Author: Paul Beatty Genre



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DVD: CD: Total: 95 Available: 95

Synopsis: Things Fall Apart, is his relentlessly unsentimental rendering of Nigerian tribal life before and after the coming of colonialism. First published in 1958, just two years before Nigeria declared independence from Great Britain, the book eschews the obvious temptation of depicting pre-colonial life as a kind of Eden. Instead, Achebe sketches a world in which violence, war, and suffering exist, but are balanced by a strong sense of tradition, ritual, and social coherence. His Ibo protagonist, Okonkwo, is a self-made man. The son of a charming ne'er-do-well, he has worked all his life to overcome his father's weakness and has arrived, finally, at great prosperity and even greater reputation among his fellows in the village of Umuofia. Okonkwo is a champion wrestler, a prosperous farmer, husband to three wives and father to several children. He is also a man who exhibits flaws well-known in Greek tragedy.

16. Title: Bronx Masquerade (2002) Author: Nikki Grimes Genre: Juvenile Fiction/Poetry



Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD: Total: 47 Available: 47

Synopsis: While studying the Harlem Renaissance, Wesley reads an intimate poem to his high school English class, other students envy this power of self-reflection and start writing their own poetry, causing deep secrets, fears, and feelings to be revealed and façades to vanish.

17. Title: Forged by Fire (1991) Author: Sharon M. Draper Genre: Realistic Fiction



Target Grade: 7-12 DVD: CD: Total: 91 Available: 91

Synopsis: When Gerald was a child he was fascinated by fire. But fire is dangerous and powerful, and tragedy strikes. His substance-addicted mother is taken from him. Then he loses the loving generosity of a favorite aunt. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes his life miserable. The one bright light in Gerald's life is his little half sister, Angel, whom he struggles to protect from her father, Jordan Sparks, who abuses her, and from their mother, who’s irresponsible behavior forces Gerald to work hard to keep the family together.

18. Title: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976) Author: Mildred D. Taylor



Genre: Historical Fiction Target Grade: 5-12 DVD: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Audio: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry—Read by Lynne Thigpen (6 CDs)
Total: 44 Available: 44

Synopsis: The Logan family and their community show a great deal of resilience to unfair and cruel treatment by the whites. Mr. and Mrs. Logan, in particular, realize the value of education and owning their own land in helping them have some degree of control over their own destiny. The family is very close-knit, and they are very willing to help out others in need. They organize a peaceful boycott of the local store to protest unfair price gouging.
19. Title: The Road to Memphis (1992) Author: Mildred D. Taylor Genre: Historical Fiction

Target Grade: 4-12 DVD: CD: Total: 44 Available: 44

Synopsis: Set in Mississippi in 1941, The Road to Memphis describes three harrowing, unforgettable days in the life of an African-American high school girl dreaming of law school. Caught up in the center of tense racial dramas unfolding around her, Cassie Logan is forced to confront the adult world as never before.
20. Title: Let the Circle Be Unbroken (1991) Author: Mildred D. Taylor Genre: Historical Fiction

Target Grade: 4 -12 DVD: CD: Total: 23 Available: 23

Synopsis: Let the Circle Be Unbroken recounts one family’s struggle against prejudice and poverty as seen through the eyes and experiences of Cassie, the main character. The Logan’s battle the Great Depression, powerful, greedy, white landowners of rural Mississippi, segregation, and domestic tragedies that threaten to destroy the family at every turn. They maintain their dignity, pride, and faith, however, and keep the family together.
21. Title: Parable of the Sower (1993) Author: Octavia E. Butler Genre: Historical Fiction

Target Grade: 7-12 DVD: CD: Total: 19 Available: 19

Synopsis: Parable of the Sower is a hopeful tale set in a dystopian future United States of walled cities, disease, fires, and madness. Lauren Olamina is an 18-year-old woman with hyperempathy syndrome--if she sees another in pain, she feels their pain as acutely as if it were real. When her relatively safe neighborhood enclave is inevitably destroyed, along with her family and dreams for the future, Lauren grabs a backpack full of supplies and begins a journey north. Along the way, she recruits fellow refugees to her embryonic faith, Earthseed, the prime tenet of which is that "God is change."

