All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Avi was born in New York City in 1937. He grew up in a family of readers, writers, and artists. His twin sister, who gave him the nickname "Avi" at an early age, also became a writer.

Throughout his elementary and high school years, Avi's teachers complained that his writing was messy and careless. Avi would later find out that he had symptoms of dyslexia, which explained his poor spelling, letter reversals, and other "sloppy" work. After failing out of his first high school, Avi received special tutoring sessions one summer that inspired him to become a writer. Although Avi avoided English classes during college, he continued to read and write voraciously.

Avi originally wanted to become a Broadway playwright. But as he later acknowledged, "I spent a fair number of years writing a whole lot of bad plays." Avi discovered the world of children's writing only after he became a father. His first published book was a collection of stories he had invented for his oldest son.

For 25 years, Avi worked as a librarian - a career that supported both his family and his writing. Eventually, Avi's literary success enabled him to become a full-time author. After winning Newbery Honors for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, Avi won the 2003 Newbery Medal for Crispin: A Cross of Lead.

Although writing is his passion and his profession, Avi emphasizes that family still lies at the center of his life. Now both a father and a grandfather, Avi lives with his wife in Denver, Colorado.

Selected Books

from Avi

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Age Level: 9-12

Told in the form of a recollection, these "confessions" cover 13-year-old Charlotte's eventful 1832 transatlantic crossing. She begins her trip as a prim schoolgirl returning from England to her home and family in America, but by the end she is in command of the Seahawk.

Buy The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Crispin: The Cross of Lead

Age Level: 9-12

In this Newbery Medal-winning novel, Crispin is falsely accused of murder and must flee his medieval town to save his life. But, just as he's leaving, he learns from the village priest that his parents' origins – and fates – might be more mysterious than he ever imagined…

Buy Crispin: The Cross of Lead

S.O.R. Losers

Age Level: 9-12

The motto of South Orange River (S.O.R.) Middle School's sports program is "everybody plays, everybody wins." But all that changes when a group of 11 unenthusiastic seventh graders are forced to form a soccer team. Learn the secret of the S.O.R. Losers' success in this original sports story.

Buy S.O.R. Losers


Age Level: 9-12

A small mouse named Poppy overcomes a stronger adversary – an owl named Ocax – through determination and inner strength in this first installment of the popular Tales from Dimwood Forest series.

Buy Poppy

The Secret School

Age Level: 9-12

More than anything, 14-year-old Ida Bidson wants to become a teacher. But her dream falters when the one-room school in her remote Colorado town shuts down. Her only hope is to keep the school open without anyone finding out. Yet even a secret school needs a teacher. Is Ida ready to take charge?

Buy The Secret School

The True Adventures of Charlotte Doyle

Age Level: 12-14

Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But Charlotte was just such a girl, and her story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago.

Buy The True Adventures of Charlotte Doyle

Blue Heron

Age Level: 9-12

While visiting her father and stepmother in a lakeside cabin, Maggie notices a beautiful blue heron in the sky. Seeing this bird each morning helps Maggie through the tough visit, and she summons the strength to help the heron when it seems to be in danger.

Buy Blue Heron

Nothing But The Truth: A Documentary Novel

Age Level: Teen

Phillip Malloy likes to hum as the national anthem is played over the school's intercom system each morning, despite his teacher's pleas to stop. Through a series of journal entries, notes, and memos, Avi documents Phillip's rise to fame, and the consequences he endures along the way.

Buy Nothing But The Truth: A Documentary Novel

The Traitors' Gate

Age Level: 12-14

When his father is suspected of espionage, John Huffam tries to support his family any way he can. 14-year-old John leaves school to earn money, and tries to find time to unravel the mystery surrounding his father.

Buy The Traitors' Gate