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English as a Second Language

Intermediate Level Fiction
Learning Resource Center Bibliography

Appel, Benjamin, Hell's Kitchen. Toronto, Canada: Pantheon Books, 1977.
PZ 7 A64th
Hell's Kitchen is a predominately Irish section of New York City. During the years before World War I, the residents were poor and jobs were scarce. For anyone who was not Irish things were even more difficult. This novel relates the lives of four, non-Irish youths whose bonds of friendship remained strong even as gangs and crime lured some away from the paths of love and education. 205 pages.

Babbitt, Natalie. Knee-Knock Rise. Canada: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1970.
PZ7 B1135Kn 1984
This is a new folktale, but the theme is ageless: Who is wise? Who is the fool?
Everyone in the small town of Instep knew that on rainy nights the Megrimum would moan and groan and let out steam. No one wanted to go up to the top of Kneeknock hill to see the monster, no one except Egan when he was there on summer vacation. He soon learned that the truth is not always so easy to find.118 pages

Bauer, Marion Dane. On My Honor. New York: Clarion Books, 1986.
PZ 7 B3262on
When his best friend drowns while they are both swimming in a treacherous river that they had promised never to go near, Joel is devastated and terrified at having to tell both sets of parents the terrible consequences of their disobedience. Joel discovers that he can trust his father as he confronts his horrible truth. 90 pages.

Beatty, Patricia. Lupita Manana. New York: Beech Tree, 1981.
PZ7 B380544Lu 1992
To help her poverty stricken family, Lupita and her brother enter California illegally and start to work while constantly on the watch for "la migra." As Lupita works hard and sends money home to her mother, she realizes that she must learn English if she wants to escape the immigration officers. She finds a charming teacher. 186 pages

Cameron, Eleanor. Julia and the Hand of God. New York: E.P. Hutton, 1977.
PZ7 C143ju
Julia is an engaging heroine, bold, intelligent, honest, and kind. She wants to be a writer, like her father, and records important events of her life, but not in the beautiful journal her uncle gave her. A retired professor befriends Julia and she learns about writing, art, and music. When the fire startes in the Berkeley hills, Julia goes to the professor's house and helped him save some of his valuable art. 168 pages.


Cleaver, Vera and Bill. Queen of Hearts. Philadelphia and New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1978.
PZ7 C57926qe
After Wilma's grandmother suffered a mild stroke, she and her willful and difficult granny become true companions, but, only after exasperating a series of potential housekeepers. Wilma helps her granny discover that happiness comes from doing the thing she does best--bake.158 pages

Corcoran, Barbara. The Hideaway. New York: Atheneum, 1987.
PZ 7 C814hi 1987
This is a compelling story of a young boy's discovery that friendship and trust are not so easy to understand. The perils of a thoughtless moment of drinking and driving lead to Tom's discovery that we cannot run away from our responsibilities or protect others from theirs. The story is set in an Atlantic seaport town where boating and fishing are an intimate part of life. 120 pages.

Creech, Sharon. Walk Two Moons. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1994.
PZ7 C8615Wal 1994
This is a very touching story of two girls, each discovering an important truth of her own mother. Their friendship leads them to unlocking mysteries, or trying to unlock them, through keen observation and deduction. This novel has exciting characters and a compelling plot. 280 pages.

Fisher, Robert. The Knight in Rusty Armor. California: Wilshire Book Company, 1990.
PZ7 F5328kn 1990
In this delightful fantasy, the knight is on a journey of self-discovery. He must follow the path of Truth through the Castle of Silence, the Castle of Knowledge, the Castle of Will and Daring, until, finally, he reaches the Summit of Truth where he discovers true happiness. 73 pages.

George, Jean Craighead, My Side of the Mountain. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1988.
PZ7 G2933my 1988
A young boy relates his adventures during the year he spent living alone in the Catskill Mountains including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship. 177 pages.

George, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves. New York: Harper Trophy, 1972.
PZ7 G2933Ju 1974
Alaskan Eskimo life comes alive as Julie Miyak, escapes the village and her arranged husband. She lives in the wild among the wolves, relying on the hunting skills she learned from her father, as she searches for a way to reach San Francisco, the home of her friend. Finally, she must choose between the old ways and the new. This novel captures the dangers and beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, animal habits, and the conflicts of cultures through the eyes of a young woman. 170 pages.

