Books My School Library Should Have

Posted 29 January, 2018 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Discussion Posts / 45 Comments

Books - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Books That My School Library Should Have!

Many of you know that when I don’t blog, or spend time with my family, I teach English as foreign language. I teach in high school, so my students are between 15 and 19 years old. (Yeah, high school is four years here in Switzerland). Our school library has an English section… of sorts. It’s really not very good. And some of the books that appear in the English section are in French. Because books are shelved based on the author’s nationality – which include only UK or US. Which again, makes me kind of wonder who decided how to sort the different sections. I know it’s not our current librarian.

Last week, I gifted all the Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater to my school library, and I think I can do better than that! I have a lot of books, and there are several I think the students at my school might enjoy reading. Also, I think that reading in a foreign language helps to get better in that language, both when it comes to vocabulary, spelling, syntax and both reading and writing.

So, what I would like for you to do for me today is to help me out a little. Keeping in mind my students’ age, what are the top twenty books you think I should try to add to the library? They can be classics or contemporary, as long as they are well written, I’m OK with reading anything.

Thanks in advance for your help, peeps! It’s greatly appreciated!

Have a magnificent Monday and happy reading.

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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45 responses to “Books My School Library Should Have

  1. How about popular series, that they may have even read already in their own language e.g. the Harry Potter books or the Hunger Games. I am a native English speaker but I also read books in Spanish for practice and sometimes find it easier to read stories that I already know so I can then focus on the language itself.
    In terms of classics, I would recommend more modern or lighter ones e.g. The Hitchhikerโ€™s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
    Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery is another one.
    I want to say Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as it is my favourite but, of course, the language there is pretty intense for learners of English.
    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott?
    And finally, maybe some Agatha Christie?

    Happy Monday to you too!

    • That’s a very good idea! I have to double check to see if Harry Potter is already there, though. Hunger Games isn’t, and that’s actually something I might want to use in class if I get 4th year students next year. We could do a whole thing where we analyse the differences between the book(s) and the movie(s).
      Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a good one. Little Women, too – and of course, every single library in the world should have some Agatha Christie ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for the recs, Nina!

  2. The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Mayer, For Darkness Shows the Stars series by Diana Peterfreund, Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series, One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva, The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman, Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Jackaby series by William Ritter. Classics: Robert Louis Stevenson, Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen, Jack London, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, JRR Tolkien, Isaac Asimov…

    So many. Great project, Lexxie!

    • Oh, The Lunar Chronicles series is a great choice, Sophia, and of course, The Illuminae Files, too… I might wait on that until the next book is released, though. I haven’t heard of For Darkness Shows the Stars series. Plus, of course, we should have One Man Guy! That was one of my favorite books the year it was released ๐Ÿ˜€ And I want there to be as much diversity as possible in that library.
      I need to take another look at the classics that are already there, but really, I felt like there were hardly any books there at all, and that made me very sad.
      I’m going to print out your list! Thank you so much for your help ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I think Marchetta’s books are a good addition to any school library. Also, Heather Demetrios and perhaps, Jenn Bennett’s YA too. I’ll also agree with Sophia Rose above with Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters and Agatha Christie. Those have really stood time!

  4. Gah, our school library only has the most popular YA and MG titles, and nothing else. I’ve only ever bothered to borrow from there once, since I’ve already read/already own the rest of them. That’s how little we have. :/ Our school is all about academics and not enough about fictional lit. ๐Ÿ™ That being said, I highly recommend Courtney Stevens’ books to add, since they’re timely and deal with important social issues. <3

    • There is hardly any YA or MG titles at all in my school library, and that’s just not good. Classics are all good, but it’s not always as fun to read the ‘older’ English as the current ones.
      I think good fiction is an awesome way to become better in a new language, and I know I have several students who would love to read more.
      I will have to look into Courtney Stevens books. Thanks for helping out, Aimee!

  5. Harry Potter! All libraries should have that. When I was 15 โ€“ 19, I mostly read Stephen King. For kids books, I liked Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, and any book by Gary Paulsen.

    • Yes, but HP might actually be one of the very few series that’s already there. I need to double check. And some good old horror is nice, too. I have some HUGE Stephen King books I could donate straight away, as I’m not sure I’d actually re-read them.
      I have to check out the other books you mentioned. Thanks for helping out, Aj!

  6. Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice for sure!!! Also maybe The Golden Compass series and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.

  7. Hard question, Lexxie! We didn’t have a library in high school an we didn’t have to read books aside from textbooks to learn out. Kinda weird to think about it now. We did go to the libarary closeby when I was in elementary school. Always my favorite days. But I think teens between 15 and 19 would really like the Illuminae books and maybe some superhero related books as well.

    • Yes! The Red Rising Saga is on the top of my list of books to donate to them, as is the trilogy by Kaufmann and Spooner.
      I didnโ€™t know you had four years of high school… elsewhere in Europe, itโ€™s only three years ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for your help, Kim!

