Two Year Project of Literature in the Social Studies Classroom

Global History and Geography I: 9th Grade


NOTE:  Students have the option of reading FOUR books; reading THREE books and viewing ONE film; or reading TWO books and viewing TWO films during the course of the four marking periods.  Scholar Level students may view ONE film only.






Richard Adams Watership Down This is a powerful saga of courage, leadership and survival; an epic tale of a hardy band of wild rabbits forced to flee the destructi0on of their fragile community and determined to survive against extraordinary adversity in their quest for a new home and a new society. Personalities and adventures come alive in this unique picture of the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests and riverbanks far beyond our cities and towns.
Mary Renault The Bull from the Sea A re-creation of the story of the legendary hero Theseus. Having freed the city of Athens from the onerous tribute demanded by the ruler of Knossos-the sacrifice of noble youths and maidens to the appetitie of the Labyrinth's monster-Theseus has returned home to find his father dead and himself the new king. But his adventures have only just begun-he still must confront the Amazons, capture their queen, Hippolyta, and face the tragic results of Phaedra's jealous rage.
Mary Renault The King must Die This is the story of the mythical hero, Theseus, slayer of monsters, abductor of princesses, and king of Athens. It focuses on Theseus' Cretan aventure and his return to Athens after successfully going through the labyrinth and slaying the Minotaur.
Rosemary Sutcliff The Eagle of the Ninth

In 119 AD, the ninth Roman Legion marched north into the wilds of Britiain and disappeared without a trace. Fifteen years later, Marcus Flavius Aquila, son of the unit's commander, embarks on a quest to recover the lost eagles standard of the Ninth, symbol of a legion's, and his family's honor.

Rosemary Sutcliff

The Shining Company

For a year, Prosper and his 300 Companions train until they can think and act as one fighting brotherhood.  And when word reaches them that the enemy Saxons have taken yet another kingdom, they set out at once to attack the Saxon stronghold at Catraeth. It is here that Prosper must face his greatest challenge, as treachery strikes the Companions from a most unexpected source. 
Set in A.D. 600, and based on The Gododdin,  the earliest surviving North British poem, Prosper's story is one of adventure and heroism against impossible odds.


The Frogs

This vigorous and comic satire tells of the visit of Bacchus to the underworld.
Sophocles Antigone

The necessity of a proper burial was the profound obligation of every ancient Greek family. Antigone undertakes that obligation even though it means treason to the State, the rejection of her only sister, the renunciation of her fiancé, and her own death.

Sophocles Electra The tragedy of a dysfunctional family.


Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) The oracle of Delphi predicts that Oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother.
Euripides Medea A powerful study of an impassioned love turned into furious hatred. Medea is one of the most fascinating, complex, and dynamic heroine-villainess in dramatic literature.


The Trojan Women In this powerful indictment of war, Euripides protests the Athenian massacres in Melos in 415 B.C.
Edith Hamilton Mythology Classical myths
Keith Baines

Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur*

They say that King Arthur lies sleeping in a cave in Wales, and will someday rise up wearing golden crown to save his beloved isle from oppression. King Arthur was an object of passionate belief during the Middle Ages, and the effect of his chivalrous deeds has been an influence throughout English history.

Michael Cadnum The Book of the Lion In medieval Britain, Edmund, a young apprentice, is awaiting punishment for his master's crime of counterfeiting, when a knight intervenes on his behalf. Edmund is shocked to find that he is now expected to join Richard Lionhart's forces in the Holy Land. As Edmund travels across Europe with the knight's party, he begins to train as a squire and is fascinated by all that he sees.  But he fears for his safety in the days that lie ahead. How can he possibly prepare for the untold horrors of war?
Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales* A group of stories told by an oddly assorted band of pilgrims en route to the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral.  From the mirthful and bawdy to the profoundly moral, the tales, taken in their entirety, reflect not only the manners and mores of medieval England, but, indeed, the full comic and tragic dimensions of the human condition.
Michael Crichton Timeline

We are on the threshold of the twenty-first century. Information moves instantly between two points, without wires or networks. Computers are built from single molecules. Any moment of the past can be actualized- and a group of historians can enter, literally, life in fourteenth-century feudal France. Imagine the risks of such a journey. Crichton combines a science of the future with the complex realities of the medieval past. In a heart-stopping narrative, Timeline carries us into a realm  of unexpected suspense and danger.

Buchi Emecheta

The Bride Price

The Bride Price is the poignant love story of Akunna, a young Ibo girl and Chike, son of a prosperous former slave.  They are drawn together despite all obstacles standing between them and their happiness, the most powerful one being the weight of African tribal life and custom.  Fleeing an unwanted marriage to join Chike, and her uncles's refusal to accept the required Bride Price from Chike's family, all contribute to Akunna's haunting fear that she will die in childbirth-the fate (according to tribal lore) awaiting every young girl whose Bride Price is not paid.

Mette Newth


The Trans-formation For several years the Inuits of Greenland have suffered from unusually hard winters.  Navarana, a young Inuti woman, has lost both her parents to these terrible times of famine and desperation. She decides to become a hunter and a shaman, a spirit guide, to help her people. Then she accidentally finds and reluctantly saves Brendan, a young Irish monk who has come to Greenland to help the Christian community and convert the "heathens."

