Complete list for grades 8-12
GRADE Eight Grade Nine
The Boy in the Striped The Hunger Games Trilogy-
Pajamas by John Boyne Suzanne Collins
A Monster Calls by Patrick 1984-George Orwell
Ness (great for reluctant
readers) Unwind-Neal Shusterman
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Romeo and Juliet-William
Holes by Louis Sachar
To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper
The Tuesday Cafe by Don
The Taming of the Shrew The Absolutely True Diary of a
by William Shakespeare Part-time Indian-Sherman Alexie
Percy Jackson & The
The Golden Compass/The Subtle
Olympians (series) by Rick
Knife/The Amber Spyglass-Philip
Pullman (Some controversy as
Flowers for Algernon by
God dies. Could be grade ten as
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Iqbal by Francesco Pigman-Paul Zindel
D’Adamo Of Mice and Men- John
Inner City Girl like Me- Sabrina
Grade Ten Grade Twelve
The Alchemist-Paulo Coelho The Kite Runner-Khaled Hosseini
A Separate Peace-John Knowles The Lovely Bones-Alice Sebold
A Midsummer Night’s Dream- William Neverwhere-Anansi Boys-American Gods-Neil
Shakespeare Gaiman (American Gods is
excellent if also planning to
Macbeth-Shakespeare study media literacy)
The Glass Menagerie-Tennessee Williams Hamlet-Shakespeare
Bite of the Mango-Mariatu Kamara The Crucible-Arthur Miller
Crank-Ellen Hopkins Long Way Gone-Ishmael Beah (Memoir)
The Soloist-Steve Lopez The Gap-Ian Ross (Based on the Winnipeg flood
Chrysalids- John Windhym
The Handmaid`s Tale-Margaret Atwood
Generals Die in Bed-Charles Yale Harrison
Not Wanted on the Voyage-Timothy Findley
Grade Eleven (Canadian)
Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)- The English Patient-Michael Ondaatje
Anne-Marie Macdonald (Canadian)
Wild Geese-Martha Ostenso (Manitoba
A Doll’s House-Henrik Ibsen
The Great Gatsby-F. Scott Fitzgerald
Brave New World-Aldous Huxley
Tess Of the D’Ubervilles-Thomas Hardy
Life of Pi-Yann Martel
Frankenstein- Mary Shelley
Othello- William Shakespeare
• Our book choices for grades 8 through 12 have a variety of themes
and reading levels. The diversity of the selections allows for
flexibility in a classroom that embraces individuality.
Furthermore, students are beginning to strengthen their own
identities as teenagers in a variety of ways across the grade levels.
The themes of dreams, romance, racial conflict, death and war, are
very effective for assisting learners in maturing as readers. Some of
the choices may also appear at other grade levels. English language
arts teachers must remember that appropriate reading selections
are dependent on classroom profiles. Some classes or schools with
high populations of EAL learners, or below or above grade level
readers must adapt reading lists accordingly. We encourage you to
be creative with your choices!
GRADE EIGHT: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
By John Boyne
• The Boy in the Striped Pajamas would be an appropriate read for a
Grade 8 student.
• Vocabulary is fairly straightforward.
• Plot is easy to follow.
• Can be taught in conjunction with, or as a follow up to the grade 7
Human Rights unit, as a part of a social justice unit, etc.
• Scholastic lists the ‘equivalent grade level’ of this novel at 8.3.
• Students at this age & grade level are mature enough for the
subject at hand (The Holocaust).
• [Novel is set in 1943 during WWII.]
• Bruno is a naive, 9 year old German boy and son of the Commandant of the SS Army. He
lives a good life in Berlin until he and his family must move to Auschwitz because of his
father's job. Bruno’s boredom and love of exploration lead him to wander along the fence
dividing his home and the Auschwitz concentration camp. Here, Bruno meets Shmuel; a 9
year old Jewish boy imprisoned on the opposite side of the fence. Bruno visits Shmuel
everyday, and the two boys begin a secret, yet heart-warming friendship.
• Bruno and Shmuel decide to live-out one final adventure before Bruno is to return to Berlin
[“Auschwitz is no place for children”] to help Shmuel look for his father who has ‘gone
missing’. Shmuel gives Bruno a pair of ‘striped pajamas’ and he crawls under a gap in the
fence. While investigating the camp for clues, Bruno and Shmuel get tangled up in a march
and end up in a gas chamber.
