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!
Categories: Book Lists, On Writing
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.
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?
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!