Teens: Books That Made an Impact on You

Books can impact you in many ways. They can relate to you, inform you, move you, entertain you, etc. We invited teens to share what books made an impact on them for whatever reason. Here’s what they wrote on the Library’s graffiti board.

A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

Afraid that she is crazy, thirteen-year-old Mia, who sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound, keeps this a secret until she becomes overwhelmed by school, changing relationships, and the loss of something important to her.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, “The $20,000 Pyramid,” a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

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.

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

With two attorneys for parents, thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone knows more about the law than most lawyers do. But when a high profile murder trial comes to his small town and Theo gets pulled into it, it’s up to this amateur attorney to save the day.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret

The author describes her battle against polio when she was thirteen and her efforts to overcome its debilitating effects.

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

When a diphtheria epidemic hits her 1840 village, thirteen-year-old Jessie discovers it is actually a 1996 tourist site under unseen observation by heartless scientists, and it’s up to Jessie to escape the village and save the lives of the dying children.

Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Thirteen Plus 1 by Lauren Myracle

The year between turning eleven and turning twelve bring many changes for Winnie and her friends.

Winnie relates the events of her twelth year and the many changes in her relationships and in her attitude toward growing up.

Winnie’s thirteenth year brings many joys and challenges as she negotiates her relationship with her first boyfriend and realizes that change is inevitable in her friends, family and even herself.

As Winnie and her friends count the days until the beginning of high school, they attend a summer camp where they learn about sea turtles–as well as human relationships.

Fever 1983 by Laurie Halse Anderson

In 1793 Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

A black family living in Mississippi during the Depression of the 1930s is faced with prejudice and discrimination which its children do not understand.

A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle

During the summer her grandfather is dying of leukemia and death seems all around, 15-year-old Vicky finds comfort with the pod of dolphins with which she has been doing research.

Finally by Wendy Mass

After her twelfth birthday, Rory checks off a list of things she is finally allowed to do, but unexpected consequences interfere with her involvement in the movie being shot at her school, while a weird prediction starts to make sense.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

A coming of age novel about Charlie, a freshman in high school who is a wallflower, shy and introspective, and very intelligent. He deals with the usual teen problems, but also with the suicide of his best friend.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

When seventeen-year-old Bella leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington, she meets an exquisitely handsome boy at school for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction and who she comes to realize is not wholly human.


Teens’ Top 10 2007

Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year!   Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.  Winners are announced in October during Teen Read Week.

Teens’ Top 10 of 2007

  1. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  2. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  3. How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles
  4. Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever by James Patterson
  5. Firegirl by Tony Abbott
  6. All Hallows Eve (13 Stories) by Vivian Vande Velde
  7. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  8. River Secrets by Shannon Hale
  9. Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe
  10. Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks

Teens’ Top 10 2008

Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year!   Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.  Winners are announced in October during Teen Read Week.

Teens’ Top 10 of 2008

  1. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
  3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  5. Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
  6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  7. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
  8. Extras by Scott Westerfeld
  9. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
  10. Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Booklist: Massachusetts in 1620…

It’s November, and that means Thanksgiving is coming up! Living in Massachusetts we can’t help but know the story of the Pilgrims, the Wampanoag and Plymouth Plantation.  In fact, if you went to third grade in Weston, you probably visited the living history museum.  But did you know that historians are still uncovering new information all the time?

If you’ve been to Plimoth Plantation, you know that there are history interpreters, who “translate” the experience of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag for visitors. If you’ve never been able to visit, try one of the Photo Essay Books below, which have wonderful photographs of young interpreters as they act out the story of the first Thanksgiving and life in Plymouth Colony. Then you can follow up with a fictional story!

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Photo Essays:

Arenstam, Peter.  Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage
Photos of actors in authentic costume recreate the Mayflower‘s famous voyage from England and the founding of Plimoth Colony. Fascinating detail about the voyagers include why they left, how they navigated, and what they found when they made landfall. Some legends are shown to be false. The reenactors are clearly having fun and readers will be intrigued by the history and what it means to us today.

Goodman, Susan. The Pilgrims of Plymouth
What was it like to be a pilgrim child in 17th-century Massachusetts? Go back in time and see!   Dramatic photos of historical reenactments combine with lively text to give a vivid sense of what daily life was like in Plymouth colony.

