Book List for a 10th grade Unit: Man vs. Nature / Man vs. Self The class unit novels include: Lord of the Flies By William Golding

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Book List for a 10th grade Unit:

Man vs. Nature / Man vs. Self

The class unit novels include:

1. Lord of the Flies

By William Golding

Shipwrecked English schoolboys set up their own civilization but savagery finally emerges. This book offers great discussions about peer pressure, survival, society, character development, and how choices and decisions affect each person.

Word Count: 59,900

Reading Level: 5

Interest Level: 9+

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 744 / grade: Upper Grades

Lexile: 770

2. Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors

By Piers Paul Read

This is the story of the unimaginable mental, physical, and moral struggle by airplane crash survivors to stay alive during a ten-week ordeal in the Cordillera De Los Andes of South America in 1972. Forty 40 team members, staff, family, and friends of a Uruguayan rugby team along with 5 crew members en route to Chile, smashes into a mountain in Argentina killing dozens aboard, however nearly two-dozen manage to survive the impact. On a patched up radio receiver they find out that the search for the plane has been called off, so the crash victims are forced to rely on their own initiative to endure the harsh conditions at such a high altitude. Several more die of injuries suffered in the crash, inadequate medical supplies, a subsequent avalanche, and prolonged exposure before sixteen fortunate individuals are rescued. 

This story gives students a look into the issues of survival against nature and in dealing with the human condition when put under severe stress and crisis.

Word Count: 107,008

Reading Level: 7.7

Interest Level: 9+

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 7.7 / points: 19.0 / quiz: 19776 / grade: Upper Grades

Reading Counts!: reading level:9 / points:27.0

Lexile: 1160L

Additional Books and Materials:

Easier reading options:

  1. Frozen Fire

By Tim Bowler (2008)

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Fifteen-year-old Dusty gets a mysterious call from a boy who says he is going to kill himself, and while he claims to have called her randomly, he seems to know everything about her. He seems to be not of this world and stays very hidden because there are many people who want to see him dead. She is determined to save him. This book would appeal as an easy read while being an intense thriller. Tim Bowler is an award winning author and does not disappoint.

Word Count: 86,026

Reading Level: 3.8

Interest Level: 9-12

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.8 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 122285 / grade: Upper Grades

Reading Counts!: reading level:2.7 / points:21.0

Lexile: 520L

3. Hunger Games (2008)

By Suzanne Collins

hunger games

In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition that pits young people against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's is challenged, when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place. Kids are forced to fight each other to the death in a show of the survival of the fittest. This book offers a good read to medium readers and reflects the issues of survival, and the tyranny of society and the need for rules to govern civil behaviors.

Word Count: 99,750

Reading Level: 5.3

Interest Level: 7-12

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.3 / points: 15.0 / quiz: 123740 / grade: Middle Grades

Reading Counts!: reading level:4.7 / points:23.0

Lexile: 810L

4. Shattering Glass

By Gail Giles (2002)

shattering glass

When Rob, the charismatic leader of the senior class, turns the school nerd into Prince Charming, his actions lead to unexpected violence.  This book will bring students into a shocking study of manipulation and its dangerous consequences, related by a co-conspirator who is also a victim. Disturbing and convincing, with witty dialogue and realistic characters. This offers the students another choice for reading within the themes but with more accessibility to an easier reading level.

Word Count: 43,237

Reading Level: 4.2

Interest Level: 7-12

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 58066 / grade: Upper Grades

Reading Counts: reading level:6.2 / points:11.0

Lexile: 590L

5. Wringer

By Jerry Spinelli

As Palmer comes of age, he must either accept the violence of being a wringer at his town's annual Pigeon Day or find the courage to oppose it. This book reinforces the concepts of taking a stand against peer pressure and in having the courage to make individual positive choices. This book is a much easier read than the other books listed here and may appeal to readers who are more interested in easy reading.

Word Count: 37,410

Reading Level: 4.5

Interest Level: 5-9

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 5.0 / quiz: 17800 / grade: Middle Grades

Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:10.0

Lexile: 690L

6. The Brimstone Journals
By Ron Koertge

This book offers students a different look at the issues of pressures facing teens in society. The poems are accessible and relatable and could serve as examples for a poetry assessment within this unit. This story is told in short interconnected poems from students at a fictional high school nicknamed Brimstone that reveals the violence existing and growing in their lives. These journal entries will sound familiar and terrifying to the students with themes involving all the usual cliques, plus eating disorders, angry young men set on killing, sexual orientation confusion, race and class. These are easy reading poems with intriguing issues.

Word Count: 8,491

Reading Level: 4.2

Interest Level: 7-12

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 46124 / grade: Upper Grades

Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:5.0

Lexile: 610L

More Difficult Books:

1.Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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This book is a classic but many students of this age may not be familiar with it. It would be popular with the recent Pirate movies buffs and follows the theme of survival, adventure, challenge as an innkeeper’s son is led on the search for a pirate’s treasure amidst challenge and opposition. It is rates are a higher lexile score and could provide more challenge and interest for advanced readers.

Publisher: Aladdin

Copyright: 2000

Pages: xiii, 339 p.

Available: Available

ISBN: 0-689-83212-5

ISBN 13: 978-0-689-83212-3

Dewey: F

LCCN: 99068357

Dimensions: 20 cm.

Language: english

Word Count: 66,950

Reading Level: 8.3

Interest Level: 5-9

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 8.3 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 522 / grade: Middle Grades

Reading Counts!: reading level:7 / points:17.0

Lexile: 1100L

2. Whale Talk

By Chris Crutcher (2001)

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TJ is an intellectually and athletically gifted, multiracial, adopted teenager, who shuns organized sports and the gung-ho athletes at his high school until he agrees to form a swimming team and recruits some of the school's less popular students. This book continues in the unit theme of loss of innocence, good vs. evil and abuse of power. This book would be good for an advanced reader.

Word Count: 63,247

Reading Level: 6.1

Interest Level: 7-12

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.1 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 49654 / grade: Upper Grades

Reading Counts!: reading level:7.2 / points:16.0

Lexile: 1000L

Non Fiction:

  1. Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2

By Jennifer Jordan (2005)

This book will appeal to the girls in the class, as most of the books on survival and adventure are about boys. This is a true story about women adventurers and the choices they make that bring them face to face with survival and even death. The book includes photos of the women and their adventures. I was not able to find any reading scores for this book. This book would most likely appeal to advanced readers.


  1. Between A Rock And A Hard Place

By Aron Ralston (2006)

between a rock and a hard place

Ralston recounts his 2003 adventure in a Utah mountain canyon where a climbing mishap pinned his arm under a boulder and forced him to amputate his arm six days later in a desperate attempt to escape and survive. It is filled with examples of choices and decisions when man is pitted against nature. It has a more challenging lexile score and since it is non-fiction it gives students a real life story to experience. This book would appeal to advanced readers.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster-Adult

Copyright: c2004, 2005

Pages: xiii, 354 p.

Available: Available

ISBN: 0-7434-9282-X

ISBN 13: 978-0-7434-9282-9

Dewey: 921

LCCN: 2004303427

Dimensions: 22 cm.

Subject Heading: Desert survival. Utah. Bluejohn Canyon., Ralston, Aron., Rock climbing accidents. Utah. Bluejohn Canyon.

Language: english

Reviewing Agencies: Starred Review ALA Booklist, ALA Booklist(08/01/04), Curriculum Connections, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal,

Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 353).

Word Count: 126,635

Reading Level: 7.7

Interest Level: 9+

Accelerated Reader: reading level: 7.7 / points: 22.0 / quiz: 86050 / grade: Upper Grades

Reading Counts: reading level:6.2 / points:27.0

Lexile: 1210L

3. The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition

By Alfred Lansing (2000)
I consider this one of the best survival story of all time and one of the best books I’ve ever read so I can highly recommend it.
The story is about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s failed attempt to cross Antarctica on foot just prior to the start of World War I. Their ship, the Endurance, became stuck in an early ice floe in the Weddell Sea. The crew of 27 had no means of communication or hope of outside help, and was to remain isolated for next 22 months and they had to live on the ship for almost a year before the ice destroyed it, forcing the expedition to move out onto the frozen sea. Any student will be amazed to read this amazing story of survival and determination. It would appeal to medium to advanced readers who are interested in historical non-fiction.

