These books constitute the Core Literature List for Boston public schools. You can find these titles at a Boston Public Library branch near you.
Picture BooksBaseball Saved Us
by Ken Mochizuki
by Ella George Lyon
Celebrate the States!
by Loreen Leedy
The Last Princess, the Story of Princess Ka'uilani of Hawaii
by F. Stanley
by Roald Dahl
Star of Fear, Star of Hope
by Jo Hoestlandt
The Starry Night
by Neil Waldman
Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea
by V. and J. Williams
Thank You, Mr. Falker
by Patricia Polacco
Three Cheers for Catherine the Great!
by Cari Best
Train to Somewhere
by Eve Bunting
Chapter BooksAbel's Island
by William Steig
Altogether, One at a Time
by E.L. Konigsburg
The Cabin Faced West
by Jean Fritz
The Castle in the Attic
by Elizabeth Winthrop
by E. B. White
Circle of Gold
by Carol Dawson Boyd
The Courage of Sarah Noble
by Alice Dalgliesh
The Cricket in Times Square
by George Selden
The Fourth Grade Wizards
by Barthe De Clements
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E. L. Konigsburg
The Hundred Dresses
by Eleanor Estes
by Jane Wagner
Koya Delaney and the Good Girl Blues
by E. Greenfield
by Laurence Yep
Maizon at Blue Hill
by Jacqueline Woodson
My Name Is Maria Isabel
by Alma Flor Ada
Night of the Twisters
by Ivy Ruckman
by Diana Kidd
Owls in the Family
by Farley Mowat
by Pam Munoz Ryan
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
by Eleanor Coerr
Sarah, Plain and Tall
by Patricia MacLachlan
Sign of the Beaver
by Elizabeth Speare
Song of the Trees
by Mildred Taylor
by Ralph Fletcher
by John R. Gardiner
Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear
by L. Namioka
Informational BooksA Boy Becomes a Man at Wounded Knee
by Wood and Numbli
by Margery Knight
Rocks and Minerals
by Cally Oldershaw
by Peter Sis
Poetry BooksThe Absolutely Awful Alphabet
by Mordicai Gerstein
My Man Blue
by Nikki Grimes
Honey I Love
by Eloise Greenfield
Baseball Saved Us
by Ken Mochizuki
A young Japanese boy and his family are taken to an internment camp during World War II. The boy endures the humiliation and injustice of being in a camp by playing baseball with his father.
BOOK by George Ella Lyon
A wonderful look at the splendors of books and reading. A little girl escapes into the world of books through her imagination.
Celebrate the States! by Loreen Leedy
An eye-catching tribute to the 50 states! Includes emblems, cities, products, and other great facts in a fun-filled format.
The Last Princess, the Story of Princess Ka'uilani of Hawaii by F. Stanley
Princess Ka'uilani of Hawaii spent her life preparing to take over the throne as the Queen of Hawaii. But that day never came, because in 1898 Hawaii became part of the United States. The last princess of Hawaii fought hard to protect her people and their way of life.
The Minpins by Roald Dahl
Little Billy is so very tired of always being a good boy. When the Devil whispers in his ear that he should go explore the Forest of Sin, he goes eagerly. Once in the forest, Little Billy learns about monsters on the ground and a secret world in the trees. A fun read!
Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt
On July 15, 1942, in the north of France, Helen and her best friend Lydia are at a slumber party when the German army comes to collect all Jews. When Lydia disappears, Helen learns that the "bad luck" Lydia experiences does not come from the stars above, but from the wickedness of some people.
The Starry Night by Neil Waldman
A boy in New York City meets Vincent, a painter who captures his imagination. When the painter takes him to the museum and disappears, he leaves him his incredible paintings.
Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea by V. Williams and J. Williams
A cross-country adventure to the west coast through postcards. Great format.
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
Trisha loves to draw but can't read very well until a new teacher, Mr. Falker, rescues her and proves that she can learn to read. A wonderful tribute to dedicated teachers.
