03 September 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught in Schools

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I heart lists!

Now, I either was not given much required reading at school, or I've wiped them from my memory.  Both options are possible, but I'm not really into the whole analysing things to death kind of reading so my list is based on books that have emotional impact and an important message that doesn't take 934623 hours to decipher.

Fault Line by Christa Desir

Although it's not yet published (and the publication date has been moved forward, I just noticed), this book is intense, shocking and probably would incite a parental rebellion if it was taught in school, but it definitely deserves to be on this list.  It's probably going to bring up a whole range of emotions in any reader, but in that way it does the job - it raises awareness, anger and will have people talking.

Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

I've read a lot of World War Two non-fiction, and Prisoner B-3087 is the best that I've read aimed at the Young Adult market.  It's not pretty and it doesn't hold back on anything, plus with a main character saw the very best and very worst of humanity and managed to keep his own humanity intact, it's both inspirational and educational.

Anatomy of a Boyfriend (Anatomy #1) by Daria Snadowsky

Yep, this is going to the Sex-Ed/Health class book.  It's honest, it's realistic and I wish I'd read it when I was a teenager because it doesn't romanticise first relationships, sex or anything else that comes with being a teenager.  I'd say it would have stopped me making some mistakes but that would be a LIE, however, it would definitely have had me pausing and thinking!

Every Day by David Levithan

(Book Pusher alert!).  OK, but I have a totally legitimate reason for listing Every Day, and that is that it pushes the boundaries of gender and looks being important influencers on how you feel about people, and that personality should really be what we look for in a friend or lover and why.

A Note of Madness (Flynn Laukonen #1) by Tabitha Suzuma

I bet you thought I'd nominate another Tabitha Suzuma book, eh? ;-)

A Note of Madness is sad, moving and eye-opening.  As a book about mental illness, and the impact on both the sufferer and their friends, family and their own futures, it's a book that has really stuck with me out of all the other issue books that I've read.

Tomorrow, When the War Began (Tomorrow #1) by John Marsden

To every Australian teacher out there - THIS book is what should be taught in Australian schools.  Firstly, it's an Aussie author, but MORE importantly it's about the strength of friendships, the determination to do what is right, and a book that made me really think about how vulnerable our freedom and way of life actually is.  TEACH THIS BOOK! (caps rant over)

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Now, this is a book that is taught in schools, but it should have far more exposure than it actually does.  There are thousands of books from the perspective of the 'winning side' (which I say with more than a touch of irony) of World War I, and yet this is the only one that really opened my eyes to the horror, hopelessess and despair of that period.

After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen, 1945 by Ben Shephard

The only 'real' non-fiction book in this list, and I say real because it's full of facts and figures and could have been eyewateringly boring, but it's a rare insight into what happened immediately after WWII, when the concentration camps were liberated and no one really had a clue what to do with the survivors.  As well as that however, it also reveals the dedication of the medical personnel who did everything in their power to try and save the survivors, despite being completely underprepared and overwhelmed.

Want To Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

When I finished reading this book, at first I thought it was a little too late in being written - after all, kids are WAY smarter at Internet safety and stuff now, right?  Well, I'm not so sure about that, especially after the speight of teenage girls running away with older men on the news lately, and perhaps they didn't meet them in an internet chat room, but they were manipulated and groomed in exactly the same way that Abby was.  Even if the setting isn't as relevant as it used to be, it's still an important book.

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

With all the focus on WWI and WWII in the literary, it's easy to forget there have been many other wars, and until I read Matterhorn, I'd never read a book about the Vietnam war.  Although it's a bit of a brick at over 600 pages, it's an addictive read, and touches on a lot of subjects outside of the actual conflict that was publicised.  

So, there's my list of books that I wish were taught in schools.  There are a couple that would probably get me fired if I was the teacher, but I think they are all important in different ways.

What books do you think should be taught in school?


  1. Great choices. I keep meaning to read Every Day. I've heard some good things about it!

  2. Every Day is the only one from your list that I read - and so agree that it would make a great addition to school libraries.

  3. Interesting list. I see Levithan made a lot of TTT's today and I included him as well. I think he's a great author and his books need more attention.

    My TTT

  4. It is a great list even though I haven't read (or even heard!) of many of the books, maybe it's not to late for me to go "back to school" reading this?

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  6. Great list! I agree with your comments about John Marsden's books ... if only they were appreciated more outside of Australia! It's such a shame.

    Delicious & Fictitious

    1. They are appreciated outside of Australia. Don't worry. I'm in Canada and I recommend them all the time. Brilliant books.

  7. The World War I book I'd teach in schools would be Vicente Blasco Ibáñez's The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It's pretty sad how this war has become so forgotten and underrepresented, when it was such a big inspiration for so many books and films once.

  8. Wow I really would've thought the TWTWB books would be like required reading for all Aussie kids, huh. What a great list of books you chose. I definitely have a few to check out from your list as well.

  9. I don't think I could agree more with All Quiet on the Western Front! I would love to see that book being taught in schools. I really need to check out Every Day, I included Boy Meets Boy on my list, but I've heard fantastic things about this one.

  10. Grea choices! All Quiet on the Western Front was required at my school...but I haven't read any of the others except for Levithans with which I agree wholeheartedly!

  11. Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier! Great list! I haven't read any of these though, but your reasons for listing them seem valid to me.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  12. I totally agree on Anatomy of A Boyfriend! It doesn't glorify or sugar coat sex, like a lot of books tend to do. It would definitely be insightful for many teenagers in sex ed. I also think The Program by Suzanne Young should be taught. Maybe paired up with 1984? They both have chilling dystopian themes. Great choices!

    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

  13. Yes yes and yes to Every Day and Want To Go Private. Great minds think alike. ;D
    All Quiet On The Western Front basically scarred me for life. That part where the horses were dying with their guts pouring out with their awful scream for terror? And how the narrator's best friend died? ):
    Great list & thanks for stopping by my TTT! (:

  14. Ohhh, you liked Fault Line too. The reviews are so disparate. This is obviously a love it or hate it book. OH HELL YES to Anatomy of a Boyfriend in sex-ed. You = genius.

    That cover of All Quiet is GORGEOUS. Which is totally off topic but whatever I am not feeling any guilt.

    Matterhorn! I own this one but haven't read it yet. Glad you loved it. Also, I love stuff about the Vietnam War. Love it.



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