Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RTW: Required Reading

It's my first Road Trip Wednesday! I've been a long-time reader of this tradition on the YA Highway, and on other blogs (particularly my friend Jessica Love's), but I've never participated...but I'm going to start today! I even moved my book-crush posts to make it happen. THAT's how dedicated I am.

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing--or reading--related question and answer it on their own blogs. Readers get to play along.

This week's question: In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

Ugh. What a great, impossible question! I would love to say something fun, like Harry Potter or Hunger Games or John Green or something fantastic like that. And while I do think all of those things are wonderful and have literary merit, I also think they are books that many teens will come across on their own.

So I have two thoughts. (And, keep in mind, I've changed books about 12 times while writing this post. But I think this is where I'm settling.)

The first is actually a wordless graphic novel. I KNOW, RIGHT. Kids would be all, Woah. Are you serious?

I've gushed about The Arrival before, but it's simply stunning, and I think it would provoke some interesting discussion about tolerance, immigration, and fitting in. Also, because it's wordless, I think it would provide students an opportunity to exercise a part of their brains that maybe they don't use as much in higher levels of school, and could also lead to some very cool class assignments. 

My other book was harder to choose. I know I'd want to do something from another culture...perhaps a classic, like the Story of Leyla and Majnun, or a more recent book that takes place in another country (like Trent Reedy's Words in the Dust). Honestly, I'd probably want to do a whole unit on foreign literature or books that take place outside the U.S. 

Pretty much, if I were a high school English teacher, kids would be in school until they were 30 because there are so many books I'd need to share with them.

What books would you teach, if you could?


  1. Haha, "in school until they were 30." Awesome! I've never heard of THE ARRIVAL. It sounds great though. Welcome to Road Trip Wednesday!

  2. First of all, welcome to Road Trip Wednesday! :D

    And I totally agree that a wordless graphic novel would get the wheels turning in a whole different way. What a great idea!

  3. A wordless graphic novel?? That sounds pretty awesome, just for ME to read, not even to mention high schoolers! But yeah, I think that could really be great to boost creativity and discussion with students.

  4. The Arrival looks fascinating; I went to your book crush post on it to read more (BTW, my friend breeds IGs). Now you've got me curious to see how it would translate for kids that don't pick up on social cues well. You're right that a wordless graphic novel could engage teens on a completely different level.

  5. Yay! I'm glad you're RTW-ing. :-D I still haven't picked up The Arrival, but I really want to.


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