(variously referred to as
"Depressing Novels" or "Girl" novels)
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- ??? About David
- ??? My Brother Has AIDS
- ??? "Paper Doll"
- ??? Tunnel Vision
- ??? "Waiting for Johnny Miracle." You might want to read it
first, because of the sex part, but it is *exactly* what they will
- ??? When Heroes Die (Another AIDS book)
- Another really good English writer is Bernard Ashley
-don't know whether he is published in the US. He writes about
kids from fairly tough backgrounds grappling with violence and
family breakdown. I'm pretty sure some of the books are about
fairly young characters.
- There are several titles by Avi which deal with
- One of the best on death is On My Honor by Marion Dane
Bauer. It is on the easy reading side for sixth graders, but I
think it is an excellent choice nonetheless.
- "Granny the Pag". Nina Bawden The idea of a grandmother
who is a semi-retired shrink who chain smokes and rides a
motorcycle does have its humer ous qualities. However, it is about
a child who is left with her grandmother and then when she is
older and it is politically correct for her paarents to have a
child they come back to get her.
- "Winning" by Robin Brancato that is about a boy who has
to cope with being a paraplegic after a sports accident.
- The Pinballs (foster children and Child abuse) by Betsy
- Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (retardation);
- Bloomability by Creech (girl who is withdrawn and
- Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (death);
- Crazy Lady by Conly deals with mental illness - good
6th grade read.
- Iron Man Chris Crutcher is also very good on the same
- Staying Fat for Sarah Byrne Chris Crutcher is
excellent for eating disorders
- Say Goodnight, Gracie_ by Julie Deavers is a
beautifully written, guaranteed to make you weep, step up for the
Lurlene crowd. (girl loses best friend to a hit & run)
- Anne Fine's books - she wrote Mrs. Doubtfire and Flour
babies and the Book of the Banshee, Step by Wicket Step, about
step-parenting. (though these would be too old for most 6th
graders), as well as others
- Radiance Descending by Paula Fox (Down Syndrome);
- Beat the Turtle Drum--Constance Greene (sister dies)
- Some of the stuff by Hahn like "Tallahasee Higgins" or
"Stepping on Cracks" might work too.
- Sun & Spoon by Kevin Henkes (death of grandmother);
- Patricia Hermes has a good one about a mother dying of
cancer but the title escapes me-something with "goodbye" in it
though. You Shouldn't Have to Say Goodbye??
- Kissing Doorknobs- Hesser (compulsive disorder)
- The Watcher - Howe (abusive father)
- _Time for Dancing_ by Davida Hurwin is a cancer/death
story, but about two girls, no romance, but popular with the same
- The Best Little Girl in the World Steven Levenkron
(anorexia nervosa) He also wrote about self-mutilation as another
OCD manifestation in The Luckiest Girl in the World.
- Summer to Die by Lois Lowry.
- With You and Without You--Anne M. Martin (father dies)
- Lurline McDaniel writes because of her own experience
with serious illness. I think her books are fine for 6ers and they
like them a lot. I really, really like PS Longer Letter Later for
broken home, and also Don't Make Me Laugh, which really helped my
- "The Blue Castle" by L.M. Montgomery . It has the
deadly disease part, but has a twist (alright it's a little
contrived, but very enjoyable) ending and it's very funny.
- Secret Letters from 0 to 10 by Morgenstern (boy who is
withdrawn and untalkative)
- Fat Chance by Leslea Newman is a good one. The main
character is a Jewish girl who develops bulimia. The age group is
- Mick Harte Was Here by Park (death of a brother)
- Bridge to Terabithia by Paterson (death of friend)
- Flip-Flop Girl by Paterson (girl coping with death)
- Take a look at "Park's Quest", "The Giver" or "The Josie
Gambit" Katherine Paterson
- Richard Peck's "Remembering the Good Times"
- Freak the Mighty by Philbrick (friendship of two boys
who are "different". 1 dies.)
- _The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman_ by Louise
Plummer is humorous and pokes fun at the romance novel while
telling about a romance. No devastating disease or grief here, but
it may be popular for the love alone. They all have reviews posted
- Missing May Cynthia Rylant is excellent for death and
- Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (homelessness)
- An author you might want to look into is Cynthia Voigt.
You need a high-reading 6th grader for these (they are better for
7th or low 8th) but many of her books deal with these themes--and
not in a heavy-handed way either. A few titles--Homecoming,
Dicey's Song (both dealing with mental illness & child
abandonment), Come a Stranger.
- Belle Prater' Boy by Ruth White -- deals with parent's
- A good English writer on some of these themes is Jacqueline
Wilson. 'The suitcase kid' in particular is about a broken
home, and is much in demand at my school (11-16). It's about quite
a young girl (10-11?) who has to shuttle between father and
- Unfinished Dreams--Jane B. Zalben (principal dies of
AIDS--very sensitive story)
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Updated: February 22, 1999 |
1999 by Nancy J. Keane
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