Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Back To School Freebie - Books We Wish Had Been Required Reading in School

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.

For this week's back to school freebie, we're talking all about required reads. I don't know about you, but I (Jana) read a lot of books I hated in school. A LOT. Required reading made me hate reading, and it took me until I was about 19 to rekindle my love. Some books should not be required at all, in my opinion. But there are many amazing ones that should be, and we're here to tell you about them today.

Lauren's Picks

Just to preface - I am cheating a little on this one, I'm a little older and these books were published after I graduated high school... so... my list encompasses books I hope will one day be required reading/books if they were written earlier, I would have loved to have read when in school. :)

1. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer: I honestly believe if I could've read this book when in HS, it would have gotten me even MORE pumped up for college. I would've been the weird girl at the back of the english literature class with googly eyes waiting for some straight up magic to happen.

2. Night by Elie Wiesel: I can't express how much this book moved me. I think I've cried every single time I've read it, and I recommend everyone to read it. It is heartbreaking, but it is simply truth. The truth of what forms humanity can take. 

3. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross: I love a good historical fiction novel as much as the next person, but add in an empowered female who legit posed as a man and changed and world? Holy smokes... literally. :)

Jana's Picks

I'm kind of with Lauren on this. Some of these books were published after I graduated high school, and are books I would love to see high schoolers reading now.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is a beautiful, unique Holocaust story the emphasizes a love of people and books. And the fact that it's narrated by Death, gives us a whole different picture of the kinds of things that happened during this time. There's lots to discuss and contemplate.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I would have loved to read an actual FUN book in high school, and The Hunger Games has a lot of talking points and discussions surrounding it. 

6. Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristins McMorris: Before I read this book, I had not understood the magnitude of the racism and segregation the Japanese-Americans dealt with. It's an important topic to know about and understand, and the writing in this book is beautiful. Plus, there's a hint of romance that was very sweet.

Lori's Picks

7.  Sex Object by Jessica Valenti:  This would definitely be more for juniors and seniors in high school...but I think it was really useful in showing how pervasive sexism is and how it affects both males and females.  I think high schools need to do a better job of discussing sexism instead of trying to sweep it under the rug.

8.  Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe:  Full disclosure--I have not finished this book yet.  But from what I know about it and the beauty of the prose, I think that this might be a lovely book for high schoolers, who are getting ready to embark on a new journey.

9.  Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi:  LOVED this book!  I think it provides a great look at African and African American history, which is something that I feel gets glossed over a lot in many high school history classes.  Plus it's a great book!

10.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed:  This is a great book for teaching you that it's OK to get lost for a while and that you can find your way back.

Which books do you wish were required reading in school? Or which books do you think are super important for people to be taught about in school?



  1. These are all great choices! I do wish more contemporary novels were mixed in with required reading for school. And more instances where kids can choose from a list so they aren't completely stuck in reading something they might not like. I hate to hear of readers being turned off by reading because of required reading.

  2. I agree that Homegoing would make an excellent history resource

  3. Welcome back Top Ten Tuesday gang! So glad to have you all back and to be able to join this fun meme again. Thanks for all you do. :)

  4. Wow, some really great picks in here! The Book Thief was on my list as well.

    Carmen / Carmen`s Reading Corner

  5. OOh nice picks! I haven't read any of these! I know, I know! Not even Hunger Games. It didn't draw me in with the storyline sadly, but oh well! I don't think any of my reads could ever be considered "school worthy" and since I chose what books I read during my school days, you can see why! LOL!

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  6. Wild is a good pick - so much to learn from that one...and maybe Tiny Beautiful Things too!

  7. Nice list! Homegoing sounds really good. I do like the idea of incorporating more historical (and factually) based literature as required reading.

  8. We Should All Be Feminists should be required reading for both boys and girls. I just thought that short book was perfection!

  9. These are all such great picks! I actually ended up being assigned both Night and The Book Thief in high school. I've always been interested in reading books about WWII/the Holocaust, so I ended up enjoying (that seems like a poor choice of words...) both of them. I completely agree that Homegoing would be a great book for high school students to read!

  10. NIGHT is required in my school district and it really does open the eyes of students.

  11. I loved Belzhar and Wolitzer in general. Definitely under appreciated if you ask me.


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