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Dear folks,
I will just throw this out...on the HS parent list-serv (which I am a parent...) 
there is an ongoin and sometime heated discussion about the required 10th grade 
books...many parents are upset that they are all so depressing...Farenheit 451, 
Hiroshima, Lord of the Flies, Native Son, MacBeth...etc. and that there is not 
comic relief - nothing to show another side of life...I just came across the 
required reading list for 8th grade (posted) and noticed many of these books have 
the same themes...does ANYONE's school system consult the librarians/media 
specialists when composing required reading lists?  Just a thought...  I sent out a 
list of some of my favorite YA books that aren't too depressing  and not so 
commonly used (this genre always seems to be overlooked by English departments), as 
alternatives...use what you can if you need any titles -

Howe, Norma*Adventures of the Blue Avenger (great for boys)

Nicholson, William*The Wind Singer (trilogy)..great..about a society based on 

Napoli, Donna diAnything….reinterprets fairy tales from a different character’s 
perspective…great books

Gibbons, Alan*Shadow of the Minotaur (Greek myths & video games combined…great 

Woodson, JacquelineMiracle’s Boys (many, many wonderful novels)

Bloor, EdwardStoryTime (funny about a school for “gifted” students!)

Almond, DavidThe Fire-Eaters (and MANY more great titles)

Crossley-Holland, Kevin
*At the Crossing Places (King Arthur)

Crutcher, ChrisWhale Talk (athletes who play an individual sport)

Dessen, Sarah
Keeping the Moon

Engdall, Sylvia
*Enchantress From the Stars

Farmer, Nancy
The House of the Scorpion (3 awards)

Ferris, Jean
Love Among the Walnuts

Flake, Sharon
The Skin I’m In

Fleischman, Paul
Whirligig (Newbery)

Gardam, Jane

Hardman, Ric
Sunshine Rider (first vegetarian western)

Hidier, Tanuja Desai
Born Confused

Jimenez, Francisco
Breaking Through (non-fiction) – sequel to The Circuit

Jones, Diane Wynne
Too numerous to mention (fantasy)

Kindall, Patrice
Owl In Love

LeGuin, Ursula
Too numerous to mention (fantasy)

Lubar, David
Dunk (anyone from NJ boardwalk?)

Martinez, Victor
Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida

McDonald, Joyce
Shades of Simon Gray

Pullman, Phillip
*The Dark Materials, The Golden Compass

Singer, Nicky
Feather Boy (about bullying…great story)

Virginia Euwer Wolff
*Making Lemonade

Zindel, Paul
The Pigman ( a classic)

Myers, Walter Dean

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