All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

E. Lockhart

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E. Lockhart is the author of the highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller We Were Liars and the Ruby Oliver quartet (The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends), as well as Fly on the Wall and Dramarama. Her novel The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the National Book Award, and winner of a Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel.


Lockhart was born in New York City, and grew up in the Boston area in the 1970s. Her mother was a pre-school teacher and her father a playwright. Lockhart remembers visiting her mother's classroom and reading to the children there; even more vividly, she remembers sitting in the back row of the theater, watching rehearsals – and seeing stories come to life.

Lockhart studied English at Vassar, and then came to New York City to get her doctorate in 19th-century English literature at Columbia.

Her mother read picture books to her; her father read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, and Sherlock Holmes. He also made up stories for Lockhart and recounted the plots of Shakespeare plays. Together, Lockhart and her father wrote a novel for children called The Secret Life of Billie's Uncle Myron (1996).

Lockhart writes books for children using her birth name, Emily Jenkins. Her picture books include Lemonade in Winter, Toys Meet Snow, The Fun Book of Scary Stuff ,and Skunkdog. For readers age 6-10, Jenkins writes the popular Toys series, including Toys Go OutToy Dance Party, and Toys Come Home, all with illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky.

In addition to writing, Lockhart visits schools in the New York City area and further afield. Her website offers a range of helpful resources for teachers and students. To learn more, visit the official E. Lockhart website.

Selected Books

from E. Lockhart


Age Level: 12-14

Sarah lives in small Ohio town and spends most of her time as a "theater geek" with her best friend, Demi. This summer, everything heats up when they audition (and get into) a summer camp for theater kids. Though sexual orientation is discussed, the book is quite chaste.

Buy Dramarama

The Boyfriend List

Age Level: 12-14

Fifteen-year-old Ruby "Roo" Oliver is having a tough year at Tate Prep. Through a series of social debacles, she loses her best friends, her boyfriend, her dignity, and the respect of her fellow Taters in less than two weeks' time. Following nearly half a dozen panic attacks, Roo starts to spend some quality time on Doctor Z.'s couch, where she makes a list of boyfriends past and present, official and unofficial, and starts on a journey of self-discovery. Ruby is a likable and empathetic character whose quirks and behaviors will strike a chord with many readers. [This is the first book in the Ruby Oliver quartet.] (School Library Journal)

Buy The Boyfriend List

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Age Level: 12-14

Over the course of one summer, Frankie Landau-Banks, a somewhat geeky girl with an unassuming nature, has developed into a 15-year-old with an attention-grabbing figure, a new attitude, and sights set on making changes at her elite boarding school. The teenager also has a new boyfriend who belongs to a long-standing secret society on campus—The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, known mostly for silly pranks and a history of male-only membership. With a witty, sharp, and intelligently scheming mind, Frankie manipulates the Loyal Order to do her bidding with pranks meant to make a political statement about the male-dominated and classist nature of the school. (School Library Journal)

Buy The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything

Age Level: 12-14

Gretchen Yee, 16, feels painfully ordinary in a school where everyone is an overachiever. She longs to understand what others think of her, and her wish to be a fly on the wall of the boys locker room comes true. She spends a week there observing her classmates, learning and seeing more than she ever expected. With this knowledge, Gretchen gains confidence, which ultimately allows her to be a better person. Although containing some strong language and mature situations, this novel is a good choice for teens who are unsure of their place in the world, including reluctant readers. (School Library Journal)

Buy Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything

We Were Liars

Age Level: 12-14

Cadence Sinclair Easton comes from an old-money family, headed by a patriarch who owns a private island off of Cape Cod. Each summer, the extended family gathers at the various houses on the island, and Cadence, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and friend Gat (the four "Liars"), have been inseparable since age eight. During their fifteenth summer however, Cadence suffers a mysterious accident. The story, while lightly touching on issues of class and race, more fully focuses on dysfunctional family drama, a heart-wrenching romance between Cadence and Gat, and, ultimately, the suspense of what happened during that fateful summer. (School Library Journal)

Buy We Were Liars