IB Learner Profile


Recommended Booklist for IB Librarians



Jellicoe Road

by Melina Marchetta

Harper Teen, 2008, Young Adult, 432p

Set in Australia, Taylor Markham’s life story is intertwined with a horrific accident that occurred twenty years earlier. She goes through great lengths to find the truth of her background, all while fighting a make-believe war between the boarding school where she resides, the visiting cadets of an armed force academy and the town residents.

Secret Footprints

by Julia Alvarez

RL 4-8, 40 p

An intriguing legend from the Dominican Republic tells the story of

Guapa, a Ciguapas Indian who lives underwater in cool blue caves. Her curiosity drives her to put her family and people at risk.


The Way Things Work

by David Macaulay

Dorling Kindersley, 1998, RL 5-8, 400p

The Author--a former architect and junior high school teacher--is perfectly poised to be the Great Explainer of the whirrings and whizzings of the world of machines, Grouping machines together by the principles that govern their actions rather than by their uses,

Macaulay helps us understand in a heavily visual, humorous, unerringly precise way what gadgets such as a toilet, a carburetor, and a fire extinguisher have in common. The publisher has put out a series of these books under many different titles.



The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznik

Scholastic Press, 2007, Ages 9-12, 544p

Twelve-year-old orphan Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris train station at the turn of the

20th century, where he tends to the clocks and filches what he needs to survive. Hugo's recently deceased father, a clockmaker, worked in a museum where he discovered an automaton: a human-like figure seated at a desk, pen in hand, as if ready to deliver a message. After his father showed Hugo the robot, the boy became just as obsessed with getting the automaton to function as his father had been, and the man gave his son one of the notebooks he used to record the automaton's inner workings. The plot grows as intricate as the robot's gears and mechanisms. Though long, much of the story is told in black and white pictures that appeal to even the most challenged readers.

City of Embers

by Jeanne DuPrau

Yearling, 2008, YA, 288p

Doon and Lina are twelve year olds living in Ember, a dark, dismal place with no natural light. While this society was meant to remain in these surroundings for 200 years before


leaving, a corrupt mayor lost the instructions many years ago. Now, 240 years later, with lights flickering and supplies dwindling, the youngsters are on a mission to save Ember.

Ender’s Game

by Orson Scott Card

Starscape, 2002, YA, 336p

This science fiction thriller details the life of Ender Wiggin, a leader in his Battle School who is especially talented at mock electronic battle games. Ender struggles to grow into a young man that he himself can respect, while facing a future and an environment with few choices.

City of the Beasts

by Isabel Allende (series)

Rayo, 2004, YA, 432p

This is the story of 15-year-old Alexander Cold. While his mother is ill, Alex is spending the summer with grandmother, who has been hired to find and write an article on the

"Beast" that has been terrorizing Amazon Rainforest. The characters include an arrogant professor, a government doctor, native Indians, a guide, C‚sar Santos, and his daughter,

Nadia. Alex and Nadia become good friends, who work together to realize their won strengths.


Now and Ben: the modern inventions of Benjamin Franklin

by Gene Barretta

Henry Holt, c 2006, RL 4-8, 40p

A clever, concise introduction to the contributions of this colorful colonial figure.

Biography is scattered throughout and will leave the students looking for more.

How I Learned Geography

by Uri Shulevitz

Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008, RL 2.7, 32p

As he spends hours studying his father's world map, a young boy escapes the hunger and misery of refugee life. Based on the author's childhood in Kazakhstan, where he lived as a Polish refugee during World War II.

Odd Boy Out

by Don Brown

Houghton Mifflin, 2004, RL 4-6, 32p

A biography of Albert Einstein’s early life, struggles with conformity and gifted intelligence. This book will leave readers searching for more information about this science icon.



The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

by Sherman Alexi

Little, Brown, Young Readers, 2007, Young Adult, 288 p

A Native American living on a Spokane, Washington Reservation, Junior finds himself questioning his identity, community and tribe when he transfers off the reservation school and into a rich, white high school.