D.T Niane

Sundiata: En Epic of Old Mali*

All the mystery and majesty of medieval African kingship is retold in this epic tale of the hunchback prince of Maghan, known as the handsome Sundiata. He grows up to fulfill the prophesies of the soothsayers, to unite the twelve kingdoms of Mali into the most powerful empires ever known in Africa.

Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe* The disinherited knight Ivanhoe and his fair lady Rowena, Richard the Lion Hearted and Robin Hood are the characters who bring action, romance and suspense to 12th-century England during the time of the crusades, chivalry, and courtly love.
Frances Temple Ramsay Scallop The year is 1299, 14-year old Elenor reluctantly awaits the return of her betrothed- a man she hardly knows- from the Crusade. Thomas, broken and disillusioned from years of fighting finds the very idea of marriage and lardship overwhelming. So the village priest sends them on a religious pilgrimage before the marriage. As Elenor and Thomas wend their way toward the shrine of St. James, they meet many other pilgrims-each with their own extraordinary tales to tell and ideas to share.
Mark Twain A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Hank Morgan is cracked on the head by a crowbar in nineteenth-century Connecticut and wakes to find himself in King Arthur's England.  There he faces a world whose idyllic surface masks fear, injustice, and ignorance.

Karen Cushman

The Midwife's Apprentice One frosty evening, a girl who knows no home, no parents, and no name but Brat finds shelter and warmth in a farmer's dung heap.  There Jane the village midwife finds her. So it is that Brat-now called Beetle by her new mistress-begins her career as a midwife's apprentice in medieval England.

Karen Cushman

Catherine, Called Birdy

Her diary of the year 1290 is a revealing, amusing, and sometimes horrifying view both of Catherine's thoughts and life in the Middle Ages.

"Dear Diary
       24th day of September
My mother seeks to make me a fine lady-dumb, docile and accomplished-so I must take lady-lessons and keep my mouth closed.  My father, the toad, conspires to sell me like cheese to some lack-wit seeking a wife.
Corpus bones! He comes to dine with us in two days' time. I plan to cross my eyes and drool in my meat."

Karen Cushman

Matilda Bone

With the fascinating and pungent world of medieval medicine as a backdrop, Matilda Bone is the compelling, comic story of a girl learning to live contentedly in this world.
In Blood and Bone Alley, where she has come to serve Red Reg the Bonesetter, Matilda finds she is alone in her belief that prayer and study are the only worthy pursuits. Here she is expected to go to market, tend the fire, mix plasters and poultices, and help treat patients.

Malcolm Bosse The Examination This is the story of two brothers traveling across Ming Dynasty China to pursue their destinies.  To fulfill his goal of becoming a government official, the scholarly Chen must first pass the difficult government examinations, held in the Forbidden City in far-off Beijing. To honor his promise to his dead mother, the worldly-wise Hong must accompany Chen on the journey, protecting him from the dangers of travel. Their united purpose underscores how, even in sixteenth-century China, brothers can be as different from each other as night and day.
Bertholdt Brecht Galileo* The play Galileo explores the question of a scientist's social and ethical responsibility, as the brilliant Galileo must choose between his life and his life's work when confronted with the demands of the Inquisiton.
Tracy Chevalier Girl with a Pearl Earring History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Griet, the world of 1660s Holland comes dazzlingly alive in this richly imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Renaissance painter Vermeer’s most celebrated paintings.
Olaudah Equiano The kidnapped Prince (The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings) In 1755, a young African boy was kidnapped, hidden in an enormous sack, and carried off into slavery. So began a series of journeys that would take him halfway around the world- and a struggle for freedom that would make him famous. This is the gripping, true story of adventure, betrayal, cruelty and courage. In searing scenes, Equiano describes the savagery of his capture, the appalling conditions on the slave ship, the auction, and the forced labor. Yet he survives, he retains his humanity, and he earns his freedom.
Arthur Golden Memoirs of a Geisha* Nita Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha in a world where appearances are paramount. The novel begins in a poor Japanese fishing village when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, Nita is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Through her eyes, we see the decadent heart of Gion- the geisha district of Kyoto.  And we witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha.

The Prince*

For over four hundred years, The Prince has been the basic handbook of politics, statesmanship. And power. Machiavelli, a sixteenth- century Florentine nobleman, wanted to set down for all time the rules and moves in the ageless game of politics, and as the most successful statesman of his day, he devised this highly readable formula for the man who seeks power.
Amy Tan

The Joy Luck Club

The "joy luck club" is a mah jong/storytelling support group formed by four Chinese women in San Francisco in 1949. Years later, when member Suyuan Woo dies, her daughter June (Jing-mei) is asked  to take her place at the mah jong table.  With chapters alternating between the mothers and the daughters of the group, we hear stories of the old times and the new; as parents struggle to adjust to America, their American children must struggle with the confusion of having immigrant parents.  This novel is full of complicated, endearingly human characters and first-rate story telling in the oral tradition.

 Dava Sobel

Galileo's Daughter* The gripping story of a brilliant but doomed scientist, Galileo, his daughter, Virginia, and the extraordinary zealous Pope Urban VII in Renaissance Italy at a time when man's perception of himself and the world was being overturned. The surviving letters of Galileo's daughter, a cloistered man, help illuminate this biography of the father of modern science.

 © 2008 NYSED