Last modified: 2 June 2017

To students at Berlin Cosmopolitan School, independence means thinking and acting independently, making their own judgments based on reasoned argument, and being able to defend their judgments. (Ellwood 199).

Below are a selection of books that demonstrate independence. Some may already be located in your classroom collections, otherwise you will find a link to the record in our catalog showing the location inside the library.


Hoffman, Mary, and Caroline Binch. Amazing Grace. Reading Rainbow Book. 1st ed. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1991. Print.

Although a classmate says that she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to do.

Say, Allen. El Chino. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1990. Print.

A biography of Bill Wong, a Chinese American who became a famous bullfighter in Spain.

George, Jean Craighead, and John Schoenherr. Julie of the Wolves. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. Print.

While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack.

Garay, Luis. The Long Road. Plattsburgh, N.Y.: Tundra Books, 1997. Print.

When civil war breaks out in Jose’s Central American village, outspoken people like his mother are in danger. So Jose and his mother must flee. The long road north to make a new home is arduous and very long, but it is only the beginning of hard times. A memorable book about an unforgettable–and true–journey. Although life is difficult in Jose’s Central American village, he enjoys playing football with his friends, sharing the large meals cooked by his aunts, and even going to school. But a civil war breaks out in his country. Outspoken people like his mother are in danger, so Jose and his mother must flee. The road north to make a new home is arduous and very long, but it is only the beginning of hard times. They face days of paperwork and nights in a hostel for refugees. Even when his mother finds work as an office cleaner, they must rely on a food bank. Slowly, the pieces of this new life begin to come together as Jose and his mother realize that they have finally arrived at the happy end of a very long road.

Lithgow, John, Jack E. Davis, and Bill Elliott. Marsupial Sue. 1st Aladdin Paperbacks ed. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2004. Print.

Marsupial Sue, a young kangaroo, finds happiness in doing what kangaroos do.

McKissack, Pat, Fredrick McKissack, and Dana Regan. Messy Bessey. Rookie Reader. New York: Childrens Press, 1999. Print.

Bessey finally cleans up her messy room.

Choi, Yangsook. The Name Jar. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 2001. Print.

After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be.

Minarik, Else Holmelund, and Maurice Sendak. No Fighting, No Biting! An I Can Read Book. New York: HarperTrophy, 1986. Print.

Sometimes Rosa and Willy behave like the two little alligators in the stories Cousin Joan tells them.

Teague, Mark. Pigsty. New York: Scholastic, 1994. Print.

When Wendell doesn’t clean up his room, a whole herd of pigs comes to live with him.

MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. New York: Charlotte Zolotow Book, 1985. Print.

When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay.

Sendak, Maurice, and Harper & Row Publishers. The Sign on Rosie’s Door. New York ; Evanston ; London: Harper & Row, 1960. Print.

When Rosie pretends to be a lovely singer, or a firecracker, or cat, her friends have fun even if they don’t believe her.

Lester, Helen, and Lynn Munsinger. Tacky the Penguin. New York: Scholastic, 1988. Print.

Tacky the penguin does not fit in with his sleek and graceful companions, but his odd behavior comes in handy when hunters come with maps and traps.


Ellwood, Caroline, and Malcolm Davis. International Mindedness : A Professional Development Handbook for International Schools. London: Optimus education, 2009. Print.