Hansen, Joyce. Which Way Freedom?. New York: Avon Books 1986.
PZ 7 H19825wh 1986
This book is based on historical facts about the African American participation in the Civil War. It includes information on slaves' intense desire for liberty and their willingness to risk their lives to help their people. Readers also learn about the difference between the lives of free coloreds and slaves, about the different attitudes toward slavery that existed during the Civil War years, and the social and family values of slaves. 120 pages

Hobbs, Will. Bearstone. New York: Atheneum, Macmillian Publishing Company, 1989.
PZ7 H6524be 1989
The bearstone in the title refers to a beautiful small turquoise bear that belongs to Cloyd, a young Indian boy. It is the story of how this young troubled boy struggles to overcome failure and disappointment. This is an adventure story as well. Cloyd encounters a grizzly bear when he is exploring the mountains in Colorado and saves an old man from a gold mine. It is an exciting story. 154 pages.

Holland, Isabelle. The Man Without a Face. Philadelphia and New York: J.B.Lippincott Company, 1972.
PZ 7 H7083man
Charles didn't know much about love. His mother and sisters had little respect for him, but he knew if he could get into boarding school, he would have freedom. But he didn't pass the entrance exam. The summer he was fourteen he met a man who became his teacher and his friend. He found freedom, but not where he expected to find it. 158 pages.

Holm, Jennifer. Our Only May Amelia. New York: Harper Trophy, 1999.
PZ7 H732226Ou 2000
May Amelia is the only girl in a Finnish American family of seven brothers. She resents being expected to behave like a young lady in pioneer Washington in 1899 when there are fish to catch and sheep to be herded. Her family suffers illness and death--and a very mean spirited grandmother. This book offers an exciting and realistic picture of pioneer life. It is based on the diary of the Alice Amelia Holm, the author's great aunt. 247 pages.

Hooks, William H. Crossing the Line. New York : Alfred A Knopf, 1978.
PZ7 H7664Cr 1978
In the 1930's in the rural South, crossing the line meant mixing the white and black races. Young Harrison learns about his own family through the tales of Little Hattie. He learns of shared cousins, friendship, and racism. He also learns about life and death. This is a compelling story of a faithful family. 124 pages


Hudson, Jan. Sweetgrass. New York: Philomel Books, 1989.
PZ7 H8665Sw 1989
The events in this book are based on written records of the Blackfoot Indians during the winter of 1837 to 1838, The Blackfoots, also known as Siksika, occupied the territory that is now northern Montana, and southern and south central Alberta, Canada. This story is about living on the western Canadian prairie in the nineteenth century. Sweetgrass, a fifteen-year-old Blackfoot Indian girl, saves her family from a smallpox epidemic and proves her maturity to her father.157 pages


Hunt, Irene. Across Five Aprils. New York: Berkeley Books, 1986.
PZ7 H9156Ac 1986
This Civil War story is told through the experience of Jethro Crighton. His family lives on a small farm in southern Illinois, where loyalties are split between the South and the North. Jethro was nine years old in 1861. He encounters the war through family and friends, through letters and newspapers. His great fondness and respect for President Lincoln leads him to write to the President and, much to his surprise, the President responds. The book ends with the tragic assassination of the Lincoln and with the hope of a brighter future for Jethro. 188 pages.

Kotzwinkle, William. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. New York: G.P.Putnam's Sons, 1882.
PZ7 K872Et
This novel is based on the popular movie of the same title. It is the enchanting tale of E.T.'s short visit to earth and his friendship with Elliott. The adventure of living with ET, helping him plan his return home and ultimately saving his life all lead to Elliott’s discovering the true meaning of love and friendship. 246 pages.

Le Guin, Ursula K. Very Far Away From anywhere Else. New York: Atheneum. 1976.
PZ7 L5215Ve
Seventeen year-old Owen Griffiths narrates this touching story of first love and intellectual goals. He wants to attend MIT; Natalie wants to be a musician and composer. These two young lovers find, through friendship and determination, that their dreams can be accomplished. 89 pages

Lowry, Lois. Number The Stars. Boston, Mass: Houghton Mifflin. 1989
PZ7 L9673nu 1989
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, Annemarie learns how to be brave and courgeous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. This is a captivating account of the Danish Resistance as they smuggled almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, almost 7,000 people, to safety in Sweden. It is the story of a nation's heroism. 132 pages

O'Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins. New York : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1960
PZ7 0237Is 1960
This is the story of an Indian girl, Karana, who spent eighteen years living alone on an island off the coast of California in the early 1800's. She braves the wild dogs, the weather, hunger and fear. It is a story of adventure, courage, loneliness, and serenity. 181 pages.