Grace, Catherine. 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving
Countering the  traditional story of the first Thanksgiving,  this photo-essay presents a more measured, balanced, and historically accurate version of the three-day harvest celebration in 1621. Learn about the background on the Wampanoag people, colonization, Indian diplomacy, the harvest of 1621, and the evolution of the Thanksgiving story.

Wade, Linda. Plymouth: Pilgrims’ Story of Survival
Describes the reasons that the Pilgrims traveled to the New World, their voyage on the Mayflower, the hardships of their first winter in the Plymouth settlement, and the harvest celebration remembered as the first Thanksgiving. Also describes Plimoth Plantation, a recreation of the original seventeenth-century settlement.

Waters, Kate. Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast
Sometime between September 21 and November 9, 1621, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people shared a harvest celebration that has become known as the First Thanksgiving. This is the story of what happened during those days, as told by Dancing Moccasins, a fourteen-year-old Wampanoag boy, and Resolved White, a younger English boy. Photographed at Plimoth Plantation, this accurate reenactment will let you experience a time when early English colonists settled on the rich and fertile land of the Wampanoag people.

Waters, Kate. Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy
Samuel Eaton is looking forward to his first chance to help his father bring in the harvest, after he does his daily chores. He finds the work incredibly hard, and the coarse grain raises bad blisters on his hands. But he perseveres, and at the end of the day when his father tells him “you did a man’s work today, Samuel,” we feel his pride.

Waters, Kate. Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl
At sunup when the cockerel crows, Sarah Morton’s day begins. She has a fire to build, goats to milk, letters and scripture to learn; and between chores, she has a brief time for play with her best friend Elizabeth.  Join her as she goes about her work and play in this reenactment of life at Plimoth Plantation.

Waters, Kate. Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times
Full-color photographs, taken at the Plimoth Plantation historical site make this a vivid visual presentation of Native American life. In the fictionalized account, Tapenum, disappointed that he has not yet been chosen to become a warrior, hunts for food, shoots a rabbit for his mother, goes fishing with a friend, and befriends a wise man, who teaches him about making arrows and learning patience.

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Clapp,  Patricia. Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth
Through her diary, Constance tells of her journey across the Atlantic from London to Massachusetts, and gives wonderful details about the building and founding of Plymouth Colony. Feel Constance’s pain at “the sickness” that claimed many lives during the first winter, her outrage at the two men who try to destroy Plymouth’s peace and her emotions as she’s attracted to two very different young men.  In our YA Collection.

Hurst, Carol. A Killing in Plymouth Colony
There had never before been a murder in Plymouth colony, but the facts were undeniable: John Newcomen had been shot and killed by someone. But by whom? When Governor William Bradford voices his suspicion of John Billington, somewhat of an outsider to the colony, his own son rushes to the man’s defense. Twelve-year-old John Bradford understands what it’s like to live outside of his father’s good graces.  Can he help both his friend and his father to discover the truth?

Lasky, Katherine. A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple
Twelve-year-old Mem has just arrived in the New World with her parents after a grueling 65-day journey on the Mayflower, and leaps headfirst into life in her new home. Despite harsh conditions, she helps to care for the sick and wants more than anything to meet and befriend a Native American. Her wish comes true when she meets Squanto, who helps Mem and her family face a year of trial, tragedy, and thanksgiving.

Rinaldi, Ann.  The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce: A Pilgrim Boy
In 1620, an indentured servant named Jasper Jonathan Pierce sets sail with his master and 100 others on the Mayflower, seeking adventure, freedom, and a new way of life in America.  Jasper  records the events of his first fifteen months in America in his journal, including encounters with Pilgrim bullies, the suicide of one woman, and blow-by-blow details of the hardships endured.

Smith, Patricia. Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets
The oldest daughter of Corbitant, sachem of the Pocasset band of the Wampanoag Nation, Weetamoo was born around 1641. Weetamoo struggles with her impatience while trying to learn the skills that she will need to lead her people. Filled with details of daily life, this “diary” offers a comprehensive look at seventeenth-century Wampanoag culture, including the tribe’s disagreements over how best to deal with the white-skinned “Coat-men.”

