Build a Better World

For Tween Readers

Build a Better World


This recommended reading list provides a broad list of books related to this summer’s theme of construction and recycling. This list includes audio, braille, and large print titles and is recommended for those reading at a grade 5 through 8 reading level up to a junior and senior high reading level.


To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through WolfPAC. Identification numbers for braille books begin with BR, large print books begin with LP, and audiobooks begin with DB or DBC. All audiobooks and available braille books listed are linked to the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD) for downloading.


Grades 5 to 8


Claudette Colvin: Twice toward Justice by Phillip M Hoose



Read by Madelyn Buzzard. Reading time: 4 hours, 15 minutes.

Uses interviews to provide a firsthand account of fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin's arrest for refusing to give her bus seat to a white woman in 1955 Alabama. Explains the era's racial segregation policy and the consequences of Claudette's demand for her constitutional rights. Some strong language. 2009.


Close to Famous by Joan Bauer



Read by Mare Trevathan. Reading time: 4 hours, 16 minutes.

After escaping her mother's abusive boyfriend, twelve-year-old Foster McFee and her mother make a new start in Culpepper, West Virginia. Her mom wants to be a lead singer, while Foster dreams of becoming a famous TV chef--and of mastering reading, despite her learning disability. Mark Twain Award nominee, 2013-2014. 2011.


The Cruisers by Walter Dean Myers


Read by Kevin R Free. Reading time: 2 hours, 14 minutes.

Friends Zander, Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi, caught in the middle of a mock Civil War at Harlem's Da Vinci Academy, learn the true cost of freedom of speech when they use their alternative newspaper, the Cruiser, to try to make peace. The Cruisers series, book 1.  Commercial audiobook. 2010.


Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos



Read by Jack Fox. Reading time: 6 hours, 50 minutes.

Norvelt, Pennsylvania; 1962. Grounded for various offenses, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends his summer helping his elderly neighbor. As part of his duties, Jack must perform an unusual chore that involves the newly dead, molten wax, underage driving, and more. For grades 5-8 and older readers. Newbery Award. 2011.


Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

BR017937 : Volume 1, Volume 2


Read by Walter Dixon. Reading time: 4 hours, 56 minutes.

Eighth-grader Steven prefers drum practice over homework, has a crush on the hottest girl in his class, and wishes his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey, weren't so annoying. When Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven's world is turned upside down.  2004.


Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes


Read by Payy Lockenvitz. Reading time: 4 hours, 40 minutes.

Gaby enjoys working at the local animal shelter and wants to adopt a cat but is unsure of her own living situation when her mother is deported back to Honduras. Mark Twain Award nominee, 2015-2016.


The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement by Teri Kanefield


Read by Mary Kane. Reading time: 1 hour, 32 minutes.

Describes the peaceful protest organized by teenager Barbara Rose Johns in order to secure a permanent building for her segregated high school in Virginia in 1951, and explains how her actions helped fuel the civil rights movement. 2014.


I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai


Read by Neela Vaswani. Reading time: 4 hours, 55 minutes.

Memoir of corecipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Recounts how Malala risked her life for the right to go to school. Raised in a changing Pakistan, Malala stood up against the Taliban and remained an activist for girls' education. Violence. Commercial audiobook. 2014.


Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge



Read by Bob Moore. Reading time: 1 hour, 59 minutes.

Traces the 1965 protests against voting discrimination in Alabama led by Martin Luther King Jr. Discusses ordinary kids placing themselves at risk of being beaten and sprayed with tear gas to participate in the civil rights struggle in Selma and the five-day march to Montgomery. 2009.


Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Read by Brian Conn. Reading time: 3 hours, 41 minutes.

In the future the Population Police ensure that families have only two children. Twelve-year-old Luke is a third son who hides in fear on his family's farm. When he discovers another "shadow" kid next door, the two join forces to try to change the government. Shadow Children series, book 1. 1998.


Among the Impostors by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Read by Brian Conn. Reading time: 4 hours, 2 minutes.