• The novel ends one year later with Bruno’s father going back to the spot where his son’s
clothes were recovered. He notices a gap in the fence small enough for a boy of his son’s
size to crawl under. He falls to the ground in devastation and is incarcerated by the Red
Army when Auschwitz is finally liberated.
Three teaching activities
• 1.) Bruno’s homes: Artistic Representation
• Draw your version of Bruno’s first home in Berlin and second home in
Auschwitz. While you are to be creative, you must stay true to the specific
details given about each home in the novel. Label all of the details you
• 2.) Write the ‘Letter to Grandmother’
• In chapter 8, Bruno writes a letter to his grandmother. Readers only hear
about the beginning ‘Dear Grandmother’ and the end ‘your loving
grandson, Bruno’. Students are now offered the opportunity to write that
letter. Students are expected to brainstorm and compose a letter that
would include all of the important information Bruno would tell his
• 3.) Book in a Bag (Final Project)
• ‘Book in a bag’ is a creative version of a book report that is orally
presented to the class. On the front of the paper bag, students must
come up with a cover illustration that they think is appropriate/fitting for
the text; on the back, students provide a summary of the novel. Students
must then fill the inside of the bag with articles/items/photos that they
can use to explain the novel. This project is then presented orally to the
Before and after supplementary readings
•Hana’s Suitcase [Karen Levine]
•Night [Elie Wiesel]
•The Diary of Anne Frank
•Maus (Graphic Novel)[Art Spiegelman]
•Yossel (Graphic Novel) [Joe Kubert]
•I Never Saw Another Butterfly [Hana
Volavokva] *collection of poetry and
illustrations written by children in the Terezin
GRADE NINE: The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins
• Because this novel has been presented a number of
times, I respectfully submit that you do not need to
hear the summary again from me…
• In grade eight students have studied The Boy in the
Striped Pajamas, The Diary of Anne Frank and Maus. In
grade nine while studying The Hunger Games, we will
weave continuity into our learning by examining the
Holocaust (among many other themes) as it relates
to The Hunger Games.
MAJOR THEMES IN THE HUNGER GAMES
Image and Appearances
Society and Class structure
Strength and Skill
Freedom and Oppression
Man-made vs. Naturally made
• 1. The Hunger Games and The Holocaust
• During the reading of the Hunger Games take time to consider connections
between Suzanne Collins novel and the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler wanted to
create a ‘New Order’, which included domination and extermination. As a
result, millions of innocent people died. Although the Holocaust was not a
public form of entertainment, previously decent people were convinced to
commit horrible acts. Were they brainwashed? Why did they agree to kill
friends and neighbors? In this activity students will form research and
discussion groups. Big questions will be explored and researched with
specific reference to the novel and the history of the Holocaust. Each
group will be assigned a different character, setting or theme that might
have a connection to the Holocaust and then present their findings and
ideas to the larger group.
TEACHING ACTIVITIES CONTINUED
• 2. The Hunger Games is told from the point of view of Katniss
Everdeen. This activity will give students the opportunity to get
inside of another characters head. Each student will choose a
character from the novel and keep a journal of their thoughts from
the beginning of the games until the end. Encourage students to
also express their characters’ thoughts in the form of poetry and
song. The journal can also include, drawings, maps designs etc.
• 3. After the novel is complete place the students into 13 groups. The
Capitol and the 12 districts. Groups will use the information from the
novel to create a map of Panem. Based on the industry, agriculture
etc. in each district students will deduce where in the United States
the district is found. Drawings, maps, rationales, research and more
should be included in the final project.
SUPPLEMENTARY TEXTS AND MATERIALS
• Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and
• Heroes. The story of Theseus and King Minos of Crete
• The story of Joan of Arc: Comparing Katniss to Joan of Arc ( allows for
incorporation of Feminist literary criticism)
• Neal Shusterman-Unwind: Children running for their lives in a world where
their body parts may be harvested for use by other people.
• William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar for the theme of downfall of the
powerful, and Romeo and Juliet for the theme of star-crossed lovers.
• John Steinbeck: Grapes of Wrath- Ordinary people struggling to survive in
horrendous circumstances. Conflict between classes, rich landowners, bankers
and farmers. (allows for incorporation of Marxist literary criticism)
• George Orwell- 1984: A perfect synergist text that explores a similar dystopian
society with rigid controls, distinct class structures and constant surveillance.
• William Golding-Lord of the Flies: Illustrates how primitive and vicious young
people can become when forced to survive in a wilderness setting.
