Kids Booklists

SJCPL Youth Justice Project Bibliography

Linda Conyers
Kris Springer
Mary Gilbert
Tamara Asher
Rebecca Waring-Crane

Arrange by:

Light - 4th grade reading level +

Medium - 7th grade reading level +

Heavy - teen - adult reading level

Please note: SJCPL librarians have arranged these titles by Fiction & Nonfiction headings. We've marked light, medium or heavy reading levels when we were fairly sure; however, our labels are based on developmental ranges instead of reading levels.
Kris

FICTION (listed by author, title and call number)

    Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. Teen AND.
    A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school. (HEAVY)

    Anderson, M.T. Feed. Teen AND.
    In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble. (HEAVY)

    Auch, M.J. Wing Nut. J Fic AUC.
    When twelve-year-old Grady and his mother relocate yet again, they find work taking care of an elderly man, who teaches Grady about cars, birds, and what it means to have a home. (MEDIUM)

    Avi. Crispin: the Cross of Lead. J Award Hist Fic AVI.
    Falsely accused of theft and murder, an orphaned peasant boy in fourteenth-century England flees his village and meets a larger-than-life juggler who holds a dangerous secret. (MEDIUM)

    Nothing But the Truth. J Teen or Teen Fic AVI.
    How can everyone be telling the truth if there are so many versions of the story? This documentary novel shows the chain of events that occur after a student decides not to sing the national anthem one morning. (MEDIUM)

    Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting. J Fic BAB.
    From Amazon.com:
    Imagine coming upon a fountain of youth in a forest. To live forever--isn't that everyone's ideal? For the Tuck family, eternal life is a reality, but their reaction to their fate is surprising. Award winner Natalie Babbitt outdoes herself in this sensitive, moving adventure in which 10-year-old Winnie Foster is kidnapped, finds herself helping a murderer out of jail, and is eventually offered the ultimate gift--but doesn't know whether to accept it. Babbitt asks profound questions about the meaning of life and death, and leaves the reader with a greater appreciation for the perfect cycle of nature. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Bledsoe, Lucy Jane. Hoop Girlz.
    When ten-year-old River, who is crazy about basketball, is not chosen to play in the tournament set up in the town of Azalea, Oregon, she decides to organize a team of her own and accepts the help of her older brother. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Bloor, Edward. Tangerine. J Teen BLO.
    Twelve-year-old Paul, who lives in the shadow of his football hero brother Erik, fights for the right to play soccer despite his near blindness and slowly begins to remember the incident that damaged his eyesight. (MEDIUM)

    Byars, Betsy. The Pinballs. J Fic BYA.
    From Publishers Weekly:
    "One summer two boys and a girl went to a foster home to live together"--the Newbery Medal-winning author chronicles their trials and tribulations in witty and poignant fashion. Ages 10-up. (LIGHT)

    Clements, Andrew. The Jacket. J First Chapter CLE.
    An incident at school forces sixth grader Phil Morelli, a white boy, to become aware of racial discrimination and segregation, and to seriously consider if he himself is prejudiced. (LIGHT)

    A Week in the Woods. J Fic CLE.
    The fifth grade's annual camping trip in the woods tests Mark's survival skills and his ability to relate to a teacher who seems out to get him. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Codell, Esme. Sahara Special. J Fic COD.
    Struggling with school and her feelings since her father left, Sahara gets a fresh start with a new and unique teacher who supports her writing talents and the individuality of each of her classmates. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Creech, Sharon. Love That Dog. J Fic CRE.
    A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem. (LIGHT)

    Curtis, Christopher Paul. Bucking the Sarge. J Teen CUR.
    Deeply involved in his cold and manipulative mother's shady business dealings in Flint, Michigan, fourteen-year-old Luther keeps a sense of humor while running the Happy Neighbor Group Home For Men, all the while dreaming of going to college and becoming a philosopher. (MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Bud Not Buddy. J Award Fic CUR.
    Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Deans, Sis Boulos. Racing the Past. J Fic DEA.
    After the death of his abusive father, eleven-year-old Ricky tries to help his younger brother deal with his residual fears and discovers that running helps him deal with his own anger and the taunts of a bullying classmate. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    DiCamillo, Kate. The Tiger Rising. J Fic DiC.
    Rob, who passes the time in his rural Florida community by wood carving, is drawn by his spunky but angry friend Sistine into a plan to free a caged tiger. (LIGHT)