  8. This is a brilliant idea, wifey!! You know I’m going to advocate for Pride & Prejudice, right? Actually anything from Austen. ๐Ÿ™‚ And Lord of the Rings maybe? Hmm, I enjoyed books from Sarah Dessen several years ago. Katie McGarry, Susan Ee, Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine. Those are authors that came to mind immediately. I’ll think on this and get back to you. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy Monday to you, darling! {{{BIG HUGS}}}

    • Yeah Austen needs to be there, with some nice covers to make them even more alluring ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Katie McGarry… Is there one series you think is better than another? I love her writing.
      I haven’t read any Sarah Dessen, yet, but now, I guess I should. Plus of course, Susan Ee, not sure why I didn’t think of Penryn myself, truly. This is why I need my blogger friends to help me out!
      Miss you darling! {{{BIG HUGS}}}

  9. So, I am trying to think of some of the books my high schoolers like. Here are a few that come to mind:
    Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury
    Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald
    Star girl by Jerry Spinelli
    The Princess Bride by William Goldman (my personal favorite!)
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    The Giver by Lois Lowery
    Number the Stars by Lois Lowery
    Night Elie Weisel
    The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
    The Maze Runner by James Dashner
    Monster by Walter Dean Myers (Major favorite with the guys because its so realistic)
    I could seriously think of like a million more! If you ever want to know what American high school students are reading, let me know! I am happy to tell you what they are required to read and what they are reading for fun (well, the ones who actually read for fun!)

    • Iโ€™m using Monster by Walter Dean Myers this semester with my two third year classes, Samantha! And I love it! We did a lot of background first, about racial bias, implicit bias, and the US court system, so we have just started reading. And tomorrow afternoon, weโ€™re going to the University of Geneva for a workshop on Monsters in anglo-saxon literature ๐Ÿ™‚
      Do you have any pointers for tests (about reading – close-reading questions, for example) to help me out?
      The Mortal Instruments is a great idea, I think thatโ€™s something they would like, and I didnโ€™t think of it at all.
      Thank you so much for all your recommendations!
      And Iโ€™d definitely love to chat with you about more books, as my personal library is overflowing.

      • So, for a test, we give the kids a passage from one of the people who testified at the trial. Then we have the kids evaluate it-does their story or testimony make sense? Is this person a ‘reliable narrator’ why or why not? And other questions to have them evaluate the information presented by the witness.
        Then, after reviewing a couple of testimonies and evaluating them, the student has to assume they are on the jury and make a decision for guilt or innocence and support their position with their evidence from their close reading. Its an activity the kids really enjoy and they do rather well with!
        If you want more ideas, shoot me an email!! I can send you a TON of stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

        • That’s good, I guess I would use something like that as an essay question, where they could compare and contrast different testimonies.

          Did you know that a movie was released for Monster last week? I really want to get my hands on it, because watching a movie brings another aspect to the story, and through facial expressions and director’s choices, we can learn so much.

          I will definitely shoot you an e-mail! Thank you Samantha!

  10. RO

    I’m thinking The Maze Series. This is a perfect example of how we take things for granted, because now that I’m out of school, I sort of forgotten about school libraries, but they are so important. You are not only brilliant, but so kind to do this. I remember when I was in high school I had a teacher who would give me French books to read all the time because she thought I’d end up being a French teacher like her.(lol) HUGE Hugs…RO

    • So, are you not a French teacher now? ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I just think that books can teach us so much. And reading in another language is very helpful in having a better understanding of the language.
      I’m going to check out the Maze Series. Thanks, Ro! *hugs*

  11. This is such a great idea Lex!

    I’d say the some popular books they may enjoy are popular fantasy series like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, but I read above that you already have.

    I’d say The Golden Compass and A Monster Calls and Laini Taylor’s Books. But you may have them already since they have been translated in so many languages.

    Other popular series among that age in the US are these Sci-Fi/dystopians/apocalyptic: Life as we Knew it, Dust Lands, Red Rising, The 5th Wave, Ready Player One and Armada. Also Historical fictions like An Ember in the Ashes and “And I Darken” and contemporaries YA suspense/mysteries like Follow me Back and One of Us is Lying.

    Since February is Black History Month here in the US {and Canada] I have other in mind that they may enjoy and help them understand the experience of have been or being black in the US like THUG and Dear Marin and The Color Purple

    And you know me! I have to add feminist books to the list! Speak and The Female of the Species have such a powerful message about girls rights! Another super popular with a similar topic but towards boys is the The Perks of Being a Wallflower. All three of them perfect for High School!

    • Awesome list, Daniela, thank you! There may be some of these books translated, but I am looking for them in English so my students can read in the language they learn.
      And I Darken is an excellent one to add! I love Lada ๐Ÿ™‚ And I had thought about An Ember in The Ashes, even if I havenโ€™t read the whole series myself yet.
      Currently, weโ€™re reading Monster by Walter Dean Myers, and some of my students were shocked that there seems to be more implicit bias in the US than here – I have students who come from many different places, but they have never really felt like they were targeted by anyone – thank goodness!

