There are many books that one is told they ::must:: read in their lifetime. Lucky for us, many of these books show up in high school and college courses. There are also many books that we read, even though it might perhaps be time to allow older texts to retire and let a rookie have a chance. The following is a list of new young adult titles with enough bite to entertain and educate adolescents. The list has been compiled using a number of prominent literary award committees including YALSA, the Robert F. Sibert Medal Committee, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Pura Belpré Award.
The title of each suggestion includes a hyperlink to Goodreads. If you're interested in adding that title to your "to-read" list click on the link to reach Goodreads.
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia
A 2015 Sibert Award Honor Book, The Family Romanov discusses the decadent and tragic story of the last Russian royal family the Romanovs. The title isn't just a list of facts and quotations. It is rich in literary merit, and many readers will be engrossed in the suspense of the yarn, regardless of whether or not they know the fate of the Romanov's.
Related Texts / Authors: Animal Farm, The Great Gatsby, Anton Chekov.
I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust
This is the survival story of a thirteen year old Hungarian girl who was sent to Auschwitz. The story is written in the present tense which both gives the reader a front seat to the atrocities and makes the retelling seem like the holocaust happened yesterday. With so few holocaust survivors remaining, we must cultivate these texts into our curriculum and cherish their testimony. While these atrocities seem very distant for students, it is clear that injustice and anti-semitism remain pervasive in our society (see: April 2015 edition of the The Atlantic "Is it time for the Jews to Leave Europe?").
Related Texts / Authors : Night, Maus, Number the Stars, Diary of a Young Girl, Chaim Potok, Elie Weisel, Friedrich, The Book Thief.
I Lived on Butterfly Hill
I Lived on Butterfly Hill is set in war-torn 1970's Chile. The protagonist is eleven years old, and while much of the text seems aimed at tweens/early high school, for older students allusions to history and the connections to other texts will keep them engaged. While the story reads as a lyrical dystopia, many of the events that occur in the text are centered on true events.
Related Texts / Authors : When I was Puerto Rican, The Arrival, Peter Sis, Animal Farm, Stealing Buddha's Dinner.