Have you heard of the book Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza? It is an account of the Rwandan holocaust. It is powerful. It would be great to teach it a long with books like Animal Farm and Night. Ask the students if a holocaust could ever happen again and then give them Left to Tell and show them just how quickly things can unravel. Of course, you could also show the film Hotel Rwanda with it.
I've just read Unwind by Neal Shusterman. It was fantastic. Imagine a world in which your parents, who are tired of you getting poor grades, getting suspended, being out all night...have the option of having you "unwound." They can hand you over to the government who then uses you for body parts. They don't have to feel guilty because you don't "die>" You "live" on in others.... great discussion stems from this book. Highly recommend it!
I highly recommend the Maximum Ride trilogy by James Patterson. It combines science fiction and mystery. One reason I like it is because the narrator and all of the major characters are kids. The audio version is even read by a teenage girl. Patterson's first foray into YA lit. is a success.
Ender's Game and Ender's Sahdow by Orson Scott Card
Both are great books that have "kids" as the main characters that deal with very relevant topics. Ender is identified by the government as a possible leader for an intergalctic invasion that may be coming by the time he becomes an adult. He is placed into battle school at 8 and is trained to lead armies. Truly one of the best books ever.
For the "go green" kids Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver
Want to know about marketing and how it impacts us So Yesterday by Scott Westerfield
I'd really appreciate it if you could take a look - for ideas, and also for suggestions of any really good ones that I may have missed (it is tough to keep it within 100!). You could just add a comment to the post itself.
Hunger Games and the sequel Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins are the best YA books ever. Currently reading Hunger Games aloud and the kids LOVE it--we are even reading through lunch to get to the end. (I only see the kids once a week)
I commented before I saw your list. Have you read all the books on your list? What's the next best thing? Any ideas? My students are gifted 5th-6th--they read at the high school level but don't need the sex and violence of a lot of YA lit. N.
I have read a good many but not all, Nancy. I compiled the list with the help of a few teachers and librarians I know and hold in high regard. I was also guided to some extent by my own sons - aged 13 and 10. My 10 (almost 11) year old in 5th is at the YA reading level and I'm constantly on the look out for just the type of books you've asked about. He enjoyed Sea of Trolls, Land of the Silver Apples and House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, the Artemis Fowl series, the Cornelia Funke books (except Inkdeath), and the Airborn series (Kenneth Oppel). I'm blanking out on other YA books that he's read, but I will write as and when they come to mind.
A lot of books in the list for tweens that I compiled a while ago are for advanced readers, in my opinion - http://www.thesmartbean.com/magazine/after-school-enrichment/recomm... In it I featured authors and popular series rather than individual books.
My students have read all the books mentioned. Some more recent adds are the books by Edward Bloor Taken and Storytime. The blurb on the back of Stroytime says "Welcome to Whittaker Magnet School, where standardized testing truly is the work of the devil." My students would agree with that! Several kids are reading The Mortal Engines Trilogy, the Enola Holmes series (younger) and of course Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series.
Some of my advanced 6th grade girls read the series by Emma Bray, Scott Westerfield's The Uglies series, Bar Code Tattoo series and Twilight. Let me know if you think of anything else stupendous--some of the best read alouds have been Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (every student needs a copy since 1/2 of it is illustrations) and The Mysterious Benedict Society (first one better than the sequel)
I love books with historical connections and have built curriculum around several. (DaVinci code lite!)
You can see two units I wrote one for Chasing Vermeer and one for The Wright 3 here