This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101. Naturally, I decided that my class would be YA Lit 101. That would be a fun class! I took Children’s Literature about six years ago and loved it, so I can only imagine how exciting it would be to not only take a YA Lit class, but teach one. It would be great to share some favorites with other people. I think YA lit is awesome and can be a great way to teach about real life situations without being preachy or, honestly, boring, so I chose five YA books that I feel do just that.
If I taught YA Lit 101…
For me, choosing these books was a no-brainer. There were only two things I took into account when picking them: length and subject matter. Also, I’m a fan of all of them. Who said that a fake class couldn’t be a little indulgent for the fake teacher?
Any of Sarah Dessen’s books would be a fantastic addition to a YA Lit class, but I chose Dreamland because it’s possibly her most serious work. It’s about a girl in an abusive relationship, so it can be a rough book to read. That’s why I’ve included it in this list. I read it when I was about 13 when I didn’t know much about domestic abuse, but it helped to open my eyes to some of the things that girls can face everyday.
The Outsiders is a classic. I’ve mentioned it on here because it was required reading for me in middle school and I’m so glad it was. It’s one of the books that made me want to read more YA. It may seem a little outdated for some people, but it’s still a great coming of age book. It’s also an example of how creative and talented teenagers are as S.E. Hinton wrote this in high school.
It should never be a surprise when I include Sloppy Firsts on any list. I’ve talked about my love for this book so much. Part of the reason I picked it was not because of my love for it, but because of the format. If there were teenagers in my class, using this book could be a great way to encourage them to get their feelings and experiences out on paper. Adults could do it, too. It’s important to note that I would never require my students to share their personal journals with the class. I also included this because when I first found it, it was not considered YA. Crossover potential could be its own lesson.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is on this list because of genres. The others are realistic fiction, so I wanted to choose something that’s fantasy and historical. There are also strange pictures, so why wouldn’t I include something that’s fun? Similarly to Sloppy Firsts and journal writing, I feel like the pictures in this book could inspire some creative writing from students.
Fangirl is the longest book on this list, and I almost didn’t include it because of that. But I had to because Cath is so relatable. Including a book about a girl in love with fictional characters and a fictional world is a must. Social anxiety is also part of this book and, for that reason alone, I would choose it. That’s something that a lot of people may never understand, but this book could expose people to personalities and the people that they would usually not befriend.
I would love to teach a literature class one day. This list just made me want to do it even more. It also made me want to reread all of these books.