• Shirley Jackson- The Lottery
• Reality television – Survivor and Big Brother
• Films- The Truman Show ( 1998) and Gladiator (2000)
• Famous quote: “ ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”
GRADE TEN: The Alchemist
By Paulo Coelho
• The novel is about the journey of a boy, and the pursuit of his
life long dream. Santiago is a young shepherd from
Andalusia, Spain. During his travels through the
countryside, he spends the night at an abandoned church.
While he is asleep, Santiago has a vision of himself at the
pyramids in Egypt and a young boy tells him that if he comes
there he will find a hidden treasure. Santiago then embarks on
the adventure of a lifetime to the pyramids and back to his
home in Andalusia. Along the way, he learns many valuable
lessons, forms new friendships and finds his treasure.
However, readers ultimately learn that the greatest treasure
is found in the journey and not the destination.
•Dreams and the pursuit of
•Love vs. Personal Endeavors
•The connection of man and
•The power of fear
Strategies for implementation
• Reading Responses:
• 1. As Santiago, write a letter to your father about what has
happened to you so far and where you are currently (pg. 3-
• 2. Melchizedek says to Santiago, “When you really want
something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that
your wish comes true.” Write a response that captures a
time in your own life when you had a wish, and you felt that
the whole universe conspired “for” or “against” you. What
happened to make you feel that way? Did your wish come
true? (This response should be a ½ page in length).
• 3. Read pages 146-155. Write a news report as if you are a
tribesman watching Santiago turn himself into the wind (The
report should be ¾ of a page in length).
Dreams and Personal Legends Essay Assignment
Music and literature share a common trait of portraying the thoughts and feelings of people. In The
Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, the human endeavor of fulfilling dreams is portrayed by Santiago. His
struggles and successes during his journey reveal some common perceptions about dreams, or personal
legends. These common perceptions are also revealed in music through lyrics and other musical devices
such as tempo, bridge and interlude.
How does the author’s view of dreams/personal legends during Santiago’s journey parallel the views of
the artist in the song you have selected?
Ex. Lose Yourself By Eminem
Example Thesis Statement:
Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist and Eminem’s Lose Yourself portray the persistence required to
overcome struggles in following ones personal legend or dream.
A list of song choices is provided below:
Dreamer By SuperTramp
Lose Yourself By Eminem
I Will Sail My Vessel By Garth Brooks
Fatima By K’naan
• The Story of Narcissus
• For comparison to the text version.
• Lose Yourself by Eminem
• Dreamer by Supertramp
• I Will Sail My Vessel by Fatima
• Fatima by K’naan
All songs can be used for an essay assignment dealing
with the theme of dreams.
GRADE ELEVEN: Goodnight Desdemona
(Good Morning Juliet)
By Anne-Marie MacDonald
• We selected this book for a grade 11 ELA class. The text is
written both in modern English as well as Shakespearean style
language. Therefore, students need to have a firm grasp of
Shakespearean language before attempting this play. GDGMJ
makes reference to both Othello and Romeo and Juliet. If you
are able, it is best to structure the readings so that GDGMJ is
read after Romeo and Juliet, and perhaps in the same year as
Othello. Themes of identity and feminist theory begin to
emerge in this short play. Consequently, it can be a really
great time developmentally to begin to teach critical theories
that influence writing.
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) is written by Canadian Governor General Award
winning poet/writer Anne-Marie MacDonald (Oprah’s Book Club: Fall On Your Knees). This is a fantastic
example of Canadian Modern Drama. Although it borrows strongly from Elizabethan English the quirky and
witty Canadian tone is ever present.
In this drama Constance Ledbelly, an assistant professor that works with a fellow assistant
professor Claude Night at Queen’s University is fixated on a mysterious manuscript; one that if she can
decode will support her belief that Shakespeare was not the original author of his great plays. In the
beginning of the play we are told that she herself is the writer of Professor Night’s papers that have now
granted him a full professorship position at Oxford. The feminist themes begin to emerge at the very
beginning of the play with Constance, a brilliant writer in her own right, being over shadowed by her
contemporary, who is male.
• Magically one day, perhaps due to the mysterious manuscript, Constance is transported first into
the world of Desdemona where she manages to foil Iago’s plan to convince Othello to kill Desdemona.
Constance befriends Desdemona instead and begins to discover her own inner Amazon. Just as suddenly
as she popped into Othello she manages to pop out and land in Verona where she becomes the object of
affection for both Juliet and Romeo. As is the convention of the Bard himself there are many cross-gender
encounters and mistaken identities. As Constance makes her way through the two plays she rewrites not
only the scripts of the two Shakespearean plays but she also begins to recreate her own identity.
