it. 

This biography should be of special interest to students 
fascinated by physics, science or science fiction. Research 
projects could follow, such as group studies of "people who 
have made a difference." Students not particularly interested 
in science might still become involved in the biographical 
material of a brilliant and courageous man. A glossary, to 
assist with some of the scientific terms, is included at the end 
of this edition. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Margaret Laurence 


The Stone Angel tells of the last few days in the life of Hagar 
Shipley, a proud, stubborn old woman of 90. Age has 
rendered her incapable of living independently, she bitterly 
resents the assistance she requires, and she struggles to 
escape from her son's home. Her tired old mind wanders into 
the past, calling into life, once more, the people — especially the 
men— who have been important to her. Her father, from 
whom she inherited her stubborn pride and inability to express 
the softer side of her nature; her husband, who died never 
suspecting her unspoken love; her favourite son, John, willful 
and unmanageable like herself, are all dead now. Only Marvin, 
her eldest son, is left, and when she finally forces herself to 
voice the approval he longs to hear, the words are a lie. Hagar 
dies as she has lived— proud and independent. 

From a technical point of view, this novel provides good 
material for the study of plot structure, point of view, 
symbolism, characterization, and effective use of stylistic 
devices. Central among these devices is the stone angel, 
which Hagar's father has erected, ostensibly a memorial to his 
dead wife, but more truthfully, as a monument to his own pride 
and a symbol of Hagar herself. 

The characters are interesting and convincing, and together 
they offer a realistic portrayal of human nature. The 
background provides a view of western Canadian life from the 
1920s through to the 1960s. Student discussion of the novel 
could consider the extent to which Hagar is individual and 
idiosyncratic, or representative of elderly women of her time 
and place. 

"1 can't change 
what's happened to 
me in my life, or 
make what's not 
occurred take place. 
But I can't say I like 
it, or accept it, or 
believe its for the 
best. I don't and 
never shall, not even 
if I'm damned for it." 
p. 160 

Toronto, ON: McClelland & 
Stewart Inc., 1968 
[original 1964] 

ISBN 0771091591 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Jane Urquhart 

"There is absolutely 
nothing, ' he told her, 
'like the carving of 
names. Nothing like 
committing to the 
stone this record of 
someone who is 
utterly lost.'" p. 347 

Toronto, ON: McClelland & 
Stewart Ltd., 2001 
390 pages 

ISBN 0-7710-8685-7 

The Stone Carvers spans three decades at the beginning of 
the 20 th century and geographically moves from Ontario to the 
battlefields of France in an exploration of loss, war and the 
healing power of art. Klara Becker, the daughter of an Ontario 
woodcarver, is haunted by a love affair with a boy who died in 
World War I. She remains a spinster but finds comfort 
through carving. Years later, her mysterious brother and she 
reunite and travel to Walter Allward's monument to fallen 
Canadian soldiers at Vimy, France, where they both experience 
epiphanies on war and try to rebuild their lives. 

Thematically, this award-winning book is about the need to 
remember, the sweep of history, the futility of war, and the 
redemption that emerges through art. An intelligent and 
spellbinding novel, 777e Stone Carvers is simply written and 
appropriate for most English Language Arts 30-1 classes. 

As pre-reading, teachers may wish to provide historical 
background on Vimy Ridge, the war memorial, and the role of 
Canadians during WWI. Teachers should be aware that the 
book contains profanity, violence and references to the sexual 
behaviour of the characters. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Joan D. Criddle and Teeda Butt Mam 

To Destroy You Is No Loss is a compassionate biography 
that tells of a Cambodian family's ordeal during the Khmer 
Rouge holocaust in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The preface 
gives an excellent background to the events leading up to and 
during the holocaust. The book, itself, traces the life of one 
very courageous young woman, Teeda Butt Mam, and her 
family during those years of servitude and genocide while 
Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge held the country in a death grip. 
Following the fall of the Pol Pot, the family become refugees 
and find their way to the United States. The co-author, Joan 
Criddle, helps sponsor the Butt family's emigration to America. 
She dedicates the book "To Teeda and her family for a 
willingness to recount painful experiences, to make their ordeal 
public, in order that we might understand." 

Students who are concerned with the politics of the Asiatic 
world, who wish to study political leaders and societies, who 
wish to learn more about the Cambodians among us, who are 
interested in world refugee problems, and who are concerned 
with man's humanity or inhumanity to man, should be 
interested in this book. 

A remarkable "tour de force" that demonstrates the strength of 
the human will to survive, this biography would fit well in a 
humanities program. 

"Slowly and 
painfully, the dazed 
woman had pried 
herself from the 
tangle of arms and 
legs, crawled over the 
bodies and made her 
escape. She had 
subsisted on grubs 
and roots since then. 
For five days, Vitou 
and his friend had 
risked detection by 
bringing food to her. 

When it became 
known in the village 
that several victims 
had survived, and 
were hiding among 
the nut trees, the 
leaders first 
threatened death to 
any villager who 
aided them. " p. 1 65 

New York, NY: Doubleday, 


[original 1987] 

ISBN 0385266286 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



T. C. McLuhan 

"We did not think of 
the great open plains, 
the beautiful rolling 
hills, and winding 
streams with tangled 
growth as 'wild.' 
Only to the white 
man was nature a 
'wilderness' and only 
to him was the land 
'infested' with 'wild' 
animals and 'savage' 
people. To us it was 
tame. Earth was 
bountiful and we 
were surrounded 
with the blessings of 
the Great Mystery. " 
p. 45 

New York, NY: Simon & 
Schuster, Inc., 1971 

ISBN 0671222759 

Touch the Earth is a sepia photo-illustrated compilation of 
speeches and excerpts from documents, all told in the voice of 
the North American Indian, many of whom, like Chief Joseph, 
Tecumseh and Geronimo, are well-known historical figures. 
Their voices range in tone from the nostalgic and 
philosophical, to the bitter and defiant. 

The material spans a century and records the Native view of 
the white man's betrayal of nature and of an indigenous race. 
Section headings indicate the range of topic and tone: "The 
Morning Sun, the New Sweet Earth and the Great Silence"; 
"The Hairy Man from the East"; "My Voice Is Become Weak"; 
"If We Surrender, We Die." Early parts of the book reinforce 
the closeness of the Native to the land and provoke interest in 
a time of increasing concern about the environment. 

The book promotes an empathy toward Native peoples and 
provides for increased understanding of the spiritual 
significance of many facets of Native life. There is, however, a 
marked imbalance. All Natives are perceived positively; almost 
all Caucasians are stereotyped negatively. While this might be 
seen as a restoring of the balance against the negative 
stereotyping of the Native in past literature and history, 
teachers should be aware that Touch the Earth is not suitable 
as a whole "stand-alone" resource. Its bias should be 
recognized and the book used only if accompanied by other 
material and activities, either to balance the "white view" often 
historically presented, or with literature that reveals some 
examples of Caucasians who have interacted positively with 
Native people. The book may be most appropriate for either 
small group or individual study. 

The voices in this book are powerful, but students should be 
aware that they are not reading a balanced history, but a 
personal, literary and artistic view of history. The language is 
often lyrical and passionate and, as a sort of anthology of 
prose poetry, the book lends itself to oral reading of selections. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Thomas King 

Truth and Bright Water is a fun and easy-to-read novel by 
one of Canada's most respected Aboriginal authors. It tells of 
two young cousins, Tecumseh and Lum, who live in both a 
small American town called Truth, and a reserve across the 
border called Bright Water. While Lum attempts to win the 
Indian Days race and run away from his past and an abusive 
parent, Tecumseh tries to figure out his own family. 

This humourous novel is written in King's characteristically 
plain, poetic and comic style. The book explores themes of 
love, betrayal, reconciliation, self-discovery and the search for 
purpose. For non-Aboriginal readers, this will be a delightful, 
educational excursion into Aboriginal imagination and 

The book contains extensive use of questionable language, as 
well as references to sexual activities, suicide, environmental 
issues, authority and corporal punishment. Some of these 
issues may be offensive to students and members of the 

". . . maybe the bluff 
was once a burial 
ground. Maybe at 
one time we buried 
our dead there and 
then forgot about it. 
Maybe if you dug 
down a little in the 
grass and the clay, 
you 'dfind entire 
tribes scattered 
across the prairies. 
Such things probably 
happen all the time. 
A little rain, a little 
wind, and a skull 
just pops out of the 
ground." p. 73 

Toronto, ON: 

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., 


Harper Canada Perennial 


282 pages 

ISBN 0-00-648196-5 

ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



John Marlyn 

"He crossed his legs 
stubbornly. Some 
day, he thought, he 
would show them. 
Some day he would 
own a house that 
would make this one 
look like a shack. 
The time would come 
when he would throw 
a party and the 
people he invited 
wouldn't have to 
bring their own food, 
either. That was a 
dirty trick — inviting 
you to come and eat 
your own food. " 
p. 42 

Toronto, ON: McClelland & 
Stewart Inc., 1990 
[original 1957] 

ISBN 0771098669 

Under the Ribs of Death tells the story of a young 
immigrant boy as he struggles to become Anglicized in 
Winnipeg during the late 1920s. Although Sander is 
Hungarian, he could be any immigrant from anywhere, and the 
story follows him through poverty to success and to poverty 
once again. In his quest for wealth, Sander rejects his family, 
friends and ethics — only to regain these values, love of family, 
spiritual goals, and a sense of pride and dignity— when he 
once more finds himself indigent. 

