Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

3 cups of teaAs he returns from an unsuccessful climb of Mt. Everest, Greg Mortenson becomes lost in Afghanistan and wanders in to the village of Korphe. Here Mortensen meets Haji Ali. Ali’s family takes care of Mortenson and finds him a way back to Pakistan. Before he leaves the little village of Korphe and Ali’s hospitality, Mortenson promises to return and build the village a school. This promise will change Mortenson’s life forever.

One Child by Torey Hayden

one childAuthor Torey Hayden teaches specials needs students at her public school. It’s a new school year and her students are doing well and getting along. That is until six-year-old Sheila arrives. Sheila’s violent and unpredictable behavior sets the class on edge and it is up to Torey to break through Sheila’s tough exterior. Sheila has issues. Sheila was abandoned on the side of a road by her mother and is now being raised by her alcoholic father. She is one angry little girl. If you enjoy books by David Pelzer such as A Child Called It, then you might try this one

The Secret of Priest’s Grotto by Peter Lane Taylor with Christos Nicola

secret of priest's grottoThis is an amazing story of survival. Cavers Peter Lane Taylor and Christos Nicola heard tales of Jews who survived the Holocaust by hiding in Ukrainian caves. Nicola, determined to find out if these tales were true, began investigating the Popowa Yama story. In 2002, four years after beginning his investigation, Nicola received an e-mail from a man claiming to know a Priest’s Grotto Holocaust survivor. Nicola and Taylor visited the Stermer family in Montreal, Canada to learn more of this incredible story of survival. From 1943-1944, three Jewish families survived the Nazi occupation of the Ukraine by living underground in caves. Read The Secret of Priest’s Grotto to find out how they survived.

Check out this National Geographic article to learn even more.

The Children of Alcatraz by Claire Rudolf Murphy

children of alcatrazChildren of Alcatraz: Growing Up on the Rock portrays what it was like for children to grow up on Alcatraz Island. The book covers different time periods in the island’s history from use as a light house, a military post, disciplinary barracks, U.S. penitentiary, site of a Native Amerian occupation, and to its current status as a National Park. Murphy provides interesting photographs of the children who lived on Alcatraz including one of actor Bejamin Bratt who took part in the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz as a child. This book is a perfect non-fiction companion to Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.

Guys Write for Guys Read edited by Jon Scieszka

guys readJon Scieszka has put together a collection of guys writing for guys about being guys. The entries a short and “sweet” to borrow a term from Napoleon Dynamite. Each includes a biography and bibliography about the author. So you guys will enjoy pieces by Chris Crutcher, James Howe, Anthony Horowitz, Gordon Korman, Walter Dean Myers, Kenneth Oppell, Darren Shan and other favorite authors. It’s an entertaining read. Check it out!

Blizzard! by Jim Murphy

BlizzardOn Sunday afternoon , March 11, 1888 the Great Blizzard hit the East Coast. Snow and wind whipped through cities and farms for four days dumping 40-50 inches of snow. Winds swept through the cities at up to 45 miles an hour snapping powerlines. Snowdrifts, some up to 50 feet high, blocked buildings. Transportation was shut down when trains could not move along the blocked tracks. Big cities like New York looked like ghost towns. Jim Murphy relates first person accounts of how different people experienced the storm that confined people to their homes for a week and froze the East River solid for a short period. If you find natural disasters intriguing, you should enjoy reading Blizzard!

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

great fireOn Sunday night, October 8, 1871, a small fire broke out in the O’Learys’ barn in Chicago, Illinois. Due to weather conditions and human error the fire became a roaring inferno that burned for 31 hours causing 100,000 people to flee the deadly flames. Through Jim Murphy’s skillful writing, the reader experiences the confusion and terror of four characters as they flee the great fire. Illustrations, photos and maps enhance this Newberry Honor Book.

How Rude! by Alex J. Packer

how rudeThe official title of this humorous but helpful book by Alex J. Packer is How Rude! The Teenager’ Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior and Not Grossing People Out. Everything is covered in this book from how to be polite in daily life with your family and at school to how to be a gracious guest in a friend’s home. If you have ever had any questions about how to handle different types of situations from hygiene to what to wear to different types of occasions to dating, this book covers all these topics and more in a humorous, fun-to-read style. If you think good manners aren’t important any longer, Alex Packard offers a top ten list of “Why Good Manners Are Good for You” with quotes from teens sharing how good manners worked positively for them.

The Freedom Writer’s Diary by Erin Gruwell

freedom writerAfter watching the movie, I decided I wanted to read the book. As always, there was so much more in the book. If you saw the movie, you will notice some liberties taken by the screenwriters. The Freedom Writers’s Diary begins with a chapter entitled “Freshman Year – Fall 1994″. It’s Erin Gruwell’s first year teaching English at Wilson High. She asks her students to keep journals. All of the journals in the book are numbered and anonymous. But these journals give you great insight as to what it was like to be a teen at Wilson High in Long Beach, California. It is an inspiring book.

If you like Go Ask Alice or books by Sonya Sones, you might enjoy reading this one.