Top Ten Required Books for School

This week, I set out to highlight the top ten books that I believe should be required reading for teens. But I think that making something required makes it seem like work, and as a result many kids don’t understand why a required book is so good. So instead, I want to focus upon books I think should be introduced to kids that usually aren’t.

This list was a bit of a challenge for me because I only went to public school for one year, so I had a little help from Jack!

So, to start it off…
10. Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
Jack: “Few books will shatter expectations and inspire critical thinking than this account of history. You may not agree with everything in the book, but it’s a fascinating and challenging new perspective.”

9. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Jack: “Easily accessible to high school students, this story first seems like a mix of superhero and detective genres. But as the story unfolds, it questions the morality of heroism itself and presents a compelling story in a unique medium.”

8. Daphne’s Book by Mary Downing Hahn
Melody: “This book is technically for middle-school students, but it’s one of my favorite books ever. I recommend it for reluctant female readers who are looking for an unexpected and heartwarming story.”

7. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Jack: “Based on the disastrous Everest expedition of 1996, this narrative presents human survival in the most extreme conditions on earth.”

6. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Melody: “This book is about as far from my previous suggestion as you can get. Drugs, sex, madness… this one has it all. Told from the perspective of a teenage girl in the 1960s, Go Ask Alice is heartbreaking and revealing in its depiction of one girl’s rebellion.”

5. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Jack: “One man’s fight to survive in a world overrun by vampires becomes a struggle to remember what it means to be human.”

Melody: “You forgot to mention that is MUCH better than the movie!”

4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Melody: “This is dystopic literature at its finest. It’s quite gritty and dark, but ultimately hopeful.”

3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Melody: “I only read this a few years ago, but it was a classic with every boy I knew growing up. Ender’s story is fascinating; you will devour this book very quickly!”

2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Melody: “Lauren Oliver is now one of my favorite authors; after finishing Delirium, I read Before I Fall, and I highly recommend both to readers of all ages! (Particularly women.)”

1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Melody: “The Hobbit was nearly my favorite book of 2010. It’s entertaining and funny, and it’s also a good introduction to classics; Tolkien was a student of literature from the Middle Ages, and he does a marvelous job weaving this epic narrative.”

What about you–what were your favorites in school?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday, bloggers create top ten lists about reading, writing, blogging, and more!

5 responses to “Top Ten Required Books for School

  1. I love The Road. I think I would recommend Krakauer as well, but maybe Into the Wild. I think that book has a lot to say about masculinity in our culture.

    Come visit me at The Scarlet Letter.

  2. +JMJ+

    I’m with you on I am Legend! I had a teacher assign Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? so we could explore the same theme of what it means to be human, but I would have rather examined with the symbol of vampires than the symbol of androids.

    The Hobbit is a favourite of mine, but I never really thought of it as a gateway to the classics before. In an ideal class of students who love to read, what would you assign after they’re done with The Hobbit, as the logical next step?

    • Melody Wilson

      That’s a really good question! I’ve heard many good things about T.H. White’s Arthurian novel, The Once and Future King. I haven’t read it, but I’d like to soon. From what I understand, it synthesizes a lot of otherwise boring or inaccessible materials surrounding King Arthur into an entertaining novel.

      I would also recommend C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve read anything by him, but his series (including the lesser-known “Space Trilogy“) are pretty appropriate for most ages.

      After that, I would start in on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight!

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Tackling Tough Topics | Melody & Words

  4. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Surprise Endings | Melody & Words

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