Activity 1B.1: Reading for Narrative Technique
Selected Excerpts from Autobiographies and Memoirs on the California Recommended Reading List
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In Chapter 9, the author meets her father for the first time and is reunited with her mother.
Ansary, Tamim. West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story. In Part One, The Lost World, “Villages and Compounds,” the author describes the system of family life in Afghanistan from his own experiences, including brief biographies of his mother and father.
Bragg, Rich. All Over But the Shouting. In Chapter 11, “Under a hateful sky,” the author works a construction job for his uncle and is accused of stealing. In Chapter 14, “100 miles per hour, upside down and sideways,” the author puts all his savings into a new car, wrecks it in a high-speed chase, and almost kills himself.
Dahl, Roald. Boy: Tales of Childhood. In “Homesickness,” the author fakes appendicitis in order to be sent home from boarding school.
Hickam Jr., Homer H. Rocket Boys: A Memoir. In Chapter 3: Mom, the author shoots off a rocket, and his mother talks to him about his creative potential.
Mah, Adeline Yen. Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter. In the fourth section of Chapter 6: Jia Chou Bu Ke wai Yang (Family Ugliness Should Never Be Aired in Public), the author is sent to a private missionary school and takes her first stand against her stepmother, choosing to walk miles to school rather than beg her stepmother for tram fare.
Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography. The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa. In Chapter 19, the author is roused early in the morning to accompany the family to his grandmother’s house, where his 13-year-old uncle has been arrested for not carrying a pass.
Myers, Walter Dean. Bad Boy: A Memoir. In “Bad Boy,” the author writes about being made aware that he has a speech impediment, and learning to love literature.
Other Suggestions from the California Recommended Reading List
Allende, Isabel. Paula
Ansary, Mir Tamim. West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story.
Alvaraz, Julia. Something to Declare.
Canada, Geoffrey. Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun.
Cary, Lorene. Black Ice.
Chen, Da. Sounds of the River.
Crutcher, Chris. King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography.
Dumas, Firoozeh. Funny in Farsi.
Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl.
Gantos, Jack. Hole in My Life.
Herriott, James. All Creatures Great and Small.
Houston, Jeanne W. and James Houston. Farewell to Manzanar.
Jimenez, Francisco. Circuit Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child.
Latifa. My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman’s Story.
McCourt, Frank. Angela’s Ashes.
Paulsen, Gary. My Life in Dog Years.
Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood.
Wiesel, Elie. Night.
Yen Mah, Adeline Mah. Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter.