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AP Language Book Choices

An American Summer coverAn American Summer
by Alex Kotlowitz
Year Published: 2019
Recommended by Dr. Park Ginder

“This book takes a look at the stories of individuals and families impacted by violence, drugs, and murder on the streets of Chicago. Kotlowitz weaves a compelling narrative that traces the lives of multiple individuals.  This book will make you think.  Be advised there is some harsh, course, and inappropriate language, however, it is not gratuitous in nature.”




Toms River -A Story of Science and Salvation coverToms River -A Story of Science and Salvation
by Dan Fagin
Year Published: 1996

“What was in the water in Toms River? A seemingly high number of childhood cancer cases in the New Jersey town prompted the question, but there turned out to be no easy answer ... Toms River unravels the careless environmental practices that damaged a community. The fate of the town, we learn, revolves around the science that cost its residents so much.” 



Behind the Beautiful Forevers coverBehind the Beautiful Forevers
by Katherine Boo
Year Published: 2012

“In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport.”


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings coverI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
Year Published: 1969
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.



In Cold Blood coverIn Cold Blood
by Truman Capote
Year Published: 1965

Few people had ever heard of the small town of Holcomb, Kansas until 1959, when 4 members of the Clutter family were murdered.



In the Garden of Beasts coverIn the Garden of Beasts
by Erik Larson
Year Published: 1965

"In the Garden of Beasts is a vivid portrait of Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign, brought to life through the stories of two people: William E. Dodd, who in 1933 became America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s regime, and his scandalously carefree daughter, Martha. Ambassador Dodd, an unassuming and scholarly man, is an odd fit among the extravagance of the Nazi elite."


The Magical Language of Others coverThe Magical Language of Others
by E.J. Koh

“A powerful and aching love story in letters, from mother to daughter…As Eun Ji translates the letters, she looks to history..and to poetry…to answer questions inside all of us.”


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks coverThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine: … lead[ing] to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.”