What Books Would be on Your Syllabus if You Taught YAL?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Top Ten is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish

1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Though this was not my favorite book at all, actually I didn't really like it, but I still acknowledge that it has some excellent things to say. As a girl who lives in Oklahoma, I think it's really important to teach in a YAL class.

2. Noggin by John Corey Whaley
It's no secret that this man is my John Green. My favorite. I would teach the idea of mortality and the them of existentialism.

3. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
When teaching this book, I would probably touch on the fact that it uses Greek mythology to speak to middle grade students. I would touch on the idea of the unlikely hero and how Percy's human short-comings (like dyslexia) becomes a strength in the book.

4. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
First off, I fully believe that this book could change the world. So this is one of my two LGBTQ+ books that I would whole-heartedly teach and enjoy. I would talk about the idea of the Greek Chorus used throughout and the diversity of the stories told in the book.

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I would really like to touch on the narrator of this book, why Zusak used Death as the story-teller and why. Also I would touch on the importance of knowledge and books and the act of reading as a form of liberation and freedom.

6. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
One of the best damn books I've ever read. I love how it has a fat protagonist and how she owns it! I love that this book isn't afraid to talk about the hard things, and I would probably touch on the idea that skinny is not synonymous to beauty.

7. The Diviners by Libba Bray
I would probably touch on the idea of spiritualism that permeated this era, and how feminism fit into this book.

8. Illuminae by Ammie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff
I would probably use this book to show the different ways a story can be told. This is a book that is told through multiple mediums and formats, and students should understand that stories come in all shapes and forms.

9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
This is one of  my favorites, and I think I would like to teach about the use of darkness in order to entice and seduce. I would also talk about the use of Russian folklore and to an extent the Russian language in this book.

10. The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi
This is my other LGBTQ+ book I would put on my syllabus because I think this is a great book that talks about religion alongside sexual orientation. It's a hard topic to talk about, but I think it would facilitate great discussion.

What books would be on your syllabus?


  1. I've only read two of these so far (The Book Thief and Shadow and Bone), but you've got some other interesting titles on this list. I want to read Noggin; it sounds so interesting!

  2. Love your list! I can't wait to read Dumplin' and Illuminae myself. I had such a fun time with this week's topic. :D

  3. Dumplin' is the only one I WISH i had on my syllabus. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Illuminae and Shadow and Bone but as a younger teen, Dumplin' was the book that I never had. I feel like Dumplin' could save lives, as cheesy as it sounds. Petition to make Dumplin' part of the syllabus? Like, move over shakespeare!


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