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John C. Fremont High School

English Department



Asian-American Writers

1. Title: The White Boy Shuffle (1996) Author: Paul Beatty Genre: Humorous Fiction



Target Grade: 11-12 DVD: CD: Total: 32 Available: 32

Synopsis: This book is highly sarcastic/parody story following Gunnar Kaufmann, a black teenager raised in an affluent suburb of Santa Monica whose mother decides that he is not getting the authentic black experience and moves the family to the ghetto. Which should give you an idea about the tone this book takes– it’s a witty, scathing critique of racial politics in the US. Much of its criticism predicated around the idea of the “authentic” black experience.

2. Title: Snow Falling on Cedars (1994) Author: David Guterson Genre: Trial (Murder)



Target Grade: 10-12 DVD: CD: Total: 102 Available: 102

Synopsis: In 1954 a fisherman from San Pedro Island in Puget Sound is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese-American is charged with his murder. The trial is haunted by memories of what happened to the Japanese residents during World War II when the entire community was sent into exile. Snow Falling on Cedars is a beautifully crafted courtroom drama, love story, and war novel, illuminating the psychology of a community, the ambiguities of justice, the racism that persists even between neighbors, and the necessity of individual moral action despite the indifference of nature and circumstance.
3. Title: The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (1998)

Author: Iris Chang Genre: Document/Fiction Target Grade: 10-12

DVD: CD: Total: 36 Available: 36

Synopsis: Chang tells of the Sino-Japanese War atrocities perpetrated by the invading Japanese army in Nanking in December 1937, in which roughly 350,000 soldiers and civilians were slaughtered in an eight-week period, many of them having been raped and/or tortured first. Not only are readers given many of the gory details with pictures, but they are also told of the heroism of some members of a small foreign contingent, particularly of a Nazi businessman who resided in China for 30 years. The story of his bravery lends the ironic touch of someone with evil credentials doing good. Once the author finishes with the atrocities, she proceeds with the equally absorbing and much easier-to-take story of what happened to the Nazi businessman when he returned to Germany and the war ended.
4. Title: Obasan (1994) Author: Joy Kogawa Genre: Semi-Autobiographical

Target Grade: 6-12 DVD: CD: Total: 41 Available: 41

Synopsis: This story is narrated by Naomi, a sheltered and pampered child who is five years old when her life is drastically changed by the events at Pearl Harbor and the Second World War. As a Japanese Canadian, Naomi is separated from her parents, persecuted and eventually placed in an internment camp – common practice in Canada during WWII. The one bright spot in Naomi's life is her Aunt Obasan, her protector and caregiver after she is separated from her parents. It is only after Naomi grows up that she is able to face the hardship of her past. This novel is a striking account of one of the worst manifestations of racism in Canada's history.

5. Title: Samurai of Gold Hill (1985) Author: Yoshiko Uchida Genre: Fiction



Target Grade: 6-12 DVD: CD: Total: 18 Available: 18

Synopsis: Samurai of Gold Hill recounts the adventures of Koichi, the son of a samurai warrior, who leaves Japan at the end of a civil war and joins other Japanese immigrants in building a colony in California. Much of the novel's fascination stems from its authentic portrait of feudal Japan and its depiction of the conflict between this culture and that of the American frontiersmen during the gold rush era. The year is 1869 and young Koichi dreams of becoming a samurai like his father.
6. Title: Journey to Topaz (1971) Author: Yoshiko Uchida Genre: Historical Fiction

Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD: Total: 35 Available: 35

Synopsis: Journey to Topaz is the story of eleven year old Yuki Sakane who, along with her family, is shipped to the relocation camp at Topaz in Utah after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in World War II.  The wartime tragedy of the forced removal of Japanese-Americans from their homes is based on the author's own experience.