    Donnelly, Jennifer. A Northern Light. J Teen DON.
    In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story. (HEAVY)

    Farmer, Nancy. The House of the Scorpion. J Teen FAR.
    In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patrón, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States. (HEAVY)

    Fenner, Carol. Yolanda's Genius. J Fic FEN.
    From Booklist:
    Gr. 4-6. A beautifully drawn portrait of an African American family that escapes the mean streets of Chicago by moving to a small Michigan town. Nearing the end of first grade, Yolonda's younger brother, Andrew, is still unable to read, and Yolonda's widowed mother worries about him and scoffs at Yolonda's dogged insistence that he is a musical genius. Now Yolonda must use all her physical and mental powers to devise a plan to prove to her mother and the world that Andrew is a child prodigy. (LIGHT)

    Franklin, Kristine L. Grape Thief. J Hist. Fic. FRA.
    In 1925, in a small Washington State community made up of families from different ethnic backgrounds, twelve-year-old Cuss tries to stay in school as he watches those around him struggle with various financial difficulties. (MEDIUM)

    Gantos, Jack. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key. J Fic GAN.
    To the constant disappointment of his mother and his teachers, Joey has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his prescription meds wear off and he starts getting worked up and acting wired. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Joey Pigza Loses Control. J Fic GAN.
    Joey, who is still taking medication to keep him from getting too wired, goes to spend the summer with the hard-drinking father he has never known and tries to help the baseball team he coaches win the championship. (LIGHT TO MEDIUM)

    Gardiner, John. Stone Fox. J First Chapter Book GAR.
    From School Library Journal:
    Stone Fox tells the story of a boy determined to win a dog sled race to save his grandfather's farm. No one has ever beaten Stone Fox, an imposing and silent Native American, but little Willy trains daily for the race with his beloved dog, Searchlight. It seems like Willy might even win the race until heartbreaking tragedy strikes. (Light)

    George, Jean Craighead. My Side of the Mountain. J Fic GEO.
    A young boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in the Catskill Mountains including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Giff, Patricia Reilly. Pictures of Hollis Woods. J Fic GIF.
    A troublesome twelve-year-old orphan, staying with an elderly artist who needs her, remembers the only other time she was happy in a foster home, with a family that truly seemed to care about her. (MEDIUM)

    Going, K.L. The Liberation of Gabriel King. J Fic GOI.
    In Georgia during the summer of 1976, Gabriel, a white boy who is being bullied, and Frita, an African American girl who is facing prejudice, decide to overcome their many fears together as they enter fifth grade. (LIGHT)

    Graff, Nancy Price. Taking Wing. J Fic GRA.
    With his father in the Army Air Corps and his mother diagnosed with tuberculosis, thirteen-year-old Gus sets out to incubate a nest of orphaned duck eggs on his grandparents' farm in Vermont. (MEDIUM)

    Hannigan, Katherine. Ida B: And Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World. J Fic HAN.
    In Wisconsin, fourth-grader Ida B spends happy hours being home-schooled and playing in her family's apple orchard, until her mother begins treatment for breast cancer and her parents must sell part of the orchard and send her to public school. (LIGHT)

    Hesse, Karen. Witness. J Historical Fiction HES.
    A series of poems express the views of various people in a small Vermont town, including a young black girl and a young Jewish girl, during the early 1920s when the Ku Klux Klan is trying to infiltrate the town. (MEDIUM)

    Hiaasen, Carl. Hoot. J Fic HIA.
    Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. (MEDIUM)

    Himelblau, Linda. The Trouble Begins. J Fic HIM.
    Reunited with his family for the first time since he was a baby, fifth grader Du struggles to adapt to his new home in the United States. (LIGHT)

    Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. J Teen HIN.
    The struggle of three brothers to stay together after their parent's death and their quest for identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society. (MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Jimenez, Francisco. The Circuit. J Fic JIM.
    From Publishers Weekly:
    Grade 4-8-Jimenez has created a moving autobiography that some critics have compared to John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. The story, originally published in English as The Circuit, begins in Mexico when the author is very young and his parents inform him that they are going on a very long trip to "El Norte." What follows is a series of stories of the family's unending migration from one farm to another as they search for the next harvesting job. Each story is told from the point of view of the author as a young child. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Breaking Through. J Teen JIM.
    Sequel to The Circuit. Having come from Mexico to California ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Francisco is still working in the fields but fighting to improve his life and complete his education. (MEDIUM)

