These books should be required reading in schools.
The Pigman by Paul Zindel – This book is not particularly well written, but it is a very emotional read. It talks about finding friendship where you wouldn’t expect to as well as the wrong kind of friends. I would recommend this book for eighth graders. You go into the book knowing what happens, but by the end it is still very effective.
The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells – THIS. All the THIS in the world. This book encapsulates all that can go wrong if one goes too far. I have actually read reports recently that scientists are experimenting with this kind of thing. shudderThis would be more suited to High school ages.
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein – This book has so many wonderful qualities. From finding unlikely friends, to courage and the struggle between what is right and what is easy. This book is incredible. The Hobbit can really be read at any age. (As long as you can, you know, read.)
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende – Another one for sixth to eighth graders. This book should be used in conjunction with the movie for the kids to write a comparative essay detailing the similarities and differences between the two. This is a fantastic example of why you should never watch the movie when given a book report. (Seriously, the movie is only the first HALF of the book.)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – This is another book that evokes a lot of emotion. I read this during my Sophomore year. It discusses the difficulties of taking care of an adult who cannot take care of themselves. A lot of sad things happen in this book.
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo – I read this during Sophomore year as well. This book has a theme, throughout, with the exception of chapter two. The theme is “Sensation, memory, realization” wherein the main character first feels a sensation, which triggers a memory, after which he realizes something for the first time. This book is about the effects of war, and is very graphic and could make you uncomfortable. It is WELL worth the read.
Lisa Bright and Dark by John Neufeld This book talks about mental illness, and the struggle of dealing with it. It details family members who don’t wish to recognize it, as well as friends who do everything they can to help, and the descent from a “normal”, happy teenager into her own mind. This one should be read in eighth or ninth grade. I first read it when I borrowed it from a guidance counselor in eighth.
I only read TWO of these in classes. Why are these books not curriculum?
Feel free to add any books you feel ought to be read by everyone. I always love a good book recommendation.