Tuesday, September 3, 2013

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Wish Were Taught in School

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I Wish Were Taught in School

This week’s topic is perfect for me! As a HS English/Reading teacher, of course I have a wishlist of books to be added (and replaced) in our curriculum. I love the classics - at least most of them - but there are so many other texts out there that are worthy of study and discussion. Here are books I would LOVE to see taught in an English classroom (no particular order due to my chronic indecisiveness):


1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak - this has to be on every list, right? The interesting point of view (death), the characters, and the story’s premise - it’s like it was written for the English (or history) classroom. Plus, it has a movie coming out, and isn’t that every student’s first question?

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie - an insight into current Native American culture with one of the funniest narrators in all of young adult literature. The themes of this book are deep, while the humor keeps reluctant readers reading.

3. Sold by Patricia McCormick - this book might be a bit edgy for whole-group instruction, but it’s totally worth the worldview (sex slaves/trade in India) it provides readers. Also, the book is written in verse, which makes it a great choice for writing study.


4. Ask the Passengers by A.S. King - although this is the only book I’ve read of hers, I think A.S. King may soon become a favorite author of mine. This book offers so much to a class: beautiful writing, creative structure, dynamic characters and a meaningful, much-needed storyline (all HS students are searching for identity!).

5. Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Saenz - a great story, but even more importantly great writing. The analysis of Saenz’s craft as a mentor text and for its literary merit would fit nicely into any English class. I mean, his prose is beautiful and almost poetic.

6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - a heartbreaking story that introduces teen readers to concepts (Asperger's and Autism) not at the forefront of their minds. I read this in highschool (not for school, though), and it’s still one of those books that’s left an imprint on me.

7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - does this book even need an explanation? Themes, characters, storyline, relevance...this book offers it all. And, John Green is one of the top authors when it comes to young adult readers (great window into reading).


8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - two of my all-time favorite characters (and, yes, I just discovered them this summer). This book would fit so well into an English curriculum; the discussions about the characters and themes would feature depth and meaning beyond many books currently taught. Plus, I just want to share these characters with everyone!

9. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - an unbelievable story of a WWII soldier’s journey from the Olympics to war to imprisonment to survival. Seriously, the raft and sharks? Holy cow! And, talk about cross-curricular - this book has it.

10. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah - a life-changing book with amazing cross-curricular potential. Beah creates unforgettable visuals for his readers by describing something that seems so incomprehensible to so many of us: genocide and child soldiers.


  1. You have chosen a lot of great books, some that I didn't think to add to my list but that I have read and loved.
    You also made me put a couple more books on my TBR list! Thank you!

    My Top Ten Tuesday- http://wp.me/p3DIPM-6e

  2. SO many freaking awesome choices - I"m bookmarking this list, so I'll remember the books I haven't yet read. Like Sold - which I have on audio (got it from SYNC over the summer). Now you have me even more curious about it, and anxious to get to it.

    Tanya Patrice

  3. Some fabulous books. I definitely think The Book Thief is important and so powerful.

  4. Good list. It looks like The Book Thief is making it onto a lot of lists today.