Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jan's Top Ten Books That Should Be Required Reading for Teens

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish and love  sharing their lists with other bookish folks.

Each week a new Top Ten list is posted that one of the bloggers  at The Broke and the Bookish answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

This is the first time I have participated in Top Ten Tuesday, but I couldn't pass this one up. Since I began this blog as an extension to the independent reading component in my 8th grade classroom, almost every book I read ends up on my classroom shelf, and I am always encouraging my students to try this book or that, hoping to develop a life long love of reading before they get to high school. Since I teach the younger ranger of teens, I have tried to compile a list of books that will speak to them as well as books that represent older teens.

1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This is a quintessential coming of age read for everyone. It is also the perfect example of how all the elements of fiction come together to produce one of the finest stories ever told.

2. Lord of the Flies by William Goldings: Another fantastic coming age tale, but very different in the telling. The allegorical connections to the characters and the themes make this a must read in classic literature.

3. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton: All teens need a basic background in Greek mythology and Edith Hamilton is the Queen of Myth. These ageless tales provide background for understanding much of classic literature and poetry as well as a lot of today's popular tales.

4. Ender's Game by Orson Card Scott: This is a very accessible science fiction novel and deals with two opposing traits compassion and ruthlessness. 

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: Funny and poignant Alexi accurately portrays life on an Indian Reservation and a boy's struggle to rise above the his culture without losing it in the process. Definitely one of my favorite books.

6. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson:  A important story both for girls and boys, with a strong message about speaking out and getting help. 

7. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: Although by the time most kids become teens I think they have already entered the world of HP, I still think this is a series all teens should be familiar with. Already classics they will continue to entice and entertain our youth for decades and is a great stepping stone to the fantasy genre.

8. Romeo and Juliet/Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare: While I think all teens should be exposed to the Bard, these two are accessible representations of  his tragic and his comedic prowess. Both great plays they each allow for very different conversations about love.

9.  The Giver by Lois Lowery: Although this book has primarily been demoted to 5th grade, I think every teen should read it. It is a fantastic example of a dystopian world disguised as a utopia.

10. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton: Another coming of age story that explores class differences. Because of Hinton's age at the time the story is quite authentic in it characterization and appeals even to reluctant readers. 

After working up this list I still have quite a few books that I could add, but then I would probably have a list of my top twenty, fifty or hundred so I am stopping here. 
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