22. Title: The Diary of Latoya Hunter: My First Year in Junior High (1993) Genre: Fiction



Author: Latoya Hunter Target Grade: 4-12 DVD: CD:

Total: 26 Available: 26

Synopsis: Lively, poignant, and utterly winning, The Diary of Latoya Hunter is a timely portrait of adolescence--about the universal challenges of youth and about the ways it is shaped by the inner city. It is also a lively introduction to a delightful girl whose humor and idealism are inspirational.

23. Title: The Captive (1994) Author: Joyce Hansen Genre: Historical Fiction



Target Grade: 3-12 DVD: CD: Total: 24 Available: 24

Synopsis: In The Captive, Kofi is kidnapped in Africa and enslaved in New England.

24. Title: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) Author: Maya Angelou



Genre: Autobiography Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: Audio: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Read by the Author (3 CDs)

Total: 40 Available: 40

Synopsis: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings follows Marguerite's (later called Maya) young life in the segregated South. Abandoned by their parents at an early age, she and her older brother Bailey move in with their grandmother and crippled uncle in Stamps, Arkansas. Maya Angelou's autobiography explores how her blossoming character helped her cope with rape, sexism, society's prejudices, and the isolation and loneliness she faced growing up.
25. Title: Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968) Author: Anne Moody

Genre: Memoir/Autobiography Target Grade: 5-12 DVD: CD: Total: 38 Available: 38

Synopsis: Born to a poor couple who were tenant farmers on a plantation in Mississippi, Anne Moody lived through some of the most dangerous days of the pre-civil rights era in the South. The week before she began high school came the news of Emmet Till's lynching. Before then, she had "known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was...the fear of being killed just because I was black." In that moment was born the passion for freedom and justice that would change her life.

26. Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) Author: Zora Neale Hurston Genre: Autobiography Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD: Total: 94 Available: 94



Synopsis: In Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie Crawford goes on a lifelong search for unconditional and fulfilling love, which she finally finds with her beloved Tea Cake. During her quest, Janie gains inner strength and independence — all while enduring the harsh judgment of the town gossips known as the "porch sitters." Through Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston served as one of the first female African-American voices of the early 20th century.

27. Title: Black Like Me (1961) Author: John Howard Griffin Genre: Non-fiction



Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD: Total: 33 Available: 33

Synopsis: Black Like Me is the true account of John Griffin's experiences when he passed as a black man. John Horton takes treatments to darken his skin and leaves his home in Texas to travel throughout the South. At one stop, Horton encounters a black shoe shine man, Burt Wilson, who befriends him and shows him how to "act right" so that he can fit more easily into the African American culture. It is through Wilson that Horton learns the art of shining shoes. Most of his encounters with whites are quite degrading and disturb him. As a hitchhiker, John meets several white men who refer to black men and women in disparaging ways which angers John. Throughout the movie, John is harassed and persecuted by whites without reason.
28. Title: Cry, the Beloved Country (1948) Author: Alan Paton Genre: Political Fiction

Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD: Total: 34 Available: 34

Synopsis: Alan Paton's impassioned novel about a black man's country under white man's law is a work of searing beauty. Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.
29. Title: Stomping the Blues (1976) Author: Albert Murray Genre: History of Blues and Jazz

Target Grade: 7-12 DVD: CD: Total: 32 Available: 32

Synopsis: Stomping the Blues is a sound and profound appreciation, history, aesthetics and anthropology of the music. Written by an accomplished novelist and essayist, it might also be the funniest and most well-written book on the music, if not the most original book to boot. To label Murray a racist simply because he is less than impressed with certain white jazz musicians is preposterous. What Murray implies, on p. 196 and elsewhere, is that because these white musicians have not been raised in black communities (in the black church, etc.) they have a less rich idiomatic musical vocabulary than the black musician. Murray does not claim that they cannot play the music so that a cultural insider will appreciate it, but that they tend not to.

