Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Tough Issues

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  Play here. 

This week is a list of the top ten books that deal with difficult issues.  I already read a few lists and am amazed with the diversity of responses I already see.  Here's my list:

1.  The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak  - one of my favorite books that truly deals with man's inhumanity to man through the Holocaust. 

2.  Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - one of the best introductions for kids to death.  Every kid should have the chance to meet Charlotte and Wilbur and cry at her death.

3.  My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - two tough issues in this one.  Reading about sick and dying children is never easy, but I can't imagine living with it.  Also, this is a great novel for discussion of medical advances and the legal issues they create.

4.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - racism, sexual assault, and drug addiction.  Many books have covered these issues but this is a classic.

5.  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - I actually just finished this one, and it's an excellent examination of school bullying.

6.  The Wall by Eve Bunting - this is a children's picture book by one of my favorite authors.  It very simply tells the story of a young boy who visits the  Vietnam Memorial with his father to find and trace his grandfather's name.  I cry every time I read it to my class, but it truly makes the sacrifices of war a multi-generational issue.

7.  Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting - another children's picture book.  It's the story of a homeless family who "lives" in an airport.  It's a great story for starting a discussion with kids about what it means to be homeless and how we can all help.

8.  Paula by Isabel Allende - Allende's haunting memoir of the sudden illness and death of her adult daughter.  The last twenty pages will bring you to tears and leave you wondering how any parent survives the death of a child.

9.  The Lorax by Dr. Seuss - Seuss's environmental warning from 1971 which is still valid and relevant today.

10.  Elijah's Angel by Michael J. Rosen - another children's picture book.  This is one of the best books I've read about tolerance.  It's the story of a little Jewish boy who befriends an older African American Christian barber.  The most touching part is when the Jewish family walks through the snow to see the menorah lit in the window of Elijah's barber shop each night of Hanukkah. 

Most of my list is children's books.  It's interesting because I've found that many children's authors do an excellent job presenting tough issues.  I'm looking forward to reading your list and hearing what you think of mine.


kathy@bookskidslike.com said...

I like the idea of using Charlotte's Web as an introduction to death. And of course, To Kill a Mockingbird!!! Good list!

lisa :) said...

I love that people are including Dr. Seuss works - and wish I had thought to do the same. As fun as his books are, they also deal with very serious issues in a great manner. And I think Charlotte's Web is the first book I can remember reading that made me cry a little.

I have Before I Fall on my TBR list and am looking forward to reading it. I like Oliver's writing and I've heard great things about it.

BookGal said...

Charlotte is near to me because I taught it in my classroom this year right after a teacher in my school died from breast cancer. It really helped the kids to process her death! Kid's books have amazing healing qualities.

Anne Bennett said...

The Lorax. Good Call. I hadn't even thought of environmental issues when I made my list.

Thanks for dropping by my blog yesterday. Don't forget to drop by again for day three of the giveaway.


Anne Bennett said...

Woops, I thought you were someone else. Do drop by my blog and sign up for the giveaway and I'm a new follower!


Marce said...

I think YA does a good job in this category also.

My Top Ten


BookGal said...

Marce - You are right about YA books too.

Anne - Thanks for following.

Sidne,the BCR said...

Stopping by read your Top Ten book list.
mine is http://sidnebkclubreviewz.blogspot.com

Jenni Elyse said...

I was considering putting The Lorax on my list. But, I came up with others. ;)

Thanks for stopping by and great list!

Laurie said...

Great picks! I haven't read the Eve Bunting books, but I'm going to "look inside" at Amazon. Charlotte's Web is an uncommonly apt choice.
I'm a teacher too; what do you teach?

rockyriverteenlibrarian said...

What great choices! I especially like that Charlotte's Web and The Book Thief are on the list. Here is my list: http://wp.me/pzUn5-vu

Andrea said...

Great list. I love that you included The Lorax and Charlotte's Web.

Reading Lark's Top 10

BookGal said...

Sidne, Rocky, and Andrea - I'll check it out.

Jenni - Thanks for stopping by.

Laurie - I teach 2nd grade but I've taught everything from 1st to high school over time. You?

Christine said...

I considered putting My Sister's Keeper too. Not exactly on it's way to becoming a classic, but truly laden with issues! And the book is so much better than the movie (like always).

Two Bibliomaniacs said...

Wow, Charlotte's Web - great idea! I also thought The Book Thief was fantastic. Great list this week.

Laurie said...

Me? I teach English/literacy, interdisciplinary courses, and sometimes theater in a public high school. Let's keep in touch to share ideas!

usagi, said...

Ah, I'd forgotten about "Mockingbird" and "The Lorax", but you're absolutely right about those!

Thanks for visiting my WWW this week. :D

Lauren B said...

Wonderful choices. I really want to read The book Thief.
Thanks for stopping by my Top Ten.

stacybuckeye said...

I love this list! It is amazing how many children's books deal with such heavy topics and in understanding ways.
I have Paula and need to read it. Not sure I can do it right now, maybe after my baby isn't a baby anymore :)