"Bruh, You Gotta Read These."
I Had to, to be Honest Fam
Hatchet, Gary Paulson, 1987
The book is written in language that is both easily understood, but still conveys the feeling of being alone, and hunger, concepts most kids haven't experienced. This makes it both a good read for exploring more mature themes during early adolescence, but also an introduction to the survival genre.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor, 1975
The book obviously has additional meaning to me as an African-American male, but that aside, I think Taylor's work is a good representation of the hardships of a lower-class black family. I feel as though every middle-schooler should read it, not only for its literary detail, but also for its excellent perspective of the previously mentioned living condition.
America the Story of Us, Ed Fields/Daniel Hall, 2010
This Series is not only informative, but very entertaining, and was therefor always a joy and learning experience to view in class. many students will probably end up watching at least 3-4 parts of the documentary, but i recommend watching all 12 at some point, as they make history truly appealing to a younger audience.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
This Book is a brilliant work not noticed for its glory until its later years, and is now read by highschool students everywhere as part of standard curriculum. The prospects of tenacity and love are able to resonate at this age, and allow students to relate to a time period much different from the present in a meaningful way.
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, 1860-1861
Coming of age stories are always a great read, especially ones that can flesh out the characters so well, and make a nice webbing plot. The book portrays love, betrayal and revenge in a mature manner, through the characters of Estella, Magwitch, and Havisham respectively. These themes are developed throughout the book, and eventually show that while the good may never get a slamming victory, they will eventually triumph over negative people and emotions.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, 1884
This book hits home with similar reasons to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It conveys a similar message, but from a completely different time period, and with the main character looking into the problem, rather than being involved with it
The Crucible, Arthur Miller, 1953
I'm not going to lie, I love it so much because of how perfect of a analogy it is to what Arthur was truly satirizing; the act of McCarthyism (the accusations of communism and treason for personal gain). both situations are so absurd, and show the power that fear has on the general populace.