Skip to main content

ESL and Young Adult Books: About Books with CDs

Descriptions for Books with CDs


Shorter Books by Level 

Scarlet Letter Book & CD (Level 2)

Extreme Sports Book & CD (Level 2)

The Mummy Returns Book & CD (Simplified Text)

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame Book &CD (Level 3)

Cinderella Man Book &CD (Level 4)

The Gladiator Book & CD  (Level 4)

Al Capone Does My Shirts/ Gennifer Choldenko  Reserve 84

Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here. There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook's or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to. Book jacket.

 Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret / Judy Bloom Reserve 27

No one ever told Margaret Simon that eleven-going-on- twelve would be such a hard age. When her family moves to New Jersey, she has to adjust to life in the suburbs, a different school, and a whole new group of friends. Margaret knows she needs someone to talk to about growing up-and it's not long before she's found a solution. Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I can't wait until two o'clock God. That's when our dance starts. Do you think I'll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome. And I'd love to dance with him... just once or twice. Thank you God.

Buried Onions / Gary Soto.  Reserve 79

On the mean streets of southeast Fresno, nineteen-year-old Eddie is just trying to get by. All he wants is to forget his violent past, hold down a job, and walk a straight line. But after his cousins murder, Eddie finds himself slowly but inexorably drawn back into the cycle of violence. . . . Set against the backdrop of a city sweltering in the grip of poverty, crime, and unfulfilled dreams, this is the unforgettable story of a young man struggling to survive in a world spiraling out of control .Unrelenting ... unsparing ... a valuable tale, its one that makes no concessions. Kirkus Review   Sotos clear, finely honed poets voice shines in this tale of barrio life in Fresno, California ... wholly believable. ALA Booklist

 Charlotte’s Web  / E.B. White  Reserve 36

 An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. A prancing, playful bloke, Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save her friend, Charlotte spins a web that reads "Some Pig," convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things. Amazon.com  “Since its publication in 1952, "Charlotte's Web" has become a beloved classic.”  Book description

 The Chocolate War / Robert Cormier Reserve 73

Does Jerry Renault dare to disturb the universe? You wouldn't think that his refusal to sell chocolates during his school's fundraiser would create such a stir, but it does; it's as if the whole school comes apart at the seams. To some, Jerry is a hero, but to others, he becomes a scapegoat--a target for their pent-up hatred. And Jerry? He's just trying to stand up for what he believes, but perhaps there is no way for him to escape becoming a pawn in this game of control; students are pitted against other students, fighting for honor--or are they fighting for their lives?

 Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time / Mark Haddon.  Reserve 83

"Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order, and predictability shelter him from the messy wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher's carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor's dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing." "Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths.“--BOOK JACKET.

Da Vinci Code / Dan Brown / Reserve 88

When Robert Langdon is called in to investigate the murder of a curator at the Louvre, he discovers that the body is surrounded by strange ciphers evidently linked to the paintings of Da Vinci-and a powerful relic protected by the Priory, a secret society to which the artist belonged.  Library Journal

"Intrigue and menace mingle in one of the finest mysteries I’ve ever read. An amazing tale with enigma piled on secrets stacked on riddles." CLIVE CUSSLER, #1 New York Times bestseller

Fahrenheit 451 / Ray Bradbury.  Reserve 76

Nowadays firemen start fires. Fireman Guy Montag loves to rush to a fire and watch books burn up. Then he met a seventeen-year old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid, and a professor who told him of a future where people could think. And Guy Montag knew what he had to do.... From the Paperback edition.

The First Part Last / Angela Johnson.  Reserve 70

Rarely do we see teen pregnancy from the father's perspective.

“Bobby's a classic urban teenager. He's restless. He's impulsive. But the thing that makes him different is this: He's going to be a father. His girlfriend, Nia, is pregnant, and their lives are about to change forever. Instead of spending time with friends, they'll be spending time with doctors, and next, diapers. They have options: keeping the baby, adoption. They want to do the right thing.

 If only it was clear what the right thing was”. Book description 

 

The Giver / Lois Lowry  Reserve 34

Lowry has written an intriguing story set in a society that is uniformly run by a Committee of Elders. Twelve-year-old Jonas's confidence in his comfortable "normal" existence as a member of this well-ordered community is shaken when he is assigned his life's work as the Receiver. The Giver, who passes on to Jonas the burden of being the holder for the community of all memory "back and back and back," teaches him the cost of living in an environment that is "without color, pain, or past." The tension leading up to the Ceremony, in which children are promoted not to another grade but to another stage in their life, and the drama and responsibility of the sessions withThe Giver are gripping. The final flight for survival is as riveting as it is inevitable. The author makes real abstract concepts, such as the meaning of a life in which there are virtually no choices to be made and no experiences with deep feelings. This tightly plotted story and its believable characters will stay with readers for a long time. --Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

 

Hatchet  / Gary Paulsen     Reserve 29

When his small plane crashes into a lake, Brian Robeson is the only one left alive in a hostile, barren place where he must fight for his survival at every turn. Brian's difficult, lonely days are described with great mastery.

