Arrowhead Library System
Serving Rock County Libraries


Books and Resources Pertaining to Tolerance / Intolerance

A reading list compiled by Hedberg Public Library Staff, Janesville, WI
June 2002

Young Adult Fiction For Grades 6 through 12


Disabilities    Ethnic/Religious Issues    Homosexuality    Racial Issues    Articles


Bloor, Edward.  Tangerine.

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.


Brancato, Robin F.  Winning.

            Paralyzed as a result of a football accident, a high school student struggles to accept the reality of his condition and the effect it will have on his friendships and his future.


Crutcher, Chris.  The Crazy Horse Electric Game.

                A high school athlete, frustrated at being handicapped after an accident, runs away from home and is helped back to mental and physical health by a black benefactor and the people in a special school where he enrolls.


Holt, Kimberly Willis.  My Louisiana Sky.

                Growing up in Saitte, Louisiana, in the 1950’s, twelve-year-old Tiger Ann struggles with her feelings about her stern, but loving grandmother, her mentally slow parents, and her good friend and neighbor, Jesse.


Lewis, Catherine.  Postcards to Father Abraham.

                When sixteen-year-old Meghan loses her leg to cancer and her brother to Vietnam, she expresses intense anger in postcards which she writes to her idol, Abraham Lincoln.


Mikaelsen, Ben.  Petey.

                In 1922 Petey, who has cerebral palsy, is misdiagnosed as an idiot and institutionalized.  Sixty years later, still in the institution, he befriends a boy and shares with him the joy of life.


Mikaelsen, Ben.  Stranded.

                Twelve-year-old Koby, who has lost a foot in an accident, sees a chance to prove her self-reliance to her parents when she tries to rescue two stranded pilot whales near her home in the Florida Keys.


Powell, Randy.  Tribute to Another Dead Rock Star.

                For a tribute to his mother, a dead rock star, fifteen-year-old Grady returns to Seattle, where he faces his mixed feelings for his retarded younger half-brother Louie while pondering his own future.


Rottman, S.L.  Head Above Water.

                Skye, a high school junior, tries to find the time for both family obligations and personal interests, which include caring for her brother who has Down’s Syndrome, dating her first boyfriend, and swimming competitively.


Tamar, Erika.  Fair Game.

                High school senior Laura Jean is shocked when the school jocks are accused of gang-raping a retarded girl and her boyfriend Scott appears to be involved.


Voigt, Cynthia.  Izzy, Willy Nilly.

                A car accident causes fifteen-year-old Izzy to lose one leg and face the need to start building a new life as an amputee.


Werlin, Nancy.  Are You Alone on Purpose?

            When two lonely teenagers, one the son of a widower rabbi and the other the sister of an autistic twin, are drawn together by a tragic accident, they discover they have more in common than they guessed.


Other Titles (Less Than 200 Pages)


Crazy Lady by Conley.  180 pp. (mental illness)

Dovey Coe by Dowell.  181 pp.  (deafness)

Emily, Good as Gold by Rubin.  180 pp.  (learning disability)

Emily in Love by Rubin160 pp.  (learning disability)

Freak the Mighty by Philbrick.  169 pp.  (learning disability)

Lizard by Covington.  198 pp.  (disfigurement)

Midget by Bowler.  159 pp.  (mental illness)

The Monument by Paulsen.  151 pp.  (leg brace)

Peeling the Onion by Orr.  166 pp.  (broken neck)

So Much to Tell You by Marsden.  119 pp.  (disfigurement)

Stuck in Neutral by Trueman.  114 pp.  (cerebral palsy)

Unfirghtened Dark by Holland.  120 pp.  (blindness)

View from Saturday by Konisburg.  163 pp.  (paraplegic)

The Window by Ingold.  181 pp.  (blindness)


Ethnic/Religious Issues


Baer, Edith.  Walk the Dark Streets.

            Continues the story of Eva, a young Jewish girl living in Nazi Germany where she and her parents experience increasing tensions in daily life while considering possibilities of escape.


Carter, Peter.  The Hunted.

                In 1943, with the surrender of Italy to the Allies, Corporal Vito Salvani finds himself and the orphaned Jewish boy Judah trapped in enemy territory in France, where they must flee from an obsessed Gestapo agent.


Cooney, Caroline B.  Burning Up.

                When a girl she had met at an innercity church is murdered, fifteen-year-old Macey channels her grief into a school project that leads her to uncover prejudice she had not imagined in her grandparents and their  wealthy Connecticut community.


Crew, Linda.  Children of the River.

                Having fled Cambodia four years earlier to escape the Khmer Rouge army, seventeen-year-old Sundara is torn between remaining faithful to her own people and enjoying life in her Oregon high school as a “regular” American.


Hesse, Karen.  A Time of Angels.

                Sick with influenza during the 1918 epidemic and separated from her two sisters, a young Jewish girl living in Boston relies on the help of an old German man, and her visions of angels, to get better and to reunite herself with her family.


Lee, Marie G.  Necessary Roughness.

                Sixteen-year-old Korean American Chan moves from Los Angeles to a small town in Minnesota, where he must cope not only with racism on the football team but also with the tensions in his relationship with his strict father.


Levitin, Sonia.  The Singing Mountain.

                While traveling in Israel for the summer, seventeen-year-old Mitch decides to stay and pursue a life of Jewish orthodoxy, forcing him to make some important decisions about the family and life he is leaving southern California.


Lynch, Chris.  Blood Relations.              

                Uneasy with the drunken violence and prejudice of his brother and others in his Irish neighborhood in Boston, Mick makes friends with a somewhat enigmatic Spanish-speaking loner at school.


