It was a hot day on Abbott Avenue
was dreading his first day at a new school. He was feeding his cat Maus
when there was a rap a tap tap
on the door. Through the peephole, George spied the bluest eye
he'd ever seen. “Did you get new contacts?” he asked his friend Melissa
as he opened the door. “No, but I dyed my hair,” she replied. Her hair was a vibrant hue, beyond magenta
, more like the color purple
. George said “I'm not looking forward to being the new kid
.” Melissa told him that it’s perfectly normal
to feel out of place at a new school. “It feels like a brave new world
to me right now,” he said. “I don't want any more drama
in my life. I felt so beloved
before, like my old school was my home, my fun home
. But now I feel like I’m being thrown into a jungle
, afraid to speak
They could hear George’s parents, Sophie and Ulysses, in the kitchen discussing the ongoing saga of Sophie's dance lessons. “First, we rhumba, then we salsa, and tango makes three!” her dance instructor had ordered. “I'm so sore, I need a new butt! she added. Sophie said she was starving and in the mood for something fried. “Good,” replied Ulysses, because I fry everything, I fry eggs, I fry bacon, I fry bread…” Ulysses, a baseball player known to his teammates as the lord of the flies due to his uncanny ability to catch pop flies, was a native son of the Valley of the Dolls and had grown up on an animal farm. It had been Sophie’s choice to leave the valley where they’d lived since 1984.
Sophie went to the door and greeted Melissa. She took one look at George and said “comb your hair, love, and change those shoes.” “Why don't we go ask Alice if she wants to walk to school with us?” asked Melissa. As they set off, they heard the call of the wild geese heading for the nearby vineyard, Wrath's, where they'd feast on the grapes of Wrath.
A Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English
Notable Children's Books 2005; Jane Addams Honor Book; Charlotte Zolotow Award.
George by Alex Gino
2016 Stonewall Book Award; 2016 Lambda Literary Award.
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize (Special Citation) and the American Book Award.
Rap A Tap Tap by Leo Dillon
2003 Notable Children's Book; 2003 Coretta Scott King Award Honor; Young Readers Choice Award.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Melissa by Alex Gino
2016 Stonewall Book Award; 2016 Lambda Literary Award.
Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
2015 Bank Street College of Education's Flora Stieglitz Straus Award; 2015 Lambda Literary Award; Stonewall Book Award.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction.
The New Kid by Jerry Craft
2020 John Newbery Medal; Coretta Scott King Award.
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris
1995 Horn Book Honor; 1995 New York Times Best Book of the Year; 1994 Booklist Editor's Choice; 1994 School Library Journal Best Books.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Huxley received the Award of Merit and Gold Medal from the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters, an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of California, and the Companion of Literature Award from the British Royal Society of Literature.
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
2013 Notable Children's Book.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the American Book Award.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home is an Eisner Award winner, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by Time Magazine and numerous other sources.
Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Sinclair's 1906 portrayal of the terrible working conditions in the meat-packing industry contributed to the passage of new federal food safety laws.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
2000 American Library Association Michael Printz Honor; 2000 Golden Kite Award; 2000 ALA Best Books for Young Adults.
Ulysses by James Joyce
Widely considered one of the most important works of modern literature.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
Vaughan's Saga series has won multiple awards, including a Hugo, twelve Eisner Awards, and seventeen Harvey Awards.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
A Notable children's Book Nominee 2016; ASPCA Henry Bergh Book Award 2005; Bank St Best Book of the Year 2006.
I Need a New Butt! by Dawn McMillan
The author is the 2003 winner of the New Zealand Post Book Award for Children and Young Adults.
Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard
2020 American Indian Youth Literature Picture Book Honor; 2020 Robert F. Sibert International Award; 2019 Publisher's Weekly Best Picture Book, 2019 Booklist Editor's Choice; 2020 ALA Notable Children's Book.
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Golding won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Native Son by Richard Wright
Wright was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and was a winner of the Springarn Medal and The Story Magazine Award.
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
The novel sold more than 30 million copies and was the basis of stage and film adaptations.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Winner of a Hugo Award and the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award; added to Time magazine's list of 100 best English-language novels, the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels, and more.
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.
1984 by George Orwell
#3 on the New York Public Library's Top 10 Checkouts of All Time.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
2020 Amelia Bloomer Book List; 2021 Georgia Children's book Award.
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
Young Hoosier Book Award (Indiana); READ Boston Best Readaloud Award Winner; Charlotte Zolotow Award.
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Adapted for an Emmy-nominated TV movie starring William Shatner.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Published in 1903, Call of the Wild is still in print, still popular, and has been the subject of many film adaptations.
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.