Three Cheers for Catherine the Great! by Cari Best
Sara's Russian grandmother requests that she receive no presents for her birthday, so Sara must share a present from her heart. Great introduction to immigration and cultures.
Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting
Marianne is one of fourteen orphans traveling west on the "Orphan Train," dreaming of finding a family. Marianne secretly dreams that her mother will be at one of the stops waiting for her, but she finds that sometimes what you get is better than what you hoped for.
by William Steig
Abelard Hassam do Chirico Flint of the Mossville Flints, a wealthy, fastidious mouse, is picnicking with his wife Amanda when they are caught in a raging storm. Abel is swept away and ends up stranded on an island. There his survival depends on his resourcefulness and physical labor.
Altogether, One at a Time by E.L. Konigsburg
This is a collection of short stories about four children challenged by difficult situations.
The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz
Ann Hamilton overcomes the loneliness and hardship of pioneer life in Pennsylvania when one wonderful evening a stranger rides up and stays for supper.
The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop
When Mrs. Philips decides to move back to England, she gives William a miniature castle, complete with moat and drawbridge and inhabited by the Silver Knight. At William's touch, a spell is broken, the Silver Knight comes alive, and William's plans to keep Mrs. Phillips from leaving begin to take shape.
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
In this beloved classic, an affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things.
Circle of Gold by Carol Dawson Boyd
Mattie and Matt's mom has changed since their father died. She's always tired, upset or angry, and they never do things as a family anymore. Mattie is sure the perfect Mother's Day gift will make things right again. She finds that perfect gift, but can she earn enough money to buy it in a month's time?
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
When eight-year-old Sarah travels with her father to cook for him while he builds a new house in the Connecticut wilderness, her mother reminds her to "keep up her courage." Sarah remembers these words when she is left alone while her father works, and later when he goes back to get the rest of the family.
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
When Chester Cricket arrives in the Times Square subway station in a picnic basket, he is befriended by Harry the cat, Tucker the mouse, and a boy named Mario whose parents run an unsuccessful newsstand. His new friends teach him how to survive in New York, and Chester, in turn, helps bring business to the newsstand.
The Fourth Grade Wizards by Barthe De Clements
Marianne can't pay attention in school after her mother dies. Her friend Jack, a class clown, tries to help but it is only after she gets a new puppy that things begin to turn around. Highly readable and entertaining.
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
Claudia Kincaid, unappreciated by her family, decides to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She and her brother take up residence and skillfully manage to avoid detection. Claudia's fascination with a statue leads the two to the files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Maddie is uncomfortable when her best friend Peggy teases Wanda about the 100 dresses she says are hanging in her closet. Why does Wanda, who lives with her father and brother, wear the same faded dress every day?
J.T. by Jane Wagner
Ten-year-old J.T. Gamble finds a one-eyed stray cat and lavishes it with love. When an accident happens, he really knows who will stand by him. The dialogue is realistic and will initiate deep discussions.
Koya Delaney and the Good Girl Blues by E. Greenfield
Koya Delaney loves to laugh, tell jokes, and make others laugh, but she always tries to avoid anger. First her sister Loritha and her best friend Dawn become angry with each other, and Koya finds herself in the middle. Later, when rude fans threaten to ruin her cousin Del's concert, Koya realizes it's all right to be angry sometimes.
Later, Gator by Laurence Yep
Teddy's family is known for giving practical gifts on holidays and birthdays. Teddy is bored with this tradition and decides to buy an extraordinary birthday present for his younger brother: a pet baby alligator!
Maizon at Blue Hill by Jacqueline Woodson
When Maizon leaves home and attends a boarding school, where she is only one of five black students, her experiences make her question her culture as she struggles to fit into the new school.
My Name Is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
Nine-year-old Maria Isabel Salazar Lopez is changing schools. When her new teacher wants to call her Mary instead of Maria, she lets everyone know she's proud of her name and heritage.
Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman
When tornadoes devastate a Nebraska town, Dan, his best friend, and baby brother seek shelter on their own and help the community rebuild.
Onion Tears by Diana Kidd
Nam-Huong is silent about her past. She cries only when chopping onions for her Auntie's restaurant. When her teacher's dog, Samson, runs away, Nam is forced to face the sea and the memories it holds. Only then is she able to talk about her past.
Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat The adventures of Wol and Weeps, two
owls from Saskatchewan, turn a house topsy turvy and shake up a whole neighborhood.
Poppy by Avi
In this sequel to Rye and Ragweed, the family of Poppy the mouse has grown so large that they need a new home. Poppy and her father are chosen to ask Mr. Ocax, the owl who rules Dimwood Forest, for his permission. What will be his response?
Riding Freedom by Pan Munoz Ryan
A novel based on the true adventures of Charley Parkhurst, who was really Charlotte, a top-notch horse rider and legendary stagecoach driver. She was also the first woman to vote in the state of California. An exciting read aloud.
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
When Papa's advertisement for a wife is answered by Sarah Wheaton from Maine, Caleb and Anna are worried. Will she come to visit? Will she stay? Will she miss the sea? Does she like cats? Most importantly, can she sing?
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
Only two years old when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Sadako is eleven when she develops leukemia, the dreaded radiation disease. Chizuko brings her friend a golden paper crane and reminds Sadako of the story about the gods that will grant her wish to be healthy again when she has folded 1000 paper cranes.
Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth Speare
While Matt house-sits a cabin in the Maine wilderness, he tries to survive alone. Although brave, he is not prepared for an attack by swarming bees. He is astonished when he is rescued by an Indian chief and his grandson, Attean.
Spider Boy by Ralph Fletcher
Bobby's interest in spiders causes problems in school. Things start to get better when his teacher asks Bobby and his friend Lucky to work on a project together.
Song of the Trees by Mildred Taylor
Big Ma Logan owns a large area of giant trees in Mississippi. While her son David is working in Louisiana, Mr. Andersen forces Big Ma to sell him the trees.
Stone Fox by John R. Gardiner
Ten-year-old Willy is determined to give his grandfather a reason to live. He harvests the potatoes, sells the crop, and stocks up on food for the winter, but he still needs $500 for taxes. Against everyone's advice, Willy enters the National Dog Sled Race and pits himself and his dog Searchlight against Stone Fox and his team of five Samoyeds.
Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear by L. Namioka
Born into a family of talented string musicians, nine-year-old Yingtao can't hear his own mistakes. Worried about embarrassing his family during an important recital, Yingtao and his friend Matthew devise a plan to win their parents' approval.
A Boy Becomes a Man at Wounded Knee
by Wood and Numbli
Eight-year-old Wambli Numpi joins his family on the grueling 150-mile ride to Wounded Knee Creek on the 100th anniversary of the massacre of the Lacatos by the 7th Cavalry.
Rocks and Minerals by Cally Oldershaw
Dazzling three-dimensional color photos and a unique mirror show extraordinary details of rocks.
Starry Messenger by Peter Sis
A book depicting the life of a famous astronomer, mathematician, and physicist.
Talking Walls by Margery Knight
This award-winning book introduces young readers to the stories of walls around the world: the Great Wall of China, the murals of Diego Rivera, and Nelson Mandella's prison walls. Fascinating stories that open doors to history, geography, and world cultures.
The Absolutely Awful Alphabet
by Mordicai Gerstein
An alliterative alphabet book presents mean and monstrous letters from A (awfully arrogant amphibian) to Z (zigzagging zoological zany).
Honey I Love by Eloise Greenfield
Children will find many of their own feelings and experiences reflected in this marvelous collection of love poems.
My Man Blue by Nikki Grimes
Blue is the best friend a kid could ever have. Damon knows there's room in his life for a guy like Blue, especially since his own dad is gone. A poetic, realistic tale of the bond between a man, a boy, and his working mother.