Pre-reading activity: Visual Analysis
Content: Students will work
individually to analyse the cover.
Students will be asked to consider
colour, style, space, line, perception
and use of multimedia. Students will
then join together in a small group
(3-4 students). Here, the students
will share and reflect on what was
discovered in the individual
assessment. Students will arrive at a
common understanding of the visual
text. A designated reporter will
share the group’s ideas to the class.
•Students will show understanding of
puns by finding an example in the text
and creating one of their own using the
words provided. Students will identify
the double meaning, decide whether the
pun is either homophonic or
homographic. Find a pun in GDGMJ.
Create a new pun using words provided.
Design a visual representation of your
After reading activity-Storytelling/Visual
Content: Students will create
groups of 2-3 and summarize
the story, recalling it in
order, piecing it together and
clarifying issues that may have
been missed. Once students
have a common understanding
of the story they will create a
summary using visual images
on a storyboard.
Phenomenal Woman (Maya Angelou)
Who said it was simple (Audre Lorde)
Flying Inside your Own Body (Margaret Atwood)
Siren Song (Margaret Atwood)
The Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins)
A Rose for Emily ( William Faulkner)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead ( Tom Stoppard)
A Doll’s House (Henrik Ibsen)
Othello & Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare)
The Awakening (by Kate Chopin)
Their Eyes were Watching God (Aora Neale Hurston)
GRADE TWELVE: The Kite Runner
By Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner is a novel by Khaled
Hosseini. Published in 2003 by Riverhead
Books, it is Hosseini's first novel, and was
adapted into a film of the same name in
The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, a
young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan
district of Kabul, whose closest friend is
Hassan, his father's young Hazara
servant. The story is set against a
backdrop of tumultuous events, from the
fall of Afghanistan's monarchy through
the Soviet invasion, the mass exodus of
refugees to Pakistan and the United
States, and the rise of the Taliban regime.
Courtesy of Wikipedia
THEMES SUPPLEMENTARY TEXTS:
• Betrayal Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid
• Role of books/literacy
• Coming of age Robert D. Kaplan, Soldiers of God: With
Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and
• Courage vs. Cowardice Pakistan.
• Cruelty and Evil
Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea~can
• Goodness and Friendship be taught with the ‘controversy’ in
• Guilt, injustice and healing mind, excellent discussion point. Make
comparisons to Sir Edmund Hillary
• Search for identity
• Power Mir Hekmatullah Sadat, The Afghan
• Salvation Sue Sherman, Cambridge Wizard Student
Guide: The Kite Runner by Khaled
• Truth Hosseini.
• Redemption http://www.teachervision.fen.com/tv/printables/penguin/
1. Research Afghan geography, history, and the Taliban.
Obtain an understanding of the physical and political surroundings in
Afghanistan, particularly in Kabul.
Research and report on the Taliban, the history, legacy and
devastating impacts its regime had on Afghanistan.
2. Create a word bank of Afghan words from the book, include
3-4 students work in groups, each group assigned to selected chapters.
Make a bookmarker with the words and translations.
3. Investigate the Afghani passion for kite fighting.
When the Taliban fell from power in Afghanistan kite
fighting once again became a legal activity. Create a
documentary or news report “from Kabul” on the history
and resurgence of the ancient sport. “Interview” kite
makers, flyers and runners ( etc.).
• Investigate Afghanistan and current Afghan
• Read newspapers from around the world, ie.
Canada, United States, Europe, & Afghanistan.
• Compare and contrast how key topics are
portrayed, explained, or omitted.
• Analyse how reading this novel has affected your
personal world view. (Class discussion required, with a
look again at the novel’s themes)
Kite Creation-ideally this would be
done in a workshop setting with
guidance from an expert kite maker.
• Extending from the pre-reading kite research each
student will design and create a kite that represents
• Utilize colour, motifs & symbols, monograms, family
• Write and discuss the thought process in the kite
• Compare and contrast kite fighting to a Canadian
Post-reading activities continued
1. Watch the movie and choose either:
Book & Film review
• Compare and contrast the film and the novel
• How well does the film capture the essence of the novel? Or, in your
opinion does it? What, if anything, was omitted from the film? Do
you agree disagree? Explain.
• Any other topics, ideas you wish to explore…
• 2. Choose a portion of the novel ( or film ) and re-write it as a poem
or a song.