Twelve-year-old Luke, a forbidden and illegal third child, assumes a new identity as Lee Grant. He leaves the relative safety of the farm for boarding school. There he experiences a confusing environment among Population Police undercover agents. Shadow Children series, book 2. 2001.


Among the Betrayed by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Read by Brian Conn. Reading time: 3 hours, 54 minutes.

Thirteen-year-old Nina, is arrested by the Population Police.  She must reveal the identity of other illegally born third children or be killed. But Nina and three other younger kids escape from prison. Shadow Children series, book 3. 2002.


Among the Barons by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Read by Brian Conn. Reading time:  4 hours, 16 minutes.

Luke, an illegal third child has assumed a false identity and attends boarding school. When Smits, the younger brother of his namesake, appears, Luke's existence may be again threatened by the Population Police. And Smits thinks his real brother was murdered. Shadow Children series, book 4. 2003.


Among the Brave by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Read by Brian Conn. Reading time: 5 hours, 40 minutes.

Trey and his fellow illegal third-born children seek help from Mr. Talbot until the Population Police arrive to arrest their mentor. When the government is overthrown and more kids are imprisoned, Trey must summon all his courage to rescue them. Shadow Children series, book 5. 2004.


Among the Enemy by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Read by Brian Conn. Reading time: 5 hours, 1 minute.

Matthias, an illegal third-born child, surprises himself by saving the life of a Population Police officer, who rewards him with a job. Working with the enemy places Matthias in an awkward position. Shadow Children series, book 6. 2005.


Among the Free by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Read by Brian Conn. Reading time: 4 hours, 38 minutes.

In this series conclusion, thirteen-year-old Shadow Child Luke Garner unwittingly sets off a rebellion, which ousts the Population Police from power. Quickly realizing that the new regime is corrupt, Luke may hold the only key to true freedom. Shadow Children series, book 7. 2006.  


Grades 6 to 9


Almost Astronauts: Thirteen Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone


Read by Erin Jones. Reading time: 3 hours, 31 minutes.

Discusses the thirteen American women who passed the stringent physical and mental exams required to become astronauts in the 1960s but were disqualified on the basis of gender. Covers the role these female pilots played as pioneers for admittance to the NASA program. 2009.


The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett


Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time: 8 hours, 7 minutes.

Maurice, a talking cat; a group of intelligent rats with a dream; and Keith, a boy with a pennywhistle, run a great Pied Piper scam--until they reach Bad Blintz. Finding that town already being conned puts Maurice's gang in a quandary. 2001.


Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer


England, 1797. Mary begs on the streets of London with a gang of fellow orphans. At thirteen she disguises herself as a boy and joins a British warship setting sail to search for pirates. Mary maintains her deception--even battling buccaneers. 2002.


Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan


Read by Colleen Delany. Reading time: 6 hours, 12 minutes.

Twelve-year-old Willow Chance, a genius and social outsider, must learn to connect to people and find a surrogate family after her parents are killed in a car accident. Mark Twain Award nominee, 2015-2016. 2013.


Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady; a Bloody Jack Adventure by L. A. Meyer


Jacky Faber is sent to school in Boston after being unmasked as a girl and forced to leave the ship she sailed on in. She roams the city and learns to ride a horse instead of learning to be a lady. 2004.


Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan



DB054970 (Spanish)

Read by Jacinda Bronaugh. Reading time: 5 hours, 6 minutes.

Read by María Pino. Reading time:  4 hours, 58 minutes.

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their wealthy and privileged life in Mexico to go work in the southern California agricultural labor camps. They must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing migrant farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression. 2000.


The Giver series by Lois Lowry


The Giver by Lois Lowry






Read by June Carter. Reading time: 5 hours, 1 minute.

Jonas lives in a utopia: there is no hunger, no disease, no fear; the elderly are tenderly cared for, and every child has attentive parents. The society is uniformly run. Jonas eagerly awaits the Ceremony of Twelve, when twelve-year-olds receive assignments for their lifelong professions. He is selected to be the new Receiver of Memories. As such he learns of misery and pain, but also of joy and love. Giver series, book 1. Newbery Medal.


Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry





Read by Michele Schaeffer. Reading time: 4 hours, 41 minutes.