The Arrival

by Shaun Tan

Arthur A Levine Books, 2007, Young Adult, 128p

A wordless graphic novel that depicts the displacement and awe to which immigrants respond to their surroundings.

Code Talker: a novel about the Navajo Marines of World War II

Joseph Bruchac

Speak, 2006, RL 6-9, 240p by

The Navajo language, which was never written down, became a useful tool to keep

America’s secrets during World War II. This tale exemplifies the spirit and honor of the

American heroes that spoke the code and juxtaposes this against the racist treatment they experienced each day.


Three Cups of Tea

by Sarah Thomson

Puffin Books, 2009, RL 5.6, 209p

Adapts for young readers Greg Mortenson's novel in which he recounts the experiences he had while trying to help impoverished villages in Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya build schools for their children.

Words that Built a Nation

by Marilyn Miller

Stonesong Press/scholastic Reference, 1999, 172p

A collection of 39 contemporary documents tracing the history of the United States.

Includes commentaries, photographs and engravings. A must have for every American library.



Ask Me No Questions

by Marina Tamar Budhos

Simon Pulse, 2007, 2006, 162p, RL YA

Fourteen-year-old Nadira, her sister, and their parents leave Bangladesh for New York

City, but the expiration of their visas and the events of September 11, 2001, bring fear, frustration, and sorrow for the whole family.

Parvana's Journey

by Deborah Ellis

Publishers Group West, 2002, RL 6.3, 199p

With Kabul in ruins from the Taliban's control, Parvana dresses as a boy and sets out to leave Afghanistan in search of her family


The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers

by Mordecai Gerstein

Roaring Book Press, 2003, RL 4-8, 40p

The 1974 tightrope walk of Philippe Petit between the unfinished World Trade Towers.

A wonderful tribute to the buildings that are no more.


Far Beyond the Garden Gate

by Don Brown

Houghton Mifflin, 2002, RL 5-6, 32p

David Neel was a Victorian woman who married, settled down and lived a quite ordinary life. In 1911, she set out for Asia and began

14 year journey of adventure, eventually ending up in Lhasa, becoming the first

American woman to enter Tibet. a




by Carl Hiassan (Also, Scat, Flush by the same author)

Knopf for Young Readers, 2002, Young Adult, 304p

New kid in school Ray goes to bat against the developers that are destroying the habitat of the endangered burrowing owl. He makes unlikely allies in his battle out of the class bully and a mysterious running boy.


Oh Rats! The Story of Rats and People

by Albert Marrin

Dutton Juvenile, 2006, Ages 9-12, 48p

An anecdotal review of the history of rats—the uber survivors of the animal kingdom, this book will appeal to the readers of yuck and gore.

Phineas Gage: a gruesome but true story about brain science

by John Fleischman

Sandpiper, 2004, RL 6-9, 96p

19 th

Century medical practices are exposed in this true account of Phineas, a railroad worker who was struck in the skull by a 13lb iron rod in 1848. Much was learned from the incident that made a huge impact on brain science.

Material World: A Global Family Portrait

by Peter Menzel

Sierra Club Books, 1995, 255p

A photo-journey through the homes and lives of 30 families, revealing culture and economic levels around the world.

Homes around the World

by Bobbie Kalman

Crabtree Pub. Co., 1994, RL 3.9, 32p

Looks at various kinds of dwellings, including arctic homes, homes on stilts, homes on boats, and desert homes.

Toilets of the World

by Morna Gregory

Merrell, 2000, 256p

Canadian authors Morna E. Gregory and Sian James have traveled the world to compile this astonishing book, which is divided into chapters featuring toilets of North America,

Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Asia. TOILETS OF THE

WORLD travels from miniature log cabins set in the Canadian wilderness to state-of-the-


art cubicles in Japan and from Caribbean huts precariously placed on stilts to eco-friendly solar-powered toilets in New Zealand.



