Sunday, March 13, 2016

5 Books That Should Be Added to High School Curriculum

Most of the books on our high school reading lists are a little outdated.  While I believe that many of those titles are important for high school kids to read, I also think that our curriculum could use a few titles that are newer and fresher.  Not every high school book should be a struggle to get through.  So here are a few titles that should definitely be added to our reading lists:

1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Afghanistan has been all over the news for the past decade, but most students don't actually know much about what's going on over there.  This novel broadens students' horizons and shows diverse culture in different corners of the world.

2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Race is still a huge issue in our society, as much as many of us wouldn't like to think so.  And while most high schoolers read books like Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Bluest Eye, The Help is much more current and will probably resonate better with students.

3. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Malala is the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize--she's so inspiring and incredibly intelligent.  Her book could help inspire students to help positively impact the world.

4. Stolen by Lucy Christopher

This would be the perfect addition to an English elective class.  It's told from a second person point of view, so it's unique and vastly interesting.  Its use of setting is also pretty neat.

5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This book weaves history and action into a beautiful tale.  It would be great for a discussion on World War II and/or the theme of friendship.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Twilight Deserves More Credit

I've been obsessed with Twilight since the fifth grade. I know it's embarrassing (and it's an era of my life that I will never be proud of), but before you start to make fun of Twilight, I've got to say--it isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

For a few years now, I've been doing plays at my community theatre. My good friend Craig (who did Steel Magnolias with me) and I found ourselves with lots of downtime between lighting and sound cues to talk about our favorite literary encapsulations.

Every night, I brought a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with me to rehearsal. Craig asked if I was a Twilight fan in addition to Harry Potter. I instinctively scoffed, of course, never admitting to my awkward middle school stage where I really believed that a vampire would sweep me off my feet and fight a werewolf for my love. However, he told me that I should reread the series because the books aren't actually as bad as the movies and media portray them.

So I decided to read Twilight again. I thought back to how much I'd adored it in fifth grade and I figured it couldn't be that bad--and in all actuality, it wasn't. Sure, there was a lot of ill-relaxed syntax and maybe too much of a focus on the love triangle, but it is a young adult paranormal romance book. I knew what I was getting myself into.

Compared to the eternal list of flaws in the movie adaptations, the actual novels themselves are pretty good. Twilight is definitely not groundbreaking or even thought-provoking, but at least it has a good storyline and interesting characters. It's a good book to lose yourself in--even if it won't change your life.