TGIF is a weekly meme hosted by Ginger at GReads. Every Friday she posts a new question and it’s a really fun way to discover new blogs.
This weeks question is: Which books have you found to be very rewarding when it comes to tackling tougher issues?
I think this is a fantastic topic as books can speak to us in ways that people sometimes can’t. I’ve often found it easier to discuss personal topics when relating them to a book or a story, it makes it easier for me to explain the emotion behind the events when I can borrow someone else’s words.
As Maureen Johnson said in her post on The Guardian’s website last summer, “Yes, teen fiction can be dark – but it shows teenagers they aren’t alone.”
Teens have always had plenty of difficult experience to navigate and books provide a source of comfort and a way for them to discover that they aren’t alone. Below are the books I’ve found to be the most rewarding when trying to handle an issue or figure out how to discuss it with the teen girls I used to work with.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Melinda calls the police after an end of summer party turns wild. Her classmates ostracize her for getting them into trouble, but they don’t know the terrible secret she hides. It tears me up to think that there are girls and women both out there who have experienced this same sort of brutal attack and are too afraid to speak out against their attacker. This book helps young women to realize that they do have a voice and they shouldn’t be afraid to use it in their own defense. This is one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
As someone who has had more personal experience with suicide than I would wish upon anyone else, this book was particularly difficult to read. While heartbreaking and difficult to read at times, this book helps to show teens and young adults what happens to those left behind after a successful suicide. I know that at times it may seem that ending it all is the best option, but this book helps them to understand that their death will affect more people than they may even realize.
Suicide is never an easy topic to discuss with teens or young adults, but it’s something that most of them will face at some point. This book is the perfect way to start the discussion and hopefully frame suicide in way that will give them cause to stop and really think things through if they are ever in that situation.
Rules by Cynthia Lord.
In this Newbury Honor Book Catherine is a 12-years-old girl and her eight-year-old brother, David, has autism. The book is form Catherine’s point of view and she explains how David’s autism makes her life complicated and causes her to wish that her life was a bit more “normal”. It’s hard for anyone to have a sibling that’s “different” and this book is a great way to help kids understand what their what is happening with their sibling and how normal things can still be for them.
I grew up with a cousin with cerebal palsy and I wish that there had been a book like this for me to read when I was younger.
What books do you use for opening up a discussion on tough issues? Are there any issues in particular you have a harder time talking about? I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this!