Advanced English Language Learners Book List

Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitmann, by Earnest Gaines
Novel based on the recollections of a legendary, imaginary African-American woman who lived 110 years from the days of slavery to the 1960s.


Children of the River, by Linda Crew
The story of Sundara, who at 13 fled Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge army and left behind her parents, siblings, and childhood sweetheart.  Four years after settling in the U.S., she finds it difficult to fit in at high school and balance Cambodian traditions with American culture.

The Crossing, by Gary Paulsen
A story about an orphan struggling for survival on the streets of Juarez, Mexico, his encounters with an American soldier, and his efforts to cross the border.

Dicey’s Song, by Cynthia Voight
Winner of the Newberry Award.  Novel of a 13-year-old girl who takes charge of her younger siblings when their mother abandons them.

Jacob Have I Loved, by Katherine Paterson
Winner of the Newberry Award.  A young woman must find strength in herself when everyone’s adoration is focused on her twin sister.

Journey of the Sparrows, by Fran Leeper Buss
Salvadorans come to the U.S. without legal documentation.

The Lady With the Hat, by Uri Orlev
A teenage boy finds himself completely alone after World War II.  He leaves Poland and attempts to enter Palestine as an illegal immigrant, where he encounters an English woman searching for a long-lost relative.  A moving story of sorrow and love, and of the complicated search for identity and companionship.

Letters from Rifka, by Karen Hesse
A story of a young girl and her family who have fled Russia’s brutal treatment of the Jews for a life in America, and the obstacles they have to overcome on their journey.  (Winner of many awards.)

The Moonbridge, by Marcia Savin
A story of two friends during World War II who are forced to separate as a result of Japanese internment.

Pacific Crossing, by Gary Soto
The story of two Mexican American boys who spend the summer on an exchange program in Japan, discovering their own culture as well as that of Japan.

Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind, by Suzanne Fisher Staples
A story of a young Muslim girl in Pakistan and her struggles with family loyalty, traditions, and the stirrings in her own heart.

Shadow of the Dragon, by Sherry Garland
Vietnamese boy faces hate gang.

Silver Days, by Sonia Levitin
A powerful story about a young Jewish girl growing up as a refugee in the 1940s.

Song of the Buffalo Boy, by Sherry Garland
A story about seventeen-year-old Loi, an Amerasian who must choose between her country and the United States.

Sounder, by William H. Armstrong
Winner of the Newberry Award.  The novel of a black sharecropper driven to steal for his family’s survival, of the dog who tries to save his master from arrest, and of the boy who loves them both.

The Star Fisher, by Laurence Yep
In 1927, Joan Lee and her family are the first Chinese-Americans in a small town.  This story tells of prejudice and persecution, and the courage and patience the family must endure.

Taking Sides, by Gary Soto
A realistic story exploring the divided loyalties of a Hispanic basketball player who has recently moved from a poor neighborhood to a more affluent one.

That Was Then, This is Now, by S.E. Hinton
Novel of two brothers caught in the gang warfare of their slum neighborhood.