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Focused Reading Skills
Readership Targeted Lists
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(variously referred to as "Depressing Novels" or "Girl" novels)
??? About David
??? My Brother Has AIDS
??? "Paper Doll"
??? Tunnel Vision
??? "Waiting for Johnny Miracle." You might want to read it first, because of the sex part, but it is *exactly* what they will like!
??? When Heroes Die (Another AIDS book)
Another really good English writer is
-don't know whether he is published in the US. He writes about kids from fairly tough backgrounds grappling with violence and family breakdown. I'm pretty sure some of the books are about fairly young characters.
There are several titles by
which deal with emotional illness.
One of the best on death is On My Honor by Marion
. It is on the easy reading side for sixth graders, but I think it is an excellent choice nonetheless.
"Granny the Pag".
The idea of a grandmother who is a semi-retired shrink who chain smokes and rides a motorcycle does have its humer ous qualities. However, it is about a child who is left with her grandmother and then when she is older and it is politically correct for her paarents to have a child they come back to get her.
that is about a boy who has to cope with being a paraplegic after a sports accident.
The Pinballs (foster children and Child abuse) by
Summer of the Swans by
(girl who is withdrawn and untalkative)
Walk Two Moons by
Crazy Lady by
deals with mental illness - good 6th grade read.
is also very good on the same topic
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrne
is excellent for eating disorders
Say Goodnight, Gracie_ by
is a beautifully written, guaranteed to make you weep, step up for the Lurlene crowd. (girl loses best friend to a hit & run)
books - she wrote Mrs. Doubtfire and Flour babies and the Book of the Banshee, Step by Wicket Step, about step-parenting. (though these would be too old for most 6th graders), as well as others
Radiance Descending by
Beat the Turtle Drum--
e (sister dies)
Some of the stuff by
like "Tallahasee Higgins" or "Stepping on Cracks" might work too.
Sun & Spoon by
(death of grandmother);
has a good one about a mother dying of cancer but the title escapes me-something with "goodbye" in it though. You Shouldn't Have to Say Goodbye??
The Watcher -
_Time for Dancing_ by
is a cancer/death story, but about two girls, no romance, but popular with the same readers.
The Best Little Girl in the World
(anorexia nervosa) He also wrote about self-mutilation as another OCD manifestation in The Luckiest Girl in the World.
Summer to Die by
With You and Without You--
Anne M. Martin (
writes because of her own experience with serious illness. I think her books are fine for 6ers and they like them a lot. I really, really like PS Longer Letter Later for broken home, and also Don't Make Me Laugh, which really helped my own daughter.
"The Blue Castle" by
. It has the deadly disease part, but has a twist (alright it's a little contrived, but very enjoyable) ending and it's very funny.
Secret Letters from 0 to 10 by
(boy who is withdrawn and untalkative)
Fat Chance by
is a good one. The main character is a Jewish girl who develops bulimia. The age group is right.
Mick Harte Was Here by
(death of a brother)
Bridge to Terabithia by
(death of friend)
Flip-Flop Girl by
(girl coping with death)
Take a look at "Park's Quest", "The Giver" or "The Josie Gambit"
's "Remembering the Good Times"
Freak the Mighty by
(friendship of two boys who are "different". 1 dies.)
_The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman_ by
is humorous and pokes fun at the romance novel while telling about a romance. No devastating disease or grief here, but it may be popular for the love alone. They all have reviews posted on Amazon.com.
is excellent for death and grieving
Maniac Magee by
An author you might want to look into is
You need a high-reading 6th grader for these (they are better for 7th or low 8th) but many of her books deal with these themes--and not in a heavy-handed way either. A few titles--Homecoming, Dicey's Song (both dealing with mental illness & child abandonment), Come a Stranger.
Belle Prater' Boy by
-- deals with parent's death
A good English writer on some of these themes is
. 'The suitcase kid' in particular is about a broken home, and is much in demand at my school (11-16). It's about quite a young girl (10-11?) who has to shuttle between father and mother's.
Jane B. Zalben
(principal dies of AIDS--very sensitive story)
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