The Breadwinner

by Deborah Ellis

Publishers Group West, c2006, 2000, RL 6, 170p

Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women's freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Parvana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father's arrest.

Clever Ali by Nancy Farmer


The Good Lion

by Don (Donald) Brown

Houghton Mifflin, 2005, RL 4.2, 32p

Presents the author's first-hand account of her childhood in Kenya when she was attacked by a lion that her neighbors kept as a pet.




by Louis Sachar

Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2008, Ages 9-12, 240p

In a case of mistaken identity and generations of bad luck, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a juvenile detention facility. With humor and absurdity, Sachar shows a deep understanding of friendship and heroic compassion for society’s underdogs. Sachar has brilliantly intertwined social commentary, tall tale and magic realism in an action-packed page-turner.

My Sister’s Keeper

by Jodi Piccoult

Pocket Publisher, 2009, adult 528p

The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a life threatening disease are explored in this story of genetic planning for health purposes.

Anna was created as a donor of platelets, blood, her umbilical cord and bone marrow to help lengthen the life of her older, cancer-ridden sister. Anna hires a lawyer when her parents decide that she should donate her kidney to Kate. There are no easy answers and each facet of the case evokes reader sympathy.


by Paul Fleischman

Holt and Co., 1998, Young Adult, 160p

Brent Bishop, driving home drunk from a party where he has been totally humiliated, decides to commit suicide but ends up killing a young woman. The young woman wants

Brent to build 4 whirligigs in her likeness and place them in the four corners of the

United States. The story moves back and forth between Brent’s journey to heal himself and the lives of the fragile people he encounters.


The Giver

by Lois Lowry

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 1993, RL 12-14, 192p

In his utopian society, 12 year old Jonas is chosen to be the community’s “Receiver of

Memories.” During his training for this position, Jonas discovers the disturbing truth about the perfect world. As he receives memories of a world as stimulating as it is flawed, Jonas becomes aware of the discrepancy and must choose between the two.

The Thief Lord

by Cornelia Funke

Chelsea House, 2002, Young Adult, 352p

After the death of their mother, brothers Prospero and Bo flee Germany to avoid being split by their aunt and uncle who only wish to adopt the younger brother, Bo. They travel to Venice, a city their mother had described lovingly in great detail. Right away they join a band of orphans living in an abandoned movie theater supported by the Thief Lord,

Scipio. The thief lord steals pricey items from wealthy Venetians to support these runaways. The children are tailed by a kind-hearted detective hired to find them by the aunt and uncle.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

by Dai Sijie

Anchor, 2002, Adult, 192p

During the Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao forcibly sent hundreds of thousands of

Chinese intellectuals to peasant villages for re-education. This moving story, tells how two young men endure the banishment by becoming storytellers and showing how literature can free the mind and lift the human spirit.

Things Fall Apart

by Chimwa Achibe

Anchor, 1994, Adult, 224p

The first two-thirds of “Things Fall Apart” is an affectionate description of the culture of an African Ibo Clan whose customs and religion are described with sympathy and simplicity. There is also a sense of foreboding and disaster which comes in the form of white Christian missionaries. As the missionaries and colonial administrators establish themselves, the traditional Ibo life begins to unravel.

Misunderstandings and conflict between the whites and natives lead to inevitable tragedy.

The House of the Scorpion

by Nancy Farmer

Atheneum, 2004, Young Adult, 400p

A scientist brings to life one of 36 tiny cells, frozen more than 100 years ago. The result is the novel’s protagonist, Matt, a clone of the powerful drug lord, El Patron. Matt was born Mateo Alacran to a poor family in a small village in Mexico. He experiences first hand the corruptive powers of greed. Questions raised include what it means to be human, what is the value of life and what are the responsibilities of society.


Red Scarf Girl

by Ji-li Jiang

Harper Teen, 2008, Young Adult, 304p


This autobiography details the author’s experience as a teenager during the Cultural

Revolution. Though wanting the devoted followers of Chairman Mao, Jiang and her family are subjected to many indignities because her grandfather was a landlord. She must choose between her family and the Communist Party. The family endures endless atrocities, which Jiang comes to understand are the result of unscrupulous leaders.

