American Born Chinese Book Poster Image

Three parallel stories interlock in this first graphic novel to win a Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature. Clever and complex, it promotes solid values of tolerance and self-acceptance even as it exposes Asian stereotypes.

The Book Thief Book Poster Image

An ALA Best Book award winner, this novel couches the horrors of World War II Germany in the life of a book-obsessed girl. Narrated by Death (yes, Death), this devastatingly powerful book fascinates mature teens and adults.

The House on Mango Street Book Poster Image

Growing up in a troubled, impoverished neighborhood, a young Latina dreams of a happier, more peaceful life. This lyrical, eye-opening story highlights the lack of opportunity for poor and uneducated Americans.

Just Listen Book Poster Image

There's an emotional complexity here that's often missing in teen-problem novels. Atypical heroes Annabel and Owen are absorbing and unique, and the author's exquisite details draw readers all the way into Annabel's painful world.

Monster Book Poster Image

This provocative book about a teen being tried for murder is successfully told through different voices. The author captures the accused, Steve, with such empathy that readers will worry about him even as they draw their own conclusions.


Books with gold star on top

Common Sense Tips

  • Model reader behavior: Always have something to read, take books on vacation, and even read in a long line to avoid boredom.
  • Try introducing your kids to books you loved as a kid, and see which ones click.
  • Getting teens to talk about what they're reading helps them develop analytical skills -- and gives you a glimpse into how they're thinking and feeling.