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I am going to skip all the "classics" and standards because I think many of them are read in high school English classes already. And, they are mostly written by white males, To Kill a Mockingbird being the exception.
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson--This book covers such important issues such as abuse and peer pressure
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon--I recommended this book to about 35 boys this past year and all but one loved it and I think Haddon did a superb job of showing life for people "on the spectrum" of autism
- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling--I just couldn't ignore Harry Potter, but really I think trying out a fantasy book is important
- A Mystery and I don't actually mind which one. I just think it's a genre most teens don't read.
- Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie--I think it's important for students to hear about life on a reservation, what life is like for a Native American teen who tries to better his/her life, and acceptance of those that are different from ourselves and the mainstream
- Feed by MT Anderson--technology and our current slippery path of all information all the time coupled with shopping
- A Chris Crutcher book--awesome diverse characters and they are also about acceptance and standing up for what's right
- Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Pretties by Scott Westerfeld--some dystopian novel that can act as a cautionary story
- Diverse books from other countries. I am really big on reading books set in other parts of the world (outside the US) and I think students tend to shy away from this. Some of my favorites are Trash by Andy Mulligan, books by Mitali Perkins, and others.
- Historical fiction: Between Shades of Gray; War Horse; Ten Cents a Dance; Fly Girl; The Berlin Boxing Club; and others