Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: People of the World

A Step from Heaven - (ISBN: 0142500275)

by An Na

Young Ju, the newly arrived daughter in a Korean family, describes her family’s adjustment problems after they come to live in the US. Although her family members don’t all adjust as well as she does, her telling of the story creates beauty out of difficulty. Try making a family painting of a shared problem and see if it helps give distance to the difficulty.

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind - (ISBN: 0440238560)

by Suzanne Fisher Staples

Learn about growing up in the desert land of Pakistan, a land where marriages are arranged and transportation is by camel. How do you think a Pakistani father would feel about American young people who choose their own husbands and wives? Can you find anything girls in the West have with young women from the Middle East?

The Heaven Shop - (ISBN: 1550419072)

by Deborah Ellis

Binti, a 13-year-old girl in Malawi East Africa, suffers through the deaths of family members from AIDS, her sister’s turn to prostitution, and an orphan’s existence until a strong grandmother gets them all back together in a rural village. Have any of your friends or family members faced a devastating illness, a job loss, or a forced move? How do their families cope with such harsh changes?

Activities for this Theme

Try a different style of makeup (mehendi) which originated in India.


Learn about other countries’ currencies by selecting another currency for this game.


Check out the meaning and origin of your first name and see what languages have similar names: