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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Made Me Ponder the Deeper Things in Life

Welly howdy!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by the lovelies over at The Broke and Bookish.  Every week they post a list theme for book bloggers to participate in.

This week’s theme is Books That Made You Think. So, I have a list of books that made me ponder the deeper things in life. Now, I will say that I tend to prefer books on the lighter sides because I don’t like books that make me cry!  I’m such a crier in normal life that when I read books I like happyish endings.  But, I have read some books that fit this category.  So, here they are! (Sorry no pictures this week my internet at home is down so I’m posting at work and the connection is slllooow…) 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This book is centered around bullying and teenage suicide. Working with teens, especially those labeled ”at-risk” made this book so meaningful to me. It is an intense read, but is also worth the emotional rollercoaster ride.  If you haven’t read it, you should.

2. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Park weaves together two stories of African youth affected by difficult times.  One is the story of a boy trying to survive in the face of civil war in his homeland, while the other tells of a young girl who has the responsibility of providing water for her family every day. Civil war? Poverty? The reality of life in a third world country? This one definitely made me think.

3. The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Such an amazing true story of a German teen in the 1930s/1940s who grows to reject Hitler’s teachings and eventually takes a stand against them.  It was interesting to get the perspective of one who had originally been a member of the Hitler Youth because you rarely get to see that point of view.

4. May B by Caroline Starr Rose

A novel in verse about a girl living on the prairie struggling to survive a harsh winter.  The book also deals with dyslexia and made me, as an educator, wonder how students with disabilities fared in school during past eras. It must have been isolating, and confusing to not understand why everyone else was “getting it” while you were having trouble.

5.In Too Deep by Amanda Grace

 about a girl who does nothing to counteract the false rumors that a boy from school raped her, is so incredibly thought-provoking.  It made me think of lies, even those of omission, and the effects and consequences they can have in our lives.

The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Herandani6. The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani

This debut middle grades novel deals mainly with the idea of identity. The main character, Sonia,  is of both Jewish-American and Indian heritage and is struggling to figure out where she fits in her new school and in life altogether.  Sonia is also dealing with an out of work father who is struggling with depression and goes missing. I’d never read a middle grades novel displaying a parent with depression before. 

7. The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Peterson

More civil war and ethnic killing…The Day of the Pelican tells the story of a young girl and her Muslim Albanian family trying to survive in the middle of the Kosovo War.  Talk about a perspective adjustment for those of us who have never experienced war on our own soil.

8. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I loved this YA sci-fi story filled with themes of genetics and ethics. It had the “whoa thats cool!” factor but also made you realize that meddling in genetics has major ethical consequences.

9. Matched by Ally Condie

The dystopian world Condie creates has immense restrictions on creativity. The governmentMatched by Ally Condie has deleted all but a hundred songs, a hundred paintings, a hundred books etc… from the world’s memory.  People are not allowed to create new songs or books or paintings either.  With these type of restrictions the ability to create anything (words for example) gives power.  As the wife of a musician I can’t even imagine a world without creativity!

10. A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this one before (it’s not YA or MG though) but this book blew my mind when I read it in my senior AP Lit class eleven years ago! I had never read anything like it in my life.  Chalk full of a dystopian society run by religion that puts restrictions on everything including sex and child-bearing.  Talk about making me think!

So there you have it- books that really made me think! What are some books that made you ponder the deeper things in life?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Fiction Titles I’ve Read and Enjoyed

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish to showcase book and help other book bloggers get to know each other better.  This week’s theme was supposed to be “Books I’d Play Hookie With” but I just couldn’t get into it, so I went a different route.

Did you know I was a history major in college?  Yes, its true!  I love learning about different time periods and thinking about what life must have been like during those particular times. I also really enjoy historical fiction, but I tend to read less of it than any other genre because it doesn’t circulate at my school.  I try to focus on reading those things that my students will check out, so I can be informed on their tastes.   Because of this I haven’t been able to read a lot of Young Adult or Middle Grades historical fiction, but I decided that I’d let you know which ones I have read and have enjoyed.  So, this week’s Top Ten is focused on ten Historical Fiction titles I’ve read and enjoyed (in no particular order).

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell BartolettiThe Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 

Based on the true story of teenager Helmut Hubner, who dares to tell the truth about Hitler in a World War II Germany.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy BlundellWhat I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

A coming of age story of age story involving a girl and the scandal that surrounds her family’s vacation to Florida in a Post World War II United States.

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack GantosDead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (MG)

Part fiction and part memoir, Jack Gantos tells the story of one  strange, mysterious and humorous summer in his childhood.

Woods Runner by Gary PaulsenWoods Runner by Gary Paulsen (MG)

On the cusp of the American Revolution young Sam must rescue his parents when they are kidnapped by Red Coats.

Cross My Heart by Sasha GouldCross My Heart by Sasha Gould (YA)

A girl navigates life in Venetian society while trying to discover the secrets surrounding her sister’s mysterious death.

May B by Carolyn Starr RoseMay B.: A Novel by Carolyn Starr Rose (MG)

A girl struggling with dyslexia on the prairie is sent away to help a newlywed couple only to be abandoned in the middle of an extremely harsh winter.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'DellIsland of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (MG)

Karana is the Indian girl who lives alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins where she struggles to survive and undergoes personal discovery.

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and TR SimonZora and Me by Victoria Bond and TR Simon (MG)

A fictionalized tale of the childhood of writer Zora Neale Hurston in which she and her friends uncover a mystery in their hometown of Eatonville, Florida.

Billy Creekmore by Tracey PorterBilly Creekmore by Tracey Porter (MG)

An orphan boy  travels from the coal mines of West Virginia in the early 1900s to the world of a traveling circus, in search of his past, his future, and his own true identity.

The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner DubleThe Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble (MG)

The year is 1692 and witches have been found in Salem, Massachusetts.  Panic begins to spread to Abigail Faulkner’s town of Andover causing life  to quickly and  drastically change for Abigail and her family.

What do you think of the list?  I’m sure there are tons of historical fiction titles I haven’t read yet.  Do you have any recommendations for my future reading?