10 Contemporary Books I’d Love to See on School Curriculums

August 28, 2018 Book Lists 19

Books I'd Love to See on School Curriculums


I hate to admit it, but I remember very few books I was required to read in high school and college. On the bright side though, I’ve read so many books over the past few years that I’d love to see on school curriculums! Books that address important issues, but are also just straight-up awesome books that readers can effortlessly become engrossed in.

I would’ve killed for books that fit schools’ definitions of curriculum-worthy literature, but that I also loved reading when I was in school!

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Linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

10 Contemporary Books I’d Love to See on School Curriculums

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (my review)
Because it deals with a mind-blowing number of important “issues” (i.e. marriage, race, class, incarceration, love, friendship, family, grief, fidelity, recovery) in a totally organic way…wrapped in a straight-up, engrossing story.

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Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe (my review)
Because it shines on mental illness through a teenage character that high school age children will be able to relate to.

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (my review)
Because it portrays the experience of a partially immigrant family living in a predominantly white community…and the tensions that introduces to the family dynamics. Plus, school age children dealing with the death of a sibling, sibling dynamics, parents projecting their own ambitions onto their children, and women trying to balance family and career dreams.

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Grit by Angela Duckworth
To show that people have far more control over their own destinies than they think…and reinforce the most important ingredient for success.

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (my review)
To show the range of emotions a single novel can evoke. Plus, a background on the Catholic Church and homosexuality in Ireland and the experience of homosexuals in general.

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The Mothers by Brit Bennett (my review)
Because, like An American Marriage, it tackles a number of important topics (grief, losing a parent, faith, friendship, race, trauma, and teen pregnancy), but this time through the eyes characters that school age children can relate to.

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The Wife by Meg Wolitzer (my review)
Because it explores the power dynamics in a marriage and women balancing career and family (probably better suited to college age students).

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Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Because Strayed is warm, relatable, and non-judgmental in her counsel and most people will find something in this book that pertains to their own life. This is the book I always wish had been around when I was in high school.

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We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (my review)
Because it’s one of the rare books about World War II that is hopeful…and it’s based on a remarkable true story.

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What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan
Because it’s a cautionary tale about immense pressure at a young age, depression, high achievement, social media, and teen suicide. 

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What contemporary books would you like to see on school curriculums?

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19 Responses to “10 Contemporary Books I’d Love to See on School Curriculums”

  1. Susie | Novel Visits

    These are such great choices! Unfortunately, public schools always seem to err on the side of being too cautious/conservative and I think that would eliminate a few of these form high school curriculums….THIF, An American Marriage, The Mothers. It’s too bad because what amazing conversations they’d elicit.

  2. Raysa

    I agree with you, these books should be required to read in High School. Great List! Adding a couple to my TBR list, thank you for sharing.

  3. SE White

    It really is time to update some required reading lists! Great choices. Sadly, the predominant current is super conservative right now so the updates might take a while and be a hard battle 🙁

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I know…sad 🙁 I feel like kids would enjoy reading more if they could choose from some edgier books!

  4. renee

    Fun post idea! These would make great high school curriculum choices…so much better than what they make kids read now

  5. Novels And Nonfiction

    Very interesting post! I’ve been out of the Top Ten Tuesday loop (not really feeling their topic choices for a while) but this week’s is definitely an interesting subject. I wholeheartedly agree with all of your choices for the books out of these I’ve read (except maybe The Heart’s Invisible Furies lol).

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Well it was technically a back to school freebie topic, but I agree with you on the recent TTT topics. They seem very geared to YA and I haven’t participated nearly as much as I used to.

  6. Madeline

    There is a new genre in town … Vic Lit. Of course we know “Chick Lit” and some have dubbed men stuff “Dick Lit.” But Vic (Victim) Lit has me perplexed, disturbed and finally POd at the failures that are being highly touted.

    The Mothers and American Marriage snugly fit in this category. They are like biting into a mealy apple; nasty and unsubstantiated.

    If you want to move into the American Indian sub-category there is Heartberries and There There. I am speechless at the failure of these two (way over) hyped attempts. Their stories are important but in the end so poorly told that they end up in the Vic Lit pile.

  7. Claire at A Novel Look

    As a nonfiction pick, I think everyone could benefit from reading Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy. I read it last year, but think about it a lot. It’s such a powerful book, dealing with mass incarceration, criminal justice reform, race, and class issues.

    I also agree with your picks of An American Marriage, Everything I Never Told You, and The Mothers. Hopefully some schools will adopt some of these books!

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