When Kira is suddenly orphaned, the neighbors try to expel her because of her lame leg. Kira's talent for embroidery saves her life, but places her under the Council of Guardians, which also controls Thomas, a young woodcarver, and Jo, a little tyke with a wondrous voice. Giver series, book 2. 2000.


Messenger by Lois Lowry




Read by Michele Schaffer. Reading time: 3 hours, 44 minutes.

Teenage Matty lives with blind Seer in Village. When the changing community wants to close itself to outsiders, Matty journeys through hostile forests to save Village's founding principles. Giver series, book 3. 2004.


Son by Lois Lowry




Read by Mare Trevathan. Reading time: 7 hours, 43 minutes.

After a difficult labor, fourteen-year-old birthmother Claire has a baby boy who is immediately rescued by Jonas, from The Giver. Claire knows she shouldn't search for her "product" but, overwhelmed by a sense of loss, she does anyway. Giver series, book 4. 2012.


A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett


Read by Kristin Allison. Reading time: 7 hours, 42 minutes.

Witch trainee Tiffany Aching learns more about magic and responsibility. She battles a disembodied monster with help from the six-inch-high blue men and Mistress Weatherwax, the greatest witch in the world. 2004.


I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett


Read by Kristin Allison. Reading time: 10 hours, 17 minutes.

Fifteen-year-old witch Tiffany Aching struggles to win the trust of Chalk's troublesome populace and control the ill-behaved, six-inch-high Wee Free Men who follow her. Meanwhile, an ancient evil that agitates against witches returns. Tiffany Aching Adventure series, book 4. Andre Norton Award.   2010.


Nothing But The Truth A Documentary Novel by Avi



Read by John Polk. Reading time: 4 hours, 4 minutes.

Ninth grader Philip Malloy is barred from the track team because of a poor grade in English. Convinced that his teacher dislikes him, he concocts a scheme to get transferred from her homeroom. Instead of standing "at respectful, silent attention" during the national anthem, Philip hums. The issue is perceived to be one of patriotism, and the conflict explodes.


On a Clear Day by Walter Dean Myers


Read by Rebecca Soler. Reading time: 6 hours, 19 minutes.

In 2035, Dahlia Grillo, a sixteen-year-old math whiz, joins with six other American teens traveling to England to meet with groups from around the world in hopes of stopping C8, the companies that control nearly everything for their own benefit. Strong language, some explicit descriptions of sex and some violence. Commercial audiobook. 2014.


Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse






Read by Kimberly Schraf. Reading time: 2 hours, 32 minutes.

Told in free verse, an account of two years in the life of Billie Jo Kelby, who at thirteen loses her mother and new baby brother in a terrible accident for which she is partly to blame. Life in Oklahoma in the mid-1930s is difficult, and Billie Jo can no longer play the piano--her one solace in the past. She seeks a way to heal her father and herself. Newbery Medal. 1997.


The Port Chicago Fifty: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin


Read by Jeff Allin. Reading time: 4 hours, 6 minutes.

Recounts the July 17, 1944, explosion on the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, that killed more than three hundred sailors. Discusses the response of survivors who refused to return to the dangerous work--an act the Navy considered a mutiny. 2014.


Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson


Read by Erin Jones. Reading time: 11 hours, 24 minutes.

1849. Sensing gold in the earth around her, Lee Westfall tries to hide her valuable secret from people who would take advantage of her. But when her personal world shatters, she flees to the gold rush in California to start over. Gold Seer Trilogy, book 1. Some violence. 2015.


The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett


Read by Kristin Allison. Reading time:  6 hours, 58 minutes.

In this tale set in Discworld, a young witch-to-be named Tiffany teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her kidnapped baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland. 2003.


Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett


Read by Kristin Allison. Reading time: 8 hours, 26 minutes.

When thirteen-year-old witch trainee Tiffany interrupts the Dance of the Seasons, she attracts the unwanted attentions of the spirit of Winter. Tiffany requires assistance from the Wee Free Men to survive until spring. 2006.


Junior and Senior High


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie




Read by Michael Russotto. Reading time: 5 hours, 38 minutes.

