Books that change the way we see the world:
When we are very young, the world is only as big as our own experience of it—the places we visit, the people we know, the stories we are told. And then there comes a shift in the middle years, when we begin to push beyond the boundaries of the familiar, to venture out into the wider world. It’s like taking an old atlas drawing that shows only the outlines of countries and the jagged edges where continents drop into the sea, and beginning to color it in with our new awareness of history and culture and human experience.
For many of us, that exploration began within the pages of a book. Think back to when you were a young reader—what were the books that made the world suddenly bigger, much more conflicted and nuanced for you?
Often the subject matter is difficult, but it is safely within the pages of these books that readers begin to learn what it means to be human; the great beauty and great evil we are capable of.
As a young reader, I would become fascinated by a single subject and devour everything I could find on the topic. I remember being absolutely consumed by first stories of the Underground Railroad, then I moved on to the Holocaust, next it was the heartbreaking treatment of Native Americans in my own country. These were difficult subjects, but this is a difficult world, and at least for me, those books started me thinking about the kind of person I wanted to be and the kind of world I hoped we could create.
If I were to make a list of complicated, sometimes difficult books available now for readers in those middle years, I might begin with these titles:
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan
The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and María Virginia Farinango
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
Chained by Lynne Kelly
When my Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
My first novel, Parched, is the story of three characters struggling to survive and remembering how to trust when they are surrounded by grief, violence and severe drought. I hope my book challenges young readers to grapple with important questions, to change the way they see the world.
Parched-Melanie-Crowder/dp/ 0547976518/ref=la_B00C2YRY7E_ 1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368364037&sr= 1-1