The first in a series of adolescent literature recommendations by CUW students/future educators.

“Oh, for Keip’s sake” is a blog series dedicated to the sharing of books with people who care—books that are especially for people who work with adolescent readers. And maybe even a few adolescent readers as well.

Dr. Val Keiper has charged the students in his Adolescent Literature course to review and recommend their favorites in the hopes of encouraging a love of reading. Learn more about this blog series here.

Julia’s pick: Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

“I absolutely loved Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt! Ally is a sixth grader who just can’t read. She is diagnosed with dyslexia with the help of her new teacher, Mr. Daniels (who is exactly the kind of teacher I want to be someday!). Along with her friends, Keisha and Albert, Ally slowly realizes that she can take on the world!” —Julia Schulteis

Ellie’s pick: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“A secretly wonderful classic, The Secret Garden is a classic written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I know what you are thinking: “A classic, ugh!” But this classic is AMAZING. I had hesitations, of course, about this book, but it ended up being fantastic! I also would recommend listening to this book to fully understand the accents each character brings.

The Secret Garden starts out with Mary, a spoiled sad looking child living in India. Her parents both died, leaving her to move to Yorkshire to live in her uncle’s manor. It is a quite peculiar place. Hundreds of rooms that have been shut off, along with a garden following her aunt’s death 10 years ago. Mary’s uncle is barely around, and when he is he is shut off in his study. Mary soon becomes curious and starts discovering things. She is most curious about the garden. After a series of events, she finds the key and door to the garden. She allows Dickon, a friend of nature, into her secret. But one thing that Mary doesn’t understand is the crying at night. When she explores, she is told to get back in her room. Mary finally finds the source, her cousin, Colin, a sickly boy who believes he’s going to die. Mary tells him of the garden, and he slowly wants to go outside. Mary, Dickon, and Colin spend the summer growing in their own way.” —Ellie Lankey

Josie’s pick: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

“This book is based out of the woods of Wisconsin. This is about a family of five that lives in a log cabin in the woods. They lived a very basic life. The father went and worked out in the woods by finding food for the family. The MA fixed the food and took care of the children at home and worked and did the dishes. 

They tell stories about during the wintertime when no one could go outside and play. They talked about their daily life’s and how they had certain days for everything they do, and Sunday was the day of rest like in the bible. They found it hard to do nothing on Sunday. They also talked about how it worked when it was time to harvest the wheat.

I did not know that Laura Ingalls was born in Wisconsin, non the less that that book was based out of Wisconsin until now. I like these older books. I like how you can find out how life was in the olden days.  It was a very different way of living life and I find it interesting to how they did everything back then. It was a good reread book it had been a while since I read that book.” —Josie Zweifel

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The School of Education at Concordia University focuses on optimizing your abilities to serve students, schools, and the community through education. Program develop well-rounded educational professionals who can teach and lead in rural or urban communities, parochial or public settings. With a distinctly Christ-centered approach to our curriculum, engaging faculty who have plenty of real-world experience and passion for their subjects can help play a meaningful role in preparing you for your next step.