Tag Archives: book recs

Required Reading: Books I Would Put on the Curriculum

Particularly in the last three years, following Michael Gove’s decision to axe American literature from the GCSE English reading list, I’ve paid close attention to the types of literature I’ve been exposed to in school. Here’s all the books I’ve studied from year six to year twelve:

studied

These books are great and generate a lot of discussion. This year, I’ve really enjoyed Tess of the d’Urbervilles. I don’t mean to say these texts aren’t worthy of studying – but classrooms would hugely benefit from more diverse and current books, especially from this century. This is already happening, to a certain extent – for example, with Noughts and Crosses.

I think YA is more likely to make an impact on a student’s life. The YA section in a bookstore is where you’ll find some of the most influential and life-changing reads, as well as a plethora of diverse stories. So much of what I read in these categories spark important discussions.

In my opinion, the current syllabuses fail to do so – of course, there’s discussion of race and patriarchy, but often in the context of eras gone by. As important as historical literature is, it’s also integral to make syllabuses inclusive of books that deal with issues in the current state of the world.

It’s also so vital children see themselves represented. I’m yet to find literature by authors of any Asian origin on a syllabus, and LGBT* representation is shockingly sparse. The ratio of black and female authors to white and male authors is also far from equal on reading lists.

So, what would I put on the curriculum?

A while ago, I wrote a post based on a Twitter discussion, about what books others would like to see in school. I wanted to revisit this idea, using some of my recent reads! Without further ado, here’s a shortlist of books I’d give students, if I had the power:

if you could be mine

GCSE and A Level: If You Could Be Mine is a beautifully written book about two girls in Iran, who have feelings for one another but can’t express it publicly. It would be awesome to see an Iranian author on the syllabus, and the story is an emotional one with lots of themes to be talked about in class, from sexuality and religion to society and tradition.

george

Middle Grade Reading: George would be a fantastic book to discuss with younger pupils. Not only is it a really fun, heartwarming read – it’s also the perfect way to start a discussion about gender with children and promote tolerance of trans kids. Trans children are more likely to feel alienated and be victims of bullying in school: wouldn’t it be incredible for them to see themselves in the books they read?

 

the bunker diary

A Level: The Bunker Diary is controversial, to say the least, and it’s incredibly hard hitting. That’s why I hesitated to put this on the list. But I think it would be fascinating to analyse for students who would feel comfortable talking about its themes. In particular, the narrative is a really interesting point; it’s constantly evolving and switching as the protagonist spends longer in the bunker.

the hate u give

GCSE: Especially on the GCSE curriculum, opportunity to talk about current events is very limited. Police brutality and racism in America is a really important topic to engage students in so they’re aware and informed. The Hate U Give is perfect for this. It’s also a fantastic read that’s hard to put down.

wide awake

GCSE and A Level: Wide Awake is definitely underrated and I’m always eager to recommend David Levithan! The current state of the US is pretty depressing, but this book explores the idea of a gay Jewish president being elected, and the diverse celebration surrounding his campaign. It’s brilliant! David Levithan’s writing is absolutely beautiful and it would be so wonderful for it to be reflected on in classrooms.

 

wonder

Middle Grade Reading: Wonder has to be on this list! I’m pretty sure some primary schools have already used this book as a talking point. Wonder is written from multiple perspectives and follows Auggie as he starts mainstream school with a facial deformity. This book is so heartwarming and has already inspired so many young people to promote kindness.

What books would you put on the curriculum?

 

 

Infographic: Autobiographies I’ve Read in 2015

Sorry about the internet absence. There hasn’t been a post on here in three weeks. Welp. A lot of bloggers are very good at timekeeping and balancing different things in life … But it turns out I’m not very good at keeping up to date with blogging during my GCSE year. I actually wrote most of the posts you’ve seen since September during August!

