School Book List Titles

Browse a Collection of texts frequently assigned in literature classrooms, including well-studied classics and contemporary literature. Representitive of the breadth of the literary tradition, the School Book List Titles Collection features texts for readers of all age levels, from children's literature to plays and novels centered on adult themes.

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Fantasy, Realistic Fiction, Magical Realism

Publication year 1949Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: SiblingsTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, British Literature

George Orwell’s dystopian novel1984 (also written as Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel) was originally published in 1949. Orwell was known for social and political criticism in his writing. He supported democratic socialism and opposed totalitarianism—political stances that come through in the themes of his most well-known works.Edition note: This novel is available in the public domain in many countries, and this summary is based on the electronically published version made available by Planet eBook. The edition... Read 1984 Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Action / Adventure, Realistic Fiction, Survival Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 2011Genre Graphic Novel/Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: ColonialismTags History: African , Race / Racism

Publication year 1936Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Race, Society: Nation, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Southern Gothic, American Civil War

William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! (1936) is one of the many texts in Faulkner’s oeuvre that is set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. Faulkner is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, a designation earned due to his innovative and stylistic modernist techniques, which he uses to investigate the history and identity of the American South. Faulkner, who grew up in Mississippi and spent the majority of his life there, was deeply... Read Absalom, Absalom Summary

Publication year 1990Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature, Class, Relationships, Parenting, Love / Sexuality, American Literature

Publication year 1843Genre Novella, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Society: Class, Life/Time: BirthTags Victorian Period, Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Holidays & Occasions

Originally published in 1843, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol defined and popularized quintessential Christmas tropes while condemning Victorian England’s harsh social division between the rich and poor. The Poor Laws (referenced by Scrooge in Stave 1) were England’s response to pervasive poverty; the workhouses associated with these laws subjected the desperate and destitute to demeaning conditions, and people who could not pay debts were sent to debtors’ prison—a circumstance that Dickens deals with in detail... Read A Christmas Carol Summary

Publication year 1880Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionTags Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy, Russian Literature

Publication year 1964Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, American Civil War

Across Five Aprils (1964) is a young adult (YA) historical novel written by the American children’s book author Irene Hunt. A coming-of-age story, the novel follows young Jethro Creighton through four years of his life from the beginning to the end of the American Civil War. Irene Hunt based the novel largely on the experiences of her own grandfather who, like Jethro, was only nine years old when the Civil War began.The book was Hunt’s... Read Across Five Aprils Summary

Publication year 1840Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Romanticism / Romantic Period, British Literature

Publication year 1849Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Romanticism / Romantic Period, Grief / Death

Publication year 2015Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Class, Identity: Gender, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Society: ColonialismTags Immigration / Refugee

Publication year 1979Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 is the best-known book by children’s author and educator Joan W. Blos. The novel is presented as the fictional journal of Catherine Hall, a young girl living in New Hampshire before the Civil War. Through Catherine’s journal entries, the novel portrays the daily life, challenges, and changes in a young girl’s world over two years, including personal loss, the complexities of friendship, and an encounter... Read A Gathering of Days Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Society: Community, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Realistic Fiction, Race / Racism, Class

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Grandparents, Self Discovery, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Immigration, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Realistic Fiction

Publication year 1838Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Russian Literature

A Hero of Our Time is a classic work of Russian literature written by Mikhail Lermontov and published in 1840. It exemplifies the “superfluous man” trope common in later Russian literature, in which a person of great talent and genius is unable to express these talents healthily due to personal and societal circumstances of some kind. The novel was highly influential for its critique of tsarist Russian society and for its iconic antihero, who came... Read A Hero Of Our Time Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: Colonialism, Society: EducationTags Historical Fiction, Social Justice, Class, Education, History: World, History: Asian, History: European, Incarceration, Politics / Government

Publication year 1961Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Life/Time: Birth, Identity: Mental Health, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Midlife, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Society: Class, Society: Colonialism, Society: Community, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: EconomicsTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Poverty, Finance / Money / Wealth, Depression / Suicide, Class, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Indian Literature

