Now listen up! Put your cellphones away. I need your full attention!

All of you are ninth graders. I have taught this unit for a bunch of years and it is hands down FANTASTIC.

Ponder this: You started reading around the third grade, right? and you liked it, you really liked it — the novelty of it, the newness of learning to read, the fun with words …. It was like balloons at the circus, full of helium. Then, suddenly, you turned around and were in junior high and you became naysayers. The fun escaped from the balloons. The joy of reading died right there in your junior high classroom. It wasn’t cool. It was dull and insignificant and BORING in your mind. To READ became a four letter word.

Now that you are older. You are in the ninth grade. But remember, you are just five seconds out of junior high-dom. I am here to set you straight, so listen up.

This unit will reintroduce you to the enjoyment of reading. That whole concept of reading for fun was destroyed in middle school. Reconstructing fun starts with great authors, and we have them right here, so pay attention. Some you have eyes glazing over, but don’t back slide. This is great stuff. Be patient. I have picked authors from lots of popular genres. One will speak to you.

Some of you knuckleheads will read every single book written by your favorite authors on the list. Others will come back to me next year and ask about the authors you did not read this year and want to know more about them. Some of you will want to pick your own authors. You can’t. I’ve done the work for you. All you have to do is listen to the stories that pique your interest. The authors will do the rest.

Believe it or not I have had seniors come into the library around graduation and claim that their ninth grade author study was flat out the best class they took in all four years of high school.  Don’t believe me? Just hang in there, you will become a believer. These authors are the Prince Award winners, the Newberry Award winners, Man Booker Award winners, New York Time best sellers … they are the best young adult authors on the planet and they write great novels, PERIOD!

These should be on your parents’ reading list also, by the way. They are all fantastic reads.  I have read them multiple times and can’t get enough. Are you ready?

Let me tell you about the authors of these great books and a little synopsis of the stories I particularly like….


Aravind Adiga

John Green


Isabelle Allende

Image result for isabel allende books

Tom Robbins

Image result for tom robbins best books

Laurie Halse Anderson


Truman Capote

George Orwell


Ralph Ellison

Charles Dickens

Ken Kesey

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Marcus Sedgwick


Robert Frost

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Chris Crutcher


Sherman Alexie


William Faulkner

Walter Dean Myers


F. Scott Fitzgerald

Image result for ernest hemingway books

Ernest Hemingway

Patricia McCormick

mccormick mccormick purple-heart

Tony Hillerman

Nancy Farmer

nancy farmer

Ray Bradbury


Maya Angelou


John Irving

Markus Zusak

zusak zusak 2

James Joyce

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C.S. Lewis

Madeline L’Engle


Ron Koertge

koertge 2 koertge 1

Hermann Hesse

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All right, who wants to READ?


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