SKIP TO CONTENT

Vocabulary Lists

Literature

CollectionRemembering World War IIBring History to Life with These Great Reads
Explore Collection
CollectionNational Book Awards
Explore Collection
  • The 2022 National Book Awards
  • The 2021 National Book Awards
  • The 2020 National Book Awards
  • The 2019 National Book Awards
CollectionThe 2022 National Book Awards
Explore Collection
  1. The Ogress and the OrphansKelly Barnhill
    After an ogress is accused of abducting the children of Stone-in-the-Glen, a group of orphans try to save her and...
  2. All My RageSabaa Tahir
    Noor and Sal — two Pakistani American teenagers living in a small town — are falling in love as they struggle with...
  3. A Thousand Steps into NightTraci Chee
    After receiving a curse that causes her to slowly transform into a demon with a deadly touch, Miuko embarks on a quest...
  4. Lotus Bloom and the Afro RevolutionSherri Winston
    Lotus Bloom, a seventh-grade girl who loves the vintage style of the 1970s, learns to speak up and fight for the freedom...
  5. Maizy Chen's Last ChanceLisa Yee
    After her grandfather becomes sick, eleven-year-old Maizy moves from Los Angeles to Last Chance, Minnesota, where she...
  6. The Life and Crimes of Hoodie RosenIsaac Blum
    Following a wave of antisemitic attacks, fifteen-year-old Orthodox Jew Hoodie Rosen faces the ire of his family and...
  7. Around the World in FictionBooks That Will Take You Places
    This collection of far-flung fiction is all over the map! Pack your bags and take a journey through these novels set in...
  8. Get More out of Graphic NovelsDiscover Books That Engage Readers at All Levels
    If you're looking for engaging texts that will appeal to readers at all levels, stock your classroom library with...
  9. A Cauldron of Haunting TalesSpine-Tingling Stories for the Spookiest Season
    This creepy collection of books is sure to send a shiver down your spine. Peruse these tales of witches, ghosts, and...
  10. Witches and WizardsSpellbinding Supernatural Stories
    We’ve conjured up a collection of the best books about wizards and witches, from enchanting fantasy series to haunting...
  11. Somewhere Between Bitter and SweetLaekan Zea Kemp
    Teenagers Penelope and Xander navigate first love and family matters while working at Penelope's father's restaurant.
  12. Sick Kids in LoveHannah Moskowitz
    After meeting Sasha in the hospital drip room, sixteen-year-old Isabel considers breaking her no-dating rule and giving...

Literature Vocabulary Lists:

"Easter, 1916" by W.B. Yeats

In this poem by William Butler Yeats, the speaker reflects on the failed Irish uprising against the British in 1916. Here are links to our lists for other poems by Yeats: "The Song of Wandering Aengus", "The Second Coming"
16 Words

"The Hill We Climb," by Amanda Gorman

22-year-old Amanda Gorman became the youngest inaugural poet in American history when she read her poem "The Hill We Climb" at President Biden's inauguration on January 20, 2021. The poem conveys both optimism and realism, referring to the progress that the U.S. has made as a nation, and the work that remains to be done.
20 Words

"The Overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol

In this classic Russian short story, a low-level bureaucrat's life is upended when he attempts to purchase a new overcoat. Learn these words from the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
35 Words

"St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves" by Karen Russell

In this short story, the narrator and other girls raised by wolves try to adapt to life in human society.
45 Words

"The Palace Thief" by Ethan Canin

In this story, a classics teacher at an elite prep school must interrogate his own ethics when he suspects that one of his privileged students is cheating.
45 Words

"The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus, a poet and Jewish activist, wrote this poem to raise money for a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. The poem was then inscribed on a plaque on the pedestal.
10 Words

"Death of a Naturalist" by Seamus Heaney

The speaker of this poem remembers collecting frog's eggs as a child, but is repulsed by watching frog's spawn in a rotting field in the present day.
12 Words

"The Second Coming" by W.B. Yeats

In this modernist poem, Yeats uses apocalyptic imagery to characterize the state of the world after World War I.
10 Words

"The Bells" by Edgar Allan Poe

This poem by Edgar Allan Poe is notable for its masterful use of sound effects, including onomatopoeia, alliteration, and assonance. Read the full poem here. Click here to explore other works by Edgar Allan Poe.
25 Words

"The Railway Train" by Emily Dickinson

In this poem, the speaker imagines that a railway train is a living creature. Read the full text here.
15 Words

"When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d" by Walt Whitman

Whitman wrote this elegy, or poem of mourning, in response to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Here are links to our lists for other poems by Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, O Captain! My Captain!, A Noiseless Patient Spider
35 Words

"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

The speaker of this poem, who is mourning a lost love, is visited in the night by a raven who speaks a single word: "Nevermore." Read the full text here. Click here to explore other works by Edgar Allan Poe.
35 Words

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Influenced by Charlotte Perkins Gilman's personal experiences, "The Yellow Wallpaper" tells the story of a woman who is forbidden from working due to "nervous depression" and begins to obsess over the unusual wallpaper in her room.
40 Words

"There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury

In this short story, science fiction writer Ray Bradbury imagines an eerie, desolate world in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. Here are links to our lists for other works by the award-winning author: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, A Sound of Thunder, All Summer in a Day, August 2026, Marionettes, Inc., The Black Ferris, The Drummer Boy of Shiloh, The Flying Machine, The Pedestrian, The Veldt
25 Words

"Death, be not proud" by John Donne

This poem is one of John Donne's Holy Sonnets, a series of nineteen connected poems in which Donne explores his spiritual devotion. Read the poem here. Here are links to our lists for other poems by John Donne: "The Canonization", "The Flea", "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning", "Song: Go and catch a falling star", "The Sun Rising"
14 Words

"To an Athlete Dying Young" by A. E. Housman

This poem commemorates the early death of a young athlete. The speaker notes that, because the athlete died in the prime of his life, he will always be remembered as youthful and victorious.
14 Words

"Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This narrative poem, written in a meter that recalls the sound of a galloping horse’s hooves, tells the apocryphal story of Paul Revere warning colonial Americans of a looming British invasion. Read the poem here.
25 Words

"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's uplifting poem affirms the power of resilience, self-love, and joy in the face of oppression. Read the poem here.
15 Words

"Digging" by Seamus Heaney

After watching his father digging outside, the speaker of this poem compares his father's labor to his own work as a writer. Read the text here.
16 Words

"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In Tennyson's poem, the hero Ulysses (Odysseus) has returned from his voyages but longs for new adventures. Read the text here.
32 Words

"Morning Song" by Sylvia Plath

This poem explores the alienation that the speaker feels after the birth of her baby. Read the text here.
15 Words

"A Noiseless Patient Spider" by Walt Whitman

The speaker of this poem observes a spider using its silk to explore its surroundings and then compares his soul to the title arachnid. Read the full text of the poem here.
12 Words

"Birches" by Robert Frost

The speaker of this poem recalls his childhood pastime of climbing and swinging from birch trees. Read the poem here. Here are our lists for other poems by Robert Frost: "The Death of the Hired Man", "After Apple-Picking", "Mending Wall", "Out, Out—"
22 Words

"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain

In this entertaining yarn, a man who loves to gamble bets that his trained frog can out-jump any other. Here are links to our lists for other works by Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi, A Story Without an End
30 Words

"Because I Could Not Stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson

The speaker of Dickinson’s poem imagines riding in a carriage with Death and viewing scenes out of the window. Read the text here.
15 Words

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, Vocabulary.com can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.