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Novels for ESL Students: Novels Without Grade Levels

This guide lists novels available in the Spokane Community College Library that are appropriate for English as a Second Language students

Novels Without Grade Levels

The library call number (example: 813.54 ALEXIE) is shown after the book title.  The call number will indicate where to find the book in the library.  Ask a librarian if you need help locating a book.

Blume, Judy, Summer Sisters, 813.54 BLUME, 399 pages

A poor girl overcomes temptation and succeeds in life. It happens when she befriends a rich girl whose father offers to pay her college tuition. It is not easy, the rich one, now turned playgirl, tempting her away from studies with boys.


Guest, Judith, Ordinary People, 813.54 GUEST, 263 pages

The Jarrets are a typical American family. Calvin is a determined, successful provider and Beth an organized, efficient wife. They had two sons, Conrad and Buck, but now they have one. In this memorable, moving novel, Judith Guest takes the reader into their lives to share their misunderstandings, pain...and ultimate healing.


McCall Smith, Alexander, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Paperbacks MYS/MCCALL SMITH, 235 pages

This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to help people with problems in their lives.


Miller, Linda Lael, Escape from Cabriz, Paperbacks ROM/MILLER, 249 pages

On the eve of her wedding to the Crown Prince of Cabriz, Kristin Meyers is having more than prewedding jitters -- her childhood friend Jascha has become a cold, distant stranger. And when his palace comes under attack from angry rebels, Kristin is caught in the cross fire.


Momaday, N. Scott, The Ancient Child, 813.54 MOMADAY, 313 pages

Returning to the land of his ancestors for his grandmother's funeral, Set is drawn to the fabled bear-boy whose story absorbs him. Then he meets a young medicine woman, and his world is turned upside down.


Morgan, Marlo, Mutant Message Down Under, 813.54 MORGAN, 187 pages

An American woman's fictionalized account of her life with the Aborigines of Australia. The novel's message is that Western culture is in trouble because it has divorced itself from nature. The author is a practitioner of alternative health.


Narogin, Mudrooroo, Wild Cat Falling, 823.914 NAROGIN, 131 pages

The story of an Aboriginal youth who grows up on the ragged outskirts of a country town, falls into petty crime, goes to jail, and comes out to do battle once more with the society that put him there.


Okada, John, No-No Boy, 813.54 OKADA, 260 pages

In the aftermath of World War II, Ichiro, a Japanese American, returns home to Seattle to make a new start after two years in an internment camp and two years in prison for refusing to be drafted.


Orwell, George, 1984, 823.912 ORWELL, 328 pages

Portrays life in a future time when a totalitarian government watches over all citizens and directs all activities.


Russell, P. Craig, Coraline, 741.5973 RUSSELL, 186 pages

Looking for excitement, Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others.


Steinbeck, John, Tortilla Flat, 813.52 STEINBE, 207 pages

The adventures and experiences of Danny, his friends, and his house set in Monterrey, California just before World War II.


Swift, Jonathan, Gulliver’s Travels, 823.5 SWIFT, 219 pages

Considered one of English literatures first and greatest satirists, Jonathan Swift possessed a timeless genius for pointing out the foibles of human nature that still has the power to provoke, amuse, and, at times, even outrage our modern sensibilities. The voyages of an Englishman carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land of giants; an island of sorcerers; and a country ruled by horses.


Tan, Amy, The Hundred Secret Senses, 813.54 TAN, 358 pages

The story of two sisters, one brought up in the U.S., the other in China. The American sister is contemptuous of the other's belief in ghosts until events cause her to understand what they can do.


Wynd, Oswald, The Ginger Tree, 813.54 WYND, 294 pages

In 1903, a 20-year-old Scots girl sails to China to marry a British attache, but soon horrifies the British community by having an affair with a young Japanese count.