Grade 9 Book List

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Anchor text- Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag and his transformation from a book-burning fireman to a book-reading rebel. Montag lives in an oppressive society that attempts to eliminate all sources of complexity, contradiction, and confusion to ensure uncomplicated happiness for all its citizens. Age 13+

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Anchor text-An age-old vendetta between two powerful families erupts into bloodshed. A group of masked Montagues risk further conflict by gatecrashing a Capulet party. A young lovesick Romeo Montague falls instantly in love with Juliet Capulet, who is due to marry her father's choice, the County Paris. Age 13+


The following titles are choice texts for Language Arts Nine. No student will be required to read any particular choice text. Parents/ Guardians will be asked to sign-off on any independent choice book for Language Arts 9. Age appropriateness levels are from Common Sense Media if available.

Identity and Social Pressure Unit

Big Mouth & Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates

Choice text-Matt has a big mouth and Ursula is considered an ugly girl who's strong, tall, and athletic. They're not friends and don't really have anything in common, but the two of them come together during a time of difficulty for Matt. Something he says gets taken out of context and threatens to ruin his life. 

Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt De La Peña

Choice text- Danny is tall and skinny. Even though he’s not built, his arms are long enough to give his pitch a power so fierce any college scout would sign him on the spot. Ninety-five mile an hour fastball, but the boy’s not even on a team. Every time he gets up on the mound, he loses it.

But at his private school, they don’t expect much else from him. Danny is brown. Half-Mexican brown. And growing up in San Diego that close to the border means everyone else knows exactly who he is before he even opens his mouth. Before they find out he can’t speak Spanish, and before they realize his mom has blond hair and blue eyes, they’ve got him pegged. Life in National City is portrayed as gritty, with teens swearing, drinking, and smoking marijuana, flirting and talking about sex. Age 14+

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Choice text-a powerful story about a girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it's trying to break her. Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. The novel deals with issues of identity, self-image, race and gender bias, privilege, and the power of art. Age 13+

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Choice text- Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?  As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Choice text-High school should be the best time of Melinda's life. Instead, freshman year is a nightmare as Melinda finds herself rejected by her friends, cut off from her parents, and unable to reveal a terrible secret. In fact, she isn't speaking at all. Melinda's slow healing process is a realistic and compelling one, and readers will cheer for her when she finally does use her voice. Moderate swearing and other language. The novel does reference sexual assault, but the  novel gives students the opportunity to talk about several teen issues, including: school cliques, sexual harassment and bullying. Age 14+

Historical Fiction Unit

Angel of Greenwood by Randi Park

Choice text- A piercing, unforgettable love story set in Greenwood, Oklahoma, also known as the “Black Wall Street,” and against the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Life changes on May 31, 1921 when a vicious white mob storms the Black community of Greenwood, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced. Only then, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers realize who their real enemies are.

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

Choice text- Code Talker is about a Navajo who uses his language to help win the war. It is World War Two and the United States is fighting against Japan. Every code the Americans have used to send secret information has been cracked by the Japanese. The Navajo language is one of the hardest languages to learn. The Americans, knowing that, chose Navajos to make a secret code to use at war. Ned Begay (the Navajo) and his friends risk their lives, going into war, making their own secret code, and saving millions of American lives.

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

Choice text- When pale strangers enter fifteen-year-old Amari's village, her entire tribe welcomes them; for in her remote part of Africa, visitors are always a cause for celebration. But these strangers are not here to celebrate. They are here to capture the strongest, healthiest villagers and to murder the rest. The common brutalities of the slave trade -- rape, murder, kidnapping, beatings, and other inhumane treatments -- are described for readers. Age 15+

 I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Choice text- Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren't free to dream; they are bound by rules and force. Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. Age 14+

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Choice text- Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

Soldier’s Heart: Being the Story of Enlistment & Due Service of Boy Charley Goddard by Gary Paulson

Choice text- A fictionalization of the true story of a Minnesotan farm boy, Charley Goddard, who at the age of 15 enlisted in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Charley lied about his age to join the First Volunteers of Minnesota and was involved in combat at Bull Run and Gettysburg. He returned home traumatized and suffering from "soldier's heart".  Although some events and time sequences are not completely factual, the essential elements of the book's story are true. Age 11+

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Choice text- Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humor the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. Moderate  use of racial slurs by the people of Maycomb. Age 12+

We are not Free by Traci Chee

Choice text- The collective account of a tight-knit group of young Nisei, second-generation Japanese American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II. In a world that seems determined to hate them, fourteen young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart. Age 12+