Staircase of a Thousand Steps
by Masha Hamilton
Jammana, a 11-year-old girl experiences an unsettling coming of age in a Jordanian village. She possesses an ancestral gift that allows her to see the past, travels with her mother, Rafa, against her father's wishes, to Rafa's birthplace, the ancient village of Ein Fadr.
Breath, Eyes, Memory
by Edwidge Danticat
After twelve years of being raised in Haiti by her aunt Atie, young Sophie Caco has been summoned by her mother to join her in New York. Sophie is terrified and does not want to go, especially since she does not remember her mother, who left Haiti when Sophie was just a baby. What follows is a painful rendering of horrifying secrets and Haitian tradition that deeply affects Sophie and the way she lives her life.
by Chaim Potok
In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, a horrible baseball accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their religious differences, Reuven and Danny form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence and family conflicts.
by Sandra Cisneros
Lala Reyes is the seventh child of the family and the only girl. They live in Chicago, where her dad and his two brothers run an upholstery shop. There are cousins (three brothers named Elvis, Byron, and Aristotle), looong caravan-style car trips to Mexico City to visit the Awful Grandmother, and some snooping into the past by Lala.
Crazy in Alabama
by Mark Childress
Family tumult and social unrest converge to shake the world of 12-year-old orphan Peejoe Bullis in the summer of 1965, "when everybody went crazy in Alabama." Peejoe's relatively tranquil life with his grandmother is jolted by the arrival of his Aunt Lucille, who is on her way to Hollywood to become a star after poisoning her husband. The family moves to Industry, Ala., where racial conflict brings together George Wallace and Martin Luther King Jr.
The Chocolate War
by Robert Cormier
Jerry Renault is a typical fourteen-year-old freshman (and football player) at a private Catholic high school. But then he decides to go against the school fundraiser run by a gang called The Vigils. Can Jerry survive at school as the thugs and teachers plot to ruin his life?
by M.T. Anderson
The story begins on the Moon, where Titus and his friends have gone for spring break. He and his buddies all have Feed, which is an online computer implant typically installed shortly after birth. Feed constantly bombards the characters with information and banners, much of which has to do with the latest fashions, upcars, and music. It also provides them with Chat--the capacity to mentally instant message each other. Enter Violet; a girl Titus meets on spring break, a girl who wants to 'fight the feed'.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
Arnold Spirit, a goofy-looking dork with a decent jumpshot, spends his time lamenting life on the "poor-ass" Spokane Indian reservation, drawing cartoons. When a teacher pleads with Arnold to want more, to escape the hopelessness of the rez, Arnold switches to a rich white school and immediately becomes as much an outcast in his own community as he is a curiosity in his new one.
Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida
by Victor Martinez
The tale follows the life of Manuel Hernandez. Manny's a good kid. He has a slacker older brother, an older sister that flirts with danger, and a baby sibling that doesn't understand the ways of the world just yet. His father is unemployed leaving him regularly drunk and belligerent. His mother, not quite up to facing the problems surrounding her, stays by his side despite the effects of his actions on the kids.
Yoruba Girl Dancing
by Simi Bedford
Remi is born into a privileged large Nigerian family. At the age of 6 she is sent to a very exclusive all girl boarding school in England. Feeling alienated because she was the only black girl in a school full of perfect English girls. She gets ridiculed for her culture and race. It isn't easy being different, but Remi has to cope with it and she needs to understand that people are different.
by Maxine Clair
These interrelated short stories are set in fictional Rattlebone, Kan., a vibrant, close-knit African-American community. Narrated by young Irene Wilson, the confident but naive girl tells how she grows up in a town devoid of whites, falling in love with the boy who sells eggs, and witnessing the dissolution of her parents' marriage.
by Ntozake Shange
Betsey is the oldest child in a large, remarkable, and slightly eccentric African American family. Her father is a doctor who wakes his children each morning with point-blank questions about African history and Black culture while beating on a conga drum; her mother is a beautiful, refined, confident, and strong-willed social worker who is overwhelmed by the vast size of her young family and who cares very little for “all that nasty colored music.”
All that Lives
by Melissa Sanders-Smart
The Bell Witch is poltergeist that bedeviled a family of Tennessee farmers in the early 1800's. At age 13, Betsy Bell becomes the focus of the witch's torments. For more than a year, the Bell family is subjected to nocturnal noises, rains of stones, blows from invisible hands and, eventually, belligerent back talk from the articulate spirit.
Rule of the Bone
by Russell Banks
Flunking out of school and already hooked on drugs, the 14-year-old narrator leaves his mobile home in a depressed upstate New York town. Convinced that he is destined for a criminal career, Bone vents his anger in acts of senseless destruction. His wanderings are paused when he takes refuge in an abandoned schoolbus with an illegal alien from Jamaica called I-Man.
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
by Roddy Doyle
An Irish lad named Paddy rampages through the streets of Barrytown with a pack of like-minded hooligans, playing cowboys and Indians, etching their names in wet concrete, and setting fires. Paddy Clarke and his friends are not bad boys; they're just a little bit restless...