    Kadohata, Cynthia. Kira-Kira. J Award Hist. Fic KAD.
    Chronicles the close friendship between two Japanese-American sisters growing up in rural Georgia during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the despair when one sister becomes terminally ill. (MEDIUM)

    L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. J Award Fic L'Ee.
    From Amazon.com:
    Everyone in town thinks Meg Murry is volatile and dull-witted, and that her younger brother, Charles Wallace, is dumb. People are also saying that their physicist father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors and an unearthly stranger, the tesseract-touting Mrs Whatsit, Meg and Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin O'Keefe embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so, they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep within themselves to find answers. (MEDIUM)

    Levine, Gail Carson. The Wish. J Fic LEV.
    When granted her wish to be the most popular girl in school, Wilma, an eighth grader, forgets that she will graduate in three weeks and her popularity will vanish. (MEDIUM)

    Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia. J Fic LEW.
    All titles explore concept of good and evil in the fantasy land of Narnia. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe can be read as the 1st in the series. (LIGHT)

    Lowry, Lois. The Giver. J Award Fic LOW.
    Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives. (MEDIUM)

    Number the Stars. J Award Fic LOW.
    In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Lynch, Chris. Slot Machine.
    From Amazon.com:
    This darkly funny look at growing up male in America is narrated by chubby, 14-year-old Elvin Bishop, who describes, with sublime sarcasm, his increasingly painful efforts to find his appropriate athletic "slot." Mature readers will find this unusual sports story both hilarious and poignant; in a starred review, Booklist wrote, "this wry, thoughtful book speaks with wisdom and heart to the victim and the outsider in us all." (MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Mikaelsen, Ben. Touching Spirit Bear. J Teen MIK.
    After his anger erupts into violence, Cole, in order to avoid going to prison, agrees to participate in a sentencing alternative based on the native American Circle Justice, and he is sent to a remote Alaskan Island where an encounter with a huge Spirit Bear changes his life. (MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Morgenstern, Susie. A Book of Coupons. J First Chapter MOR.
    Elderly Monsieur Noel, the very unconventional new eighth-grade teacher, gives coupon books for such things as dancing in class and sleeping late, which are bound to get him in trouble with the military discipline of Principal Incarnation Perez. (LIGHT)

    Moses, Sheila P. The Legend of Buddy Bush. J Teen MOS.
    In 1947, twelve-year-old Pattie Mae is sustained by her dreams of escaping Rich Square, North Carolina, and moving to Harlem when her Uncle Buddy is arrest for attempted rape of a white woman and her grandfather is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. (MEDIUM)

    The Return of Buddy Bush. J Teen MOS.
    Sequel to The Legend of Buddy Bush. Following her grandfather's death in rural North Carolina in 1947, twelve-year-old Pattie Mae learns more about her family after reading her grandmother's collection of obituaries and traveling to Harlem, New York, to find her uncle who has escaped from the Ku Klux Klan. (MEDIUM)

    Mwangi, Meja. The Mzungu Boy. J Hist. Fic MWA.
    For Kariuki, life in his small Kenyan village is one great adventure. It gets even more interesting when he meets Nigel, an English boy who is visiting his grandfather. Kariuki befriends Nigel even though the rest of the villagers fear him and call him "the mzungu boy." (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Myers, Walter Dean. The Dream Bearer. J Fic MYE.
    During a summer in Harlem, David relies on his mother and a close friend and on an old man he meets in the park to help him come to terms with his father's outbursts and unstable behavior. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    A Handbook for Boys. J Teen MYE.
    Sixteen-year-old Jimmy, on probation for assault, talks about life with three old men in a Harlem barbershop and hears about the tools he can use to get what he wants. (HEAVY)

    Monster. Teen MYE.
    While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken. (HEAVY)

    Scorpions. J Teen MYE.
    After reluctantly taking on the leadership of the Harlem gang, the Scorpions, Jamal finds that his enemies treat him with respect when he acquires a gun--until a tragedy occurs. (MEDIUM)

    Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Shiloh. J Award Fic NAY.
    When he finds a lost beagle in the hills behind his West Virginia home, Marty tries to hide it from his family and the dog's real owner, a mean-spirited man known to shoot deer out of season and to mistreat his dogs. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Park, Linda Sue. A Single Shard. J Award Hist. Fic PAR.
    Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters' village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself. (MEDIUM)

