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Amplify ELA Novel Guides

This is the perfect time to get lost in a great book—and find other people to discuss it with. Download these novel studies (either teacher-led or independent student versions) and our guidelines for launching your own virtual book club. Each guide includes writing prompts and creative projects, such as producing independent response videos, and much more. All titles are commonly available through public library apps or for purchase on Amazon.com.

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

About the Book

The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black teen who lives in an underserved urban community and attends a wealthy suburban prep school. When she witnesses a police shooting that kills her unarmed friend, Starr must decide how much to speak out and to whom. This book addresses many important and complex topics, including friendship, community, identity, institutional racism, and police brutality. Some of the subject matter is sensitive, and the language includes slang, profanity, and references to violence, drugs, and sex.

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Hidden Figures

by Margot Lee Shetterly

About the Book

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly chronicles the lives and careers of several African American women in the fields of aeronautics and mathematics during the Space Race era. Against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War, these women overcame racial and gender discrimination to reach the very top of their professions, changing the world in the process.

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The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

About the Book

In The Call of the Wild, Jack London tells the story of Buck, a dog who is kidnapped from his tranquil California home and forced to pull a sled in the Yukon Territory. The harshness of the terrain and the brutality of his human and canine co-travelers force Buck to confront his own wild nature. He begins to hear promptings from deep within himself, promptings that call him to a life long since forgotten.

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Bridge to Terabithia

by Katherine Paterson

About the Book

Bridge to Terabithia is a powerful coming-of-age tale. The book tells the story of fifth-grader Jesse Aarons and his unlikely friendship with newcomer Leslie Burke. They form a strong bond based in part on the imaginary land they create together and call Terabithia. Their shared fantasy is threatened by unexpected tragedy. Will Terabithia survive?

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And Then There Were None

by Jack London

About the Book

And Then There Were None is a gripping suspense novel written by acclaimed author Agatha Christie. The novel takes place on a private island off the coast of England during the 1930s and centers around the poem, “Ten Little Soldier Boys.” It involves a diverse group of guests, some who were invited to the island for an exclusive getaway, and some who were offered employment by the island’s owners. Each character comes from a different socioeconomic background with various levels of criminal histories. Point of view and perspective are each a central focus of this novel, with a strong emphasis on motivation for different characters.

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Inside Out & Back Again

by Thanhha Lai

About the Book

Inside Out & Back Again tells the story of Hà, a ten-year-old girl who must flee Saigon with her family during the Vietnam War and seek refuge in the United States. Debut author Thanhha Lai based Hà’s story on her own childhood experiences and wrote the book as a series of first-person verse poems, each 1–3 pages in length, that span the course of a single year. In Hà, Lai has created an original voice that a Kirkus reviewer described as “enlightening, poignant and unexpectedly funny.” Inside Out & Back Again is a Newbery Honor book, a National Book Award winner, and a New York Times bestseller.

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Brown Girl Dreaming

by Jacqueline Woodson

About the Book

Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir of her childhood, Brown Girl Dreaming, is written entirely in verse. Woodson weaves together her own memories with those of her family members for a deeply personal portrayal of growing up between Ohio, South Carolina, and New York. While the book explores where home is for Jacqueline, it also illuminates the experiences of an African American child during the Civil Rights Movement and her burgeoning passion for words and stories.

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The Outsiders

by S.E. Hinton

About the Book

The Outsiders is wildly popular in middle school classrooms. And it’s easy to see why. Although the novel was written by S. E. Hinton more than 50 years ago, the themes and central focus remain relevant today. Students still relate to the idea of being an outsider, the appeal of finding common ground with others, and the complex question of conformity versus nonconformity.

The story revolves around 14-year-old Ponyboy and his two older brothers, Soda and Darry. After their parents die in a car crash, the brothers struggle to find their footing as a family and as part of society. They find a community by becoming part of a gang called the greasers.

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When I Was Puerto Rican

by Esmeralda Santiago

About the Book

Esmeralda Santiago’s memoir, When I Was Puerto Rican, describes her childhood in Puerto Rico, painting a rich picture of the people and culture of the island. While navigating relationships amongst the members of her large family, Esmeralda grapples with the nature of love and her own role in the world. This poignant coming-of-age story also includes Esmeralda (nicknamed Negrita) and her family’s numerous moves, including one to New York, and the wide cast of characters she encounters in each new location.

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