This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish gives me a chance to make two lists. The topic of the week is books that deal with societal issues, and I've already posted my list of adult books at my other blog, Book Addict Reviews. But because so much good children's literature also has social justice themes, I'm going to make a second list right here at Second Childhood Reviews.
1. The Friendship, Mildred Taylor: This short novella tell the story of two men, one black and one white, and how the racism of the south in the middle of the 20th century led them from being friends to violence. Great book-every class I've ever read this with has literally gasped at what happens.
2. The Misfits, James Howe: With all of the recent news about bullying, this book is a must read for the 5th through 8th grade set. Includes bullying based on weight, gender, intelligence, and sexual orientation.
3. Keeping Corner, Kasmira Sheth: A historical fiction tale of a child-bride in India during the rise of Ghandi. When her betrothed dies of a snake bite, 12 year old Leela is forced to live as a widow, which means never wearing bright colors or bangles again, never being able to marry or have children, and being considered bad luck by the others in her town. Really interesting look at Indian culture.
4. Monster, Walter Dean Myers: Really thought provoking book about a teenager on trial for murder.
5. Bait, by Alex Sanchez: Deals with childhood sexual abuse with a male protagonist. Sanchez's books are so good I have to list two, the other one being...
6. The God Box, Alex Sanchez: Reinterprets the Christian arguments against homosexuality through the story of a closeted Christian teen and his new out and proud Christian friend.
7. The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins: OK, I know that it is cool and trendy to love these books (and I did, love these books that is), but I also happen to think that they can be read and discussed as social commentary. Classism, the value of democracy, the voyeurism of "reality" television, the power of perception and the media-all really topical stuff!
8. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry; The Book Thief, Markus Zusak; The Devil's Arithmetic, Jane Yolen; The Boy Who Dared, Susan Campbell Bartoletti; The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne: All books about the holocaust, all really well done.
9. 19 Minutes, Jodi Picoult: I know that she's usually considered an author of adult fiction, but this novel about a school shooting is perfect reading for teens.
10. Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson: Great story about finding your voice after a sexual assault. And a pretty good movie with Kristin Stewart, before she became enamored of sparkly vampires.