Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Should be Required Reading in Schools

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week's topic is Top Ten Books that Should be Required Reading in Schools. 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started on the Broke and the Bookish
blog. They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic!

My list, in no particular order:

This book deals with a lot of issues: outcasts, childhood trauma, first loves, growing up, sibling relationships, etc. It is also very well-written, funny, and easy to relate to. It would make for some good discussion, methinks.

Either one of these would work well in order to establish a new take on WWII. The Book Thief is told from Death's point of view, while Maus's graphic novel format may be more approachable to some teens. Each story gets quite graphic at times, but both would give teens something to discuss and a new way to see this important historical period.

Admittedly, this book would appeal more to the girls of a classroom. However, it is very much about growing up in general. It deals with some difficult issues like class, abuse, and bullying. (Plus it is just amazing!)

Another beautiful book, in that it is both well-written and a lovely story. At first glance it is a "cancer book," but take a second look. It does, of course, deal with cancer, but it is also about friendships, first loves, feeling like an outcast, and searching out what is important to oneself, no matter what others think.

Patrick Ness gave this book many layers. It is a sort of fairy tale, with fantasy elements. However, it is also a different approach to a difficult subject (cancer) and deals with coming to terms with unbearable truths. In addition to those, a large part of the book deals with bullies, being an outcast, trust, and friendship. I realize it is technically a children's book, but that is just location. Teens could relate, and so can adults. 

Wonder by R. J. Palacio
I love that this book is approachable at any age (it is in the children's section). Because it switches voices, the book makes it easy to relate to multiple characters of different connections to the main character-Auggie. Since Auggie was born with facial deformities, he will never look like everyone else. Entering mainstream school for the first time, this book covers bullying, being different, making friends, new starts, and feeling comfortable with oneself. It would be an excellent way to approach some of these topics in students' lives, and how they compare to the characters in the book.

Much like The Help (which some schools around me read), this one explores the racism of the 1960s. It is told from the point of view of the young girl, making it easier to access for younger readers. It also covers class differences, loss of a loved one, and being different. Again, there's a lot that a class could do with this.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
If I were a teen, it would blow my mind to see a book that was currently popular amongst my required reading! This one is of course, dystopian, and that alone lends itself to discussion. Aside from that, it can be made relevant by its multitude of topics: making tough choices, growing up, class systems, love triangles, the establishment, flawed society, etc.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
The schools around me read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson-an excellent read. Dessen's story is a great readalike for Speak. It deals with sexual assault and the alienation one feels afterward, deciding whether or not to share the information, coping with changes, and more. It is also a very sweet story about two outcasts finding one another. The best Dessen novel, in my opinion.

Complete Grimms' Fairy Tales (paired with a modern re-telling)
It seems like fairy tales are always being retold, and they were not meant for just children to enjoy. I think it would be interesting for teens to read the Grimm versions that are less-than-pretty. They can compare to the sugar-sweet Disney editions, and possibly pair it with a modern day retelling, such as Beastly by Alex Flinn, or Beauty by Robin McKinley

What do you think should be taught at schools? Why?

~Cailey W. 


  1. I have seen A Monster's Call on a few lists today. I really need to read it. I just finished his Chaos Walking...powerful stuff! I have The Book Thief on my list too. Loved eleanor & park! Here are my picks http://wp.me/pzUn5-1EZ

    1. I just recently read A Monster Calls after having read the Chaos Walking in the last couple years. You should read it! -Cailey

  2. My old high school had Hunger Games on it's summer reading list the last couple of years! :) I've read 7 out of your picks and I highly agree about Secret Life of Bees. As much as I like The Help, I feel like SL is better written and would make a better classroom read. Great list!

    My TTT: