Tuesday, April 27, 2010

13 Reasons Why

Okay, maybe not thirteen, but I have ten good reasons why young adult literature should be in the classroom.

I gave my students the opportunity to volunteer to do an end of the year project where they'll "test drive" some YA novels that I'm looking at using in my classes.

The units next year will connect the books to a social issues research project where students don't just follow themes and ideas in the text, but they'll also research it throughout history and in our present day society. I plan to bring in speakers about these topics and have my students This year my students will just take notes as they read, develop discussion questions, lesson plans and projects that I may use next year.

I'm pretty excited about the potential for next year, and I'm even more excited when I introduced it to my students and large amount of them wanted participate. In fact, they were arguing about who got first dibs on the books.

Students fighting about books?

Am I dreaming?

I've always been a huge believer in the power of YA literature and using them in the classroom. I can't wait to get my students feedback.

Here's the line up...

Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)

Life as We Know It (Pfeffer)

Speak (Anderson)

Wintergirls (Anderson)

The Good Thief (Tinti)

Paper Towns (Green)

Little Brother (Doctorow)

The Book Thief (Zusak)

Hunger Games (Collins)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian (Alexie)

What about you? If there was a high school YA literary canon, what books would you add?


Matthew Rush said...

This sounds like a great idea. Anything that gets kids to read or read more is awesome.

apalfrey said...

totally awesome idea! I only have one of my six kids so far who doesn't really LOVE to read, but I know there are a lot out there who just don't enjoy books. I don't understand why. lol
One teacher's comment about my oldest son was "You know, I don't really want to complain,but he really reads too much!" :D He can blow through a book in a couple of hours and totally get it all!
I'm a slow reader, imagining each scene like a movie playing out in my mind. I guess that's why I write slower too. :)

Do you want stand alone books or series, fantasy, real life?
My son loved the Eragon series, Garth Nix's books, Spiderwick and of course the ever popular Harry Potter(the last two too young maybe?). He even read the Twilight Saga( not his favorite).
The Ender books by Orson Scott Card while not quite YA are really awesome.
I'll ask what other books he's really enjoyed.
See ya guys later, off to get the kids up and ready for school!

Kristan said...

You seem to be focusing on contemporary books, which is fine, but I guess if I were to add to the canon, I would consider including some of the older books. And of course, no great examples come to mind...

Maybe WALK TWO MOONS or THE GIVER? Those might skew younger, though.

Well either way, your list is great. The last two in particular I love. I mean, HUNGER GAMES is essentially perfection, in my opinion. And Alexie just rocks the hizzouse. ;)

Kara said...

As Simple as Snow by Greg Galloway was on my summer reading list in high school. It's a bit dark, but in a lot of ways it's like Thirteen Reasons Why :)

Rachele Alpine said...

Kara...I love "As Simple As Snow." I recommend it to a lot of my students...great book. That's cool that your school used it!

Lisa Nowak said...

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher (though it's about freshmen, so it may be a little young, but it's so darn clever) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Rachele Alpine said...

Kristan...Great suggestions! So great, in fact, that my students do read those in middle school! Lisa, I've never read "The Sledding Hill" but I'll hav to check it out. And I love TPOBAW...great voice in it!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I would probably add some Ellen Hopkins, Brandon Mull, and Sarah Dessen! :-)

Jess said...

This is such a brilliant idea! What a great way to get kids excited about reading!

Shannon said...

Love this idea. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you on how it develops!

Emilia Plater said...

I so wish you were my teacher. Dangit. :D Honestly, this is such a great idea. Why are all the books I read in English about old drunk men? I mean, come on!!!! (You can tell how passionate I am about this by the # of !s, obvs)

Mina Carlisle said...

One of my favorite required classes in college was "Adolescent Literature" and it was all about how teachers should tie in YA books with the classics canon. I'm really excited that you seem to have the opportunity to teach YA too. It gives me warm fuzzies for student teaching next year that I might have this same opportunity.

One of my recommendations:
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak- It has a seriously awesome message about paying it forward and caring about your fellow man. You should just read it anyway.

Good luck!!

allysonkate said...

Lovely List!

I always recommend The Little Prince. Even though it may not be classified as YA, I believe the messages you get out of it are life changing at any age. Quick, easy read!

Kellie Bonifield said...

Just found your blog and just in time!! Please add The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Love this series!
Also, anything by Robin McKinley-- particularly Sunshine for the vampire lovers.
And for people who love Harry Potter, how about Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series?
By the way, you come up with the best ideas on your blog for participation! Really fun!