YA Books That Changed My Life!

I loooove YA books. I basically just read non-fiction stuff about wellness and YA novels (you can check out my reading list here). 

 

I blame it on wanting to make sure I’m up today with what my students are reading. But let’s be real, YA books can be incredibly powerful pieces of literature. They challenge assumptions, introduce new realities, and change worldviews!

 

Today, I’m sharing five YA books that changed my life!

 

YA novels that changed how I view the world! Check out this list of must read books for middle schoolers and teachers, alike!

 

Wonder (+ Auggie & Me) by R.J. Palacio

Why I loved this book: Empathy is why I love this book. I’ve never read another book that so profoundly teaches the reader about empathy. In one book you step into the shoes of the bullied, bully, friends, bystanders, parents, and teachers. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s a masterpiece and that it will change your life when you read it! 

»»» Read about our school-wide empathy building project based off of Wonder. 

 


 

YA novels that changed how I view the world! Check out this list of must read books for middle schoolers and teachers, alike!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Why I loved this book: Life is not black and white, in reality, it’s incredibly complex. This is exactly what makes The Hate U Give such a powerful book. It takes some of the most uncomfortable topics of national conversation: race, privilege, police brutality, gang culture, etc… and empowers the reader to build empathy and understanding. Simply put, if we really want our students to change the world, this is a must read!

»»» If you’re interested in this book, check out this blog post. 

 


 

YA novels that changed how I view the world! Check out this list of must read books for middle schoolers and teachers, alike!

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Why I loved it: This book opened my eyes to a culture so often underrepresented and misrepresented in literature and in our national conversation. I feel so blessed to work at a school connected to a reservation. But so ashamed of how poorly my American education failed me in teaching me about Native American history. This book can help us teachers not fail the next generation of American children. 

 


 
YA novels that changed how I view the world! Check out this list of must read books for middle schoolers and teachers, alike!

 

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Why I loved it: This beautiful story shows readers, especially teachers, that intelligence is diverse and that student behavior is often a mask for bigger insecurities. As I read this book, I felt like more than anything it was written for teachers to remind us of this powerful message.

 


 

YA novels that changed how I view the world! Check out this list of must read books for middle schoolers and teachers, alike!

 

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Why I loved it: This graphic memoir tells Marjane Satrapi’s story of living in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution, an event that I knew NOTHING about. This book depicts a life and journey vastly different from mine. Reading about Marjane’s life helped me better understand people whose lives are grossly misrepresented in the media. Which is exactly why I suggest reading this book with your students!
 


 

Share Your YA Top Five

I’m always looking for more YA novels to read. I’d love to hear your suggestions and check our your YA top five!
 


 

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathy Pillsbury
    October 17, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Two books that I just finished reading that had a powerful impact on me are “Refugee” by Alan Gratz and “The Stars Beneath My Feet” by David Barclay. “Refugee” is intense but it really gives you a feeling for what it was and is like to be a refugee in different time periods. “The Stars Beneath My Feet” gave me a lot of insight into what it might be like for a boy growing up in Harlem dealing with a lot of tough issues and getting through.

    • Reply
      Janelle Kay
      October 17, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Hey Kathy,

      Thank you so much for the suggestions! I’m definitely adding both of these to my reading list!

      Janelle

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