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It's kind of obvious how much I am an advocate for literacy - I mean, all things considered I do run this tiny spot on the internet talking about reading and books. When I found out what the TTT was for today, I jumped on board automatically. Reading is so important in schools but the worst is the attitude that's geared towards required reading. I honestly thought To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm were great reads but not every student agreed with me. Sometimes I think we need to not just teach about why pieces of literature are so relevant to us but something that should be taught is how to enjoy a good book. Which brings us to this TTT. I tried to choose books that I felt that was relevant to coming-of-age, politics and social commentary, but I also tried to choose books that were not only thought-provoking but enjoyable as well.
So in no particular order...
Holes - by Louis Sachar : I read this when I was younger and as an adult, I can see the relevancy of the tale to a young mind. A story about crime, about racial discrimination, and even friendship. It's predominant role in schools is also about how history affects the present day with displaying themes of social injustice.
Never Let Me Go - by Kazuo Ishiguro : This is a book that's a love story, so perhaps it won't reach all demographics in a school setting but the message is clear - people are cloning themselves to harvest organs to live longer lives. How is that not relevant to our modern day? It questions the ethics of science, teaches us about the social alienation of specific groups, and of course, it's an interesting read... haunting, even.
Maus - by Art Spiegelman : Okay, it's actually already being taught in some schools for either Social Studies or English courses, but I figure there isn't any harm in advocating this some more. Maus is a brilliant graphic novel about the author's father's survival during the Holocaust in Europe. Not just that though, but it touches on the relationship that Spiegelman also has with his father. There is tragedy, humor, allegory, symbolism... honestly a great addition to some of our classrooms.
Unfortunately, I could only think of these 8, but my mind is open for 2 more books that I could add to the collection of books that I hope students could possibly study. I want books to change lives, inspire and for people to enjoy books that make them really think and impact them.