Take a journey of your own as you explore narratives promoting the theme of identity for Unit 2. All students (honors and regular credit) will select ONE of the following ten novels for your Independent Reading Selection. You will need to obtain a copy of this book for your reading. Four of the ten books have a free online version available and are listed below). Included below is a synopsis of each book and you may view Lesson 2.00 for a more detailed summary and book trailer to help in your decision in which narrative to explore. By Lesson 2.05, you should be finished with the reading of your novel. Be sure to make your selection with the guidance of your parent or guardian. If you have any questions, please reach out to your instructor.
1. Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a RefugeeCamp to Harvard by Mawi Asgedom
Synopsis: Civil war forced Mawi Asgedom’s family to flee their home in Ethiopia. They sought shelter in a refugee camp before being sponsored to come to the United States. Life in the United States was quite different from anything Mawi had ever experienced.
Disclaimer:This memoir recounts one boy's journey to overcome the hardships of civil war, racial prejudice, and financial difficulty.
2. The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez
Synopsis: Lucia lives in a comfortable life with her mother, father, and younger brother near the ocean in a peaceful Cuban town until the ripple effects of the Communist Revolution take it all away. The people, places, and things she loves are all changed until she has nothing of her comfortable life left. In an attempt to give them a better life away from the oppression of Castro’s government, Lucia’s parents send her and her little brother to an uncertain fate in America.
Disclaimer: This book alludes to incidents of violence committed by revolutionary soldiers.
3. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Synopsis: After graduating from college, Mitch gets wrapped up in his work and loses touch with his favorite professor and mentor, Morrie Schwartz. Then, one night he sees an interview with Morrie on “Nightline” and learns that his old friend is suffering from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Mitch begins visiting Morrie every Tuesday and through their conversations he discovers what is truly important in life.
Disclaimer: This book deals with life, death, and grief as Morrie's condition deteriorates.
4. I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui
Synopsis:When she was very young, Nujood’s peaceful life in the countryside of Yemen was disrupted when her family moved to the busy city of Sanaa. Although life in the city was hard, Nujood found comfort in her family until the day she learned her father had arranged for her to marry a man three times her age.
Disclaimer:This memoir includes Nujood's recollections of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband and his family.
5. Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Williams
Synopsis:Deo loves his mother, grandfather, and brother, Innocent. Although they live in poverty and suffer from lack of and supplies, he finds an escape in playing soccer with his friends in their small village in Zimbabwe. His world is shattered when his village is terrorized by brutal pro-government enforcers. He and his brother are forced to run from their home and find a way to survive on their own.
Disclaimer:This book contains sometimes graphic descriptions of the civil unrest in Deo's village as well as incidents of street violence and allusions to drug abuse.
Synopsis: Although a slave, Harriet Jacobs enjoyed a peaceful childhood as a servant in the home of a benevolent owner. All of that changed after the death of her mistress when, instead of being emancipated, she was given as property to another family.
Disclaimer:Please be aware that this memoir includes sometimes graphic descriptions of the brutal treatment and punishment of slaves.
Synopsis: The Mirabal sisters enjoyed a comfortable life in the Dominican Republic before the oppressive regime of General Rafael Trujillo threatened their liberty and their lives.
Disclaimer:This book utilizes a complex narrative structure as it is told by each of the Mirabal sisters. The book contains descriptions of violence toward those considered enemies of Trujillo and references mature situations.
Synopsis: The only son in a wealthy German family, Bruno spends his carefree days playing with his friends and enjoying the luxuries of privileged childhood. Little does he know his father is rising in the ranks of Adolf Hitler’s SS police force. Bruno’s life changes drastically when his father is assigned as overseer of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The family moves to a small home on the grounds of the camp. Seemingly oblivious to the terror in his backyard, Bruno begins a friendship with a boy on the other side of the fence- the boy in the striped pajamas.
Disclaimer:This book alludes to events of Holocaust.
9. The Boy from Baby House 10: From the Nightmare of a Russian Orphanage to a New Life in America by Alan Philps and John Lahutsky
Synopsis: John Lahutsky, known as Vanya in Russia’s Baby House 10, longed to play with toys, talk with other children, and be hugged by someone who cared for him. Instead he suffered and was neglected in the government sponsored orphanage. His future looked grim until he caught the attention of some visitors who on the long, complicated process of rescuing him from the system.
Disclaimer: This memoir features realistic descriptions of the dreadful conditions experienced by children in Russia's state-sponsored institutions.
10. Tasting the Sky: Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat
Synopsis: When war threatens their safety, three year old Ibtisam’s family must flee their home for a refugee camp in Jordan. She recalls the fear and uncertainty of growing up in such a tense environment, but also shares her hopes for a better future.
Disclaimer:This book features recollections of war from a young child's perspective.