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KEY: jP = Picture Books; jZ = 1st and 2nd Grade Readers; jE = 3rd and 4th Grade Readers; JF = 5th Grade and Up

1980's

updated August 2014


Picture Books


Beginning-to-Read Books


3rd - 4th Grades

Posada, Jorge PLAY BALL!
Written with Robert Burleigh and based on the childhood of New York Yankees catcher Posada, this is the story of how a young boy from Puerto Rico worked hard and didn't stop until he was a champion.
2006 unpaged


5th Grade and UP

Clinton, Cathryn A STONE IN MY HAND
11-year-old Malaak and her family are touched by the violence in Gaza between Jews and Palestinians when first her father disappears and then her older brother is drawn to a radical group.
2002 184 P.

Degens, T. FREYA ON THE WALL
Fourteen-year-old Freya, whose home has always been in East Germany, offers her view of the complex events leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall. 1989
1997 281 P.

Gewirtz, Adina Rishe ZEBRA FOREST
KIRKUS REVIEW Gewirtz’s emotionally intense debut novel about the complications of families offers a perceptive heroine and poetic, impressive prose. In the summer of 1980, 11-year-old Annie and her 9-year-old brother Rew live with their grandmother at the edge of the birch and oak forest they’ve nicknamed “the Zebra,” for its dark and light stripes. Annie shops and pays bills as Gran deteriorates bit by bit, retreating into depression and silence. When the father Annie and Rew believe dead shows up at the door, on the run after a breakout at the nearby state prison, anger, fear and longing envelop the small family. The graceful narrative is articulate and poignant, exploring through Annie’s eyes the complex grief of her family’s story—the mother who abandoned them, the grandfather who died of a broken heart when his son went to prison, the grandmother who takes the children into her own kind of anonymous witness protection program. A few unlikely elements—the nearly complete isolation of the household for weeks, the awkward expository dialogue between a store clerk and a town resident, Annie’s visits to the prison on her own—fade before the strength of the characters and the heartfelt punch of the story.
2014 208 P.

Nislick, June ZAYDA WAS A COWBOY
1980. When a Jewish grandfather comes to live with his son's family, he relates his experiences fleeing Eastern Europe for America, his adventures as a cowboy, and his assimilation into American culture.
2005 65 p.