The novel reflects the social mores of the era and deals with 
the non-Anglo immigration experience through stereotypes of 
the "English" and the "foreigner." In so doing, the prejudices 
of English Canadians, and the effects of the Great Depression 
are revealed. The writing style uses examples of dour humour 
contrasted with expressions of despair and poverty. While 
there is some blasphemy, it is used to reveal the despair of the 

This novel provides opportunity for discussion regarding 
theme, point of view, irony and characterization. Sander's 
struggle for identity reveals the ironic need to be 
simultaneously independent and dependent. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Timothy Findley 

In The Wars, Robert Ross, a gentle 19-year-old Canadian, 
experiences the horrors and personal dilemmas of war as a 
young officer in France during World War I. He undergoes 
moral and physical violation, and makes personally courageous 
but politically treasonous decisions, which lead to court-martial. 
The novel is a strong and sensitive condemnation of all "wars" 
against the human spirit. In the midst of death, Ross is a 
young man committed to, and affirming of, the value of all life. 
Findley is critical of organized religion and, although he doesn't 
emphasize it, it is clear he doubts the ability of the church to 
respond meaningfully in times of either public or private crisis. 
Robert's mother, an alcoholic who suffers terribly over Robert's 
involvement with the war, derives little comfort from the 
church. There are two explicitly sexual scenes that may need 
to be considered if selecting this novel. One is set in a brothel 
near Lethbridge where Robert observes his war hero, Captain 
Taffler, in a homosexual act; another is the gang-rape of 
Robert by his fellow officers, in the officers' dark steam bath. 
Both scenes, however, are essential to the development of the 
central character and to the themes of the novel. Because of 
the religious and sexual references, the book might be best 
offered on an optional basis. As a novel study, The Wars is 
interesting for its unique narrative structure: the use of 
different points of view as collected by a contemporary 
researcher, through clippings, photographs, letters and 
interviews. Shifts in time may cause some initial reader 
confusion, but the purpose soon becomes clear. In spite of its 
serious subject matter, the novel is fast-paced, immensely 
readable, and written with a sure, fine touch. 

"I know what you 
want to do. I know 
you're going to go 
away and be a 
soldier. Well — you 
can go to hell. I'm 
not responsible. I'm 
just another 
stranger." p. 28 

Markham, ON: Penguin 
Books, 1978 
[original 1977] 

ISBN 0140050116 


Governor General's Award 
for fiction in English, 1977 

City of Toronto Book Award, 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Martha Ostenso 

"She straightened 
like a flash and flung 
it with all her 
strength at Caleb's 
head. Her eyes 
closed dizzily, and 
when she opened 
them again he was 
crouching before her, 
his hand moving 
across his 
moustache. The ax 
was buried in the 
rotten wall behind his 
head." p. 206 

Toronto, ON: McClelland & 
Stewart Inc., 1989 
[original 1925] 

ISBN 0771099940 

Set on a farm in Northern Manitoba, Wild Geese portrays the 
life of Caleb Gare who cruelly suppresses his family. He 
blackmails his wife with the threat of exposing her illegitimate 
son, Mark Jordan, to the truth about his real father. The plot 
is further developed when Mark falls in love with the visiting 
school teacher, Lind Archer, whose confidante is Jude, Caleb's 
daughter. Jude's strength and sexuality are contrasted to 
Lind's delicacy and tenderness. Later, Jude rejects Caleb's 
belief in the necessity of immigrant hardships, and triumphs 
over her father's oppression. 

The novel provides for an interesting discussion of the family 
farm as a backdrop for a story of passion and manipulation of 
power. The characters' emotions are paralleled to the 
conditions of the land; Caleb is "a spiritual counterpart of the 
land, as harsh, as demanding, as tyrannical as the very soil 
from which he drew his existence," and he exerts this power 
over his family. 

The story is set in the period between the arrival of the geese 
in the spring and their departure in autumn, further 
symbolizing the natural world as representative of the 
characters. The novel should provide for interesting 
discussions on language, character development, symbolism 
and theme, and is appropriate for full class discussion. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Gabrielle Roy 


In Wildflower, Elsa, a young Inuit girl, is seduced by an 
American soldier in Fort Chimo, Northwest Territories. The 
child who is born, Jimmy, becomes the object of his young 
mother's devotion. She attempts to immerse him in the Inuit 
culture, but finally loses him to the white man's world and his 
wars. Windflower is a translation of La Riviere sans Repos, one 
of four stories in which Roy depicts the Inuit in an uneasy 
transition between two worlds, not fully at home in either. 

Various themes emerge: the imprisoning effect of material 
possessions; the brotherhood of man; the cyclic nature of life; 
and the brief joys of love and motherhood— symbolized by the 
short-lived tundra windflower. 

The novel is short, easy to read, informal in style and clear in 
structure. It provides a sympathetic insight into the Inuit way 
of life, which is warmly and compellingly portrayed. 

"'In the old days,' he 
reproached her 
gently, 'you were all 
carelessness, Elsa, 
now you're all care. 
Couldn't you rear 
your child more 
simply, as you 
yourself were 

'In filth!' she said 
indignantly. 'Eating 
the guts of animals?' 
You're too quick to go 
to extremes, ' he said. 
'It's a question of 
rearing the boy with 
care but without the 
danger of his ever 
coming to be 
ashamed of you and 
Winnie and 
Thaddeus. Do you 
Quite truthfully, she 
did not understand. " 
p. 48 

Toronto, ON: McClelland & 
Stewart Inc., 1975 
[original 1970] 

ISBN 0771092202 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Emily Bronte 

"You teach me now 
how cruel you've 
been — cruel and 
false. Why did you 
despise me? Why 
did you betray your 
heart, Cathy? I have 
not one word of 
comfort. You deserve 
this. You have killed 
yourself. Yes, you 
may kiss me, and 
cry; and wring out 
my kisses and tears: 
they'll blight you — 
they'll damn you. 
You loved me — then 
what right had you to 
leave me?" p. 198 

New York, NY: 
Press, 1981 
[original 1847] 

Bantam Classic 

ISBN 0686697278 

The saga Wuthering Heights is narrated by a new arrival on 
the wild Yorkshire moors, John Lockwood, whose informant is 
his housekeeper, Nelly Dean. She recounts to him, in a series 
of vivid flashbacks and time shifts, the events making up the 
troubled love story of Catherine Earnshaw and the dark and 
passionate Heathcliff— a story of love and vengeance, which 
passes on to the next generation in the characters of Cathy, 
the dead Catherine's daughter, and Linton, Heathcliff's son. 

The novel can be read as a love story, but at a deeper level, as 
an exploration of the darker side of human nature. Some 
readers may find some of the incidents, such as the strangling 
of a dog, or the hanging of puppies, troubling and distasteful— 
but they are part of the vein of undeniable cruelty that 
underlies the human nature portrayed. 

This Bronte classic has both a poetic and a moral structure. 
The intensity of the characters' emotions, the wildness and 
remoteness of setting, and the Gothic atmosphere, make the 
novel fascinating and disturbing. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 30-1 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



English Language Arts 

Authorized Novels and Nonfiction 
Annotated List 


Alicia Appleman-Jurman 

u IJelt that old 
sickening feeling 
again, and pure 
hatred for those 
people. My God, I 
thought, you people 
feed me, visit with 
me, suffer with me 
for a week, and at 
the first opportunity 
you betray me to the 
Germans. May you 
all burn in hell, every 
one of you!" p. 232 

New York, NY: Bantam Books, 


[original 1988] 

ISBN 0553282182 

In Alicia: My Story, Alicia, an adolescent Polish Jew, suffers 
the horrors of living and trying to survive under the Nazis. She 
sees her mother murdered, and experiences terrible hardships 
while hiding from the Nazis and their collaborators. Through 
luck, street sense, and the help of many good people, she is 
able to hide, survive and maintain her faith in the family and 
the essential goodness of people. Eventually, she organizes 
and leads a group who settle in the Palestine region. Later, 
she marries an American and moves to the United States. 

This vivid personal account of survival, and great personal 
courage, deals with atrocities committed for racial and ethnic 
reasons; an account of man's inhumanity to man. The topic, 
by its very nature, may be sensitive in some communities. 
Teachers should also be aware that this lengthy biography 
contains some stereotyping of Germans and Ukrainians. 

Alicia Appleman-Jurman's autobiography, however, has the 
potential to broaden understanding and sensitivity to personal 
sufferings and to holocaust events. While chapters are short, 
the book may be most appropriate for small group or 
individual study. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Erich Maria Remarque 

In All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer, a German 
schoolboy, enlists with his classmates in World War I. 
Although youthful and optimistic, they lose their childhood, 
their connection to humankind, and their lives, through years 
of horror. Paul tries to fight against the hate that destroys all 
the young people regardless of country or uniform. 

Preservation of life and the overcoming of prejudices are the 
main themes of the novel. The destructive powers of war, 
both mental and physical, are depicted through the many 
hardships the soldiers endure. Their struggles are heroic and 
universal. Classroom discussions can be enriched by the 
realization that people everywhere are similar, no matter what 
war they are fighting or cause they are defending. 

As in all war stories, there is profanity, violence, sexuality and 
stereotyping, all necessary for the framework of the novel's 
setting. War is violent and destructive, and these young boys 
initially respond in a similar manner, but they also mature, 
realizing the senselessness of violence and death, and become 
aware of the need for greater tolerance and understanding in 
the world. 

This novel relates well to the social studies curriculum and is 
appropriate for full class study. 