30. Title: If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945) Author: Chester Himes Genre: Literary Fiction



Target Grade: 8-12 DVD: CD: Total: 38 Available: 38

Synopsis: This story of a man living every day in fear of his life for simply being black is as powerful today as it was when it was first published in 1947. The novel takes place in the space of four days in the life of Bob Jones, a black man who is constantly plagued by the effects of racism. Living in a society that is drenched in race consciousness has no doubt taken a toll on the way Jones behaves, thinks, and feels, especially when, at the end of his story, he is accused of a brutal crime he did not commit.
31. Title: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845)

Author: Written by Himself Genre: Autobiography Target Grade: 8-12

DVD: CD: Total: 22 Available: 22

Synopsis: In 1845, just seven years after his escape from slavery, the young Frederick Douglass published this powerful account of his life in bondage and his triumph over oppression. The book, which marked the beginning of Douglass's career as an impassioned writer, journalist, and orator for the abolitionist cause, reveals the terrors he faced as a slave, the brutalities of his owners and overseers, and his harrowing escape to the North. It has become a classic of American autobiography.

32. Title: The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother (1997)



Author: James McBride Genre: Autobiography Target Grade: 7-12

DVD: Audio: The Color Water (6 CDs) Total: 166 Available: 166

Synopsis: The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother is the autobiography of James McBride; it is also a tribute to his mother. The chapters alternate between James McBride's descriptions of his early life and first-person accounts of his mother Ruth's life, mostly taking place before her son was born. McBride depicts the conflicting emotions that he endured as he struggled to discover who he truly was, as his mother narrates the hardships that she had to overcome as a white, Jewish woman who chose to marry a black man in the 1940s.

33. Title: The Invisible Man (1952) Author: Ralph Ellison Genre: Literary Fiction



Target Grade: 9-10 DVD: CD: Total: 11 Available: 11

Synopsis: Invisible Man deals with themes of individuality, identity, history, and responsibility. The protagonist is repeatedly exhorted to look beneath the surface of things. Although Ellison freely acknowledged his debt to both European and African American literary traditions, he used an astonishing range of African-American folk forms in constructing his protagonist's universe. Critics agree that the influence of Invisible Man on American literature in general, and its role in bringing the blues and folklore into the mainstream of black experience in particular, is incalculable.
34. Title: A Wreath for Emmett Till (2005) Author: Marilyn Nelson/Illustrated by Philippe Lardy Genre: Poetry and Rhymes Target Grade: 6-12 DVD: CD:

Total: 40 Available: 40

Synopsis: In 1955, people all over the United States knew that Emmett Louis Till was a fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. The brutality of his murder, the open-casket funeral, and the acquittal of the men tried for the crime drew wide media attention. Award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson reminds us of the boy whose fate helped spark the civil rights movement. This martyr's wreath, woven from a little-known but sophisticated form of poetry, challenges us to speak out against modern-day injustices, to "speak what we see."
35. Title: Go Tell It On the Mountain *and Related Readings Author: James Baldwin

Theme: Faith Target Grade: 10-12 DVD: CD: Total: 80 Available: 80

Teacher Resource Book: Literature Connections/SourceBook Available: 20

Synopsis: *A textbook reader for young adults, plus short stories, poems, and essays designed to build reading comprehension.
John Grimes is an African-American teenager living in Harlem in 1935. He hates and fears his stepfather, Gabriel, an overbearing, disapproving Pentacostal preacher who prefers John's younger brother Roy. (John does not know that Gabriel is not his natural father.) On his 14th birthday, John explores downtown New York, returns home to witness a violent family argument, then leaves to prepare the church for an evening service. During the service, John's stepfather, mother, and aunt relive the past in their minds. All three moved from the South to the North to improve their lives but found only frustration and bitterness. As the adults pray, John undergoes a dramatic religious experience in which he faces the suffering that is his heritage. At dawn he arises, feeling a new joy and strength.

Classics
1. Title: Robinson Crusoe (1719) Author: Daniel Defoe Genre: Fictional Autobiography

Target Grade: 6-12 DVD: CD: Total: 61 Available: 61

Synopsis: A castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Venezuela, encountering Native Americans, captives and mutineers before being rescued.
2. Author: Jane Austen Genre: Historical Fiction

  • Pride and Prejudice (1813) Signet Classic 1980 Total: 26 Available: 26

  • Pride and Prejudice (1813) HRW Classic Library Total: 8 Available: 8

  • Pride and Prejudice *and Related Readings (1998) Total: 81 Available: 81 Target Grade: 7-12 DVD: CD:

Synopsis: *A textbook reader for young adults, plus short stories, poems, and essays designed to build reading comprehension.

