Born A Crime – Trevor Noah
My husband is an avid fan of “The Daily Show” and after his recommendation, I thought I would try reading Trevor Noah’s memoir. We don’t always like the same books, but this did not disappoint. Many people think of comedians as being happy go lucky people who eventually rise to stardom when they make it on late night television. Trevor’s path to success was far from easy. Growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, he not only experienced racism and poverty, but would eventually go on to become involved in black market crime and see the reality of life in jail. With the love of his mother, he recounts the pitfalls of growing up and his search to find his true sense of self.
My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece – Annabel Pitcher
Jamie’s sister does indeed “live” on the mantlepiece, but this book is far from depressing. The author deals with loss and change in a humorous way, as 10 year old Spiderman-loving Jamie seeks to put his family back together and survive life in a new school and a new town. His friendship with “Sunya” and their epic battles against the school yard bullies will remind you of your days at elementary school. Suitable for grades 8-10.
“Persepolis” – Marjane Satrapi
This book has been in our book room and on our library shelves for quite some time, but it wasn’t until I saw one of my students reading it that I was reminded it was on my “must read” list. Persepolis is the memoir of Marjane Satrapi told in a graphic novel. Book one talks about what it was like to grow up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution after the fall of the Shah. Book two depicts her high school life in Vienna (on her own) and then her return to the country she had such fond memories of. If you know nothing about Iranian history, this book will give you a taste while offering you a familiar take on the struggles one faces while growing up. Suitable for grades 9-12.
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane – Neil Gaiman
Now, I am not usually a person who gravitates towards reading fantasy novels, but after a few people recommended this book to me, and it was on our Wildcat Reads list, I thought I would give it a try. The story is set in England where a man returns to his childhood home and recounts the story of his friendship with Lettie Hempstock, a magical and unusual girl well beyond her years. Their fantastical adventure will literally take you deep beneath the sea and remind you of childhood stories where anything is possible. Both parents and teens can appreciate this book. Suitable for grades 8-12.
Stickboy – Shane Koyczan
Many of you may remember Shane’s spoken word poetry from the opening ceremonies at Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Written in verse, this book is from the perspective of a boy who is bullied and then becomes a bully himself. Reading it can make you feel uncomfortable and sad at times, but perhaps it’s a good thing to trigger these emotions if it gets us talking about the subject. Suitable for grades 10-11.
Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese
A story that follows the fictional life of a boy named “Saul Indian Horse” who is forcibly taken from his home to a residential school. This journey eventually leads him to a hockey career where his talents are often overshadowed by racism. This book is a little slow to start, but a definite page turner, and I have taught many grade 11 boys who couldn’t put it down. Suitable for grades 10-11.
Medicine Walk – Richard Wagamese
A touching story about friendship, courage, and a boy who is called on to reconcile his relationship with his dying father. As always, Richard Wagamese does a beautiful job depicting the natural landscape, this time in the interior of British Columbia. Suitable for grades 11 and 12.