Special Collections

Grade 11 and 12 Common Core Text Exemplars

Description: These books exemplify the level of complexity that Common Core State Standards require students to engage with. While the choices serve to help educators select texts of similar complexity, quality, and range, this not a required reading list. #teachers


Showing 1 through 25 of 29 results
 

Black Boy

by Richard Wright

Richard Wright grew up in the woods of Mississippi, with poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and raged at those around him; at six he was a "drunkard," hanging about taverns.

Surly, brutal, cold, suspicious, and self-pitying, he was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common lot.

Black Boy is Richard Wright's powerful account of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South.

It is at once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment-a poignant and disturbing record of social injustice and human suffering.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: ELA

American Language

by H. L. Mencken

This groundbreaking study clarifies the differences between British and American English and defines the distinguishing characteristics of American English. Cigar-chomping newspaperman H. L. Mencken succeeds not only in providing a lucid description of the American language but also in making his readers laugh, wince, and nod in agreement. It's a readable and fascinating study on why you say "tomayto" and I say "tomahto. " A must read for anyone who loves words.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: ELA

Society and Solitude

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps no writer has so dramatically shaped the course of American philosophy as Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose meditations on spirituality, freedom, and the power of knowledge have informed and inspired generations of activists, scholars, and common people.

Published in 1870, Society and Solitude is Emerson's last great work, a collection of lectures he delivered on tour, in which he found profound insight on such seemingly prosaic topics as Art, Eloquence, Domestic Life, Books, Courage, Success, and "A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life; he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days," says Emerson in his lecture here on "Works and Days." Such penetrating wit and American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was a driving force behind the Transcendental Movement of the early 18th century.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: ELA

Walden

by Henry David Thoreau

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the original publication of Thoreau's classic work (which is cited in Books for College Libraries, 3rd ed.), this special edition is published in cooperation with the Walden Woods Project, a nonprofit organization founded in 1990 to preserve the land, literature, and legacy of Thoreau. The text includes a brief introduction by E. O. Wilson.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: ELA

The Declaration of Independence

by Thomas Jefferson

The Declaration of Independence is considered to be one of the greatest documents of all time. The central section of the declaration is a ringing assertion that every human being has an equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are the words that have built your nation and keep it strong.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: ELA

Common Sense

by Thomas Paine

Enormously popular and widely read pamphlet, first published in January of 1776, clearly and persuasively argues for American separation from Great Britain and paves the way for the Declaration of Independence. This highly influential landmark document attacks the monarchy, cites the evils of government and combines idealism with practical economic concerns.

A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: ELA

1776

by David Mccullough

America's beloved and distinguished historian presents, in a book of breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force, the stirring story of the year of our nation's birth, 1776, interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America's survival in the hands of George Washington.

In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence--when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.

Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King's men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough's 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.

TLE of Brooklyn and the daring American escape that followed is a part of the book few readers will ever forget. As the crucial weeks pass, defeat follows defeat, and in the long retreat across New Jersey, all hope seems gone, until Washington launches the "brilliant stroke" that will change history.

The darkest hours of that tumultuous year were as dark as any Americans have known. Especially in our own tumultuous time, 1776 is powerful testimony to how much is owed to a rare few in that brave founding epoch, and what a miracle it was that things turned out as they did.

Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough's 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history. [This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in History and Social Studies in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: History/ Social Studies

America's Constitution

by Akhil Reed Amar

In America's Constitution, one of this era's most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world's great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this "biography" of America's framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it.

We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding "We the People," was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators' inspired genius.

Despite the Constitution's flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America's Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why-for now, at least-only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president.

From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation's history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document's later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders' Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the "three fifths" clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired.

As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic's first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln's election.

Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America's Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: History/ Social Studies

The American Reader

by Diane Ravitch

The American Reader is a stirring and memorable anthology that captures the many facets of American culture and history in prose and verse. The 200 poems, speeches, songs, essays, letters, and documents were chosen both for their readability and for their significance.

These are the words that have inspired, enraged, delighted, chastened, and comforted Americans in days gone by. Gathered here are the writings that illuminate -- with wit, eloquence, and sometimes sharp words -- significant aspects of national conciousness. They reflect the part that all Americans -- black and white, native born and immigrant, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American, poor and wealthy -- have played in creating the nation's character.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in History and Social Studies in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: History/ Social Studies

What They Fought For, 1861-1865

by James M. Mcpherson

In Battle Cry Of Freedom, James M. McPherson presented a fascinating, concise general history of the defining American conflict. With What They Fought For, he focuses his considerable talents on what motivated the individual soldier to fight.

In an exceptional and highly original Civil War analysis, McPherson draws on the letters and diaries of nearly one thousand Union and Confederate soldiers, giving voice to the very men who risked their lives in the conflict.

His conclusion that most of them felt a keen sense of patriotic and ideological commitment counters the prevailing belief that Civil War soldiers had little or no idea of what they were fighting for. In their letters home and their diaries--neither of which were subject to censorship--these men were able to comment, in writing, on a wide variety of issues connected with their war experience.

Their insights show how deeply felt and strongly held their convictions were and reveal far more careful thought on the ideological issues of the war than has previously been thought to be true.

Living only eighty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Civil War soldiers felt the legacy and responsibility entrusted to them by the Founding Fathers to preserve fragile democracy--be it through secession or union--as something worth dying for.