Namioka, Lensey.  April and the Dragon Lady.              

                Feeling confined by the traditional family attitudes of her strong-willed, manipulative grandmother, sixteen-year-old April Chen fights for her independence.


Napoli, Donna Jo.  Stones in Water.

                After being taken by German soldiers from a local movie theater along with other Italian boys including his Jewish friend, Roberto is forced to work in Germany, escapes into the Ukrainian winter, before desperately trying to make his way back home to Venice.


Pullman, Philip.  The Tiger in the Well.

                In London in 1881, twenty-four-year-old Sally finds her young daughter and her possessions assailed by an unknown enemy, while a shadowy figure known a the Tzaddik involves her in his plot to defraud and exploit the hordes of Jewish immigrants pouring into the country.


Wolff, Virginia Euwer.  Bat 6.

            In small town, post-World War Oregon, twenty-one 6th grade girls recount the story of an annual softball game, during which one girl’s bigotry comes to the surface.


Other Titles (Less Than 200 Pages)


After the War by Matas.  102 pp.

Behind the Bedroom Wall by Williams.  169 pp.

Daniel’s Story by Matas.  137 pp.

Devil’s Arithmetic by Yolen.  170 pp.

Final Journey by Pausewang.  153 pp.

The Garden by Matas.  102 pp.

In My Enemy’s House by Matas.  167 pp.

Land of Hope by Nixon.  171 pp.

Last Mission by Mazer.  188 pp.

Number the Stars by Lowry.  137 pp.

Torn Thread by Issacs.  188 pp.

Zack by Bell.  192 pp.




Cart, Michael.  My Father’s Scar:  A Novel.

                As he enters into his first relationship as a gay man, a college freshman recalls the aching loneliness of life with his alcoholic physically abusive father in a community prejudiced against homosexuals.


Garden, Nancy.  Annie on My Mind.

                Liza puts aside her feelings for Annie after the disaster at school, but eventually she allows love to triumph over the ignorance of people.


Homes, A.M.  Jack.

                Fifteen-year-old Jack’s confused feelings for his father, who left him and his mother four years earlier, are further complicated when he finds that his father is gay.


Koertge, Ronald.  The Arizona Kid.

                Sixteen-year-old Billy spends the summer with his gay uncle in Tucson and works at a racetrack where he falls in love with an outspoken horse exerciser named Cara Mae.


Larson, Rodger.  What I Know Now.

                In 1957 in California, having fallen in love with a young man who has come to his house to build a garden, a fourteen-year-old gay boy finds his life and his world view changing.


Ryan , Sara.  Empress of the World.

                While attending a summer institute, fifteen-year-old Nic meets another girl named Battle, falls in love with her, and finds the relationship to be difficult and confusing.


Wittlinger, Ellen.  Hard Love.

                After starting to publish a zine in which he writes his secret feelings about his lonely life and his parents’ divorce, sixteen-year-old John meets an unusual girl and begins to develop a healthier personality.


Other Titles (Less Than 200 Pages)

Baby-Be-Bop by Block.  106 pp.

Bad Boy by Wieler.  184 pp.

Breaking Boxes by Jenkins.  182 pp.

Blue Coyote by Ketchum.  196 pp.

Deliver Us from Evie by Kerr.  177 pp.

The Eagle Kite by Fox.  127 pp.

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Woodson.  141 pp.

“Hello,” I Lied by Kerr.  171 pp.

If It Doesn’t Kill You by Bechard.  156 pp.

Peter by Walker.  120 pp.

Tomorrow Wendy by Stoehr.  166 pp.


Racial Issues


Brady, Laurel.  Say You Are My Sister.

                In rural Georgia during World War II, twelve-year-old Ramona Louise determines to do everything to help her beloved older sister Georgie keep the family together after the death of their parents, even to keeping a secret which could destroy their close relationship.


Gordon, Sheila.  Waiting for the Rain:  A Novel of South Africa.

                Chronicles nine years in the loves of two South African youths, one black and one white, as their friendship ends in a violent confrontation between student and soldier.


Hamilton, Virginia.  A White Romance.

                As her all-black high school becomes more racially mixed, Talley befriends a white girl who shares her passion for running and becomes romantically involved with a drug dealer.


Hewett, Lorri.  Lives of Our Own.

                After her wealthy parents divorce, Shawna returns with her father to the small Georgia town where he grew up, and there she experiences new attitudes toward racial relations, learns something shocking about her father’s past, and discovers a surprising link with one of the “popular” white girls at school.


Klass, David.  Danger Zone.

                When he joins a predominately black “Teen Dream Team” that will be representing the United States in an international basketball tournament in Rome, Jimmy Doyle makes some unexpected discoveries about prejudice, racism, and politics.


Thomas, Rob.  Slave Day.

                Relates the events of a southern high school’s “Slave Day” auction and fund-raiser, which leads students, teachers, and even community members to rethink their approaches to their lives.


Other Titles (Less Than 200 Pages)


Any books by Mildred Taylor

Heart of the City by Koertge.  137 pp.

I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Woodson.  115 pp.


Three articles:

My Students, My Teachers, Myself  by Deborah Straw
Community College Week, 5/27/2002, Vol. 14, Issue 21, p. 4.

Tolerance and Understanding?  Students and Teachers Reflect on Differences at School by Elina Lahelma. 
Educational Research and Evaluation, Feb. 2004, Vol. 10, Issue 1, p. 3.

Noteworthy NorthEastWestSouth - Taking Action. 
Skipping Stones, Nov/Dec 2003, Vol 15, Issue 5, p. 31.