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Wordless

Can you imagine a world where you weren't ALLOWED to read? How about one where you were never taught how to read or write? The books on this list all explore the impact that books and literacy -- or the lack thereof -- can have on individuals and society.


Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451

In this classic vision of the future, books are now illegal. Guy Montag is a "fireman" whose job it is to burn any books he finds. The consequences of his actions never occur to him, until he meets people who secretly continue to read and who show him the dangers of censorship and what society has lost because of it.


Steinbeck's Ghost
Steinbeck's Ghost

Not happy with moving to a new home, thirteen-year-old Travis leaves his unattentive parents behind and returns to Salinas, CA -- the hometown of John Steinbeck -- only to discover that his beloved town library is in danger of closing. Travis becomes the library's most active defender while at the same time trying to figure out why people in town are behaving like characters from Steinbeck's books.


The sledding hill
The sledding hill

Billy, recently deceased, keeps an eye on his best friend, fourteen-year-old Eddie, who has added to his home and school problems by becoming mute, and helps him stand up to a conservative minister and English teacher who is orchestrating a censorship challenge on books.


Ella Minnow Pea : a Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable
Ella Minnow Pea : a Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable

There is a crisis on the tiny island nation of Nollop. Certain letters of the alphabet have been made illegal. For a nation of readers and letter writers, there is nothing worse. Letters, getting more and more difficult to write, are exchanged between cousins Ella and Tassie detailing the islanders' literary oppression and their attempts to overcome it.


In Search of Mockingbird
In Search of Mockingbird

For her sixteenth birthday, Erin's father gives her the teenage diary of her deceased mother. The diary reveals her mother's love of the book "To Kill a Mockingbird," and that she wrote to the author, Harper Lee, asking for advice on becoming a writer. Erin's own love of the book, and the need to connect with her mother, takes her on a literary journey far from home.


Scrib
Scrib

In 1863, sixteen-year-old Scrib travels the West writing and delivering letters for people who are illiterate. Scrib's skills and profession have put him in danger, and someone is following him on his travels. In a West full of outlaws and Indians he must find out who is pursuing him while attempting to deliver a letter to President Abraham Lincoln.


Snow Falling in Spring : Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution
Snow Falling in Spring : Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution

The author's memoir of being a teenager in 1960's China during the "Cultural Revolution" details how all aspects of life, especially education, changed under Communism. Her father's personal library was destroyed, and she was sent to be "re-educated" at a far away boarding school. She finds an escape, and hope, in secretly reading banned books, and ultimately is able to attend college in the United States.


Nightjohn
Nightjohn

Born into slavery, twelve-year-old Sarny has witnessed and experienced unspeakable brutality. She knows that slaves caught learning to read could be killed, but when a former runaway slave named Nightjohn offers to teach her she accepts, putting herself and other around her in danger.


Push : a Novel
Push : a Novel

At sixteen, Clareece 'Precious' Jones is HIV positive and pregnant -- for the second time -- by her father. Being illiterate and living in a Harlem ghetto with her abusive mother, Clareece has few, if any, options of escaping her appalling existence until she meets a teacher who helps her find a way out through the power of literacy, education and self-expression.


Climbing the Stairs
Climbing the Stairs

In 1941 India, fifteen-year-old Vidya is forced to move in with her father's traditional, and rude, Brahmin family. She finds an escape from her expected duties in her grandfather's large library. There she discovers the joys of literature, a new friend, and an exciting direction for her life.