    Paterson, Katherine. Flip Flop Girl. J Fic PAT.
    From School Library Journal:
    Grade 4-6-Sorrow and loneliness sweep over Vinnie and her little brother, Mason, after their father dies and their mother moves them to a small town to live with their grandmother. Mason has been mute since the funeral, and Vinnie's mother, overwhelmed with worry about him and her struggle to support the family, seems to have nothing left to give her daughter. Thrust into a new school, without friends or the right clothes, and with rumors about her troubled brother wafting around her, Vinnie is drawn to a very tall, very odd girl who wears long dresses and orange flip-flops. (LIGHT)

    The Great Gilly Hopkins. J Fic PAT.
    An eleven-year-old foster child tries to cope with her longings and fears as she schemes against everyone who tries to be friendly. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. J Fic PAU.
    Also other tales about Brian (from Hatchet)--The River; Brian's Return; Brian's Winter
    After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the wilderness, learning to survive with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents' divorce. (MEDIUM)

    Pearsall, Shelley. Crooked River. J Hist. Fic PEA.
    When twelve-year old Rebecca Carter's father brings a Native American accused of murder into their 1812 Ohio settlement town, Rebecca, witnessing the town's reaction to the Indian, struggles with the idea that an innocent man may be convicted and sentenced to death. (MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Peck, Robert Newton. Soup. J Fic PEC.
    Good for early readers; see the story about cheating the recycle man by putting a stone in the foil. (LIGHT)

    Philbrick, Rodman. Freak the Mighty. J Teen PHI.
    At the beginning of eighth grade, learning disabled Max and his new friend Freak, whose birth defect has affected his body but not his brilliant mind, find that when they combine forces they make a powerful team. (MEDIUM)

    Porter, Pamela. The Crazy Man. J Teen POR.
    From Booklist:
    Gr. 6-8. After Emaline, 11, is crippled by an accident with her father's tractor in 1965, Daddy kills her beloved dog, Prince, and walks away from the farm on the Saskatchewan prairie. Mom takes in Angus from the local mental hospital to help with the farm work, but the neighbors jeer and complain about the "sub-human" crazy man on the loose. Emaline never denies Angus' illness, but she sees his kindness and strength, and they help each other with their work and with their grief. (MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows. J Fic RAW.
    A young boy living in the Ozarks achieves his heart's desire when he becomes the owner of two redbone hounds and teaches them to be champion hunters. (LIGHT)

    Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief. J Teen RIO.
    Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson learns he is a demigod, the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea. His mother sends him to a summer camp for demigods where he and his new friends set out on a quest to prevent a war between the gods. Sequel is The Sea of Monsters. (MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Sachar, Louis. Holes. J Award Fic SAC.
    As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself. (MEDIUM)

    Small Steps. J Fic SAC.
    This sequel to Holes shows Armpit trying to work hard and stay on the right track after time in a correctional facility and halfway house. But when old friend X-Ray enters the picture, he could be in for a train wreck. (MEDIUM)

    There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom. J Fic SAC.
    An unmanageable, but lovable, eleven-year-old misfit learns to believe in himself when he gets to know the new school counselor, who is a sort of misfit too. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Said, S.F. Varjak Paw. J Fic SAI.
    Guided by the spirit of his legendary Mesopotamian ancestor, Jalal, Varjak Paw, a pure-bred cat, leaves his home and pampered existence and sets out to save his family from the evil Gentleman who took their owner, the Contessa, away. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Schmidt, Gary. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. J Teen SCH.
    In 1911, Turner Buckminster hates his new home of Phippsburg, Maine, but things improve when he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from a poor, nearby island community founded by former slaves that the town fathers--and Turner's--want to change into a tourist spot. (MEDIUM)

    Smith, Hope Anita. The Way a Door Closes. J Fic SMI.
    From School Library Journal:
    Grade 4-8-In 34 compelling poems, readers are drawn into the thoughts and feelings of a 13-year-old African American as he tries to understand and cope with a parent's departure from the family. The first 12 poems describe the contentment C. J. feels about being a part of a close-knit family. With the 13th poem, "The Way a Door Closes," his father abruptly leaves home. (MEDIUM)

