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Select examples from the Books That Grow Library

Biographies
Title Description Reading Levels
John Muir: A Vision Of Nature Biography of John Muir, a naturalist, author, and advocate of preservation of the wilderness in the U.S. 2, 4, 6, 8
Susan B. Anthony: Women's Rights Biography of Susan B. Anthony, a Civil Rights leader who helped get women the right to vote 2, 4, 6, 8
Code Talker: The Story of Chester Nez Explores the role of 29 Navajo code talkers who helped the Allies create a secret language during WWII 4, 6, 8
Helen Keller: My Soul's Birthday This biography explores how Helen Keller achieved success as a writer, speaker, and activist. 2, 4, 6, 8
Henry Ford: A Contradictory Genius Biography of Henry Ford, who revolutionized the manufacturing process by creating the assembly line 2, 4, 6, 8
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Fearless Justice Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. including his rise as a Civil Rights activist and leader 2, 4, 6, 8
Albert Einstein: The Game Changer of Science
Teacher Guide
Biography of Albert Einstein tracking his development from a struggling student to a scientific genius 2, 4, 6, 8
Malcolm X: The Unforgettable Fire Biography of Malcolm X, a Civil Rights leader whose view was alternative to mainstream, nonviolent integration 2, 4, 6, 8
Biography of Black Elk Biography of Black Elk, a Lakota warrior and medicine man who lived through the movement to reservations 2, 4, 6, 8
Harriet Tubman: The Line to Freedom Biography of Harriet Tubman, a former slave who helped hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad 3, 5, 7, 9
Bill Gates: Make Your Own Luck Biography of Bill Gates that explains how the billionaire got his start in the programming industry 2, 4, 6, 8
Cesar Chavez: Fighting Injustice Biography of Cesar Chavez, a famous labor leader who fasted to protest the poor working conditions of laborers 2, 4, 6, 8
Jackie Robinson: Stepping Up To The Plate Biography of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major Leauge Baseball 2, 4, 6, 8
My Escape From Slavery
Teacher Guide
The story of Frederick Douglass' escape from slavery written in his own words 2, 4, 6, 8
Classic Fiction
Title Brief Description Reading Levels
An Episode Of War In Stephen Crane's classic story, the reader sees a glimpse of the Civil War through the eyes of a lieutenant 3, 5, 7, 9
Bernice Bobs Her Hair Classic story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about the changing role of women in the flapper era society 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
Siddhartha: Meeting The Buddha
Teacher Guide
This selection of classic fiction gives insight into the process of self-discovery and the foundations of Buddhism 2, 4, 6, 8
The Monkey's Paw This highly suspenseful, classic fiction by W.W. Jacobs is about a magical talisman that grants three wishes 2, 4, 6, 8
The Star H.G. Wells' short story is about an astronomical phenomenon that threatens to destroy the earth 4, 6, 8, 10
The Yellow Wallpaper
Teacher Guide
In this classic story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a woman's journal reveals her mental decline 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County Mark Twain's humorous tale about a man named Jim Smiley who will bet on nearly anything 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
The Factory An excerpt from Upton Sinclair's famous expose, The Jungle, about factories in Chicago's meatpacking industry 4, 6, 8, 10
The Fall Of The House Of Usher
Teacher Guide
Classic story by Edgar Allan Poe where an anonymous narrator visits his mentally ill friend 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
The Wife Of His Youth In this classic short story by Charles W. Chesnutt, the protagonist discovers what is most important to him 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
Thor's Visit To Jotunheim Adaptation from Norse mythology about the god Thor and the challenges he faces in a mysterious land 3, 5, 7, 9
Young Goodman Brown
Teacher Guide
Classic short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne about the battle between good and evil America's early days 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Classic story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who was born old and ages in reverse his whole life 3, 5, 7, 9
Rip Van Winkle Famous story by Washington Irving about a man who falls asleep in colonial America and wakes up post-Revolution 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
Dracula's Guest
Teacher Guide
Classic short story by Bram Stoker about a traveling man who experiences a strange ordeal one night 2, 4, 6, 8
The Cask of Amontillado Classic story by Edgar Allan Poe about a vengeful man and his unknowing friend 2, 4, 6, 8
A Rose For Emily Classic short story by William Faulkner of an elderly Southern woman and her resistance to change 4, 6, 8, 10
The Gift Of The Magi
Teacher Guide
Classic story by O. Henry about a poor married couple who go to great lengths to get each other Christmas gifts 2, 4, 6
2 B R O 2 B Kurt Vonnegut's classic story is about a dystopian world that focuses on population control 2, 4, 6
The Tell-Tale Heart
Teacher Guide
Edgar Allan Poe's short story about a mad man trying to convince the reader of his sanity 2, 4, 6, 8
The Bet Classic short story by Anton Chekhov about two stubborn men who engage in a high-stakes bet 3, 5, 7
Gold Rush! Book 1 Part 1 of an adapted story by Jack London about Kit and his adventures into the Yukon to find gold 3, 5, 7, 9
Land Of The Lotus Eaters An excerpt from Homer's famous work, The Odyssey, lncluding Cyclops and the lotus eaters 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
Sherlock Holmes: The Musgrave Ritual Arthur Conan Doyle's classic story of Sherlock Holmes tells of one of the detective's first adventures 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
The Black Cat Classic story by Edgar Allan Poe about a cat who drives his owner crazy 2, 4, 6, 8
The Masque of the Red Death
Teacher Guide
Classic story by Edgar Allan Poe about Prince Prospero and his mysterious and dangerous party crasher 2, 4, 6, 8
The Story of an Hour Kate Chopin's classic story is ahead of its time in its consideration of women and offers a twist ending 3, 5, 7
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi This excerpt from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book tells the story of Rikki-Tikki and his struggle with evil snakes 3, 4, 6
The Lady or the Tiger?