"It was that 
abstraction I stabbed. 
But now, for the first 
time, I see you are a 
man like me. I 
thought of your hand- 
grenades, of your 
bayonet, of your rifle; 
now I see your wife 
and your face and 
our fellowship. 
Forgive me comrade. 
We always see it too 
late. Why do they 
never tell us that you 
are poor devils like 
us...." p. 223 

New York, NY: Fawcett 
Crest, 1982 
[original 1928] 

ISBN 0449213943 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Ronald A. Keith 


There were damn 
Jew breaks in the 
drab routine. Meals 
were served at the 
fish company's cook- 
house. Good food, 
lots of meat. Nobody 
ate fish. The pilots 
did the cabin 
housekeeping, which 
meant sweeping the 
plank floor once a 
week. They hauled 
cordwoodfrom the 
cook-house woodpile 
and melted snow in a 
tub on the stove for 
drinking, bathing and 
brewing coffee. In 
the evening, the 
crews played bridge 
or read in the 
flickering yellow light 
of the kerosene 
lamps." p. 115 

Markham, ON: PaperJacks Ltd., 


[original 1972] 

ISBN 0770102093 

Bush Pilot with a Briefcase is the engaging biography of 
Grant McConachie. From his youth in Edmonton to, at age 38, 
his rise to president of Canadian Pacific Airlines, and through 
his continuing escapades, Grant McConachie was an 
irrepressible figure. As an early bush pilot flying over the 
rugged and dangerous northland, his ebullient self-assurance, 
sheer force of personality, and luck, enabled a meteoric rise to 
the top. 

Written in a well-paced and colourful style, this is an easy, 
absorbing read. Despite careful focus on McConachie, the 
result seems more a surface treatment than an analytical 
study. The book illustrates the effects of personal 
relationships and the force of personality in achieving success. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Chaim Potok 

The Chosen is a story of friendship that develops when two 
Jewish boys are rivals during a baseball game. Reuven Malter 
is an Orthodox Jew; Danny Saunders is a Hasidic Jew and 
oldest son of his sect's rebbi. In spite of their religious 
differences, the two develop a strong bond of love and 
friendship that is able to survive all adversity. The story not 
only revolves around their friendship, but also examines the 
difficulties faced when the desires of a child do not match the 
desires that parents and culture place on the individual. A 
central question of the novel is: Should the individual sacrifice 
personal desires to the aspirations of the community? 

Students may require extensive background information on the 
differences between Orthodox and Hasidic Jews. Furthermore, 
students need to understand that the Hasidic Jews do not 
represent the mainstream of Jewish thought and belief. 

This is an excellent novel for the study of character and how 
society helps define who and what an individual is. 

7 went away and 
cried to the Master of 
the Universe, 'What 
have you done to me? 
A mind like this I 
needforason? A 
heart I need for a 
son, a soul I need for 
a son, compassion I 
want from my son, 
righteousness, mercy, 
strength to suffer and 
carry pain, that I 
want from my son, 
not a mind without a 
soul!'" p. 264 

New York, NY: Fawcett 
Crest, 1982 
[original 1967] 

ISBN 0449213447 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Mary Lawson 


"Love goes deeper 
than anything else, I 
guess. It gets to the 
core of you, and 
when Daniel got to 
the core of me I found 
that Matt and Luke 
and Bo were there 
too. They were part 
of me. In spite of 
years apart I still 
knew their faces 
better than my own. 
Anything I knew of 
love, I had learned 
from them. " 
pp. 193-194 

Toronto, ON: Random House 
of Canada Ltd., 2003 
Delta Book edition 
[original 2002] 
291 pages 

ISBN 0-385-33763-9 

Crow Lake is set in a northern Ontario farming community 
and the labs of University of Toronto. Narrator Kate Morrison 
is a zoologist in her late twenties who lives for her hero, her 
brother Matt. The book portrays realistic family battles and a 
painful past that gets in the way of Kate's relationship with 
another boy, Daniel. Eventually, Kate learns to change her 
views and becomes a survivor of sorts. 

Lawson's novel is about misunderstandings, sibling love, 
repressed resentment, loyalty, emotional isolation, and 
surviving poverty and tragedy. Crow Lake will resonate for 
rural readers in particular, because of the setting and culture, 
but it has appeal for all students. It is a realistic and honest 
novel about family. It is ideal for teaching about character and 
conflict, and for generating both personal and critical 
responses. Teachers should be aware that this novel contains 
scenes of domestic violence and abuse, sexual relationships, 
and coarse language that may trouble some readers. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Robert Mason Lee 

Death and Deliverance is about a military transport airplane 
that crashed on October 31, 1991, 10 miles short of its 
destination, Alert, North West Territories. Fourteen people 
survived the crash to face a bitter arctic storm with little 
protection. Hampered by weather and inadequate and 
outdated equipment, Canadian search and rescue technicians, 
or Sartechs, risked their own lives to save the survivors. A 
number of Edmontonians were involved in the crash and the 

This intensely personal account reveals the thoughts, feelings 
and dreams of the survivors and their rescuers during the three 
tense days between leaving the south and arriving in Alert. 
The occasional use of vulgar language is realistic in time, 
character and situation. This easy-to-read survival story may 
be especially appealing to male students or to those who enjoy 
plentiful technical details. 

"'My boys are going 
nuts back here. 
You've got to get us 
over the site. Those 
bastards are going to 
waltz in and beat us 
to it. '. . . 

Frigging Americans! 
... Of course the 
Americans would get 
in. They had the 
tecrtnology. They'd 
pull off the most 
daring rescue in 
Canadian history, 
and his SARtechs 
would be 
bystanders." p. 215 

Toronto: MacFarlane Walter 
& Ross, 1992 

ISBN 0921912498 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Donna Morrissey 

"'... J don't mean to 
make big of myself, 
Clair, for I'm no more 
than your father, 
carrying around a 
piece of hell as 
though it were 
separate from the 
other. But I've not 
lost sight of it, lovely, 
like your father did. 
He lost sight of his 
good and became 
caught in the other. 
And that's what 
killed him.'" p. 397 

Toronto, ON: 

Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 


Penguin Books edition 

428 pages 

ISBN 0-14-303360-3 

Downhill Chance is the tale of the Osmonds and the Gales- 
two families in crisis, connected by love but torn apart by 
secrets and fears. Set in pre-Confederation Newfoundland 
during and after World War II, the book is a realistic comic 
melodrama about ordinary folk written in lively, informal, 
sensuous language. The book's colourful vocabulary (e.g., 
scroop, slouse) is a wonderful realization of Maritime-Canadian 
regionalism and dialect. 

Downhill Chance is a long but lively book about passion, love, 
family secrets, childhood and maturity, good and evil, tragedy, 
optimism, and reconciliation. Students will find this a 
reasonable challenge yielding worthwhile insights into family, 
relationships and turning points. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Alfred Lansing 

Written by a veteran journalist, Endurance is a gripping, 
intense and suspenseful read. Ernest Shackleton was the 
famous Antarctic explorer, whose boat, Endurance, became 
locked in ice, drifting until it was crushed. After five months 
of staying with the ship, the crew set out in lifeboats to head 
850 miles to the nearest outpost. Incredibly, all of 
Shackleton's men were saved. This definitive, illustrated 
account is composed of diaries by team members and 
interviews with survivors. 

Thematically, this book is about survival against tremendous 
odds and the importance of hope and determination in 
achieving survival. Endurance is also memorable for its 
accounts of the crew's boredom, hunger, lack of creature 
comforts, and numerous setbacks. The book contains some 
profane language within the historical context of the crew 
members' diaries. 

This text can be easily supported by numerous other books 
and movies available on this popular topic. Students may be 
inspired to conduct Web searches or other research related to 
this remarkable story. 

"They made a 
pitiable sight — three 
little boats, packed 
with odd remnants of 
what had once been 
a proud expedition, 
bearing twenty-eight 
suffering men in one 
final, almost 
ludicrous bid for 
survival. But this 
time there was to be 
no turning back, and 
they all knew it. " 
p. 160 

New York, NY: 

Carroll & Graf Publishers, 


Avalon edition 

[original 1959] 

280 pages 

ISBN 0-7867-062 1-X 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Ray Bradbury 

"Montag's hand 
closed like a mouth, 
crushed the book 
with wild devotion, 
with an insanity of 
mindlessness to his 
chest. The men 
above were hurling 
shovelfuls of 
magazines into the 
dusty air. They fell 
like slaughtered birds 
and the woman stood 
below, like a small 
girl, among the 

Montag had done 
nothing. His hand 
had done it all, his 
hand, with a brain of 
its own, with a 
conscience and a 
curiosity in each 
trembling finger, had 
turned thief. " p. 36 

New York, NY: Ballantine 
Books, 1981 
[original 1953] 

ISBN 0345294661 

In Fahrenheit 451, a speculative fiction work, the state 
controls all thinking. The general theme is that "Books are 
bad. Books are burned because books are ideas." The 
protagonist, Guy Montag, is a fireman whose job is to burn 
books. Complications arise in Montag's professional and 
personal life when, out of curiosity, he steals a book from a 
burning library and is subsequently denounced by his wife and 
workmates. He escapes to a faraway land where books are 
preserved in an amazing manner. 

The ideology of state-controlled communication, as outlined by 
Montag's fire chief, Beatty, is closer to today's reality; e.g., 
information highways, than it was at the time Bradbury wrote 
the novel. The author equates freedom with the expansion of 
ideas through reading, writing and conversation. 