In What They Fought For, McPherson takes individual voices and places them in the great and terrible choir of a country divided against itself. The result is both an impressive scholarly tour de force and a lively, highly accessible account of the sentiments of both Northern and Southern soldiers during the national trauma of the Civil War.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in History and Social Studies in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: History/ Social Studies

Democracy in America

by Alexis De Tocqueville

Originally penned in the mid-eighteenth century by Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America remains the most penetrating and astute picture of American life, politics, and morals ever written, as relevant today as when it first appeared in print nearly two hundred years ago. This edition, meticulously edited by the distinguished de Tocqueville scholar J. P. Mayer, is widely recognized as the preeminent translation.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in History and Social Studies in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: History/ Social Studies

The Tipping Point

by Malcolm Gladwell

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: STEM

Google Hacks (2nd Edition)

by Rael Dornfest and Tara Calishain

Featuring dozens of refreshed hacks, plus 25 completely new ones, Google Hacks , Second Edition is an updated collection of real-world solutions to practical Google research problems. Thanks to these industrial-strength tips, now you can easily save hours of research time mining Google. Best of all, each of its 100 hacks are easy to read and digest--no confusing terminology or extraneous information to hamper your understanding.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Informational Texts: STEM

Dreaming in Cuban

by Cristina García

Here is the dreamy and bittersweet story of a family divided by politics and geography by the Cuban revolution.

It is the family story of Celia del Pino, and her husband, daughter and grandchildren, from the mid-1930s to 1980.

Celia's story mirrors the magical realism of Cuba itself, a country of beauty and poverty, idealism and corruption.

DREAMING IN CUBAN presents a unique vision and a haunting lamentation for a past that might have been.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

The Bluest Eye

by Toni Morrison

Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife.

A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

The Adventures of Augie March

by Saul Bellow

Originally published in 1953, Saul Bellow's modern picaresque tale grandly illustrates twentieth-century man's restless pursuit of an elusive meaning.

Augie March, a young man growing up in Chicago during the Great Depression, doesn't understand success on other people's terms.

Fleeing to Mexico in search of something to fill his restless soul and soothe his hunger for adventure, Augie latches on to a wild succession of occupations until his journey brings him full circle.

Yet beneath Augie's carefree nature lies a reflective person with a strong sense of responsibility to both himself and others, who in the end achieves a success of his own making.

A modern-day Columbus, Augie March is a man searching not for land but for self and soul and, ultimately, for his place in the world.

Winner of the National Book Award

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

Their Eyes Were Watching God

by Zora Neale Hurston

Janie is an independent African American woman who grows up with a grandmother who is determined to keep her from the sexual and racial violence of her own past.

Janie's first marriage is filled with hard labor, so she runs off with Joe, a handsome and wealthy storekeeper.

Joe becomes mayor of the all-black town of Eatonville, Florida, but Janie is still unfulfilled by her new relationship.

After Joe's death, she lives with another man who brings passion into her world, if not stability.

Soon tragedy strikes and Janie learns to face it head-on with optimism and strength.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse.

Hemingway's frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto--of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized--is one of the greatest moments in literary history.

A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was thirty years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

As I Lay Dying

by William Faulkner

"I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first word I knew what the last word would be and almost where the last period would fall." --William Faulkner on As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying is Faulkner's harrowing account of the Bundren family's odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother.

Narrated in turn by each of the family members--including Addie herself--as well as others the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

The Great Gatsby

by F. Fitzgerald

The exemplary novel of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgeralds' third book, The Great Gatsby (1925), stands as the supreme achievement of his career. T. S. Eliot read it three times and saw it as the "first step" American fiction had taken since Henry James; H. L. Mencken praised "the charm and beauty of the writing," as well as Fitzgerald's sharp social sense; and Thomas Wolfe hailed it as Fitzgerald's "best work" thus far.

The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when, The New York Times remarked, "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s that resonates with the power of myth.

A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

Billy Budd, Sailor

by Herman Melville

"Billy Budd, Sailor" is Melville's last work and his masterpiece -- a brilliant study of the tragic clash between social authority and individual freedom, human justice and abstract good.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

A White Heron and Other Stories

by Sarah Orne Jewett

A celebration of the past in stories dealing with female friendships and tales that portray the resilience with which her female characters respond to poverty. Includes "The Town Poor," "Miss Peck's Promotion," "The Passing of Sister Barsett," "The Denham Ladies," "Miss Tempy's Watchers," and 5 more.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

Crime and Punishment

by Constance Garnett and Fyodor Dostoevsky

"Crime and Punishment has upon most readers an impact as immediate and obvious and full as the news of murder next door," wrote critic R. P. Blackmur. "One almost participates in the crime.., it is the murder that only by some saving accident we did not ourselves commit."

In the whole literature of the ambivalent relationship between man and the crimes of which he is capable, Crime and Punishment stands supreme for its insight, compassion, and psychological fidelity. The story of the murder committed by Raskolnikov and his guilt and atonement is without doubt the most gripping and illuminating account ever written of a crime of repugnance and despair and the consequences that inevitably arise from it.

"Dostoevsky's novels... leap out of their historical situation and confront us as if they had not yet spoken their final word," said award-winning Russian translator Richard Pevear. And The Washington Post Book World deemed Dostoevsky "the most compulsively readable of novelists we continue to regard as great."

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

The Scarlet Letter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

For nearly a century and a half, Hawthorne's masterpiece has mesmerized readers and critics alike. One of the greatest American novels, its themes of sin, guilt, and redemption, woven through a story of adultery in the early days of the Massachusetts Colony, are revealed with remarkable psychological penetration and understanding of the human heart.

A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories

Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Bronte and Erica Jong and Marcelle Clements

Featuring an Introduction by Erica Jong, this book stars one of the most unforgettable heroines of all time.

[This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

Date Added: 05/22/2018


Category: Stories


Showing 1 through 25 of 29 results