O'Dell, Scott. Sing Down the Moon. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, 1970.
PZ7 0237Si 1992
Bright Morning and her friend Running Bird take their sheep to pasture one clear spring morning. Bright Morning enjoys the promise of a plentiful harvest as she gazes across the beautiful the red buttes of Canyon Chelly, the home of her Navaho tribe. She is happy until she turns at the sound of a barking dog and sees the slavers riding straight toward her. This is a moving story about Navaho life in the 1860's. 137 pages.

O'Dell, Scott. Zia. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1976.
PZ7 0237Zi 1995
Many of the California Indians lived in the Catholic Missions by the mid-1800's. There they worked and learned the ways of the Europeans. For Zia and her brother Mando, the Mission in Santa Barbara brought them closer to the Island of the Blue Dolphins, where they believed their aunt lived alone, and they were determined to find her. Karana returns to Santa Barbara with them and lives at the Mission, but life there is difficult because their way of life is not the way of the Indians. 179 pages.

Paulsen, Gary. The Crossing. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1987.
PZ7 P2843Cr 1990
Manny's life of poverty and homelessness in Juarez, Mexico, changed dramatically when he met Sergeant Robert Locke. The friendship that emerged brought both tragedy and hope. This is a powerful novel of life's inequities contrasted with generosity and compassion. 114 pages.

Paulsen, Gary. Nightjohn. New Youk: Delacorte Press, 1993.
PZ 7 P2843Nj 1993
Nightjohn escaped from slavery and went north where he learned to read and write. He could have enjoyed his freedom, but instead he returned to teach slaves to read. In the 1850's slaves are not allowed to know how to read. Teaching them to read and write was against the law. He accepts the torture when a young girl is discovered knowing letters, but he never gives up teaching. 92 pages.

Rylant, Cynthia. Missing May. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books, 1992.
PZ 7 R982mj 1993
Aunt May and Uncle Ob became parents to Summer after her own parents died. Summer was twelve when Aunt May died. This is the touching and delightful story of grief and sorrow growing into acceptance and appreciation. 87 pages.

Shannon, George. Unlived Affections. Los Angeles, California: Alyson Publications,1989.
PZ7 S5287Un 1995
After his grandmother's death, eighteen-year-old Willie found a box of old letters which explained many family secrets. He uncovered the truth about his parents’ marriage and divorce. The letters from his father to his mother reveal that his father was gay and never knew that Willie was born. The letters also reveal their tender friendship and affection. 93 pages

Schaffer, Jack. The Plainismen. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1952.
PZ 7 S332pl
This collection of ten short stories captures some of the moments of crisis, comic or tragic, and sometimes both, that mark the twists and turns of the lives of the men of the plains. Read about the cavalry and homesteaders, Baldpate the barber in Nebraska, a man's relationship with his horse, Nate Bartlett's store, and many more intriguing stores of former times. 252 pages.

Soto, Gary. Jesse. New York: Scholastic, 1994.
PZ7 S7242je 1994
The short novels examines issues of class and racial prejudice while telling the story of two brothers struggling to stay in college.

Uchida, Yoshiko. The Happiest Ending. New York: Atheneum, 1985.
PZ 7 U25Hap 1985
The close friendships in a neighborhood of Japanese-Americans living in Oakland California provide an interesting setting for this delightful story. Twelve-year-old Rinko tries to interfere in the arranged marriage plans of a family friend and discovers the strengths and weaknesses of her family and neighbors. 111 pages

Uchida, Yoshiko. Journey Home. New York: Aladdin Books, 1992.
PZ 7 U25jn 1992
During World War II, all of the Japanese families living in California were sent to camps in the desert. Life was difficult in camp, but the journey home and struggling to start over was equally difficult. Yuki and her parents were blessed with good friends and neighbors. Her brother, however, suffered a terrible injury in the war. Their internal scars also needed healing. This is a touching story of friendship, kindness and courage. 131 pages.

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Page last modified: May 30, 2009