The novel is an excellent example of social satire and should 
generate lively discussions by technologically astute students. 
Although the style is fairly simple, and the plot easily followed, 
the emphasis is on character study and the idea of individual 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Walter Dean Myers 

In Fallen Angels, Perry, a 17-year-old black youth, has no 
future in Harlem, and so enlists in the army to fight in the 
Vietnam war. He and his friend, Peewee, survive physically, 
but not before the horrors of war and the deaths of men, 
women and children embed themselves in their psyches. 
Disillusioned, Perry must find meaning in life. Realistic, harsh 
language reflects the violence and killing that is constantly 
questioned throughout the plot. The novel leads to 
philosophical reflections on war, as young soldiers yearn for 
the child within. Overcoming ethnic differences, political 
biases, religious beliefs, interpersonal relationships and racial 
hatreds are all components of the novel. However, concerns 
may arise when dealing with this well-written, compassionate 
novel. Teachers should be prepared for the controversial 
discussions and responses that this work may engender. 
Sensitivity to Vietnamese students in the classroom, school or 
community is strongly recommended. This is a powerful and 
moving novel. The composition, tempo, craft and rhythm are 
well-tuned and ring true. Although engrossing, fascinating and 
violently graphic, the male characters display blasphemy, 
prejudice, discrimination, sexism, despair and violent reactions 
within a war setting. This novel may be most appropriate for 
small group or individual study, or offered on an optional basis. 

The chopper came 
down and we 
handed up 

Lieutenant Carroll. A 
burnt offering. We 
didn't hand him up 
gently through the 
chopper doors, we 
pushed him as hard 
as we could. It was 
his life, but it was our 
lives as well. God 
have mercy. 
We all climbed on 
and the chopper 
tilted, jerked, and 
was off. The door 
gunner kept spraying 
the village as we 
moved off into the 
night." p. 127 

New York, NY: Scholastic 
Inc., 1988 

ISBN 0590409433 


Best Young Adult Book 
Award, American Library 
Association (ALA), 1988 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Antwone Quenton Fisher 

"So here I am, in a 
chair sitting outside 
of his office, 
determined to be as 
nice as I can, 
thinking maybe he'll 
like me and think 
about keeping me. 
Inside, to myself, I 
make a promise, like 
a prayer, that if my 
father does keep me 
and I don't have to go 
back to the Picketts, 
I'll be good for the 
rest of my life." p. 90 

New York, NY: 

HarperCollins Publishers, 2001 
Perennial edition 
340 pages 

ISBN 0-06-000778-8 

Finding Fish is a searing memoir about an African-American 
orphan who survived emotional abandonment, sexual abuse, 
orphanages, reform school, and a cruel adoptive mother to 
join the navy and eventually become a well-known 
screenwriter and producer. Fisher was a sensitive, withdrawn, 
but intelligent and imaginative boy whose spirit remained 
unbroken despite his experiences. This book recounts how he 
developed strategies for survival and eventually assumed 
control of his life. There is redemption for the long-suffering 
Fisher as he moves from betrayal and abuse to liberation, 
manhood and success. 

Finding Fish deals directly with delicate, controversial issues, 
and, remarkably, is narrated without self-pity. Well worth the 
emotional challenge of reading, this unflinching memoir may 
be the most memorable book that some students will study in 
high school. Teachers are advised to approach the book 
cautiously and to forewarn students about its emotional impact 
and content, including questionable language and references 
to foster care, race/ethnicity and sexuality. Some teachers 
may prefer to use Finding Fish as an individual or small group 
novel study. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


James W. Ellison 

Finding Forrester is about Jamal, a sixteen-year-old South 
Bronx African-American basketball player who gets involved in 
the life of Forrester, a reclusive seventy-year-old Caucasian 
Pulitzer Prize writer. Jamal is a gifted teen with a private 
passion for reading and talent as a creative writer. As Forrester 
provides writing instruction and helps mentor Jamal through a 
snobby Manhattan prep school, the two form a close 
attachment despite their differences in colour and age. 

This book is about friendship and acceptance. It also explores 
the dangers of cheating and the importance of education in 
improving one's life. Finding Forrester recognizes diversity and 
promotes respect; as such, it lends itself to personal response 
and decision-making activities. The text is a novel adaptation 
of the popular movie by the same name. 

"He took a deep 
breath and cracked 
open the top 
notebook . . . Notes 
filled the margins of 
every page. They 
were written in a 
tiny, precise hand, 
and the more Jamal 
studied them the 
more struck he was 
with their brilliance. 
The man had torn his 
work to shreds, and 
yet the care and 
insight that had gone 
into his critiques 
were signs to Jamal 
that his work had 
value. " p. 39 

New York, NY: 
Newmarket Press, 2000 
192 pages 

ISBN 1-55704-479-1 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Jon Krakauer 

The prevailing 
Alaska wisdom held 
that McCandless was 
simply one more 
dreamy half-cocked 
greenhorn who went 
into the country 
expecting to find 
answers to all his 
problems and instead 
found only 
mosquitoes and a 
lonely death. " p. 72 

Toronto, ON: 

Random House of Canada, 


Anchor Books edition 

[original 1996] 

203 pages 

ISBN 0-385-48680-4 

Into the Wild is an eloquent nonfiction account of Chris 
McCandless, a well-to-do young man who 'dropped out' of 
society in 1992 and ended up dying in the Alaskan wilderness. 
McCandless is an unforgettable, somewhat likable character 
who gave his money to charity, abandoned his car, burned the 
cash in his wallet, and took on a new identity— that of 
Alexander Supertramp. 

Krakauer, the author of Into Thin Air, first wrote an article on 
McCandless that was later expanded into this book. He traces 
the young man's travels, interviews people who knew Chris, 
includes Chris's journal entries and letters, and tells of parallel 
stories over the years before allowing the reader to pass final 
judgement on the victim. Into the Wild goes beyond one 
person's tragedy to look at why certain male individuals feel 
compelled to escape society and recklessly test themselves 
against nature. 

Krakauer examines the effects of the wilderness on 
imagination and decision making and the blurring of the lines 
between dreams and reality. The fascinating psychological 
profile of the hiker will be of particular interest to students 
taking wilderness components of physical education classes 
and those who have camped out or lived in the wild. 
Infrequent coarse language used in context in the book should 
not be of a concern to English Language Arts 30-2 students. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Michael Crichton 

In Jurassic Park, Dr. Allan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler join 
other consultants and guests at a dinosaur theme island off the 
coast of Costa Rica. Dinosaurs have been cloned from 
Jurassic-era DNA, combined with more recent DNA from frogs. 
The resulting offspring develop overly aggressive 
characteristics leading to lots of excitement, adventure and 
violence, in which all the bad guys die, and all the good guys 

Although somewhat gruesome and violent, this futuristic novel 
should encourage extensive discussion on philosophical ideals, 
the implications of genetic and scientific research, the ethics of 
reproductive technology, dinosaurs, and ecosystems. These 
topics lend themselves to cross-curricular research, discussion 
or projects. The "Malcolm theory," named after one of the 
novel's scientists, provides a focus for moral and ethical 
discussions and observations. Either full class or small group 
study should elicit strong personal responses to this work. 

"'Didn't bite it- 
twisted and ripped it. 
Just ripped his leg 
off.' Muldoon stood 
up, holding the 
severed leg upside 
down so the 
remaining blood 
dripped onto the 
ferns. His bloody 
hand smudged the 
white sock as he 
gripped the ankle. 
Gennarofelt sick 

'No question what 
happened, ' Muldoon 
was saying. The 
T-rexgot him.'" 
p. 222 

New York, NY: Ballantine 
Books, 1991 
[original 1990] 

ISBN 0345370775 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Richard Wagamese 

"... I lost touch with 
who I was pretty 
quick. Growing up in 
all-white homes, 
going to all-white 
schools, playing with 
all-white kids can get 
a guy to thinking and 
reacting all-white 
himself after a while. 
With no one pitching 
in any information I 
just figured I was a 
brown white guy. " 
p. 12 

Toronto, ON: Random House 
of Canada Ltd., n.d. 
Doubleday Canada edition 
[original 1993] 
214 pages 

ISBN 0-385-25452-0 

Keeper 'n Me is a positive story about an Aboriginal young 
man who finds redemption by returning to his cultural roots. 
When Garnet Raven was 3 years old he was removed from his 
home on an Ojibway reservation and placed in a series of 
foster homes. In his mid-teens, he escapes to the urban 
streets and ends up in jail at age twenty. While there, he 
receives a letter from his long-forgotten Aboriginal family, and 
decides to return to the reservation when he is released. Back 
on the reservation, Keeper, his grandfather and friend, 
becomes his personal mentor and spiritual conscience. As 
Keeper teaches him about the ways of the Ojibway— modern 
and ancient— Garnet finds peace and a sense of identity for 
the first time. 

There are two narrators in this funny, poignant, mystical book: 
Garnet and Keeper, whose witty observations are printed in 
italics. Students will enjoy the odd, informal conversational 
tone of Keeper's sections and the relationship that forms 
between the young man and his grandfather. Most English 
Language Arts 30-2 classes will not have a problem with the 
book's minor and infrequent coarse language. 

Wagamese's novel will entertain and inspire students as they 
explore issues around family, identity, values and decisions, 
and coming-of-age. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


James Clavell 

King Rat depicts the life of British and American personnel in 
a Japanese prisoner of war camp. The key figure in the novel 
is "the King," an American corporal who manages to retain a 
standard of living envied by all other PoVVs. The King is 
surrounded by countless underlings who both support and 
betray him. He has one friend, British Flight Lieutenant Peter 
Marlowe. The King's "greatest enemy" is L. Gary, Provost 
Marshall, a lonely fanatic who is determined to entrap him. 