Teacher Guide
In this classic short story by Frank R. Stockton, a man is forced to make a blind choice between two outcomes 3, 5, 7, 9
Rashomon This classic Japanese story tells the tale of a boy who must choose between stealing and starving 2, 4, 6, 8
A Horseman In the Sky Classic story of a soldier who decides to fight for the north and the conflict with himself and reality. 3, 5, 7, 9
An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge In Ambrose Bierce's classic story, a Confederate sympathizer imagines a plan to escape from his death sentence 3, 5, 7, 9
The Mark On The Wall In this classic story by Virginia Woolf, the stream of consciousness of the narrator ponders a mark on the wall 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
Hercules Roman myth about a hero who is half-man, half-god, and goes on a series of 12 challenges and adventures 3, 5, 7, 9
The Most Dangerous Game
Teacher Guide
Classic story by Richard Connell about a man stranded on an island who is forced to play the game of his life 2, 4, 6, 8
The Necklace Classic story by Guy de Maupassant about the fleeting power of appearances and material things 5, 7, 9
The Open Window This classic story by Saki is a ghost story with a humorous twist 3, 5, 7, 9
Myths, Folktales & Fairytales
Title Brief Description Reading Levels
Arachne
Teacher Guide
Greek myth about a weaving contest between Arachne and Athena and the dangers of pride 2, 4, 6
Io
Teacher Guide
Greek myth about the god Zeus and his desire for a young human girl named Io 2, 4, 6
The Beggar's Feast This famous selection from One Thousand and One Nights provides an introduction to Arabic folklore 3, 5, 7
The Mermaid and the Prince This classic story by Hans Christian Anderson is the inspiration behind the famous movie The Little Mermaid 2, 4, 6
The Naked Emperor This classic tale by Hans Christian Anderson is about two tricksters who try to outwit an emperor 2, 4, 6
The Tortoise and the Fruit In this African folktale, an old turtle must defeat an evil witch in order to save the animals from starvation 3, 5, 7
Three Wise Fools Indo-Caribbean folktale about a woman who gives a beggar poisoned food, and provides a lesson on irony 3, 5, 7
Pyramus and Thisbe This famous myth served as the inspiration for one of the most famous plays of all-time, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet 3, 5, 7, 9
Anansi and the Tiger
Teacher Guide
Afro-Caribbean folktale about a weak but smart spider who teaches a strong tiger a lesson about bullying 3, 5, 7
Glooskap and the Sorcerers Native American myth about a god of creation who must save his people from evil sorcerers 2, 4, 6, 8
Glooskap and the Wolf Native American myth detailing the creation of the Earth and its inhabitants 2, 4, 6
How the Hermit Thrush Got His Song Native American myth about how a small bird flies highest in the sky and finds his voice 2, 4, 6
Jabu and the Lion African folktale about the importance of trust, promises, and the relationship between humans and animals 2, 4, 6
Pandora's Box
Teacher Guide
Greek myth about the dangers of curiosity and the origin of evil in the world 2, 4, 6
Prometheus Greek myth about a god who delivers fire to humans, and the consequences he must face for doing so 2, 4, 6
Sinbad the Sailor This famous selection from One Thousand and One Nights provides an introduction to Arabic folklore 3, 5, 7
The Beggar's Roti
Teacher Guide
This Indo-Caribbean folktale shows that all the books in the world can't outweigh common sense 3, 5, 7
Cinderella Adaptation of a story by Charles Perrault about a girl whose fairy godmother helps her live happily ever after 2, 4, 6
Orpheus and Eurydice
Teacher Guide
Famous greco-roman myth about the power of music and the danger of a glance 3, 5, 7, 9
Miscellaneous
Title Brief Description Reading Levels
The Disneyfication of Fairy Tales
Teacher Guide
Explores how Disney alters classic folk tales by adding romance and giving them happy endings 2, 4, 6, 8
The 5 Worst Movies That Come From Great Books Discusses five movies in particular that audiences do not feel lived up to their former literary versions 2, 4, 6, 8
Science
Title Description Reading Levels
Deadliest Animals: They Are Not What You Think Discusses the deadliest animals in the United States, many of which are unexpected 2, 4, 6, 8
"I'm Bad At Math" Is No Longer An Excuse Explains that being good at math is a skill accessible to everyone with a little hard work and practice 2, 4, 6
Rats! Separates the myths from the facts while informing the reader about this misunderstood animal 4, 6, 8
Is Puberty Starting Earlier? Investigates the causes and effects of puberty starting earlier in adolescents over the past couple centuries 2, 4, 6, 8