7. Title: Hiroshima (1989) Author: John Hersey Genre: Informational



Target Grade: 10-12 DVD: CD: Total: 26 Available: 26

Synopsis: In 1946, barely a year after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 6 and 9, 1945, John Hersey wrote an important little booklet about the effects of the bomb upon the lives of six Hiroshima residents who survived the blast. "Hiroshima" is a cautionary tale of war and of man's inhumanity to man, without attempting to overly blame any single individual or group. Short, to the point, interesting, not easy to read (due to its subject), and not easy to dismiss, this small volume should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the impact our decisions make on others, and how it effects them for the remainder of their lives.
8. Title: The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991) Author: Amy Tan Genre: Fiction

Target Grade: 7-12 DVD: CD: Total: 2 Available: 2

Synopsis: Amy Tan wrote The Kitchen God’s Wife about her mother, Daisy. Most of Winnie’s story in the novel is drawn from Daisy’s life, including the difficult life and marriage she left behind in pre-communist China. The presentation of Winnie’s story, as she tells her story to Pearl, is reminiscent of the oral tradition. Tan, like Pearl, had never given much thought to her mother’s life in China, and she was amazed at what she learned.
9. Title: The Joy Luck Club (1989) Author: Amy Tan Genre: Family Drama

Target Grade: 10-12 DVD: CD: Total: 25 Available: 25

Synopsis: Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club describes the lives of four Asian women who fled China in the 1940s and their four very Americanized daughters. The novel focuses on Jing-mei (June), who takes her deceased mother's place in a social group in which the older women recount stories of the past and lament the barriers that exist between their daughters and themselves.
10. Title: Farewell to Manzanar *and Related Readings (1998) Author: Jeanne Wakatsuki and James D. Houston Genre: Historical memoir Target Grade: 7-12 DVD: CD:

Total: 2 Available: 2

Teacher Resource Book: Literature Connections/SourceBook Available: 3
Synopsis: *A textbook reader for young adults, plus short stories, poems, and essays designed to build reading comprehension.
Farewell to Manzanar contains the memoir of Jeanne W. Houston's wartime incarceration at Manzanar, one of ten concentration camps ordered by President Franklin Roosevelt after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. To some readers, the book details a thorny era in U.S. history, a time when civil rights were suspended for 120,000 Japanese Americans. Jeanne's narrative spans three decades, until she is finally able to exorcise Manzanar from her mind.
11. Title: Farewell to Manzanar (1973) Author: Jeanne Wakatsuki and James D. Houston Genre: Historical Memoir Target Grade: 7-12 DVD: CD:

Total: 80 Available: 80

Synopsis: Farewell to Manzanar contains the memoir of Jeanne W. Houston's wartime incarceration at Manzanar, one of ten concentration camps ordered by President Franklin Roosevelt after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. To some readers, the book details a thorny era in U.S. history, a time when civil rights were suspended for 120,000 Japanese Americans. Jeanne's narrative spans three decades, until she is finally able to exorcise Manzanar from her mind.

12. Title: The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (1975)



Author: Maxine Hong Kingston Genre: Autobiography/Memoir

Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD: Total: 26 Available: 26

Synopsis: The full title of the book is The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. The narrator, a representation of Maxine Hong Kingston, hears stories of her Chinese heritage told by her mother and grandmother. The “ghosts” are also people that she meets in the U.S., whether they are white policeman ghosts, bus driver ghosts, or other fixtures of society that remain separate from immigrants such as her.
Native American Writers
1. Title: Pigs in Heaven (1993) Author: Barbara Kingsolver Genre: Social Critique

Target Grade: 10-12 DVD: CD: Total: 75 Available: 75

Synopsis: In this novel, the protagonist, Taylor Greer, finds herself embroiled in a custody battle with the Cherokee Nation over her adopted Cherokee daughter named Turtle.

As she struggles to keep her daughter and at the same time provide a nurturing and safe environment, Taylor is forced to re-examine and redefine her views on family and community. During the course of the story, Kingsolver introduces the issues of single motherhood, adoption, abuse, ethnic identity, and poverty. Her intermingling of politics and human drama results in a satisfying tale of love and understanding. Reviewers applaud the novel's realistic and compelling characters, its topical themes, and her insight into the complex inner workings of the human heart.


2. Title: The Bean Trees (1988) Author: Barbara Kingsolver Genre: Autobiography

Target Grade: 10-12 DVD: Audio: The Bean Trees (8 CDs)

Total: 200 Available: 200

Synopsis: This debut novel follows the gritty, outspoken Taylor Greer, who leaves her native Kentucky to head west. She becomes mother to an abandoned baby and, when her jalopy dies in Tucson, is forced to work in a tire garage and to room with a young, battered divorcee who also has a little girl. With sisterly counsel and personal honesty, the two face their painful lot (told in ponderous detail). The blue-collar setting, described vibrantly, often turns violent, with baby beatings, street brawls, and drug busts. Despite the hurt and rage, themes of love and nurturing emerge.


African-American Writers

1. Title: The Color Purple (1982) Author: Alice Walker Genre: Historical Fiction



Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD: Total: 77 Available: 77

Synopsis: Tells the story of Celie, a young black girl growing up in the reconstruction South of the United States. In a series of letters to God and to her sister Nettie, Celie tells the story of her life, ranging from the trauma of sexual abuse as a child to her success and wealth as an adult.
2. Title: Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992) Author: Alice Walker Theme: Revolution of gender

Target Grade: 6-12 DVD: CD: Total: 9 Available: 9

Synopsis: The focus of Walker's rage is the practice of female circumcision in African cultures. Her tale concerns Tashi, a character who made fleeting appearances in The Color Purple and The Temple of My Familiar, and who here represents an archetypal figure, not so much a woman as a mouthpiece for feminist distress. Tashi grows up in a small African village but initially escapes the customary clitorodectomy. Eventually she is coerced into having the operation as a means of offering fealty to the sinister politician called Our Leader. When she moves to the U.S. with her husband and assumes a new identity as Evelyn Johnson, her pain and anger, accumulating the suffering of the ages, bubble to the surface in a lingering madness that therapy cannot alleviate.
3. Title: Beloved (1987) Author: Toni Morrison Genre: Historical Fiction

Target Grade: 9—12 DVD: CD: Total: 95 Available: 95

Synopsis: When slavery has torn apart one's heritage, when the past is more real than the present, when the rage of a dead baby can literally rock a house, then the traditional novel is no longer an adequate instrument. At the center is Sethe, whose story makes us think and think again about what we mean when we say we love our children or freedom. The stories circle, swim dreamily to the surface, and are suddenly clear and horrifying. Because of the extraordinary, experimental style as well as the intensity of the subject matter, what we learn from them touches at a level deeper than understanding.

4. Title: The Bluest Eye (1970) Author: Toni Morrison Theme: Coming-of-Age



Target Grade: 7-12 DVD: CD: Total: 18 Available: 18

Synopsis: Each night Pecola prayed for blue eyes. In her eleven years, no one had ever noticed Pecola. But with blue eyes, she thought, everything would be different. She would be so pretty that her parents would stop fighting. Her father would stop drinking. Her brother would stop running away. If only she could be beautiful. If only people would look at her.
5. Title: Sula (1973) Author: Toni Morrison Theme: Family Drama

Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD: Total: 4 Available: 4

Synopsis: The Bottom is a mostly black community in Ohio, situated in the hills above the mostly white, wealthier community of Medallion. The Bottom first became a community when a master gave it to his former slave. This "gift" was in fact a trick: the master gave the former slave a poor stretch of hilly land, convincing the slave the land was worthwhile by claiming that because it was hilly, it was closer to heaven. The trick, though, led to the growth of a vibrant community. Now the community faces a new threat; wealthy whites have taken a liking to the land, and would like to destroy much of the town in order to build a golf course.

6. Title:



  • Fallen Angels *and Related Readings (2006) Available: 165 Author: Walter Dean Meyers

  • Fallen Angels (1988—Perma Bound) Available: 26 Genre: Realistic Fiction

Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD:

Synopsis: *A textbook reader for young adults, plus short stories, poems, and essays designed to build reading comprehension.

Walter Dean Myers's novel Fallen Angels is the tale of a young soldier who enlists in the army. Far from the mean streets of Harlem, the jungles of Vietnam offer Richie Perry a little more than what he had bargained for.


7. Title: Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary (1992) Author: Walter Dean Meyers Genre: Autobiography/Biography Target Grade: 9 –12 DVD: The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Total: 18 Available: 18

Synopsis: Speeches tracing the evolution of Malcolm X's views on political alliances, intermarriage, women's rights, capitalism and socialism, and more.

