Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Be Taught in School

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Back To School Freebie — anything ‘back to school’ related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, etc…” I love the possibilities for this topic as I had some great experiences reading books in school. For this week’s theme, I’m listing books I think should be taught in schools because I believe they would make class a heck of a lot more interesting. Covers are linked to Goodreads.


1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Can you imagine reading the HP series in school? I don’t really have too many memories of books I read in elementary school, but I’m pretty sure I’d remember this series. And wouldn’t it just be amazing to introduce a whole new generation to the Wizarding World?

2. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – This was probably the first book that came to mind when thinking about this topic. It’s one of the few books that I regard has a modern classic. I have no doubt that this will be read it schools.

3. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan – I have never been into Greek Mythology, but I’m pretty sure I would have paid more attention to it if we learned about it while reading these books.

4. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman – If you haven’t picked up this book that swaps histories between whites and blacks, do it. Racial prejudice is a hard thing to grasp when you haven’t experienced it, so I think this book would help open up a lot of eyes.

5. I Hunt Killer by Barry Lyga – If I was a teacher and assigned this delightful book about a boy struggling against the legacy of his serial killer father, I’m sure I’d get a lot of phone calls from parents. But can you imagine the class discussions!


6. Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin – I actually had nine books on my list and couldn’t come up with a tenth one, but since this is my imaginary world where books I love get to be read in class, I’m adding this one. An alternate history where Hitler was successful ought to have a million possibilities for class assignments.

7. The Program by Suzanne Young – Looking back at the books I read in middle school and high school, I don’t think any ever tackled mental health. Perhaps Catcher in the Rye? I do know we never discussed Holden’s mental health while reading it. The Program puts a really disturbing spin on how depression is handled and I think would be a good starting point when talking about the mental health system in this country.

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – War and its effect on children, a government’s abuse of power, post-traumatic stress disorder, there are so many things to be talked about when it comes to this series.

9. The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork – This is the only true contemporary book on my list this week. Like I mentioned before, mental health was not something we tackled in school but it’s so important to reach out and educate everyone.

10. Unwind by Neal Shusterman – The concept surrounding this book terrifies me. Sometimes terror translates to the most interesting discussions.

Have you read any of these? Which books do you think should be taught in school? Are there any books written in the last fifteen years that you consider modern classics? Let me know in the comments and be sure leave a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.


57 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Be Taught in School

  1. Such an awesome list! I wish my high school had us read these books instead of the boring ones they assigned. When I was in 12th grade, they changed up the reading curriculum and actually included Harry Potter for the freshmen. Not fair haha. I totally agree about Percy Jackson! You’ll learn some Greek mythology too!

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  2. I like The Program, that’s one I want to read and if it deals with mental health/ depression in that way it might be a great choice! And I agree about Percy Jackson, I always liked Greek myth and I think if a teacher could integrate these books in somehow, it might really increase interest.

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  3. I think Harry Potter would be a great book to teach at school, reading it is one of my fondest memory of childhood, a book that helped me fall in love with reading and hopefully it will do that to many more readers.

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  4. Great idea! I definitely think a mix of newer books would help kids find joy in reading. I was surprised to learn (a few years ago) that the local middle school here has kids reading The Book Thief. What a great addition to the required reading list!

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  5. The school system here did a system wide readalong I think from 7th grade up of the Hunger Games and it was discussed on different levels depending on the grade and used in several different classes. It was really pretty awesome! I’m just now listening to the first Percy Jackson and am really enjoying it. What a great way to learn Mythology!

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  6. I’ve read half of the books on your list, and I agree that HP, Percy Jackson, Unwind, The Program and The Hunger Games should be taught in schools. I haven’t read Noughts And Crosses yet, but it seems like a really good book to teach in schools! Great list!

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  7. I might actually be one of those annoying parents giving you a call! Ha ha. J/K Though, I imagine the discussion for I Hunt Killer would be pretty scintillating! I always enjoy ban book week at our local library. I’m always shocked that some books are banned for a word. A WORD! I would let my kids read them. If it’s in the context of the storyline to show a teaching point, then let the kid read the book. Am I to liberal? Ha ha.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So many good ones here! My boyfriend actually had to read a Harry Potter book in (elementary?) school! I never thought about Wolf by Wolf being used, but now that you mention it, that would be great. I would add Salt to the Sea to the list for the historical aspect.

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