Planting the Trees of Kenya

by Claire A. Nivola

Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2008, RL 4-6, 32p

Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Green Belt Movement ,Wangari Maathai, who grew up in Kenya, returns after years abroad to find the beautiful landscape of her youth has disappeared. She starts a trend of planting in her village that has great repercussions. The story of how each human and tree can make a difference in the quality of life of the world.

The Goat Lady

by Jane Bregoli

Tilbury House, 2004, RL 5.2, 32p

Tells the story of an elderly French-Canadian woman who lived in Massachusetts and raised goats to provide milk for people who needed it.



The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

by Sherman Alexi

Little, Brown, Young Readers, 2007, Young Adult, 288 p

A Native American living on a Spokane, Washington Reservation, Junior finds himself questioning his identity, community and tribe when he transfers off the reservation school and into a rich, white high school.

The Mysterious Benedict Society

by Trintan Lee Stewart

Little, Brown Young Readers, 2007, RL 5-7, 485p

The protagonist, 11 year old Rennie Muldoon, answers an add looking for “gifted children.” Rennie, an orphan, is one of 4 kids that become the Mysterious Benedict

Society. After being trained by Mr. Benedict, the children travel to an isolated school where kids are being trained by a criminal mastermind to take over the world. Each of the 4 brings a special talent and ability and only through cooperation will they defeat the enemy.

The View from Saturday

by E.L. Konigsburg

Atheneum, 1996, RL 5-7, 128p

This novel explores the bonds that tie the 4 members of a championship academic bowl team. Their coach is a paraplegic who, along with the reader, wonders at her team choices. As the story unfolds in first person narratives, Konigsburg reveals the links among the team member’s private lives.

The Egypt Game

by Zelpha Keatly Snyder


Atheneum, 2007, RL 5-7, 224p

The first time Melanie Ross and April Hall meet they discover that each has a passion for anything Egyptian. They find a deserted yard to begin their imaginative “Egypt Game.”

Before too long, 4 more kids join the game, and strange things begin to happen. Clues abound in this timeless yet ever popular classic.


by Scott Wersterfield

San Val, 2005, Young Adult, 425p

Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic society that makes all its citizens believe they are ugly. As they turn 16, they have an operation to wipe out the physical differences among them—becoming ‘pretty.’ Living on the fringe between ugly and pretty, Tally learns that pretty is not necessarily something she wants to become. The story becomes a learning process about free choice and nonconformist ideals.

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm

by Nancy Farmer

Orchard Books, 2004, RL 5-8, 32p

In the year 2194 in Harare, Zimbabwe the three overprotected children of General

Amadeus Matsika, the ruler, are kidnapped. On this journey these children discover that their country is a land of contrast between rich and poor. As the children move from one predicament to another they are followed by three unusual detectives from an agency known as the Ear, the Eye and the Arm. These detectives are mutants who are at times bumbling and sensitive, yet always seemingly one step behind rescuing the children.


The Education of Little Tree

by Forrest Carter

University of New Mexico Press, 2001, Young Adult, 228p

The story of an orphan who is adopted by his Cherokee grandparents and lives in the

Appalachian Mountains during the Great Depression, Little Tree learns the Cherokee way of life juxtaposed against the lifestyles of the white businessmen in the area. Upon entering a white school, we learn the often cruel manner in which Native American children were treated as society tried to induct them. Readers need to be aware of the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the book as well as the background of the author. The story is wonderfully inspiring about our society’s on-going need for understanding and tolerating our differences.


by Roald Dahl

Puffin, 1999, Young Adult, 176p

This is the true story of the formative years of the life of Roald Dahl, narrated by none other than himself in his hilarious voice. Some of the plots and ideas for his novels are apparent in the author’s antics in boarding school and at home.

