The following books have many of the same elements that make A Tree Grows in Brooklyn such as a memorable book: a young person learning to find her own voice when family problems and hard economic times amplify the ordinary problems of adolescence.
Wish You Well by David Baldacci.
Twelve-year-old Louisa Mae Cardinal and her younger brother must move with their invalid mother from New York City to their great-grandmother's farm in the Virginia mountains. When the forces of greed and justice clash, their struggle plays out in a crowded Virginia courtroom.
Paper Moon by Joe David Brown
This was previously published as Addie Pray and was the basis for the award winning film Paper Moon. Set in the darkest days of the Great Depression, this is the story of an 11-year-old orphan's rollicking journey through the Deep South with a con man who just might be her father.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
This is Sandra Cisneros's greatly admired novel of a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. It tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, whose neighborhood is rough, but wonderful in many ways. Esperanza wants more from life than her rundown neighborhood.
Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
This novel is set in Colorado during World War II. A Japanese internment camp has opened near the town. When a young girl is murdered, the townspeople all suspect the internees. Thirteen-year-old Rennie Stroud discovers that her well ordered life is suddenly unsure and the town she thought she knew is full of strangers.
Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes.
This novel tells the charming adventures of the mother of an immigrant Norwegian family living in San Francisco at the turn of the twentieth century. This bestselling book inspired the play, motion picture, and early television series I Remember Mama. It was the reason many people purchased their first television.
Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth
No growing pains have ever been more hilarious than those suffered loudly by the riotous Gilbreth clan. First there are a dozen red-haired, freckle-faced kids to contend with. Then there's Dad, a famous efficiency expert who believes a family can be run just like a factory. Finally there's Mother, his partner in everything except discipline. How they all survive such escapades as forgetting Frank Jr. in a roadside restaurant or going on a first date with Dad in the backseat or having their tonsils removed en masse will keep you laughing. This one isn’t a novel. It’s the biography of the author’s famous parents.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This wonderful novel tells the story of Scott Finch, her brother Jem and their friend Dill growing up in the small southern town of Maycomb. Scott and Jem’s widowed father Atticus has instilled in his children his strong sense of morality and justice. He is committed to racial equality, and when he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, he exposes himself and his family to the anger of the white community.
How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
In this novel we see life in a late nineteenth century Welsh coalmining village through the eyes of Huw Morgan as he remembers when his valley was green. The youngest child of eight Huw witnesses the spread of the coalmining industry and the destruction it brings to his family and to the environment.
A Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
This classic novel is set in Georgia during the Great Depression. Frankie Addams is growing up, longing to connect with the world of adults. She finds her on her brother's wedding: she decides she will go with her brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law on their honeymoon. Even Berenice, the family cook and the only adult who talks to Frankie at any length, cannot convince Frankie that this is not possible. When Frankie is forced into the adult world she finds it a painful and lonely place.