Tuesday, September 3, 2013

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top 10 Books That Would Be Great Paired With A Required Reading Book

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the Top Ten Contemporary Books That Would Be Great Paired with a Required Reading Book.

I work in a middle school and I am well aware of what books are required reading (I have helped create units, lessons, and stations for some of the required reading books. The first 8 books listed are books that my school has (or used to) students read during the year. The last 2 are books commonly read in schools that I wanted to add to this list.  

Required Reading
Companion Book(s)
Journey to Jo’burg by Beverley Naidoo 
Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton 
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
Journey to Jo’burg is a great book for the 6th graders to read, though the setting and events can be confusing without background knowledge. Chanda’s Secrets could provide some additional knowledge about South Africa while The Breadwinner is another tale of a family’s will to survive, only it is set in Afghanistan.
We Beat the Street by Sampson Davis 
Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery 
Monster by Walter Dean Myers 
Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri 
Students LOVE We Beat the Street and often want similar books. Monster would be a good book to learn what-could-have-been and the challenges urban kids face and Ghetto Cowboy would remind kids to find something they love to stay out of trouble. On the other hand, Temple Grandin is more about overcoming obstacles to happiness just like the guys in We Beat the Street did.
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson 
Sophia’s War: A Tale of the Revolution by Avi 
Sold by Patricia McCormick
I Love Chains. It is a thought-provoking and heart-felt book that captures the attention of many students. Luckily there are other interesting and well written books about slavery (in the past and modern) that would appeal to students.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse 
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Great Depression is so…. depressing. There are plenty of books out there set during that time period. Although Of Mice and Men is a great book, Out of the Dust and Bud, Not Buddy have characters more around the age of middle schoolers.
Animal Farm by George Orwell 
Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin
Animal Farm is a great book to read, especially if students are currently learning about the Cold War. But if animals aren’t for you, Breaking Stalin’s Nose is another Cold War book with plenty of depth.
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck 
Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri 
The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins
I appreciate that A Day No Pigs Would Die takes students back to the time when growing up on a farm was common, but there are some more recent books with some of the same themes (family, death, loyalty, survival) that would probably be better for students to read now.
The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank 
The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
After reading The Diary of Anne Frank lots of students come to me seeking similar books. The Boy Who Dared and Code Name Verity (plus its companion novel Rose Under Fire) are books that students could read next.
The Cay by Theodore Taylor 
Wild Man Island by Will Hobbs 
The Hatchet by Gary Paulson
Some students LOVE adventure books. The Cay is good, but students looking for more could check out the other two… or any books by Will Hobbs and Gary Paulson.
Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane 
Gatekeepers by Robert Liparulo
Iron Thunder by Avi
I read the Red Badge of Courage in high school and hated it. Seriously. The main guy was whiny, there were no female characters, and there were lots of seemingly endless battles. I was bored out of my mind. Gatekeepers seems to put some social history into the Civil War with paranormal elements to spice it up.
While Iron Thunder has a lot of the same elements as Red Badge of Courage it is MUCH better written.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Graham-Smith
So I hear that there are lots of guys who have to read this in high school and hate it. Personally, P&P is a favorite of mine and more guys could learn how to treat women by reading these books. To cut down on some of the girly aspects, P&P&Z is a good alternative (less descriptions of dresses and more zombie killing). 

1 comment:

  1. The combinations are endless. It will be interesting to see what everybody comes up with. kelley—the road goes ever ever on Nice list today.