LITERACY NERD ALERT: After setting up our Open eBook accounts, we spent the past several days browsing through its catalogue of books. At first, we thought there were hundreds of books, but we soon realized there were thousands upon thousands. This is very exciting, but it can be overwhelming to an untrained eye or to a student.
As middle school literacy teachers, we know the books that kids love, so we’ve made several lists of authors and titles that are the very best available on Open eBooks. One genre that stands out is “Strong Girls.” The protagonists in these books are girls who overcome struggles, such as racism, bullying, disability and poverty. These are the role models we want young girls to follow. Here’s a list of authors and titles that fit the bill.
Sharon Draper is reliably one of the finest young adult authors who prominently features women of color. Draper has tackled issues ranging from slavery to disability to poverty. Three of her finest works are available on Open eBooks:
Stella by Starlight is Ms. Draper’s newest book. It’s historical fiction based on her grandmother’s interaction with the KKK as a 5th grader growing up in North Carolina.
Out of My Mind won the Coretta Scott King Award, which celebrates books about the African-American experience. The protagonist, Melody, is a young girl who suffers from cerebral palsy but has a photographic memory.
Double Dutch is the story of Delia, a girl who is talented at Double Dutch but is hiding the secret that she can’t read. Characters in this story also encounter violence, bullying and parental abandonment.
Rachel Renè Russell
Rachel Renè Russell is the author of the Dork Diaries series, which is soon to be made into a major motion picture. This series tracks the middle school travails of Nikki Maxwell – a blue collar girl going to a posh private school. Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets The Princess Diaries. If you’re looking for supplementary materials, check out our comprehension questions and guided reading plan.
Melissa De La Cruz
Melissa De La Cruz is the author of the popular Blue Bloods series, which is available at a steep discount from First Book. Available on Open eBooks is one of her other series, The Ashley Project. In these books, Lauren is on a mission to take down the school bullies, AKA, The Ashleys.
Malala Yousafzai has turned tragedy into triumph. I Am Malala is the autobiography of, Malala, the brave young woman who stood up for social justice and women’s education after being shot by the Taliban.
Megan McDonald is the author of the famous Judy Moody series. Judy is a sassy and persistent 3rd grader who takes matters into her own hands and fights injustice wherever she sees it.
Need help implementing this with your students? Contact Rob via email at Rob@GrowingReadersDC.com or Matt via email at Matt@Growing ReadersDC.com