I hope that over the Christmas holidays I can start scheduling for the new year, so I don’t neglect this blog too much over the next six months. As an apology for the random disappearance, here’s an infographic I’ve been working on between revision sessions. Click on it for a high res / larger version you can zoom in on, if the writing appears too small on your screen!Untitled Infographic (1)

Thank you Piktochart, aka the most fantastic infographic maker I have ever encountered, for making this infographic so beautifully easy to create (this isn’t a promo, I just love Piktochart a lot <3)

You can read slightly longer reviews of some of the books featured on this graphic here –

The Time in Between by Nancy Tucker // Tomboy by Liz Prince

The Narnian Book Tag!

Helloooo internet. It’s very rare that I actually do a tag post – whenever I am tagged in one, I always forget to finish writing the post. But… Holly @ Lost in a Library tagged me in this ‘Narnian’ themed one, and I thought this would be a really cool one to write. 🙂 So, here we go! This is pretty much all based on books I’ve read so far in 2015.

223528401) King Peter the Magnificent – A book which stands out in its genre.

Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler was an outstanding YA debut. I’m so glad Liz Kessler has joined the growing world of LGBT* YA, and her book just blew me away. It dealt with so many topics in a great way and feels very different to anything out there.

 

2) Queen Susan the Gentle – A book which is underrated.

The second I’m asked about any underrated books, I instantly go to STRAY by Monica Hesse. It’s one of the best and most realistic dystopian books I have ever read. Hesse is a fantastic writer and her characters and extraordinary. I wish more people read it! I’m surprised there’s no big fandom for the book. There should be.

 

3) King Edmund the Just – A book that took a while to hook you in.

I couldn’t really think of a book to put here that completely fits… The Death House by Sarah Pinborough, whilst a very chilling read, didn’t always hook me in, and I can’t place a finger on why, because so many have loved it.

 

4) Queen Lucy the Valiant – An on-going series you’re loyal to.20413494

ZOM-B by Darren Shan, of course! I’m a raving fan of Darren Shan’s latest, brilliantly gory series of books. Waiting on book eleven of twelve now… I can’t believe we’re nearing the end!

 

5) Aslan, the Great Lion – A powerful book that stuck with you.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is an important and powerful book. I read it over an unusually long period, not because it was a large book, but because I wanted to savour every word. It was a taut, emotional story, and Cameron was an incredibly relatable character.

 

6) Jadis, the White Witch – A book with a synopsis that deceived you.

I really struggled to find a title for this one! I’m swaying towards Lorali by Laura Dockrill. The synopsis on the finished copy is very vague but has a very romance-y feel to it, whereas the book was a lot gritter than I’d expected.

 

7) Mr and Mrs Beaver – Your comfort reads.

Unless they’re revision / school-related ones, I don’t keep books on my desk. Except for one – The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan. I don’t know how to describe that book. It’s so therapeutic. Every now and then, as a revision break, or just at random, I’ll pick it up, flip to a random page, and read a little bit. (It’s all in prose, and follows the lives of lots of students at one school. It’s difficult to pitch, but it’s amazing!)

 

253263238) Mr Tumnus – A book with a surprising twist.

So, I very recently was lucky enough to read Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall and I loved it so, so much. Claire McFall never disappoints and this was the most shocking of any of her books! I was in a bit of a daze after the final chapters. Review soon, btw. 🙂

 

9) Cair Paravel – A book with a beautiful message.

Without a doubt – Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton. A beautifully written, young YA book centred around a group of girls. It is so different other books on the market for young teenage girls, I think – this first book in the series focuses mainly on Kitty, as she realises she is gay. I loved the message of it, how Keris fantastically encourages her readers to be themselves, and speaking of which… I need to go find the second book!

 

10) The Land of Narnia – Your favourite fantasy world.

There are a lot to pick from, but from my 2015 shelf of goodreads – it has to be the world of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. It was really well crafted; it feels like a very classic fantasy world but at the same time stands out from the market.

Thanks for tagging me, Holly! These questions were fun to answer. I’m not sure who’s already done this tag – and who would like to, soooo… I tag anyone who wants to join in!