Reading Level: 7

Interest Level: 7-12

No reading levels available


Audio/Video Options:

  1. Dateline Video (2006)

Aron Ralston – Peter Jennings and his crew return with the author to the scene of his crisis while Aron remembers and narrates where he was trapped and what personal struggles he faced and the choices he made to survive.

  1. Read Alongs”- Lord of the Flies on MP3 Players is available in the school libraries. Students who struggle with reading or who are absent could check this out to supplement reading.

3. Touching the Void -Video (2004)

In 1985, two young British friends travelled to a remote corner of Peru. Ambitious mountaineers, their aim was to conquer the unclimbed west face of a notorious 21,000 ft. peak "Siula Grande". Their story has become part of mountaineering legend as these climbers are roped together in a dangerous climb where they each face death and make grave decisions regarding each other’s survival.

4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding: a review of the novel. (1978)

FILM – Visual Material for Secondary School English

Presents a brief dramatization of William Golding's Lord of the flies, along with the background information as an introduction to the novel. Introduces the students to the novel through a brief review, or could be used to foreground the book, or as a review after reading. This is a good accommodation for visual students who may have trouble with reading comprehension and also works as an option when there is not time to watch the full movie in class.

Internet Articles

  1. Girls will be Girls” - New York Times (2008)

This article sets up a discussion about what may have happened if girls had been on the Island in Lord of the Flies instead of boys or in addition to.

  1. When Women Rule”- New York Times ( 2008)

Another article that will bring the girls into the discussion in a different way and introduce the discussion of gender expectations, relations and issues into the theme. It is accessible to medium to advanced readers.


This is a fun website that could be explored for survival techniques and tips or for a research article or just for fun reading and learning and getting ideas.

Trade Books:

  1. On Writing Well

By William Zinsser ( 2001)

This is a Classic Guide to writing nonfiction. This could be used in the classroom as reference guide and a teaching guide in this unit for having the students write their own nonfiction story on a personal experience of extreme survival or adventure, bullying, dangerous situations, taking a stand for a belief, loss of innocence, good vs. evil.

2. Write Source: A Book for Writing, Thinking and Learning

Dave Kemper, Patrick Sebranek, Verne Meyer (2007)

This is a classroom text that can be used for instruction on research papers, narratives, expository writing, persuasion, creative writing and poetry. It offers great support for assisting students in all of the writing processes and with support from the teacher, it is appropriate for most students of average reading abilities.

Works Cited

Bowler, Tim. Frozen Fire. New York: Penguin Books, 2008. Print

Collins, Suzanne. Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Books, 2008. Print

Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War. New York: Random House, 1978 Print.

Crutcher, Chris. Whale Talk. New York: Harper Books, 2001. Print.

Giles, Gail. Shattering Glass.Brookfield, Connecticut: Roaring Brook Press, 2002. Print

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies: A Review. Connecticut: Current Affairs Film, 1978

Jordan, Jennifer. Savage Summit. New York: Harper Books, 2005. Print

Kemper, Dean et al. Write Source. Willmington, Mass: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2007.


Koertge, Ron. The Brinstone Journals. New York: Candlewick Press, 2001. Print.

Lansing, Alfred. The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition. New

York: Carrol and Graf, 2002. Print

Spinelli, Jerry. Wringer. New York: Harper Collins, 1997. Print

Ralston, Aron. Between a Rock and Hard Place. New York: Atria Books, 2004. Print

Read, Paul Reirs. Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors. New York: Avon Books, 1974.


Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island. New York: Penguin Books. 1968. Print.

Zinsser, William. On Writing Well. New York: Harper Books, 2001. Print

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