 

Holes  / Louis Sacher          Reserve 37

“Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment--and redemption.”

 Inkheart / Cornelia Funke   Reserve 74

“Meggie lives a quiet life with her father, a bookbinder. But her father has a deep secret--he possesses an extraordinary magical power. When a mysterious stranger arrives, Meggie is plunged into intrigue as her father's life is put in danger.” Book description “Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy.”  This series has often been compared to Harry Potter. “Like many other fantasies, this will appeal to a broad age range, though the writing is far less child-centered than is, for example, in the Harry Potter series.” Booklist

 

Island of the Blue Dolphins / Scott O'Dell  Reserve 28

In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound. once, Indians also lived on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind. This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life / Lance Armstrong  Reserve 82  

This is the story of one man's journey through triumph, tragedy, transformation, and transcendance. It is the story of Lance Armstrong, the six-time winner of the Tour de France, and his fight against cancer. People magazine called it "inspiring." The New York Times called it "fascinating." But perhaps the Cincinnati Enquirer said it best: "It's not about the bike, or about the sport. It's about the soul." Book description

 

Jonathan Livingston Seagull /Richard Bach     Reserve 31   

Richard Bach personally relates the enchanting tale of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the bird determined to be more than an ordinary gull, determined to find a reason for living--determined to be free.

 

Life of Pi        Reserve 69   

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.  The ship sinks and Pi finds himself in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger.

 

Maniac Magee/ Jerry Spinelli        Reserve 68

“Maniac Magee is a folk story about a boy, a very excitable boy. One that can outrun dogs, hit a home run off the best pitcher in the neighborhood, tie a knot no one can undo. "Kid's gotta be a maniac," is what the folks in Two Mills say. It's also the story of how this boy, Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee, confronts racism in a small town, tries to find a home where there is none and attempts to soothe tensions between rival factions on the tough side of town. Presented as a folk tale, it's the stuff of storytelling.” Amazon.com

 

Milkweed / Jerry Spinelli     Reserve 77

He's a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. Filthy son of Abraham. He's a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw, who steals food for himself and the orphans, and who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He wants to be a Nazi someday, with tall, shiny jackboots and a gleaming eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind.

Number The Stars   Lois Lowry  Reserve 39

“The gripping story of a ten-year-old Danish girl and her family's courageous efforts to smuggle Jews out of their Nazi-occupied homeland to safety in Sweden. Readers are taken to the very heart of Annemarie's experience, and, through her eyes, come to understand the true meaning of bravery.”  School Library Journal

“Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated," Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life.” Book description

Ramona And Her Father/ Beverly Cleary   Reserve 38           

“Ramona just wants everyone to be happy. If only her father would smile and joke again, her mother would look less worried, her sister would be cheerful, and Picky-picky would eat his cat-food. But Ramona's father has lost his job, and nobody in the Quimby household is in a very good mood. Ramona tries to cheer up the family as only Ramona can -- by rehearsing for life as a rich and famous star of television commercials, for instance -- but her best efforts only make things worse. Her sister, Beezus, calls her a, pest, her parents lose patience with her, and her teacher claims she's forgotten her- manners. But when her father admits he wouldn't trade her for a million dollars, Ramona knows everything is going to work out fine in the end.”  Book description

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry        Reserve 33   

“The vivid story of a black family whose warm ties to each other and their land give them strength to defy rural Southern racism during the Depression. . . . Entirely through its own internal development, the novel shows the rich inner rewards of black pride, love, and independence despite the certainty of outer defeat." -Booklist

 Secret Life of Bees / Sue Monk Kidd  Reserve 81

A remarkable story about mothers and daughters and the women in our lives who become our true mothers, this is a stunning debut whose rich, assured, irresistible voice gathers us up and doesn't let go, not for a moment.

 

The Secret School  / Avi.   72

“Weaving together a fast-moving plot, solid characterizations, sharply tuned dialogue and a wealth of detail, Avi (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle) offers another satisfying historical novel, this time evoking rural Colorado in 1925. When the teacher at the one-room schoolhouse in Elk Valley must depart unexpectedly, the head of the school board decides to end the academic year right then, a month and a half before the summer break. To his surprise, 14-year-old Ida Bidson protests, because without exit exams, she cannot proceed to high school in the fall. "I'm not so sure a girl needs a high school education," Mr. Jordan retorts, undeterred….”  Publisher’s Weekly

Speak / Laurie Anderson    Reserve 32              

A frightening and sobering look at the cruelty and viciousness that pervade much of contemporary high school life, as real as today's headlines. At the end of the summer before she enters high school, Melinda attends a party at which two bad things happen to her. She gets drunk, and she is raped. Shocked and scared, she calls the police, who break up the party and send everyone home. She tells no one of her rape, and the other students, even her best friends, turn against her for ruining their good time.  Kirkus Reviews