A House for Mr. Biswas is a 1961 novel by V. S. Naipaul. The story takes a postcolonial perspective of the life of a Hindu Indian man in British-owned and occupied Trinidad. Now regarded as one of Naipaul's most significant novels, A House for Mr. Biswas has won numerous awards and has been adapted as a musical, a radio drama, and a television show. This guide is written using an eBook version of the 2001... Read A House for Mr. Biswas Summary

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Classic Fiction, Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece

Ajax is an ancient Athenian tragedy by Sophocles. Its production date, the festival at which it was first presented, and the other tragedies performed alongside it remain unknown, but it is believed to be among Sophocles’s earlier plays, possibly from the 440s BC. The narrative retells a story from Trojan war mythology concerning the suicide of the hero Ajax and its aftermath, exploring the hero’s excesses, reversals of fortune, and social bonds.This study guide refers... Read Ajax Summary

Publication year 1909Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: AnimalsTags Lyric Poem

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Play: Tragedy, Ancient Greece

Publication year 1865Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Fantasy, Victorian Period, Classic Fiction, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by British author Lewis Carroll (1832-1838) is a classic work of nonsense literature first published in 1865. Originally intended for children, the novel has become a perennial favorite of adults thanks to Carroll’s sophisticated wordplay and humor. Carroll’s work has influenced or inspired authors as diverse as James Joyce and Neil Gaiman, surrealist painters like Salvador Dalí, and the philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The novel has never been out of print and... Read Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland Summary

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Action / Adventure

Publication year 1981Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: ColonialismTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure

Publication year 2002Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Lyric Poem

Publication year 2021Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Gratitude, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Animals, Health / Medicine, Education

Publication year 1929Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Military / War, Historical Fiction, WWI / World War I

All Quiet on the Western Front is a 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque which details the experiences of German soldiers at the frontlines of World War I. At the heart of the novel are graphic portrayals of trench warfare and the psychological trauma inflicted on the soldiers as a result. The novel presents a realistic portrait of a horrific war and provides unflattering accounts of the elite classes responsible for such mass destruction. The... Read All Quiet on the Western Front Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novella, FictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Life/Time: The FutureTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Science / Nature

Publication year 1946Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Family, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Southern Literature, Politics / Government

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren is a fictional political novel originally published in 1946 by Harcourt Brace & Company. Robert Penn Warren was an acclaimed novelist and poet from the American South. Along with fellow Southerners Cleanth Brooks and John Crowe Ransom, he was a leading proponent of the literary critical approach known as New Criticism. His best-known novel, All the King’s Men follows the political rise and fall of Governor Willie... Read All the King's Men Summary

Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Natural World: AnimalsTags Historical Fiction, Western, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

All the Pretty Horses (1992) is a novel by Cormac McCarthy and a winner of the National Book Award. The book follows a young man, John Grady Cole, and his best friend Lacey Rawlins as they run away to Mexico in the late 1940s. A bestseller and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, All the Pretty Horses is the first novel in McCarthy’s Border Trilogy and helped increase the American novelist’s popularity and... Read All The Pretty Horses Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Teams, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Action / Adventure, Sports, History: Asian, Leadership/Organization/Management, Science / Nature, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2021Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Self Discovery, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Action / Adventure, Survival Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Grandparents, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: NostalgiaTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Great Depression

Written by Richard Peck in 1998 and told as a series of related short stories, A Long Way From Chicago is a novel about two siblings and their adventures with their grandmother over the span of six summers from 1929 to 1935. The work was a Newbery Honor book in 1999, and its sequel, A Year Down Yonder, won the Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 2001. Richard Peck (1934-2018) was the award-winning American novelist... Read A Long Way from Chicago Summary

Publication year 1899Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Lyric Poem, Existentialism, Realism

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Race / Racism

Publication year 1998Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Nation, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Society: ImmigrationTags Immigration / Refugee

Publication year 1975Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: FriendshipTags Play: Drama, American Literature, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Drama / Tragedy

American Buffalo is a 1975 off-Broadway play written by American playwright David Mamet. It first premiered in Chicago’s Goodman Theater in 1975, reaching Broadway in 1977. Along with two other plays, The Duck Variations (1971) and Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1974), American Buffalo established Mamet as a reputable writer. The play explores friendship and greed among the working classes. The 1976 publication from Grove Press (New York) serves as the basis for this guide.The play... Read American Buffalo Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Life/Time: The Future, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Lyric Poem, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Black Lives Matter, African American Literature