  12. I think it’s great that you’re trying to include more books in the library English section! I will always say that there should be some Jane Austen availible to everyone so they can have that experience if they want to. I also really love the Gone series by Michael Grant. I’m not sure of the age it’s appropriate for…

  13. I don’t read a lot of YA, but there are a few that I can recommend.

    Black Blade series by Jennifer Estep
    Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga (interracial couple, I think the guys will like this one. It is about the son of a serial killer who is trying really hard to not follow in his father’s footsteps)
    Replica series by Jenna Black (has a gay boy as a very strong secondary character, he is a sidekick to the main female character)
    Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    The Giver by Lois Lowery

  14. Lexxie, that is so nice of you to donate to the library. How are the students responding to the Raven Cycle books?

    These are some of the YA books that I’ve enjoyed:
    Geekerella by Ashley Poston
    What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
    When Itโ€™s Real by Erin Watt
    Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
    Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
    Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
    Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

    For classics:
    Agatha Christie
    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

  15. Oooo let’s see. I’d say these books below:

    Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill – it’s a 13 book series and all the books are out. They are Adult but I’ve been reading them since I was about 12/13 and I loved them. My mum’s also read them. The whole writing style is great and it’s a paranormal series but there’s so much more to it than just vampires, I think it’d be a great series. As it teaches you so many useful things in life.

    Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas and her ACOTAR series too, along with Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books (for which there are tons.)

    I’ve not yet read them but the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordon – they’re on my list to read this year but I’ve heard tons of good things about them.

    Oscar Wilde’s stories, I’ve read a few of them and they’re so beautiful. His stories I’d say are classics and I love them.

    The Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo – it’s a hugely underrated series and I personally think more people should read it. It’s what I read when I was a kid and I guess it’s comparable to Harry Potter…but I personally prefer it to Harry Potter since I’ve never read Harry Potter nor do I intend to.

  16. Definitely some classics like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice. For YA, I’d go with Nyxia by Scott Reintgen since it is from a male’s perspective, and its a fun sci-fi read; the Jackaby series books for clean, fun comedy; Vengeance Road and Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman, and Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely for some unique Westerns with strong female characters; The Mortal Instruments series; and Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell, Mechanica and Venturess by Betsy Cornwell, and Everland by Wendy Spinale for some faerie tale retellings.

    I believe all those would be clean enough for school, but interesting enough for the age group. Good luck with everything! I think you are doing a great thing and I am sure you will choose some great books to add!

  17. I think a lot of the ones I would have suggested have already been put forward by others. But I would suggest Malinda Lo’s first books – Ash and Huntress – which are queer retellings of fairy tale stories. Want by Cindy Pon is really good as well – YA dystopia set in Taipei. And, if no-one’s suggested it yet, some Judy Blume! Although her books are little older now, they’re still hugely approachable and engaging, and have some really important lessons – I loved them when I was a teenager (and still love them now!).

  18. Hi! Wow am I out of the loop on this one! Almost all of my suggestions have already been suggested. ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, that is a good thing. And, catch this, I can still ad to your growing list (but will limit the paranormal as much as possible). I’d start by adding any of the cool books and series we discussed on GUSIALI. (I have to search for it, but I think I still have the doc or pdf file of suggested reading titles though not all of those were good for teens).
    Morganville Vampires series was outstanding! the series is by Rachel Caine she also writes the Great Library series. Both are YA.
    House of Night series by PC Cast is good too. However a few books near the end get tedious (kind of like the Sookie books).
    For the younger classes just learning English, the Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books are good. And I will second the inclusio of Sisterhood of the Traveling pants.
    Rick Riordan books are great for both boys and girls.
    The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott is also a good unisex series. Brother and sister main characters. Each ends with a cliff hanger and the next picks up almost right where you left off.
    Did anyone mention CS Lewis? The Chronicles of Narnia are wonderful.
    Shannon Hale is an award winner; The Princess Academy is really good.
    I’d be remiss of my favorites if I didn’t suggest the classic Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery series. Also The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun. [Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have already been suggested; I second those motions.]
    The Once and Future King by TH White
    The Outsiders by SE Hinton
    The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    The Septimus Heap books are good, but might be tricky since they use some alternate spellings.
    The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia are good and the last one was very similar to Dante so you could draw parallels.
    Avi has a wide range of stories that could appeal to a large group.
    The Miss Peregrine series by Ransome Riggs is interesting.
    And the Madeline L’Engle books.
    Whew! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know there are more, but I know libraries have limited space and resources to collect books.

    Xyra recently posted: Eagles Parade Day
    • Peregrine ๐Ÿ™‚ Itโ€™s funny you mentioned that series, because I went through my bookshelves last weekend, and my copies were pristine, so I have donated them already ๐Ÿ™‚
      I totally agree about Morganville, but not The House of Night… I found the slut-shaming in the first couple of books to be very off putting (remember, when Afro was on her knees in front of one of the guys in a corridor in school?).
      Iโ€™m printing out the rest of your list, though, Xyra. Thank you for taking the time to make it for me!

      • Yes, I definitely see your point about HON. The characters and relationships grew more after that original bit; however, it has a lot more “fluff” than most of the YA I read and I know it was off putting to other readers.
        You’re welcome. I’m always happy to sharing reading suggestions. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Happy reading, Lexxie!

        Xyra recently posted: Eagles Parade Day

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