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Grit for Teens

Page history last edited by Kim Zito 6 years, 7 months ago



Title Author Summary

A Long Walk to Water


Linda Sue Park
When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.

Inside out and Back Again

Thanhha Lai
Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. 
Okay For Now
Gary Schmidt

Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck faces many challenges, including an abusive father, a brother traumatized by Vietnam, suspicious teachers and police officers, and isolation, but when he meets a girl known as Lil Spicer, he develops a close relationship with her and finds a safe place at the local library.

Naomi Shihab Nye


 Fourteen-year-old Liyana Abboud, her younger brother, and her parents move from St. Louis to a new home between Jerusalem and the Palestinian village where her father was born, where they face many changes and must deal with the tensions between Jews and Palestinians.

Now is the Time For Running
Michael Williams

Originally published as: The billion dollar soccer ball. When soldiers attack a small village in Zimbabwe, Deo goes on the run with Innocent, his older, mentally disabled brother, carrying little but a leather soccer ball filled with money, and after facing prejudice, poverty, and tragedy, it is in soccer that Deo finds renewed hope.

The Red Umbrella
Christina Gonzalez

The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.


In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.


As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.
Mao's Last Dancer
Li Cunxin and Paul English

Li Cunxin, a principal dancer with the Houston Ballet and Australian Ballet, explains how his childhood of poverty in rural China changed when he was selected by Madame Mao to attend the dance academy in Beijing, tells how his devotion to Communist philosophy was shaken during his first visit to the U.S. as part of an exchange program with the Houston Ballet, and discusses his eventual defection to the West.

Believe Eric Legrand

On October 16, 2010, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was known as a key performer on the field and a much-loved teammate who could make anyone smile. But in the heated fourth quarter of a tie game against Army, everything changed in a moment. A crushing tackle left him motionless on the field, and while the entire stadium went silent with fear and anticipation, Eric knew his life would never again be the same.

What he didn't know, however, was that the months to come would be a remarkable, transformative journey: one so profound that he would call the year following the accident that paralyzed him from the neck down the best year of his life.

In this uplifting memoir, now adapted for young readers, Eric tells the amazing story of how he rebuilds his life, continues his college education, and pursues a career in sports broadcasting. His belief in a grand plan and his hope for the future make him a model for anyone who has experienced tragedy or faced obstacles.


I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban


Malala Yousafzai When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Hatchet Gary Paulsen After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the Canadian wilderness, learning to survive with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents' divorce.
Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution Ji-Li Jiang The author tells about the happy life she led in China up until she was twelve-years-old when her family became a target of the Cultural Revolution, and discusses the choice she had to make between denouncing her father and breaking with her family, or refusing to speak against him and losing her future in the Communist Party.
The Legend of Bass Reeve Gary Paulsen

Aptly subtitled "Being the true and fictional account of the most valiant Marshal in the West,"this engrossingly told tale fills in the unrecorded youth of an unjustly obscure historical figure who was born a slave, became a successful rancher, then later in his long life went on to play an integral role in taming the rough-hewn Oklahoma Territory. After opening with clear-eyed looks at what Wild Bill Hickock, Wyatt Earp, and other western legends were really like, Paulsen portrays Reeves as a truer hero, formed into a tough, wily survivor with an unshakable sense of duty by experiences as a child on an isolated Texas ranch and later, as an escaped slave, among residents in the Indian Territory. Closing with reconstructed versions of some of Reeves' astonishing exploits as a lawman, the author makes his case convincingly while dishing up a stirring tale of adventure.

Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna

Joseph Lekuton

This autobiographical account by a member of a nomadic subgroup within the Maasai people in northern Kenya provides a unique and insightful picture of life in a culture in which cattle are the measure of wealth. Lekuton is at his most lyrical when telling of his and his family's relationships with their cattle. While he paints a picture of a supportive family and community, his is by no means an idyllic life. From the age of five, he watched the cows all day, awake to possible danger while playing make-believe games. However, his life as a nomad changed forever when, at age six, he became the designated child of his family who was obligated by law to go to school. In spite of an enduring love and respect for his family and their way of life, school exerted a pull so strong on Lekuton that he went from the mission school to an elite high school to college in the United States, and now teaches history at a private school in Virginia. The account of these years is filled with colorful anecdotes and tales of physical endurance. While readers may notice an almost complete absence of girls in the narrative, Lekuton's story touches a universal chord,



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