Clavell carefully describes the highly structured nature of a 
PoW camp and the British concern with "class." These 
descriptions parallel one another and are used to advantage to 
reveal the individuals who manipulate the system. The 
incidents that make up the story help to develop the idea that 
survival requires adaptation. 

Some of the characters use colloquial language that may, at 
times, be considered offensive. However, the setting is a 
prisoner of war camp, and the language used realistically 
reflects these circumstances. The transvestite Clavell writes 
about is sympathetically portrayed. Women, as in most war 
stories, are presented in traditional and subservient roles. This 
novel may be most appropriate for mature readers in small 
group or individual study. 

"'I suppose so, ' Peter 
Marlowe replied. 
What an awful thing 
to say. He was hurt 
by the King and did 
not understand that 
the American mind is 
simple in some 
things, as simple as 
the English mind. An 
American is proud of 
his money-making 
capacity, rightly so. 
An Englishman, such 
as Peter Marlowe, is 
proud to get killed for 
the flag. Rightly so. " 
p. 181 

New York, NY: Dell 
Publishing, 1982 
[original 1962] 

ISBN 0440145465 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Dan Needles 

u> Go play farmer for 
the summer, ' he said, 
'and tell me in 
October what you're 
going to do, with the 
rest of your life. And 
leave that dumb hat 
at home next time 
you come down for a 
board meeting. ' 
He's got a point. I do 
have to decide where 
I belong. I like the 
life here all right but 
it seems that trying to 
farm these days 
means taking avow 
of poverty. 

Especially the way I 
doit." p. 105 

Toronto, ON: Seal Books, 

ISBN 0770423868 

In Letters from Wingfield Farm, Walt Wingfield leaves his 
position as board chairman of a Toronto brokerage house to 
take over the "old Fisher place" on Rural Route 1, Persephone 
County. He begins to farm his newly acquired 100-acre plot as 
a philosopher-farmer. He believes he can establish an 
economically viable operation based on sound, big business 
principles, while using only horse-drawn equipment. 

In his attempt to become one with the land, Walt encounters 
many of the well-established locals. Two neighbours in 
particular, a dour, inarticulate auctioneer, and an old horse 
trainer, provide colourful characterization in vignettes about 
Walt's mishaps as a farmer. 

Wingfield's Pyrrhic victories are chronicled with wit in the form 
of letters to the editor of the local newspaper. By the end of 
the novel, Walt's letters reflect a respect and appreciation for 
his new life and friends, and reveal his emerging self- 
awareness. Although humorous, Walt's growth is no less 
important or evocative. 

The letter format of this novel can provide students with a 
refreshing approach to journal writing. The main character 
laughs at himself and his mishaps, and invites the reader to do 
the same. Rich in irony, understatement and dramatic pacing, 
the work is valuable as a study of dramatic character 
presentation and the vignette format. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Thomas King 

With Medicine River, Thomas King has created a 
tongue-in-cheek account of the inhabitants and the social 
structure of Medicine River. The protagonist, Will, returns to a 
small Blackfoot community in southern Alberta to sort out the 
details of his mother's death. This return to his roots stirs 
many long-buried issues from his childhood and forces him to 
confront his true values. His encounter with Harlen Bigbear 
results in a series of events which direct his life and affairs into 
otherwise unconsidered directions. He opens the only Native 
photography shop in Medicine River and agrees to compile the 
band directory. This project is the framework for Will's 
encounter with the Native population. A progression of 
escapades— sometimes painful, often hilarious— brings Will to 
an understanding of his own identity and commitments. 

The characters in this novel are warm and engaging, and the 
story line is lighthearted without being predictable. Will's quest 
to understand himself is universal, in spite of his unique 
experiences. Life in Medicine River exposes dilemmas and 
contradictions that exist in many small Alberta towns. 

This novel is written in a clear, forthright manner and contains 
enough good character dialogue and plot intrigue to hold 
student interest. Often, the personal stories are painful and 
touching, but there is an overriding sense of humour and 
optimism to the work, which leaves the reader with a sense of 
compassion for and understanding of the characters and an 
appreciation of Native culture. 

" 'People like that, ' 
said Elwood, 'don't 
shoot themselves. 
Shit. Only mistake 
Jake made was 
turning his back on 
January. That 
women's liberation's 
what's doing it. 
Fellow puts a woman 
in her place once in a 
while don't give her 
any call to shoot him. 
Hell we'd all be 
dead.'" p. 50 

Toronto, ON: Penguin 
Books Canada Ltd., 1991 
[original 1989] 

ISBN 0140126031 


Writer's Guild of Alberta Best 
Novel Award, 1990 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Alistair MacLeod 


"Sometimes my 
brothers played their 
battered violins 
themselves. And 
sometimes we 
hummed or sang the 
old Gaelic songs. 
And when we talked, 
often in Gaelic, it was 
mostly of the past 
and of the distant 
landscape which was 
our home. " p. 1 46 

Toronto, ON: McClelland & 
Stewart, 2001 
Emblem edition 
[original 1999] 
283 pages 

ISBN 0-7710-5570-6 

No Great Mischief is described by critics as MacLeod's 
masterpiece. This gentle-humoured novel is a love letter to 
the author's native Cape Breton. The narrator, Alexander 
MacDonald, is an Ontario orthodontist who goes to Toronto to 
help his alcoholic older brother, Calum. The two eventually 
drive to their beloved Cape Breton to join their family members 
working in a mine, where they encounter the conflict between 
Cape Bretoners and French Canadians. 

Along the way, Alex relates a 200-year cross-generational saga 
that traces his family from Scotland to the New World. Alex, it 
turns out, was orphaned at age three, along with his twin 
sister, when both parents fell through the ice near their home. 
His three much older brothers were already on their own, 
while the twins were raised by their grandparents. Now, Alex, 
Calum (who seems to carry the legacy of the original, tragedy- 
stricken Calum MacDonald) and their sister are all haunted by 
the links between their family and the past. 

This novel explores themes of family, love, loyalty, identity, 
and the influence of history. Students will enjoy the stories of 
loggers, miners, drinkers, exiles and adventurers, but the book 
also contains beautiful haunting scenes depicting the sadness 
of human beings. There are numerous references to violence, 
ethnic loyalty and sexual behaviour that may be disturbing to 
some students or community members. Examples of coarse 
language are incidental and appropriate to the context of the 
novel. This book might create student interest in telling 
anecdotes of their own about family and family pride. 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Alexander Solzhenitsyn 

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich tells of survival in a 
Siberian camp for political prisoners. Ivan Denisovich depends 
upon his shrewdness and skills as a mason to survive. 
Solzhenitsyn introduces Ivan at 5 o'clock on a cold winter 
morning, and the reader follows him through a typical day. In 
Ivan's life, the overriding factor is self-preservation. 

The novel is short and easy to read. Its apparent simplicity is 
deceptive. Based on Solzhenitsyn 's own experiences, Ivan 
becomes a type of "Everyman" in a novel whose main theme is 
the overwhelming impulse and courage of the human spirit to 
survive. The book is not depressing in tone, in spite of the 
rigours and privations of a prison camp. 

"In all the time he 
spent in camps and 
prisons, Ivan 
Denisovich had 
gotten out of the habit 
of worrying about the 
next day, or the next 
year, much less how 
to feed his family. 
The fellows at the top 
thought of everything 
for him, and it was 
kind of easier like 
that. Winter after 
winter, summer after 
summer — he still had 
a long time to go. " 
p. 147 

London, England: 
Heinemann Educational 
Books Ltd., 1974 
[original 1963] 

ISBN 0435122002 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


WARSAW: 1939-1945 

Wladyslaw Szpilman 

"I was now alone in 
this quarter of the 
city. The SS were 
visiting the building 
where I was hiding 
more and more often. 
How long could I 
survive in these 
conditions? A week? 
Two weeks?" p. 164 

Toronto, ON: 

McArthur & Company, 2000 

[original 1946] 

222 pages 

ISBN 1-55278-142-9 

The Pianist, long suppressed by the Polish government, is a 
Holocaust memoir of life in under Nazi occupation. Dodging 
arrest and certain death in increasingly desperate 
circumstances, the author, a successful concert pianist and 
composer, was fortunate to receive unexpected compassion 
from a German soldier. Set entirely in the Warsaw ghetto, this 
unusual take on the Holocaust documents humanity's 
primordial survival instinct and reveals the power of music to 
keep people's hopes and spirits alive in dangerous times. 

A quick read, The Pianist is written in an understated, 
detached manner that emphasizes both the horror and the 
banal details of life in the ghetto. The book includes 
descriptions of the horrors of the Holocaust including suicide 
as a choice people made to escape the atrocities of war. The 
memoir also includes excerpts from the German officer's 
wartime journal and an epilogue on Szpilman's life after the 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Hermann Hesse 

Siddhartha traces the life of a young Indian man, Siddhartha, 
as he embarks on a spiritual quest. Throughout his journey, he 
struggles with worldly materialism, sensuous pleasures and 
inner conflicts of spiritual truth. 

The novel's rich imagery and numerous allusions to the life of 
Buddha will provide the skilled, more mature student with 
exposure to an Eastern philosophy. This work, however, 
should not be construed as a document for teaching about 

The novel is most suitable for small groups of mature students 
who may wish to explore the quest motif, the metaphor of life 
as a journey, the difficult and elusive nature of wisdom and 
truth, and the complexity of the imperfections of humankind. 