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And one adult recommendation:
Wheeler, Leslie.  Murder at Plimoth Plantation
This adult novel is a fascinating murder mystery that takes place at Plimoth Plantation. Historian Miranda Lewis rushes to the living museum when a conversation with her niece, one of the history interpreters, brings to light a problem among the reenactors. When a murder happens after her arrival, Miranda struggles to piece together what happened as she deals with three sets of characters–the current reenactors (in and out of their roles)  and the original colonists.  In the Adult Collection, but accessible to teens who may be interested.

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Check out our display of Thanksgiving, Pilgrim and Wampanoag books in the front of the Youth Services Department.  Just look for Bella the Pilgrim!


Old Favorites: The Black Stallion

I was one of those girls who really, reeeeaally loved horses in fourth, fifth and sixth grade. I took riding lessons, owned a whole stable full of Breyer horses, and drew pictures of horses all over my notebooks. And then, in sixth grade, my two younger sisters went horse-crazy.  I was immediately cured.

Still, horse stories had been  a  huge part of my reading, and there are a few books that have stuck with me.  Some of them were okay, but others were wonderful.  Some at the high end of the scale included Misty of Chincoteague (I still have my Breyer Misty), Can I Get There by Candlelight?, Little Vic…and The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley.

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Alec Ramsey is on a ship, heading to New York after  visiting his uncle in India for several months. At one of the ports of call, he notices the most beautiful black horse he’s ever seen being loaded onto the ship. The horse is skittish, and not too happy about an ocean voyage.

Alec, a horse lover, visits the horse every day during the trip, bringing him lumps of sugar whenever he can. The horse doesn’t come up to him, Alec has to leave the sugar on a ledge of the make-shift stall. Still, once or twice the black horse looks at him, and Alec thinks he’s the most perfect creature that ever existed.

When a storm hits, and passengers and crew are told to  take to the lifeboats and abandon ship, Alec watches as the groom caring for the black horse falls overboard and vanishes. Standing on the deck in the middle of the raging storm, Alec knows that there’s no one else who will remember the magnificent horse below the decks. Determined to save him, Alec goes below and frees the horse, only to be knocked overboard by the maddened creature’s dash for the water and escape. Alec thinks quickly and grabs the rope trailing from the horse’s bridle, and is tugged through the water after the horse, away from the sinking ship and the lifeboats.

Boy and horse end up on a deserted island, with no one but each other for company. Will both survive? Can Alec forge a new friendship with the wild black stallion? If rescue ever does come, will Alec be able to save his new-found companion as well as himself?  And what would a city boy do with a magnificent black stallion in New York if they were to be rescued?

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Originally published in 1941,  the story of Alec and The Black has never gone out of print. While it’s a story of a challenging friendship, it’s also a survival story, a horse story, and a sports story. Every kid who has ever loved horses should read this remarkable adventure.

Walter Farley wrote twenty-one books after The Black Stallion about The Black’s offspring and competitors. Besides The Black Stallion, my  favorites were The Black Stallion Mystery (Alec and The Black end up in Arabia, trying to solve the mystery of colts that look exactly like The Black),  The Black Stallion Revolts (Alec loses both The Black and his memory in a plane crash–will they ever be reunited?) and The Black Stallion and Satan (which I can’t summarize without telling a lot about other books in the series…let’s just say that Alec has a big decision to make, and forest fires are scary.)  I read through the entire series, even after I gave up on horses.  Walter Farley died in 1989, and his son Steven continued the family tradition by adding a few other titles to the Black Stallion series.  Walter also wrote several other books not related to The Black;  still,  all but two featured horses.

The book was even made into a movie in 1979, which did well at the box office. We have the DVD of The Black Stallion, which isn’t quite as good as the book (then again, what movie ever is?), but it’s still a good, solid choice to watch.  The scenery is breathtaking, and the excitement will keep you on the edge of your seat.

So if you like survival stories, horse stories and/or adventure stories, try The Black Stallion. My guess is that you’ll be reading the whole series before you know it!


Teens’ Top 10 2009

Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year!   Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.  Winners are announced in October during Teen Read Week.

Teens’ Top 10 of 2009

  1. Paper Towns by John Green
  2. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  4. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
  5. Identical by Ellen Hopkins
  6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  7. Wake by Lisa McMann
  8. Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast
  9. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  10. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Teens Top 10 of 2010

Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year!   Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.  Winners are announced in October during Teen Read Week.

Teens’ Top 10 of 2010

  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  3. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  9. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson