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Required Reading: Which book from your school days
do you remember reading & enjoying? Is there a book published now
that you’d like to see in today’s curriculum for kids?
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is the Great American Novel. I was “forced” to read it in 10th grade. I cannot tell you how much I loved this book. Being from the south is a privilege, but we do have a sordid history of racism and classism that is embarrassing and, in some cases, unforgivable. I don’t think I would have picked up this book if it were not required reading. The story of Jem and Scout and Dill was captivating and interesting, but the story about Tom Robinson and The Ewells is what really drew me in.
We moved at the end of 10th grade, but again in 11th, I was required to read the book again. And I could have gotten by with my memory from the previous year, but I reread the book because I loved it. To this day, it’s my favorite book, followed closely by Pride and Prejudice. Surprisingly, I haven’t reread either of those books since I was a teenager. I may need to rectify that soon. I remember telling someone that when I had kids, I would read this book to them. I think they’re a little young now (the oldest is not yet five, and he’s kinda into Thomas the Train books), but I will one day keep that promise.
What would I like to see teenagers today be “forced” to read? The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Another story in the same vein, namely, regarding the southern way of life in the middle part of the last century. It was a time of great upheaval and uncertainty, a time when many young people realized that they didn’t have to abide by the way of thinking that preceeded them. And I think this book really conveys that uncertainty and forward-thinking.
I know this is probably not groundbreaking, but these two books mean a lot to me and force me to confront the kind of thinking that seems to be ingrained in many people that I know. And, really, isn’t that the whole point?
What would you “force” kids these days to read?