"And he thought: It 
was the Self, the 
character and nature 
of which I wished to 
learn. I wanted to rid 
myself of the Self , to 
conquer it, but I could 
not conquer it, I could 
only deceive it, could 
only jly from it, could 
only hide from it. 
Truly, nothing in the 
world has occupied 
my thoughts as much 
as the Self, this 
riddle, that I live, that 
I am one and am 
separated and 
everybody else, that I 
am Siddhartha; and 
about nothing in the 
world do I know less 
than about myself 
about Siddhartha. " 
p. 31 

New York, NY: New 
Directions Publishing 
Corporation, 1957 
[original 1922] 

ISBN 081120068X 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Robert A. Heinlein 

"There are a dozen 
different ways of 
delivering destruction 
in impersonal 
wholesale, via ships 
and missiles of one 
sort or another, 
catastrophes so 
widespread, so 
unselective that the 
war is over because 
that nation or planet 
ceased to exist. 
What we do is 
entirely different. We 
make war as 
personal as a punch 
in the nose. " p. 99 

New York, NY: 

Berkley Publishers 

Group/Penguin Putnam, Inc., 


Ace Books edition 

[original 1959] 

264 pages 

ISBN 0-441-78358-9 

Starship Troopers is a science fiction classic in which the 
narrator Johnnie, a young recruit in the future, signs up with 
the Terran Mobile Infantry of the Federal Reserve. He is 
determined to make the grade at grueling boot camp. As he 
trains to fight the enemy Klendathu, and later goes off to war, 
Johnnie learns why he is a soldier. The war scenes and 
technology of this 1959 novel are still plausible even without 
the modern details. The appeal of the book lies in the ideas 
and moral philosophy rather than a fast paced plot. 

The main theme of this controversial book is the conflict 
between individual freedom and government control. 
Secondary themes concern citizenship, duty and responsibility, 
and crime and punishment. This thoughtful, readable novel 
will invite discussions about the relationships between 
individuals and society; values and choices; good and evil; and 
conformity and rebellion. This is an 'idea book' for students to 
relate and respond to critically. Teachers should be aware of 
two issues: inappropriate language and disrespectful 
references to people with disabilities. 

Note: This novel should not be confused with the movie of 
the same name. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


L. R. Wright 

In The Suspect, George Wilcox, at the age of 80, commits the 
near-perfect crime. The murder happens quickly, quietly, and 
very unexpectedly, in a small town on the Sunshine Coast in 
British Columbia. This unusual turn in George's life would have 
gone undetected had his conscience not started to bother him. 
The suspense mounts as George befriends the local librarian, 
Cassandra Mitchell, and her new boyfriend, Karl Alberg, the 
local RCMP Staff Sergeant. Together, these three find 
themselves on a collision course of conflicting values and 

This Canadian mystery allows for the study of characterization, 
plot development and foreshadowing. Also, the examination of 
right and wrong could lead to interesting response journal 
writing, character analysis and the examination of points of 
view. Students may need help with vocabulary, particularly at 
the beginning of the book. 

Teachers should be aware of blasphemy and scenes of 
domestic violence, which may be distressing to some students. 
However, the depiction of such violence provides a classroom 
opportunity to discuss the issue of domestic violence, its 
traumatic causes and effects. 

"Alberg wondered if 
she knew they had 
been brothers-in-law. 
If so, she wasn't 
telling him. He found 
this mildly 
distressing, even 
though he hadn't 
convinced himself yet 
that the old 
relationship between 
the two men had 
anything to do with 
Burke's death. 
Cassandra looked at 
the irises. . . . She 
heard it again: He 
got exactly what was 
coming to him. She 
had never heard 
George Wilcox say 
anything so 
unfeeling. It must 
have been the shock, 
she thought." p. 60 

Toronto, ON: Seal Books, 


[original 1985] 

ISBN 07704421229 


Edgar Allan Poe Award, 
Mystery Writers of America, 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Sid Marty 

"I like the Kid's 
cockiness. In/act, I 
distrust any young 
bush ape who isn't a 
bit on the cocky side. 
Boundary patrol is no 
place for weenies. " 
p. 11 

Toronto, ON: 

McClelland & Stewart, 2001 
[original 1999] 
316 pages 

ISBN 0-7710-5670-2 

Switchbacks is a collection of fourteen mountain tales and a 
glossary of related terms, written by a veteran Alberta poet 
and climber. Using his own memories and those of others, the 
author presents a variety of experiences— some tragic, others 
humourous or redemptive— to create this colourful collection. 

Marty's main purpose is to bring readers closer to the unique 
stories of people who climb mountains. In the process, he 
explores thoughts, feelings and experiences familiar to all 
Alberta nature-lovers. The book also contains selections about 
coming-of-age, apprenticeship, and the influence of mountains 
on people. 

Switchbacks invites both personal and creative response work. 
Teachers should be aware of the book's coarse language, 
descriptions of careless alcohol use, and critical references to 
operations in the National Parks. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Mitch Albom 

Tuesdays with Morrie is an enriching memoir about a 
teacher-student relationship. After a long separation, Albom 
becomes reacquainted with his former sociology professor, 
Morrie Schwartz, who by then is terminally ill. The two begin 
visiting every Tuesday to talk about youth, aging, fear, 
forgiveness and numerous other topics reflecting life's 
complexity. The flashback-flashforward structure alternates 
between the time when the younger Albom was in Morrie's 
class and the time of their weekly visits. 

Through these discussions, the book shares wisdom, insights, 
valuable lessons in living, and the common desire to form a 
philosophy of life that transcends the fact of mortality. The 
book is moving without being sentimental or self-pitying, and 
maintains a humourous tone despite its serious subject matter. 

This short-sentenced page-turner will remind students of 
mentors from their own past and will probably stimulate 
personal anecdote writing. Very minor incidental coarse 
language adds realism and is appropriate to the situations. 
Teachers should be aware that the subject matter could be 
sensitive for students who have experienced the serious illness 
or death of a family member or friend. 

"He repeated it 
carefully, pausing for 
effect. 'Love is the 
only rational act, ' I 
nodded, like a good 
student, and he 
exhaled weakly. I 
leaned over to give 
him a hug. And then, 
although it is not 
really like me, I 
kissed him on the 
cheek. I felt his 
weakened hands on 
my arms, the thin 
stubble of his 
whiskers brushing on 
my face. 'So you'll 
come back next 
Tuesday?' he 
whispered. " 

New York, NY: 
Random House, Inc., 2002 
Broadway Books edition 
[original 1997] 
192 pages 

ISBN 0-7679-0592-X 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Sy Montgomery 

"Although no fighting 
erupted over access 
to Flo, all the males 
seemed almost 
frantic with fear that 
she might walk away 
and they would lose 
another opportunity 
to mate with her; 
they would follow her 
every movement with 
eager, hungry eyes. 
For nearly six weeks 
she was followed 
everywhere by this 
retinue of up to 
fourteen males. One 
day Jane counted Flo 
copulating fifty 
times. " p. 30 

New York, NY: Houghton 
Mifflin Company, 1991 

ISBN 0395611563 

Walking with the Great Apes is about Jane Goodall's work 
with the chimpanzees of Gombe; Dian Fossey's defence of the 
mountain gorillas of Risande; and Birute Galdikas' study of 
orangutans in Borneo. It presents a composite picture of three 
women who forge careers through their study of primates. 
While this book portrays the work of these women, it also 
compares the different psychological characteristics of each 
researcher and is, therefore, as much a perceptive study of the 
women as it is of the primates. 

Different perspectives can be obtained from reading this book. 
From one point of view, three admirable women scientists are 
presented as role models and innovative leaders in their field. 
Also, it can be viewed as a perceptive and insightful portrait of 
feminist ideas. From another point of view, the book could be 
interpreted as extreme and bizarre, and illustrative of a 
spiritual relationship with animals that could be defined as 
animistic, or possibly even shamanistic. While there are 
images of death, sexuality and violence, a study of this 
nonfiction book could give students insight into various ways 
of seeing, understanding and appreciating others, especially 
those with different cultures, religious and belief systems. It 
might be best offered on an optional basis. 