Spokane Indian Reservation. Fourteen-year-old Junior--beset with physical problems caused by brain damage--transfers to an all-white town school. Called a traitor by his best friend and Tonto by his new classmates, Junior uses humor and wit to bridge the cultural divide. Some strong language. 2007.


Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson


Read by Nancy Lynne Walter. Reading time: 7 hours, 47 minutes.

Guide to empowering oneself in a highly connected, socially conscious world using passions and digital tools to effect real change. Contains accounts of  successful projects, step-by-step templates for applied change-making, and a variety of resources. 2014.


Beat the Band by Don Calame


Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time: 9 hours, 54 minutes.

Coop hopes to hook up with a hottie. But fate wickedly intervenes and he is paired with the infamous Hot Dog Helen for a safe sex-presentation. Strong language. 2010.


The Boys Who Challenged Hitler Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip M Hoose


Read by Joe Peck. Reading time: 5 hours, 24 minutes.

Recounts the actions of young resistance fighters in Denmark after the Nazi occupation during WWII. Led by fourteen-year-old Knud Pedersen, the group named the Churchill Club committed acts of sabotage that led to their imprisonment and sparked a national resistance movement. Some violence. 2015.


Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes


Tough students at a Bronx high school reveal their innermost thoughts, dreams, and fears during the monthly English class's Open-Mike Fridays. Through their expressions of rap, free verse, and rhymes, the students learn they are more alike than they are different.  Coretta Scott King Award. 2002.


The Cardturner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker by Louis Sachar


Read by Ken Jackson. Reading time: 7 hours, 32 minutes.

Seventeen-year-old Alton turns cards for his wealthy uncle Lester, a champion bridge player who lost his vision to diabetes. Alton becomes intrigued by his eccentric relative, the game of bridge, and a mysterious girl. 2010.


Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones


Read by John Polk. Reading time: 13 hours, 11 minutes.

While attending a judicial enquiry, Rupert Venables--a junior magid in the Multiverse--learns that his mentor, Stan, is dying. It is Rupert's duty to find and sponsor Stan's replacement, even though a civil war threatens one of the deceased emperor's territories. 1997.


The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart



Read by Mary Kane. Reading time: 6 hours, 34 minutes.

A sophomore at a prestigious prep school, Frances Rose (Frankie) starts dating senior Matthew. When Matthew refuses to discuss his all-male secret society, the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, Frankie infiltrates the group via the Internet and orchestrates some spectacular on-campus pranks. Michael L. Printz honor book. Gateway Book Award nominee, 2010-2011. 2008.


Dumplin' by Julie Murphy


Read by Mare Trevathan. Reading time: 8 hours, 39 minutes.

Willowdean, a Dolly Parton enthusiast, wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl. Therefore, Will and some other social misfits prepare to compete in a beauty pageant. Strong language. 2015.


Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs by Rozanne Gold


Read by Kerry Dukin. Reading time: 3 hours, 48 minutes.

Teen guide to cooking simple meals and snacks using fresh, healthy ingredients. Includes step-by-step instructions and sample menus for special occasions that use seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs. 2009.


The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch


Read by Keith Krueger. Reading time: 7 hours, 50 minutes.

Twenty years after the start of the war that caused the Collapse, fifteen-year-old Stephen, his father, and grandfather travel post-Collapse America scavenging, but when his grandfather dies and his father decides to risk everything to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen's life is turned upside down. Truman award nominee, 2013-2014.


Flygirl by Sherri L Smith



Read by Margaret Strom. Reading time: 8 hours, 35 minutes.

Ida Mae Jones dreams about flying. After World War II begins, the Army initiates a new program--Women Airforce Service Pilots. Light-skinned, Ida Mae signs up for the mission, but realizes she must keep her African American heritage a secret in order to fly. 2008.


Hit the Road by Caroline B Cooney


Sixteen-year-old Brittany acts as chauffeur for her grandmother and three other eighty-plus-year-old women going to what is supposedly their college reunion, on a long drive that involves lies, theft, and kidnappings. Set in 16 pt Plantin. 2006. 


Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins



DB074957 (Spanish)


Read by Erin Jones. Reading time: 9 hours, 14 minutes.

Read by Maria Fernanda Lloreda. Reading time: 12 hours, 10 minutes.

In a future North America, Panem's rulers maintain control through a televised survival competition pitting teens from twelve districts in a fight to the death. Sixteen-year-olds Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are this year's girl and boy contestants from District Twelve. Some violence. Truman Award nominee, 2010-2011. Gateway Book Award nominee, 2010-2011. 2008.


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins



DB074971 (Spanish)


Read by Erin Jones. Reading time: 9 hours, 31 minutes.

Read by Maria Fernanda Lloreda. Reading time:  12 hours, 27 minutes.

Victorious district twelve tributes Katniss and Peeta have secured lives of safety and plenty for themselves and their families. But because they won by defying the rules, they have unwittingly incited a rebellion. Hunger Games series, book 2. Some violence.  2009.


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins



DB074983 (Spanish)


Read by Erin Jones. Reading time: 9 hours, 54 minutes.

Read by Maria Fernanda Lloreda. Reading time:  13 hours.

Katniss Everdeen doesn't know whom to trust after she is coerced into helping overthrow the oppressive Capitol. District 13 has chosen Katniss as the Mockingjay--the symbolic leader of the revolution. Hunger Games series, book 3. Some violence. 2010.


In the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber by L. A. Meyer


Boston, 1805. Jacky Faber and her classmates are kidnapped while on a school outing to the harbor. Transported in the hold of the Bloodhound bound for the slave markets of North Africa, Jacky plots escape. 2006.


Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza


Read by Mary Beth Broughton. Reading time: 11 hours, 25 minutes.

Sixteen-year-old Mila discovers she is not who--or what--she thought she was, which causes her to run from both the CIA and a rogue intelligence group.  Some violence and strong language. Truman Award nominee, 2015-2016.


Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and the Lily of the West; a Bloody Jack Adventure by L. A. Meyer


1806. Jacky Faber heads west to escape British charges of piracy. She turns a Mississippi keelboat into a casino-showboat and heads for New Orleans, with her beloved Jaimy following in her wake.  2007.


My Bonny Light Horseman: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War by L. A. Meyer


While trying to run a respectable shipping business in 1806, teenaged Jacky Faber finds herself in France, spying for the British Crown in order to save her friends. 2008.


Race a History Beyond Black and White by Marc Aronson



Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time: 9 hours.

Focuses on the history of race and racism in the West from Greek civilization to modern times. Discusses prejudice, slavery, religion, and the complex social problems that arise from judging people by their skin color or beliefs. 2007.


Rapture of the Deep: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Soldier, Sailor, Mermaid, Spy; a Bloody Jack Adventure by L. A. Meyer


1806. Star-crossed lovers Jacky Faber and Jaimy Fletcher are kidnapped by British Naval Intelligence and forced to embark on yet another daring mission--this time diving for Spanish gold off the Florida coast. 2009.


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens: The Ultimate Teenage Success Guide by Sean Covey


Read by Jack Fox. Reading time: 8 hours, 30 minutes.

The author of The Six Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens analyzes behavior that leads to happiness. Claims good habits lead to improved self-image, friendships, control over life, goal achievement, and peace with parents. 1998.


Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal



Read by Carol Dines. Reading time: 6 hours, 55 minutes.

Recounts the life and career of the late founder of Apple, Steve Jobs (1955-2011). Covers his adoption and childhood, his friendship with Steve Wozniak, and his dynamic relationship with Apple--as chairman, head of the Mac department, advisor, and CEO--until his death. 2012.


Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber by L. A. Meyer


Fifteen-year-old Jacky escapes finishing school in Boston and heads for London to find her beau Jaimy. Through a series of misadventures, Jacky gains control of a British warship and becomes a privateer. Some violence. 2005.


The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber on Her Way to Botany Bay by L. A. Meyer


1807. Jacky Faber purchases the brigantine Lorelei Lee and then docks in London, believing that her past sins against the crown have been absolved. Instead, Jacky is arrested and sent to an Australian penal colony. 2010.