Going Solo

by Roald Dahl

Puffin, 2009, Young Adult, 224p

Going Solo is part 2 of Roald Dahl’s autobiography, detailing this time with his years at a World War II pilot.




The Secret Garden

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Signet Classics, 2003, RL 4-7, 288p

Mary, a frightened orphan, finds joy and wonder in a mystery garden with 2 local boys where anything seems possible.

The Skin I'm In by Sharon Flake

Jump at the Sun

Hyperion Paperbacks for Children, 2007, c1998., RL 5, 171p

Thirteen-year-old Maleeka Madison, insecure about her very dark skin, rejects the support of a new teacher, Miss Saunders, whose skin looks blotched because of a rare medical condition--but soon Maleeka begins to see that Miss Saunders could be a role model, and that she must learn to love herself and accept love from others


Owen and Mzee

by Isabella and Craig Hatkoff

Scholastic Press, 2006, RL 4-8, 40p

This is the touching story of the relationship that develops between a 130 year old tortoise and a young hippopotamus in Kenya following the demise of the hippo’s mother in the tsunami. Teaches tolerance, courage and the preciousness of life that knows no boundaries. (Also check out Mama by Jeanette Winter).



The Book Thief

by Marcus Zuzak

Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2007, Young Adult, 576p

This is the quiet story of Liesel, Rudy and Max (a Jewish Refugee) as narrated by death, who has touched all their lives in the World War II setting.

The Mind’s Eye

by Paul Fleischman

Laurel Leaf, 2001, Young Adult, 112p

This is the story of Courtney, a 16 year old with a severed spinal cord, sharing a room with 88 year old Elva in a nursing home with no TV. With nothing else to do, the two embark on an imaginary trip along with Emmett, Elva’s dead husband.


by Lois Lowry

Yearling, 2008, RL 6-8, 176p

Littlest, a small, new dream-giver, is assigned to a house with an old woman, her foster child and a dog. She must fight the Sinisteeds, who seek to give the family nightmares.

Littlest works with Thin Elderly to win a battle against the Sinisteeds and help the family find inner strength and comfort.



Small Steps: the Year I Got Polio

by Peg Kehret

Albert Whitman and Company, 2006, RL 5-8, 208p

This well written account of polio gives young readers a realistic look at the devastating physical and emotional effects of the disease. In 1949 there were 42,000 cases of polio documented in the U.S. Kehret was the only one in her town stricken with three different types of polio at one time. She details her diagnosis, treatment, frustration and pain of a disease that came with no warning and left her paralyzed. This is also an amazing first person account of how an ordinary girl had to live for part of her adolescence in an artificial, restricted environment as well as her slow painful recuperation.

Please Stop Laughing at Me: One Woman's Inspirational Story

by Jodee Blanco

Adams Media, 2003, 276p

The author, a victim of bullying, provides an account of her miserable school career, telling how her experiences as an outcast affected her life, and sharing her perspective on the events as an adult.

Hiroshima No Pika

by Toshi Maruki

Lee & Shepard Lothrop 1980, RL 4.8, 48p

A retelling of a mother's account of what happened to her family during the "Flash" that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Language 2

The Pet Dragon

by Christoph Niemann

Greenwillow Books, 2008, RL 1-3, 40p

An introduction to Chinese character writing disguised as a tale of a heroine searching for her pet dragon.


Amazing Pop-Up Picture Atlas

by Andrea Pinnington

DK, 2008, RL 3.9, 33p

A picture atlas featuring a pop-up map with pull tabs, as well as geographical and political maps that provide information about the world and its cultures.

Teens in …

.(Global Connections series)

Compass Point Books, c2008., 96p

Photographs, maps, and diagrams describe the challenges, pastimes, and customs of teenagers who live in Canada, Brazil, Argentina, China, Japan, etc. (38 total books)



Super Test: How the International Baccalaureate can Strengthen our Schools

by Jay

Matthews and Ian Hill

Carus, 2006, 200p

An excellent overview of the founding of the IB Programme and how it has been developed in the United States.