This book is a fascinating read for a wide range of student 
abilities and interests. Further reading on environmentalism 
and interaction with nature could easily follow. 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for 30-2 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



2001: A Space Odyssey 209 

Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea 214 

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The 122 

♦After the War 100 

Afternoon of the Elves 2 

AK 101 

Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your 

Dream, The 123 

Alicia: My Story 274 

Alien Secrets 56 

All Quiet on the Western Front 275 

O Alone at Ninety Foot 102 

American Childhood, An 174 

Animal Farm 124 

O Anne of Green Gables 38 

Apollo 13 240 

O Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, The ... 175 

Artemis Fowl 76 

OAsh Garden, The 241 

Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The . 146 

OBack on the Rez: Finding the 

Way Home 215 

O Barometer Rising 176 

Bean Trees, The 242 

^Before Wings 216 

OBird in the House, A 177 

OBIood Red Ochre 103 

Blue Sword, The 147 

OBook of Small, The 125 

Borrowers, The 20 

Boy: Tales of Childhood 21 

Brave New World 178 

^Breadwinner, The 39 

Bridge to Terabithia 22 

Broken Cord, The 243 

^Buffalo Sunrise 3 

Bumblebee Flies Anyway, The 217 

0Bush Pilot with a Briefcase: The Happy- 
go-lucky Story of Grant McConachie ... 276 


Cage, The 148 

Cat's Cradle 179 

Catch Me If You Can: The Amazing True Story 
of the Youngest and Most Daring 

in the History of Fun and Profit 218 

Cay, The 57 

Charlie Wilcox 58 

Ochild in Prison Camp, A 149 

Children of the River 150 

Chosen, The 277 

Chrysalids, The 126 

OCowboys Don't Cry 59 

OCrabbe 151 

Crime and Punishment 244 

OCrowLake 278 


Dances with Wolves 219 

ODare 152 

Dark Is Rising, The 77 

Davita'sHarp 245 

Day of the Triffids, The 220 

O Days of Terror 60 

Dear Mr. Henshaw 4 

Dear Nobody 221 

ODeath and Deliverance 279 

ODeath on the Ice: The Great Newfoundland 

Sealing Disaster of 1914 180 

Deathwatch 153 

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant 181 

ODoll, The 5 

Dove 154 

^Downhill Chance 280 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 182 

Dragonsbane 127 

Dragonwings 78 


Eagle Has Landed, The 222 

Ear, The Eye and the Arm, The 104 

Education of Little Tree, The 128 

Einstein's Dreams 246 

Ella Enchanted 40 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Ender's Game 105 

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible 

Voyage 281 

Ethan Frome 183 

♦Everything on a Waffle 41 


Fahrenheit 451 282 

Fallen Angels 283 

Farewell to Arms, A 247 

Fateless 129 

Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the 

Rings, Part 1), The 184 

♦Fifth Business 185 

♦Finders Keepers 23 

Finding Fish: A Memoir 284 

Finding Forrester 285 

♦Fish House Secrets 155 

Flowers for Algernon 223 

♦Forbidden City 224 

Freak the Mighty 79 

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle 

Stop Cafe 186 

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. 