Publication year 1927Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Immigration, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: ClassTags Classic Fiction, Immigration / Refugee, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Action / Adventure, Satire, Class

Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Among the Hidden is a young adult dystopian novel that follows the story of Luke Garner, a child whose existence is illegal due to a population law that prohibits people from having more than two children. He meets a fellow third child for the first time and learns about the history and structure of his country’s dystopian society. Among the Hidden was first published in 1998 and is Haddix’s fourth full-length novel... Read Among the Hidden Summary

Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Society: War, Relationships: MarriageTags Historical Fiction, British Literature, WWI / World War I

A Month in the Country is a fiction novel published in 1980 by the British author J.L. Carr, a retired schoolteacher and publisher. The novel tells the deceptively spare tale of Thomas Birkin, a veteran of World War One who, having just returned from overseas, accepts summer employment to restore a mural. Dating back nearly five centuries, the mural adorns the wall of an old country church in northern England. During the weeks he painstakingly... Read A Month in the Country Summary

Publication year 1925Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: MarriageTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Drama / Tragedy, American Literature

Published in 1925, Theodore Dreiser’s realist novel An American Tragedy is one of the author’s most critically acclaimed works. Set in the 1920s in Kansas City, Chicago, and small-town New York state, the novel is the story of how Clyde Griffiths, the son of poor, itinerant preachers, kills Roberta Alden during a boat trip in the Adirondack Mountains.This guide is based on the Kindle edition published by Rosetta Books.Content Warning: This novel contains racist slurs... Read An American Tragedy Summary

Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Society: ColonialismTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Modernism

Published in 1939, And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, best-selling novelist of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. With over 100 million copies sold, And Then There Were None is the world’s best-selling crime novel as well as one of the best-selling books of all time. It has had more adaptations than any other work by Agatha Christie, including television programs, films, radio broadcasts, and most... Read And Then There Were None Summary

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: WarTags Fantasy, Romance, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill, 2015) is the first in the An Ember in the Ashes series, followed by A Torch Against the Night. This young adult fantasy novel follows an elite warrior and a peasant girl as they find what it means to be free in a brutal world. An Ember in the Ashes debuted at number two on the young adult New York Times bestsellers list and was also... Read An Ember in the Ashes Summary

Publication year 1734Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Philosophy, Relationships, Religion / Spirituality, Neoclassical, Didacticism

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: ArtTags Animals, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Action / Adventure

Publication year 2018Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: NationTags Social Justice, Race / Racism

Publication year 1993Genre Play, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Play: Drama, LGBTQ, History: U.S.

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by the American playwright Tony Kushner is an epic story that spans two plays – Millennium Approaches, first produced in 1991, and Perestroika, which debuted in 1992. The entire two-part work premiered on Broadway in 1993. Angels in America is Kushner’s most well-known work and is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most significant American plays of the 20th century. Angels in America... Read Angels in America Summary

Publication year 1879Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: ClassTags Classic Fiction, Russian Literature

Anna Karenina is Leo Tolstoy’s second novel, following War and Peace (1869). Serially published in 1877, Anna Karenina depicts the efforts of its titular character to escape an unhappy marriage to her older, civil servant husband and pursue a love affair with a young and dashing count, Alexei Vronsky. The novel is a sweeping family drama exploring Tolstoy’s interest in marriage, family, agrarian politics, and gender roles. The work is also a portrait of Russian... Read Anna Karenina Summary

Publication year 1908Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Anne of Green Gables is a world-renowned classic children’s novel first published in 1908 by Canadian author L. M. Montgomery. Set in the latter part of the 19th century in fictional Avonlea, a small town on Prince Edward Island, Canada, the story follows the accidental arrival of a precocious 11-year-old orphan girl, Anne Shirley, at Green Gables, the family homestead of middle-aged siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Many mishaps, adventures, and ultimate successes follow Anne... Read Anne Of Green Gables Summary