In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, beautiful and opinionated Elizabeth Bennet snubs the prideful aristocrat Mr. Darcy — until he helps her family avoid a potentially devastating scandal. Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen's most popular and well-known romance novel, demonstrating her masterful use of ironic plot twists and flawless prose set against the strict social environment of Regency England.

3. Title: The Canterbury Tales: Selected Works *and Related Readings Author: Geoffrey Chaucer Genre: Fictional Autobiography Target Grade: 6-12 DVD: A Prologue to Chaucer

Audio: The Canterbury Tales (12 CDs)

Total: 120 Available: 120

Synopsis: *A textbook reader for young adults, plus short stories, poems, and essays designed to build reading comprehension.

On a spring day in April--sometime in the waning years of the 14th century--29 travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. Among them is a knight, a monk, a prioress, a plowman, a miller, a merchant, a clerk, and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. Travel is arduous and wearing; to maintain their spirits, this band of pilgrims entertains each other with a series of tall tales that span the spectrum of literary genres. Five hundred years later, people are still reading Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of the Franklin, the Pardoner, or the Squire because you never learned Middle English, take heart: this edition of the Tales has been translated into modern idiom.

4. Title: The Canterbury Tales (1981) Author: Geoffrey Chaucer Genre: Fictional Autobiography

Target Grade: Fictional Autobiography DVD: CD: Total: 40 Available: 40

Synopsis: On a spring day in April--sometime in the waning years of the 14th century--29 travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett. Among them is a knight, a monk, a prioress, a plowman, a miller, a merchant, a clerk, and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. Travel is arduous and wearing; to maintain their spirits, this band of pilgrims entertains each other with a series of tall tales that span the spectrum of literary genres. Five hundred years later, people are still reading Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of the Franklin, the Pardoner, or the Squire because you never learned Middle English, take heart: this edition of the Tales has been translated into modern idiom.

5. Title: Gulliver’s Travels: A Classic Retelling (2001) (Nextext) Author: Jonathan Swift Genre: Parody Target Grade: 6-12 DVD: CD:

Total: 145 Available: 145

Synopsis: A retelling, in simple language, of the classic tale of the eighteenth-century Englishman whose voyages carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall, and Brobdingnag, a land peopled by giants.
6. Title: The Inferno: Dante’s Immortal Drama of a Journey Through Hell (1982)

(Originally published in 1314) Author: Dante Alighieri with New Translation by John Ciardi



Genre: Epic Poem/ Religious Allegory Target Grade: 9-12 DVD: CD:

Total: 75 Available: 75

Synopsis: Is the magnificent story of a man's way through the infinite torment of Hell in his search for Paradise.

7. Title: Gilgamesh (1985) Author: John Gardner and John Maier Genre: Heroic Quest



Target Grade: 5-8 DVD: CD: Total: 3 Available: 3

Synopsis: The story of Gilgamesh, an ancient epic poem written on clay tablets in a cuneiform alphabet, is as fascinating and moving as it is crucial to our ability to fathom the time and the place in which it was written. Gardner's version restores the poetry of the text and the lyricism that is lost in the earlier, almost scientific renderings. The principal theme of the poem is a familiar one: man's persistent and hopeless quest for immortality. It tells of the heroic exploits of an ancient ruler of the walled city of Uruk named Gilgamesh. Included in its story is an account of the Flood that predates the Biblical version by centuries. Gilgamesh and his companion, a wild man of the woods named Enkidu, fight monsters and demonic powers in search of honor and lasting fame. When Enkidu is put to death by the vengeful goddess Ishtar, Gilgamesh travels to the underworld to find an answer to his grief and confront the question of mortality.
8. Title: Great Expectations Author: Charles Dickens Genre: Autobiographical Fiction/Novel
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