Stuck in Neutral / T. Trueman  Reserve 71

Shawn McDaniel is an enigma and a miracle--except no one knows it, least of all his father. His life is not what it may seem to anyone looking at him. Not even those who love him best have any idea what he is truly like. In this extraordinary and powerful first novel, the reader learns to look beyond the obvious and finds a character whose spirit is rich beyond imagining and whose story is unforgettable. My life is like one of those "good news-bad news" jokes. Like, "I've got some good news and some bad news--which do you want first?" I could go on about my good news for hours, but you probably want to hear the punch line, my bad news, right? Well, there isn't that much, really, but what's here is pretty wild. First off, my parents got divorced ten years ago because of me. My being born changed everything for all of us, in every way. My dad didn't divorce my mom, or my sister, Cindy, or my brother, Paul--he divorced me. He couldn't handle my condition, so he had to leave. My condition? Well, that brings us to the guts of my bad news. Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL), Books for Youth Editor's Choice 2000

 

 Tuesdays with Morrie / Mitch Albom  Reserve 30

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague, someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder.  Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger? Mitch Albom had that second chance.  He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life.ááKnowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college.ááTheir rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live. Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world.

Vegan Virgin Valentine / Carolyn Mackler  Reserve 85          

“Besides the words vegan and virgin, overachiever also describes Mara Valentine. A straight-A senior who has been accepted by Yale, Mara is trying to beat out her ex-boyfriend for another v-word, valedictorian. Then, into her well-ordered life flies her same-age niece, Vivian, known as V. V is living with the family because her mom, Mara's much older sister, is trying to find herself yet again. V is the anti-Mara, a smoking, drinking loser with a fondness for the F word. Wisely, Mackler does not frame this as the story of opposites trying to get along.” Booklist

 

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water / Michael Dorris.  Reserve 74

Michael Dorris has crafted a fierce saga of three generations of Indian women, beset by hardships and torn by angry secrets, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of kinship. Starting in the present day and moving backward, the novel is told in the voices of the three women: fifteen-year-old part-black Rayona; her American Indian mother, Christine, consumed by tenderness and resentment toward those she loves; and the fierce and mysterious Ida, mother and grandmother whose haunting secrets, betrayals, and dreams echo through the years, braiding together the strands of the shared past.  Book description

 

Walk Two Moons / by Sharon Creech.  Reserve 80

Thirteen-year-old Sal Hiddle can't deal with all the upheaval in her life. Her mother, Sugar, is in Idaho, and although Sugar promised to return before the tulips bloomed, she hasn't come back. Instead, Mr. Hiddle has moved Sal from the farm she loves so much and has even taken up company with the unpleasantly named Mrs. Cadaver. Multilayered, the book tells the story of Sal's trip to Idaho with her grandparents; and as the car clatters along, Sal tells her grandparents the story of her friend Phoebe, who receives messages from a "lunatic" and who must cope with the disappearance of her mother. The novel is ambitious and successful on many fronts: the characters, even the adults, are fully realized; the story certainly keeps readers' interest; and the pacing is good throughout. Booklist

Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion. Winner of the 1995 Newbery Medal, School Library Journal Best Book of 1994 Winner of the 1997 Heartland Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and many more. Book description.

War of the Worlds / Reserve 78

"No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own...." So begins The War of the Worlds, the science fiction classic that first proposed the possibility of intelligent life on other planets and has enthralled readers for almost 90 years.

This compelling tale describes the Martian invasion of Earth.

Ten huge and tireless creatures land in England and complete chaos erupts. Using their fiery heat rays and crushing strength, the heartless aliens just may succeed in silencing all opposition. Is life on earth doomed? Will mankind survive?

A timeless view of a universe turned upside down, The War of the Worlds is an ingenious and imaginative look into the possibilities of the future and the secrets yet to be revealed. Book jacket.

 Whale Talk   Reserve 35   

There's bad news and good news about the Cutter High School swim team. The bad news is that they don't have a pool. The good news is that only one of them can swim anyway. A group of misfits brought together by T. J. Jones (the J is redundant), the Cutter All Night Mermen struggle to find their places in a school that has no place for them. T.J. is convinced that a varsity letter jacket-exclusive, revered, the symbol (as far as T.J. is concerned) of all that is screwed up at Cutter High-will also be an effective tool. He's right. He's also wrong. Still, it's always the quest that counts. And the bus on which the Mermen travel to swim meets soon becomes the space where they gradually allow themselves to talk, to fit, to grow. Together they'll fight for dignity in a world where tragedy and comedy dance side by side, where a moment's inattention can bring lifelong heartache, and where true acceptance is the only prescription for what ails us.