Frankweiler 24 

♦Frozen in Time: Unlocking the Secrets 

of the Franklin Expedition 187 


♦Ghost Walker, The 188 

Gifted Hands 225 

Girl with a Pearl Earring 130 

Giver, The 80 

♦Golden Aquarians, The 25 

Golden Compass, The 106 

Grapes of Wrath, The 248 

Great Escape, The 156 

Great Expectations 249 

Great Gatsby, The 189 

Guts 61 


♦Hana's Suitcase 6 

Hatchet 157 

♦Hero's Walk, The 250 

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The 226 

Hobbit, The 62 

Hole in My Life 227 

Holes 81 

Homeless Bird 107 

♦Hunter in the Dark 158 


I Am David 63 

I Was a Rat! 42 

♦icefields 190 

♦in Flanders Fields 43 

In the Heat of the Night 228 

In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of 

Survival in the Siberian Arctic 159 

♦incredible Journey, The 26 

Into the Wild 286 

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the 

Mount Everest Disaster 251 

♦invitation to the Game 82 

Island of the Blue Dolphins 44 

♦island Wings: A Memoir 191 


Jane Eyre 192 

Journey to the River Sea 83 

Joy Luck Club, The 193 

Julie of the Wolves 45 

Jurassic Park 287 


♦Keepers Me 288 

Kensuke's Kingdom 84 

King Rat 289 


♦Last Safe House: A Story of the 

Underground Railroad, The 27 

♦Letters from Wingfield Farm 290 

♦Life of Pi 194 

Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The ... 7 

♦Little by Little: A Writer's Education 46 

Looking Back: A Book of Memories 85 

Lord of the Flies 195 

Lyddie 160 


♦Maestro, The 108 

♦Mama's Going to Buy You 

a Mockingbird 47 

Maniac Magee 48 

Master Puppeteer, The 86 

♦Medicine River 291 

♦Men of Stone 109 

Metamorphosis, The 252 

♦Metamorphosis: Stages in a Life 196 

Midnight Fox, The 28 

Monsignor Quixote 253 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 

Moon by Whale Light, The 197 

Mosquito Coast, The 254 

Most Daring in the History of Fun 

and Profit! 218 

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH 8 

My Family and Other Animals 131 

My Name Is Asher Lev 198 

^Mystery in the Frozen Lands 64 


ONever Cry Wolf 161 

Night 255 

Night to Remember, A 132 

ONo Great Mischief 292 

No Pretty Pictures 110 

Nose from Jupiter, The 29 

0Nuk Tessli: The Life of a Wilderness 

Dweller 199 

Number the Stars 9 


Oobasan 200 

October Sky 133 

Of Mice and Men 229 

Old Man and the Sea, The 201 

Odd Man on His Back: Portrait of a Prairie 

Landscape 202 

Oliver Twist 134 

OOn the Lines 162 

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich 293 

OOscar Peterson : The Will to Swing 256 

Out of the Dust Ill 

Outsider, The 257 

OOwls in the Family 10 


^Peacekeepers 65 

Pearl, The 163 

Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against 

the Sea, The 230 

Phantom Tollbooth, The 49 

Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story 

of One Man's, The 

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek 258 

Planet of the Apes 231 

Playmaker, The 112 

♦Polar: The Titanic Bear 11 

^Prairie Boy's Winter, A 30 

Pride and Prejudice 259 


Queen of October, The 203 


'O'Random Passage 135 

Rebecca 136 

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural 

Revolution 113 

ORedwork 87 

^Republic of Nothing, The 260 

Return, The 114 

0Rick Hansen: Man in Motion 137 

ORoad Past Altamont, The 204 

0Road to Chlifa, The 164 

O Root Cellar, The 50 

Runner, The 232 

Ryan White: My Own Story 233 


Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes ... 12 

Saint Maybe 261 

Sarah, Plain and Tall 13 

Secret Garden, The 14 

Seeing Stone, The 88 

Sees Behind Trees 66 

Separate Peace, A 205 

^Shadow in Hawthorn Bay 89 

Shane 90 

Sheep-Pig, The 15 

Shiloh 31 

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World 115 

Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a 

Japanese Boy 91 

O Shoeless Joe 234 

Siddhartha 295 

Silas Marner 138 

vSilverwing 51 

Single Shard, A 92 

Skellig 67 

Osky Is Falling, The 32 

Slave Dancer, The 68 

Something for Joey 235 

Something Wicked This Way Comes 139 

Sounder 69 

Speak 165 

Starship Troopers 296 

Stephen Hawking: Quest for a Theory of 

Everything 262 

Still Me 206 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 

©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


♦stone Angel, The 263 

♦stone Carvers, The 264 

♦storm Child 33 

Survival in Warsaw: 1939-1945 294 

♦Suspect, The 297 

♦Switchbacks: True Stories from 

the Canadian Rockies 298 


Tale of Two Cities, A 207 

Talking with Artists: Volume Three 52 

♦Tamarind Mem 208 

♦Terry Fox: His Story 166 

Thief of Time, A 236 

♦Thinking Like a Mountain 140 

♦Ticket to Curlew 16 

Tisha: The Story of a Young Teacher in the 

Alaska Wilderness 237 

To Destroy You Is No Loss 265 

To Kill a Mockingbird 141 

♦Touch of the Clown 70 

♦Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal 142 

Touch the Earth: A Self-portrait of Indian 

Existence 266 

Touching Spirit Bear 116 

♦Trapped in Ice 34 

True Confessions of Charlotte 

Doyle, The 93 

♦Truth and Bright Water 267 

Tuck Everlasting 53 

♦Tuesday Cafe, The 94 

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young 

Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson 299 


Unbroken Chain: My Journey Through 

the Nazi Holocaust, An 117 

Under the Blood-Red Sun 95 

♦Under the Ribs of Death 268 

♦Underground to Canada 35 


Van Gogh Cafe, The 17 

Virtual War 71 


Waiting for the Rain 143 

Walk Two Moons 96 

Walking with the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, 

Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas 300 

♦War of the Eagles 167 

♦Wars, The 269 

Westmark 118 

♦what They Don't Know 97 

Whipping Boy, The 18 

White Mountains, The 54 

♦whiteout 168 

♦Who Has Seen the Wind 144 

♦Who Is Frances Rain? 72 

♦Why Shoot the Teacher? 169 

Wild Children, The 119 

♦Wild Geese 270 

♦Willa's New World 73 

♦Windflower 271 

Wine of Astonishment, The 210 

♦Winners 98 

Wizard of Earthsea, A 120 

Wreckers, The 74 

Wrinkle in Time, A 36 

Wuthering Heights 272 

Wyrd Sisters 211 


♦Yuletide Blues 170 


Z for Zachariah 171 


ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Abagnale, Frank. W 218 

Ackerman, Diane 197 

Adams, Douglas 226 

Albanov, Valerian 159 

Albom, Mitch 299 

Alexander, Lloyd 118 

Almond, David 67 

Anderson, Laurie Halse 165 

Appleman-Jurman, Alicia 274 

Armstrong, Jennifer 115 

Armstrong, William 69 

Austen, Jane 259 

Avi 93 


Babbitt, Natalie 53 

Badami, Anita Rau [Tamarind Mem] 208 

Badami, Anita Rau [The Hero's...] 250 

Ball, John Dudley 228 

Bateman, Robert 140 

Beattie, Owen and John Geiger 187 

Bedard, Michael 87 

Bell, William [Crabbe] 151 

Bell, William [Forbidden...] 224 

Bellingham, Brenda 33 

Blake, Michael 219 

Blumberg, Rhoda 91 

Bock, Dennis 241 

Boulle, Pierre 2 31 

Bradbury, Ray [Something...] 139 

Bradbury, Ray [Fahrenheit 451] 282 

Braithwaite, Max 169 

Brickhill, Paul 156 

Bronte, Charlotte 192 

Bronte, Emily 272 

Brown, Cassie 180 

Buffie, Margaret 72 

Burnett, Frances Hodgson 14 

Burnford, Sheila 26 

Butala, Sharon and Courtney Milne 202 

Byars, Betsy 28 


Callahan, Steven 214 

Camus, Albert 257 

Card, Orson Scott 105 

Carr, Emily 125 

Carson, Ben 225 

Carter, Forrest 128 

Cheaney, J. B 112 

Chevalier, Tracy 130 

Choyce, Lesley 260 

Christopher, John 54 

Clarke, Arthur C 209 

Clavell, James 289 

Cleary, Beverly 4 

Coelho, Paulo 123 

Coerr, Eleanor 12 

Colfer, Eoin 76 

Collura, Mary-Ellen Lang 98 

Connelly, Karen 142 

Cooper, Susan 77 

Cormier, Robert 217 

Creech, Sharon 96 

Crew, Linda 150 

Crichton, Michael 287 

Criddle, Joan D. and Teeda Butt Mam 265 

Crossley-Holland, Kevin 88 

Cummings, Pat 52 

Czajkowski, Chris 199 


Dahl, Roald 21 

Davies, Robertson 185 

Demers, Barbara 73 

Dickens, Charles [Oliver Twist] 134 

Dickens, Charles [A Tale...] 207 

Dickens, Charles [Great...] 249 

Dickinson, Peter 101 

Dillard, Annie [An American...] 174 

Dillard, Annie [Pilgrim at...] 258 

Doherty, Berlie 221 

Dorris, Michael [Sees Behind...] 66 

Dorris, Michael [The Broken...] 243 

Dostoevsky, Fedor 244 

du Maurier, Daphne 136 

Durrell, Gerald 131 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Eliot, George 138 

Ellis, Deborah 39 

Ellison, James W 285 


Farmer, Nancy 104 

Ferguson, Kitty 262 

Findley, Timothy 269 

Finn, Ron 162 

Fisher, Antwone Quenton 284 

Fitzgerald, F. Scott 189 

Flagg, Fannie 186 

Fleischman, Sid 18 

Foster, Cecil 191 

Fox, Paula 68 

Friesen, Gayle 109 


Gaines, Ernest J 146 

Gantos, Jack 227 

George, Jean Craighead 45 

Godfrey, Martyn 64 

Golding, William 195 

Goobie, Beth 216 

Gordon, Sheila 143 

Graham, Robin Lee 154 

Granfield, Linda 43 

Greene, Graham 253 

Greenwood, Barbara 27 


Halvorson, Marilyn [Dare] 152 

Halvorson, Marilyn [Cowboys...] 59 

Hambly, Barbara 127 

Hansen, Rick and Jim Taylor 137 

Heinlein, Robert A 296 

Hemingway, Ernest [A Farewell...] 201 

Hemingway, Ernest [The Old Man...] 247 

Hesse, Hermann 295 

Hesse, Karen Ill 

Hickam, Homer 133 

Higgins, Jack 222 

Hillerman, Tony 236 

Holm, Anne 63 

Holman, Felice 119 

Holubitsky, Katherine 102 

Horrocks, Anita 97 

Horvath, Polly 41 

Houston, James 168 

Hughes, Monica [The Golden...] 25 

Hughes, Monica [Invitation...] 82 

Hughes, Monica [Hunter...] 158 

Huser, Glen 70 

Huxley, Aldous 178 


Ibbotson, Eva 83 


Jiang, Ji-li 113 

Junger, Sebastian 230 

Juster, Norton 49 


Kafka, Franz 252 

Keith, Ronald A 276 

Kertesz, Imre 129 

Keyes, Daniel 223 

King, Thomas [Truth...] 267 

King, Thomas [Medicine...] 291 

King-Smith, Dick 15 

Kingsolver, Barbara 242 

Kinsella, W. P 234 

Klause, Annette Curtis 56 

Knowles, John 205 

Kogawa, Joy 200 

Konigsburg, E.L 24 

Krakauer, Jon [Into Thin Air] 251 

Krakauer, Jon [Into the Wild] 286 

Kurelek, William 30 


L'Engle, Madeline 36 

Lansing, Alfred 281 

Laurence, Margaret [A Bird...] 177 

Laurence, Margaret [The Stone Angel] 263 

Lawrence, Iain 74 

Lawrence, R. D 188 

Lawson, Mary 278 

Le Guin, Ursula 120 

Lee, Harper 141 

Lee, Robert Mason 279 

Lees, Gene 256 

Levine, Gail Carson 40 

Levine, Karen 6 

Levitin, Sonia 114 

Lewis, C. S 7 

Lightman, Alan 246 

Linden, Dianne 65 

Lisle, Janet Taylor 2 


ELA Novels and Nonaction List for Grades 4-12 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 


Little, Jean [Little by Little] 46 

Little, Jean [Mama's Going...] 47 

Lobel, Anita 110 

Lord, Walter 132 

Lottridge, Celia Barker 16 

Lovelace, Earl 210 

Lovell, Jim and Jeffrey Kluger 240 

Lowry, Lois [Number...] 9 

Lowry, Lois [The Giver] 80 

Lowry, Lois [Looking Back...] 85 

Lunn, Janet [The Root Cellar] 50 

Lunn, Janet [Shadow...] 89 


Maclntyre, R. P 170 

MacLachlan, Patricia 13 

MacLennan, Hugh 176 

MacLeod, Alistair 292 

Major, Kevin 103 

Maracle, Brian 215 

Marineau, Michele 164 

Marlyn, John 268 

Martel, Yann 194 

Marty, Sid 298 

Matas, Carol 100 

McKay, Sharon E 58 

McKinley, Robin 147 

McLuhan, T. C 266 

Mickle, Shelley Fraser 203 

Mikaelsen, Ben 116 

Mitchell, W. 144 

Montgomery, L. M 38 

Montgomery, Sy 300 

Morgan, Bernice 135 

Morpurgo, Michael 84 

Morrissey, Donna 280 

Mowat, Farley [Owls...] 10 

Mowat, Farley [Never Cry Wolf] 161 

Myers, Walter Dean 283 


Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds 31 

Needles, Dan 290 

Norton, Mary 20 


O'Brien, Robert C. [Mrs. Frisby...] 8 

O'Brien, Robert C. [Z for Zachariah] 171 

O'Dell, Scott 44 

Oertelt, Henry A. and Stephanie Oertelt 

Samuels 117 

Oppel, Kenneth 51 

Orwell, George 124 

Ostenso, Martha 270 


Park, Linda Sue 92 

Paterson, Katherine [Bridge...] 22 

Paterson, Katherine [The Master...] 86 

Paterson, Katherine [Lyddie] 160 

Paulsen, Gary [Guts] 61 

Paulsen, Gary [Hatchet] 157 

Pearson, Kit 32 

Peck, Richard E 235 

Philbrick, Rodman 79 

Potok, Chaim [My Name is...] 198 

Potok, Chaim [Davita's Harp] 245 

Potok, Chaim [The Chosen] 277 

Pratchett, Terry 211 

Pullman, Philip [I Was a Rat] 42 

Pullman, Philip [The Golden...] 106 


Reeve, Christopher 206 

Remarque, Erich Maria 275 

Richler, Mordecai 175 

Roy, Gabrielle [The Road...] 204 

Roy, Gabrielle [Windflower] 271 

Rylant, Cynthia 17 


Sachar, Louis 81 

Salisbury, Graham 95 

Schaefer, Jack 90 

Scrimger, Richard 29 

Scrivener, Leslie 162 

Sender, Ruth Minsky 148 

Skurzynski, Gloria 71 

Smucker, Barbara [Underground...] 35 

Smucker, Barbara [Days of Terror] 60 

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander 293 

Spalding, Andrea 23 

Specht, Robert 237 

Spedden, Daisy Corning Stone and Laurie 

McGraw 11 

Spinelli, Jerry 48 

Steinbeck, John [The Pearl] 163 

Steinbeck, John [Of Mice and Men] 229 

Steinbeck, John [The Grapes...] 248 

Stevenson, Robert Louis 182 

Stinson, Kathy 155 

Suzuki, David 196 

Swanson, Diane 3 

Szpilman, Wladyslaw 294 

ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 
©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada 



Takashima, Shizuye 149 

Tan, Amy 193 

Taylor, Cora 5 

Taylor, Theodore 57 

Theroux, Paul 254 

Tolkien, J. R. R. [The Hobbit] 62 

Tolkien, J. R. R. [The Fellowship...] 184 

Trembath, Don 94 

Twain, Mark 122 

Tyler, Anne [Dinner at...] 181 

Tyler, Anne [Saint Maybe] 261 


Urquhart, Jane 264 


Voigt, Cynthia 232 

Vonnegut, Kurt 179 


Wagamese, Richard 288 

Walters, Eric [Trapped in Ice] 34 

Walters, Eric [War of...] 167 

Wharton, Edith 183 

Wharton, Thomas 190 

Whelan, Gloria 107 

White, Robb 153 

White, Ryan and Ann Marie Cunningham .. 233 

Wiesel, Elie 255 

Wright, LR 297 

Wyndham, John [The Chrysalids] 126 

Wyndham, John [The Midwich...] 220 

Wynne-Jones, Tim 108 


Yep, Laurence 78 

308/ ELA Novels and Nonfiction List for Grades 4-12 

2005 ©Alberta Education, Alberta, Canada