Personal Literary Canon

Taylor Haney

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an amazing novel and movie that captures the true life during the time period of the Holocaust and how it affected the family lives of everyone involved. This book is important to me because it taught me the value of family and the importance of friendship. Bruno, the main character, helps his friend from the Auschwitz try to find his father, and he climbs the fence across to the camp. This risk shows the importance that his friend had on Bruno and how he was willing to do anything to help his friend. Although they both die together in the end, they still stay together and face it together. The ending is very touching to me, and teaches about not only the effects of the Holocaust, but also the value of committing and risking everything for the people you care about.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

The Bridge to Terabithia captures the beauty and loveliness of nature and how important it is to explorer it. At a young age, exploring nature was one of my biggest hobbies, I used to climb trees and just run around in the yard and find new trails in my back yard. This book about two best friends finding a bridge that leads them to a whole new area of their world spoke to me and reminds me of myself when I was younger. I believe this novel is important to read, especially in today's society, because it reminds all of us the youthfulness if life and how to explorer and go on adventures because you never know what you may find.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help is a wonderful novel that speaks to me on so many levels. The main reason that I love this book is because it brings out the honesty and bravery in the ladies that participate. The black women in this novel are not afraid to stand up against the white women and tell about the horrible things they have gone through while being "the help". These stories bring out the ugly and disturbing parts of the white women that they never wanted to reveal. The value of honesty is a major theme in this novel, no matter what the cost was. These ladies risked their jobs, their families, and their own lives in order to let the truth be known.

The Holy Bible

The Holy Bible is the most influential and important book on my bookshelf, and many other's as well. This is because of the big impact it has had on my life, though I have not read it completely through yet. This most popular book of all time teaches about God's love and miracles through his son, Jesus that dies for him. These miracles and teachings changed my perspective on life and gave me a hope that I would have never received otherwise. Although it is very controversial whether it should be taught in school or not, I believe certain references and stories would help the understanding of many parts in history.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins, the author of the incredibly famous series, The Hunger Games, uses suspense and climax to elevate the events in the novel. My favorite book in the series is The Hunger Games because it sets the tone for all of the other books. These novels bring out the importance of alliances and how the pressures of dying and risks can bring out the true "animal" in people. Besides the main characters, the other players in the games are very vicious and horrible to the other players. These players represent the kids that are only after winning and not about what is right. I think this novel is important to read because it brings out the true colors of people, whether they are honest and noble or harsh and cruel.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is very famous for writing children's books that teach lessons within them. The Lorax teaches about how one young, little boy can change things for this little town. The story about the little boy who talks to the Once-ler about why the Lorax just magically disappeared and what happened to him. The Once-ler tells the young boy about the story while taking him back into time where the setting is beautiful with big trees and colorful grass. The young boy decides to take matters into his own hands and save the trees, and this brave act taught me, as a young girl, about how age and size does not matter. Anybody can do anything as long as they put their mind to it. This lesson is important to learn, especially for young kids.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones is an amazing, yet horrifically sad, novel about a young girl who was taken, rapped, and killed. The girl who was assaulted, Susie, tells the story from the afterlife, and goes into incredible detail to describe the awful things that were done to her. Although this novel captures awful and horrible events, it also signifies hope. This novel became so popular because it is about a serial killer, which are very common in today's society. Susie becomes the center of the whole novel, instead of her killer. She tries to understand his psychotic mind and actions throughout the book, but she is the center, along with the other girls he hurts in the novel. This book is important to me because it helped show me that not everybody is trustworthy, even your nice neighbor for your whole life. The man, Mr. Harvey, is very unexpected to be doing these things because he acts to nice and kind to everyone, so nobody looks to him. It is important to read because all teens and young adults, women and men, can be a victim of assault and murder, and being aware of your surroundings is very important.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a novel that brings together different types of people, and they become best friends through acceptance and equality. Although these three people were never expected to become so close, they accept one another. Chbosky uses the three main things in society, sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. The hardships through high school bring out their true self and help them discover who they were as a person. As a sophomore in high school reading this, it helped me think about who I want to be as a person in the future and not to conform to the world and the "norms" they have.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

The value of friendship and acceptance is also seen through the book series The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The pants in these books serve as a symbol of unity and equality, as they magically fit all four girls. The girls become to be inseparable, although they may not be in the same city, or school, they always come back together with the pants. Their friendship taught me as a young middle schooler that everyone finds soulmates, and they may be your best friends, not a man or woman. The pants are used as a tool of unity, in that every time they are together, they have the pants with them because it is the glue that holds them together.

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Slavery is a topic that affects many readers and authors in history, and today's society. I read 12 Years a Slave last year, junior year, and it crushed my heart reading it. Everyone studies slavery in history class growing up, but this novel captures the emotions and pain that came along with it. While reading it, I felt the agony that the slaves endured from their owners, and how unfair it was that they went through all of that. Northup very accurately describes the scenes of punishment, when slaves had to beat one another, and it is so hard to imagine doing that to one of your fellow friends. This book is important to me because it helped open my eyes to the true pain the slaves went through and how it affected them, more than just physically. The slaves often contemplated suicide, which reflects how the physical and verbal abuse can affect people.