8. Title: The Autobiography of Malcolm X Author: As Told to Alex Haley Genre: Autobiography/Biography Target Grade: 9-12



DVD: CD: Total: 95 Available: 95

Synopsis: The Autobiography of Malcolm X limns an archetypal journey from ignorance and despair to knowledge and spiritual awakening. When Malcolm tells coauthor Alex Haley, "People don't realize how a man's whole life can be changed by one book," he voices the central belief underpinning every attempt to set down a personal story as an example for others. Although many believe his ethic was directly opposed to Martin Luther King Jr.'s during the civil rights struggle of the '60s, the two were not so different. Malcolm may have displayed a most un-Christian distaste for loving his enemies, but he understood with King that love of God and love of self are the necessary first steps on the road to freedom.
9. Title: To Kill a Mockingbird: The Screenplay * and Related Readings (2002)

Author: Horton Foote Genre: Social Drama

Teacher Resource Book: Literature Connections/SourceBook Available: 10

Target Grade: 9-12 Total: 339 Available: 339

DVD:

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird in Context (VHS)

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird Collectors Edition



Synopsis: *A textbook reader for young adults, plus short stories, poems, and essays designed to build reading comprehension.

The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator's father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explains the novel's impact by writing, "In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism."


10. Title: To Kill A Mockingbird (1960) Author: Harper Lee Genre: Social Drama

Target Grade: 8-12 DVD: CD: Total: 62 Available: 62

Synopsis: The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator's father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explains the novel's impact by writing, "In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism."

11. Title: American Negro Poetry (1996) Author: Arna Bontemps Genre: Anthology



Target Grade: 8-12 DVD: CD: Total: 63 Available: 63

Synopsis: This edition, issued in 1996, reprints the poems in Bontemps's revised volume along with updated biographical notes. Nearly seventy poets are represented, their works indexed by both author and title. Including some 200 poems covering all the social, cultural, political, historical, and literary movements that defined the 20th century, this collection is essential for every reader interested in African American literature.
12. Title: A Literature Reader: African-American Writers by *Nextext

Target Grade: 7-12 DVD: CD: Total: 84 Available: 84

Synopsis: African-American Writers offers students a broad overview of the body of published work by African-American authors from the mid-eighteenth century to the present time. The collection features prominent historical figures, such as Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr.; prize-winning poets, such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Nikki Giovanni; and well-known and highly respected writers, such as James Alan McPherson, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker. The selections are filled with rich language describing not only the struggle for equality from the time of slavery to the modern day, but also the universal themes of relationships and self-esteem—themes that speak volumes to all readers.
13. Title: Kindred (1979) Author: Octavia E. Butler Genre: Time Travel

Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD: Total: 204 Available: 204

Synopsis: Life is good for Dana, a young black woman living in California.  She and her husband have just moved into a new home, and their writing careers are taking off.  Suddenly Dana's tranquility is shattered, as she finds herself transported from the present (1976) to antebellum Maryland, where she is forced to become both protector and house slave for Rufus, the young son of a plantation owner.  Eventually Dana comes to the realization that Rufus is destined to be her great-great-grandfather, fathering a daughter through one of his slaves.

  Thus begins a series of incidences in which Dana is shuttled back and forth between her home in California and her "home" in 19th century Maryland.  She is forced to confront the central feature of American history - slavery - in a profound and personal way. 

14. Title: Things Fall Apart *and Related Readings (1996) Author: Chinua Achebe

Genre: Postcolonial Critique/Tragedy Target Grade: 6-12 DVD: CD:

Teacher Resource Book: Novel Study Guide Available: 1

Total: 305 Available: 305

Synopsis: *A textbook reader for young adults, plus short stories, poems, and essays designed to build reading comprehension.
The setting is eastern Nigeria in the late 1800s and early 1900s, just prior to and during the British expansion into Umuofia. The theme is that of the struggle and transformation of the traditional Igbo society while under British colonialism. This theme is conveyed by illustrating major events in the life of Okonkwo, a respected tribal leader.

15. Title: Things Fall Apart (1958—Paperback) Author: Chinua Achebe



Genre: Postcolonial critique/tragedy Target Grade: 9-12
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