Obesity: America's New Disease Discussion of the causes and effects of obesity as a disease in America 4, 6, 8
Whose Fault Is It? When Earthquakes And Volcanoes Become Natural Disasters Investigates the plate tectonics, earthquakes, and the impact of extreme natural disasters on living things 2, 4, 6, 8
Zombie Bugs! Investigates parasite-host relationships in the insect world and how these bugs resemble zombies 2, 4, 6, 8
Are Great Athletes Born Or Made? Investigates genetics and hard work in relation to athletics and explains why some great athletes are so successful 2, 4, 6, 8
Creative Destruction Explores how fire, while often destructive, can be used as an agent of regeneration to help balance ecosystems 4, 6, 8
Alligators In The Sewer:The Truth Behind Abandoned Pets Investigates what happens when pets are abandoned and how those pets adapt to and affect their environment 2, 4, 6, 8
Is My Dog Smiling At Me? Investigates the inner cognition and emotion of dogs and how they communicate with their owners 2, 4, 6
Is Your Brain Being Controlled by a Parasite? Discussion of a parasite called Toxoplasma Gondii that may affect the human brain and alter behavior 2, 4, 6, 8
The Night Sky Is Losing Its Stars Investigates how light pollution will affect future generations and their ability to see the stars in the sky 2, 4, 6
Would You Eat A Frankenburger? Explores the concept of lab-grown meat, its potential benefits, and the obstacles it faces 2, 4, 6, 8
What Zombies Can Teach Us About Pandemics Examines the fear of a zombie apocalypse and the science behind real-life viruses and pandemics 2, 4, 6, 8
How to Catch a Fly Ball Investigates the science behind one of baseball's most valued skills: catching a fly ball 2, 5, 6, 8
Is Time Travel Possible?
Teacher Guide
Explores the concept and history of time travel, and different theories that investigate its possibility 2, 4, 6, 8
Mindfulness in Our Schools Explores the practice of mindfulness, its history, and why it should be practiced in our schools 2, 4, 6
Space Tourism Explores the concept and the potential industry of space travel for business, recreation, or leisure 2, 4, 6, 8
The Cockroach: Could it Survive a Nuclear War? Investigates the resiliency of and debunks some myths about the bug that everyone loves to hate 2, 4, 6, 8
Could It Happen In NYC? Explores the causes of natural disasters and how vulnerable NYC may be to them 4, 6, 8
Crazy Ants' Invade America Investigates 'crazy ants', incredibly invasive pests that are quickly taking over the southern U.S. 2, 4, 6
Do Video Games Harm Or Help Us? Analyzes the effects that video games have on individuals, and whether these effects are positive or negative 2, 4, 6, 8
Fracking For Answers Debate over the pros and cons of 'fracking', a method of natural resource extraction 2, 4, 6, 8
Home Advantage: Why Teams Do Better At Home Analyzes the concept of "homefield advantage" and whether or not it really impacts the outcome of a game 4, 6, 8
How To Hunt A Vampire Investigates the science and history behind vampire folklore and how vampires are portrayed in media 2, 4, 6, 8
The New Ecosystem Of Garbage Explores the platisphere, a new ecosystem formed by the trash that accumulates in the world's oceans 3, 5, 7
The Truth About Race: Its Not What It Looks Like Investigates the science behind "race" and discredits this misguided and outdated classification system 2, 4, 6, 8
Social Studies
Title Brief Description Reading Levels
How Much Is Money Worth? Explores the history of currency, and the distinctions between physical and abstract money 3, 5, 7, 9
Harry Potter And The Dawn Of Online Fandom Explores how the Harry Potter series went beyond the books to become an online sensation with a mind of its own 2, 4, 6
College Is Still The Greatest Launchpad For Success A compelling argument for why it’s important to aspire toward a college degree 3, 5, 7, 9
Forget About Sex And Violence: Movies Now Rate For Gender Bias Discusses Sweden's new movie rating based on gender bias, in addition to the standard criteria for ratings 3, 5, 7
How The Greatest Flood In U.S. History Changed Music Forever Explores how a natural disaster ultimately influenced the course of American music 2, 4, 6, 8
Rich and Poor: Bridging The Gap Explores the causes and effects of the wealth gap, and poses possible solutions to bridge the gap 2, 4, 6, 8
How to Get a Word into the Dictionary Explores the process of officially inducting a new word into the dictionary 2, 4, 6, 8
A History of Hip-Hop Explores how hip-hop evolved not only as a musical genre but as a social movement in recent decades 3, 5, 7
A History of Punk Explores the history of punk music and how it epitomizes a particular youth culture 3, 5, 7, 9
Building New York: The Subway Explores the history and the engineering behind the New York City subway system 2, 4, 6
Genghis Khan: The Mongolian With 16 Million Descendants Discussion of Genghis Khan, his descendants, and the genetic studies they have inspired and informed 2, 4, 6, 8
Mystery of the Maya Explores the mysterious disappearance of the Mayan civilization from a scientific and historical viewpoint 3, 5, 7
Economic Bubbles: Following the Crowd Over the Cliff History of economic bubbles from the Dutch Tulip bubble of the 1600's to the tech and housing bubbles of the 2000's 3, 5, 7, 9
Farrah Gray: A Financial Fairy Tale Biography of Farrah Gray, and how he went from rags to riches with hard work and determination 3, 5, 7, 9
Gross National Product Versus Gross National Happiness Explores whether Gross National Happiness is the best way to measure a country's well-being 3, 5, 7, 9
The Fertile Crescent: From Garden Of Eden To Desert Explores how the "cradle of civilization" went from desert to garden, and back again 2, 4, 6, 8
Video Games And War: The Blurring line Explores the symbiotic relationship between the video game industry and the U.S. Military 2, 4, 6, 8
What If Harry Potter Had Been Named Harriet? Explores the effect that gender has on the content and success of a story 2, 4, 6, 8
When Languages Go Extinct
Teacher Guide
Explores how languages die and go extinct, and the efforts made to record or save dying languages 2, 4, 6, 8
Whig Party Stages A Comeback Explores the comeback of the Whig party in American politics and its new agenda 3, 5, 7
Raising The Minimum Wage: Pros and Cons Debate on the economic results of raising the minimum wage in the United States 2, 4, 6, 8
Why Some Freedom Fighters Turned To Violence* -- 3, 5, 7, 9
Primary Source Documents
Title Brief Description Reading Levels
Federalist Paper No. 10 Famous historical letter by James Madison addressing the issue of factions forming in government 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
The Declaration Of Sentiments Famous speech by Elizabeth Cady Stanton that demanded equal rights for women and men 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
The Art of War Famous work on military strategy attributed to Chinese general Sun Tzu, who lived in the sixth century B.C.E. 3, 5, 7, 9
Division Of Labor Excerpt from economist Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations detailing the rise of capitalism in the U.S. 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
Common Sense Historically famous pamphlet that explores the institution of government and influenced the American Revolution 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
The Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy JFK says in his inaugural address "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" 3, 5, 7, 9
What To The Slave Is The Fourth of July?
Teacher Guide
This historic speech by former slave Frederick Douglass urges the United States to abolish slavery 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
A Modest Proposal Satirical essay by Jonathan Swift that presents a "solution" to Ireland’s overpopulation and poverty problems 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
Are Women Persons?
Teacher Guide
Famous speech by suffragette Susan B. Anthony that helped women gain the right to vote 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat Winston Churchill's first speech as Prime Minister calling for a unified front against Germany during WWII 2, 4, 6, 8
Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death Famous speech by Patrick Henry that was the source of one of the American Revolution's most famous slogans 2, 4, 6, 8
The Cave
Teacher Guide
Famous excerpt from Plato's Republic in which he offers an escape route from the cave of ignorance into the light of reason 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12
The Declaration of Independence The historical document which declared the United States of America its own country, free from British rule 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
Self Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous essay about embracing individualism and avoiding conformity 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
Declaration of War Against Germany, 1917 Famous speech by President Woodrow Wilson urging Congress to declare war on Germany during WWI 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
The Future In America A first hand account of immigration through Ellis Island, written by H.G. Wells in 1906 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
Letter From A Birmingham Jail
Teacher Guide
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous letter from jail encouraging the nonviolent protest of unjust laws 2, 4, 6, 8