    Smith, Roland. Zach's Lie. J Fic SMI.
    When Jack Osborne is befriended by his school's custodian and a Basque girl, he begins to adjust to his family's sudden move to Elko, Nevada, after entering the Witness Security Program, but the drug cartel against which his father will testify is determined to track them down. (MEDIUM)

    Spinelli, Jerry. Crash. J Fic SPI.
    Seventh-grader John "Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy and his grandfather's stroke make him consider the meaning of friendship and the importance of family. (MEDIUM)

    Maniac Magee. J Award Fic SPI.
    From Publishers Weekly:
    Winner of the Newbery Medal, this humorous yet poignant tall tale concerns a super-athletic teenager who bridges his town's racial gap. Ages 8-12. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Stargirl. J Fic SPI.
    In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.(MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Wringer. J Fic SPI.
    As Palmer comes of age, he must either accept the violence of being a wringer at his town's annual Pigeon Day or find the courage to oppose it. (MEDIUM)

    Stauffacher, Sue. Harry Sue. J Fic STA.
    Although tough-talking Harry Sue would like to start a life of crime in order to be "sent up" and find her incarcerated mother, she must first protect the children at her neglectful grandmother's home day care center and befriend a paralyzed boy. (MEDIUM)

    Taylor, Mildred. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. J Award Fic TAY.
    A black family living in the South during the 1930's are faced with prejudice and discrimination which their children don't understand. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Taylor, Theodore. The Cay. J Fic TAY.
    When the freighter on which they are traveling is torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II, an adolescent white boy, blinded by a blow on the head, and an old black man are stranded on a tiny Caribbean island where the boy acquires a new kind of vision, courage, and love from his old companion. (MEDIUM)

    Tolan, Stephanie. Surviving the Applewhites. J Teen TOL.
    Jake, a budding juvenile delinquent, is sent for home schooling to the arty and eccentric Applewhite family's Creative Academy, where he discovers talents and interests he never knew he had. (MEDIUM)

    Weeks, Sarah. So B It. J Fic WEE.
    After spending her life with her mentally retarded mother and agora phobic neighbor, twelve-year-old Heidi sets out from Reno, Nevada, to New York to find out who she is. (MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Wolff, Virginia Euwer. Make Lemonade. Teen WOL.
    From School Library Journal:
    Grade 7-12-Narrator Heather Simms brings to life 14-year-old LaVaughn, a powerful character in the novel by Virginia Euwer Wolff (Holt, 1993). Living in the projects but determined to be the first person in her family to go on to college, LaVaughn takes a job babysitting for Jolly, the teenage mother of two-year-old Jeremy and baby Jilly, whose life is the epitome of disorganization. (MEDIUM to HEAVY)

    Woods, Brenda. The Red Rose Box. J Fic WOO.
    In 1953, Leah Hopper dreams of leaving the poverty and segregation of her home in Sulphur, Louisiana, and when Aunt Olivia sends train tickets to Los Angeles as part of her tenth birthday present, Leah and her sister Ruth get a first taste of freedom. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Woodson, Jacqueline. I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This. (On order)
    From Amazon.com:
    Two girls: one white, one black; one abused, one protected, both missing their mothers. An unlikely friendship ignites between the two, and, in sharing their differences, both of their lives are transformed. Jacqueline Woodson won a Coretta Scott King Honor for this moving, tightly written tale of friendship, racism, and loss. In a starred review, The Horn Book calls it a "haunting and beautifully poetic novel." (LIGHT TO MEDIUM)

    Locomotion. J Fic WOO.
    In a series of poems, eleven-year-old Lonnie writes about his life, after the death of his parents, separated from his younger sister, living in a foster home, and finding his poetic voice at school. (LIGHT)

    Yee, Lisa. Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time. J Fic YEE.
    After flunking sixth-grade English, basketball prodigy Stanford Wong must struggle to pass his summer-school class, keep his failure a secret from his friends, and satisfy his academically demanding father. (LIGHT to MEDIUM)

    Zevin, Gabrielle. Elsewhere. Teen ZEV.
    After fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that is both like and unlike Earth, where she must adjust to her new status and figure out how to "live." (HEAVY)

Nonfiction for Juvenile Justice Reading Program (listed by call number, title and author)--Reading Levels not listed for Nonfiction titles

Also consider audio versions, folk tales, puppet shows, readers theatre, poetry, Poetry Alive!, nonfiction adventure (survival) stories

Books for the Teen Age – NYPL
http://teenlink.nypl.org/bta1.cfm