The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
This modern classic, about a Latina girl growing up in Chicago, has been translated and taught all over the world. At 110 pages, it packs a punch all out of proportion to its size. Not surprisingly, given the compression and power of her work, Cisneros is also a poet.
What’s to Become of the Boy? by Heinrich Boll
Boll (1917-1985) won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1972. His brief, wrenching account of growing up in Nazi Germany, in a family that hated Hitler, will leave you thinking of nothing else.