Summer Reading Suggestions from the Champaign Public Library

Clara Lane
217 / 403-2070
200 West Green Street
FAX 217 / 403-2073
Champaign, IL 61820-5193
Summer Reading Suggestions
from the Champaign Public Library
Theme: World Literature: Stories Set in Non-American Cultures.
1. Barefoot Heart by Elva Trevino Hart (Biography). Hart shares the story of her early life as
the daughter of Mexican migrant workers.
2. *Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
by Katherine Boo (Nonfiction). A National Book Award winning tale of inequality.
3. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba (Nonfiction). A teen in
Malawi builds a windmill from scraps found in his village and brings electricity to his family.
4. *The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Fiction). Oscar is a sweet but
disastrously overweight nerd who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien.
5. China’s Son by Da Chen (Biography). Joining a gang seemed Da’s only option while growing
up during the Cultural Revolution in China, but after Mao’s death, he changed his ways.
6. *Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Fiction). Twin brothers born of an Indian nun
and a British surgeon come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.
7. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (Nonfiction). A fearless
young woman becomes a dress-making entrepreneur in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
8. *Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris (Mystery). When Saudi sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing,
along with a truck and her favorite camel, her family calls on a desert guide to lead a search.
9. I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Ali Nujood (Nonfiction). Forced by her father to
marry a much older man, Nujood becomes a wife in an isolated village in rural Yemen.
10. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the
Taliban by Malala Yousafzai (Nonfiction). A Pakistani teen refuses to be silenced.
11. *In Darkness by Nick Lake (Teen Fiction). A 15-year-old, trapped in the rubble of the
Haitian earthquake of 2010, is haunted by visions present and past as he awaits rescue.
12. *The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Fiction). The lives of a boy and his servant are
intertwined in this dramatic tale of life in Afghanistan.
13. *Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Fiction). The inquisitive son of an Indian zookeeper emigrates
with his family on an unforgettable voyage.
14. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (Teen Fiction). When the Sudanese civil war
reaches his village in 1985, 11-year-old Salva must walk in search of a safe haven.
15. *A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah (Biography). At the age of twelve, the author fled attacking
rebels in Sierra Leone only to be picked up and made to fight in the government army.
16. The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (Fiction). A young museum worker tries to save
treasures from German destruction during the horrible siege of Leningrad in 1941.
17. *Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. This novel follows the life of a Japanese girl who
becomes a Geisha, chronicling the changes she experiences after World War II.
18. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (Fiction). Gogol Ganguli straddles two worlds: born to Indian
immigrants newly arrived in Massachusetts but raised in the American culture.
19. An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina (Biography). The man who inspired the movie the
Hotel Rwanda shares his story of creating a haven for over 1,200 refugees.
20. Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (Fiction). In the easternmost region of Norway, a 67year-old thinks back to the events of a fateful summer when he was a teenager.
21. *Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Graphic Novel). A heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran
during the Islamic Revolution shows the devastating effects of war with Iraq.
22. The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers (Biography). A Ugandan teen overcomes poverty and
other formidable challenges to become her country’s national chess champion.
23. Revolution is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine (Teen Fiction). Nine-year-old
Ling, the daughter of two doctors, struggles to make sense of the Cultural Revolution.
24. *The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Fiction). In 1950s Barcelona, Daniel
stumbles into intrigue when his father introduces him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.
25. *Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg (Fiction). A woman uses her knowledge of snow to
investigate the death of a boy who fell from a Copenhagen rooftop.
26. Tasting the Sky by Ibtisam Barakat (Nonfiction). Barakat relates the harshness of life as a
Palestinian refuge, living a childhood of fear and confusion separated from her family.
27. Ties That Bind, Ties that Break by Lensey Namioka (Teen Fiction). Ailin's life takes a turn
when she defies traditions of upper-class Chinese society by refusing to have her feet bound.
28. *The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht. (Fiction) A doctor in a Balkan country reeling from war
attempts to discover why her grandfather died.
29. Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Teen Fiction). Lupita, a budding actor in a
close-knit Mexican-American immigrant family, comes of age in this novel in verse.
30. *When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago (Biography). A young girl leaves rural
Puerto Rico for New York's tenements and a chance for success in this autobiography.
*These books
may contain more mature content or provide additional challenges for readers.
Betsy Su | Teen Librarian | 403-2070 | [email protected] | May 2014