a long walk to water October 31


Top Ten Books That Inspire by Adriana Fortier

After reading almost every book in my local library,  this list includes some of the most inspiring and influential books I found.* These books make you stop, think, and look at the world in a different way. They remind you to be aware of your own actions and how they affect other people and to be sensitive to the plight of others.

red scarf girl

  1. Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of The Cultural Revolution by Ji-Li Jiang (1998)

Ji-Li is stuck in the middle of the Chinese cultural revolution. Where it’s ‘Out with the old and in with the new.” But what if she and her family are ‘part of the old’? This book has really stuck with me ever since I read it. I was wowed by what Ji-Li and her family went through and I hadn’t even heard of the cultural revolution before I read Red Scarf Girl.



  1.  Popular – A Memoir: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen (2014)

Maya, an unpopular ‘geek’ decides to follow a 1950’s popularity guidebook. With advice from hair to makeup to clothes. With every chapter Maya follows, she documents her discoveries in her book Popular. I loved this book.  It was interesting to see how becoming popular affected her self confidence.  I laughed a lot and cringed at some of the things she had to do as she followed the guidebook’s recommendations.


  1.  Wonder by R. J. Palacio (2012)

Being homeschooled, Auggie Pullman never had to deal with constant harsh treatment from others about his abnormal face or cauliflower ears. But now his parents think it’s time for him to learn to navigate through the real world, even if that means coping with ridicule. Middle school begins. I liked that this book had different characters’ points of view. I also really liked the amazing precepts. It also dealt with an uncommon topic, and that was interesting.


  1. Hidden by Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano, Greg Salsedo (2012)

Dounia, a grandmother, is ready to tell her story about her childhood in France. She tells her granddaughter about her struggles. However,  her story is different. She was a Jew in 2nd World War era France. I knew about the war but I’m not very familiar with wartime events in France. This book adds a personal dimension to such a big story.


the pregnancy project

  1.  The Pregnancy Project By Gaby Rodriguez and Jenna Glatzer (2012)

It was always assumed that Gaby Rodriguez would be a teen mom. Her sisters and brothers were all teen parents. But that wasn’t part of her plan. “I pretended to be pregnant as a high school senior and learned about the meaning of family, friends, and living beyond stereotypes.” I’ve never really experienced stereotypes, so this gave me an almost first-hand experience.


out of my mind

  1. Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (2010)

Melody is an eleven-year-old with cerebral palsy. She’s in a wheelchair, can’t speak and was diagnosed as mentally challenged. But when she gets a computer that allows her to convey her thoughts, everyone can find out how intelligent and amazing she really is. However, even when she’s able to speak, she’s still not considered ‘an equal’ by her fellow classmates. I liked this book because it made me question my actions, and think about how I would treat Melody.


  1.  Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2011)

In 1977, Ben, born deaf in one ear, is searching for his lost father. In 1927, Rose is stuck at home trying to learn how to speak and read lips. Soon their lives connect. I was amazed by the artwork in this story. It made the story even more interesting.

It was also nice to see how the two stories connected.

stones in water

  1. Stones In Water by Donna Jo Napoli (1997)

Roberto and Samuel are prisoners at a Nazi forced labor work camp in Italy. Will they be able to escape and survive through the harsh winter? I was younger when I read this and I can imagine I maybe shed some tears. I loved the characters and each of their stories.

a long walk to water

  1. A Long Walk To Water: Based On A True Story by Linda Sue Park (2010)

In 2008 Nya, an eleven-year-old from Sudan, walks two hours to a pond two times a day. In 1985 Salva is a ‘lost boy,’ a Sudanese, refugee who walks across Africa, searching for family and a safe place to stay. Their lives will intersect in an amazing way. This book was one of the first true stories I read. I liked it a lot and I remember it quite well.


the lions of little rock

  1. The Lions Of Little Rock by Kristin Levine (2012)

Twelve-year-old Marlee starts middle school in 1958 Little Rock, Arkansas and meets Liz, a fun, brave and confident girl. But Liz leaves school without saying bye to Marlee. People say Liz was ‘passing for white.’ Marlee decides she must find her friend and be willing to stay friends even if segregation will try and tear them apart. I have read a couple stories like this one. The Lions Of Little Rock is one of my favorites.


(* These books aren’t in any particular order of preference.)


Adriana Fortier is a 13 year old who probably reads too much. She also plays her violin, writes, and creates ‘sets.’ She lives with her two siblings and parents.