Five Books to Have Under Your Belt by...

Five Books to Have Under Your Belt by High School

by Anthony Teles
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Finding a book to read can feel daunting. It seems like there are countless choices. If you ask Google how many books there are in the world, the answer is close to 130 million. There may not be enough time to read them all, but the ones you do read can have a huge impact on your life. Here are five books you will want to have read before you start high school:

1. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
The age difference of 10-year-old Winnie and 17-year-old Jessie Tuck is more than what it appears to be. The Tucks are actually immortal, and the spring water that made them this way is not only available to Winnie to drink, but causes more problems than expected for everyone. Death and the restricted nature of life are difficult things for children to ponder about, and it does not get much easier as an adult. This book explores that idea through the gift of eternal life, and shows that it may not be such a gift after all.

2. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
A collection of absurd poems and drawings unlike any other, this is essential reading to blossom your imagination and hold onto the madcap creativity so many of us lose as we enter adulthood. From the craziness of dancing pants to the moral qualms related to not taking the garbage out, the book has inspired children of all ages for years.

3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
You probably know all about the epic movie trilogy about the small hobbit creature who helps a band of dwarves battle a daunting dragon. What you might not know is that the 1937 book it is based on is actually a much smaller and quirkier tale. Bilbo Baggins is plucked out of the peaceful Shire to take back the treasure stolen by Smaug, and the imaginative world Tolkien created has inspired children and creators for decades since.

4. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb
A more recent book, this inspiring true story talks about author Malala Yousafzai’s fight for education and equal rights for women. She was shot in the head while riding a school bus because of the Taliban’s beliefs about women’s education. Her miraculous survival and inspiring work since then makes this a must-read and a critical dose of optimism and hope in our modern age.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Topical books are not necessarily just for their time. This 1960 novel is the timeless story told from the perspective of a young girl named Scout as she watches her heroic lawyer father, Atticus Finch, defends a black man on trial for rape in a heavily racist town. The issues of rape and racism are used to dive into human nature and the moral dilemmas we all face. Some people get away with horrible crimes, and some innocent people face undeserved punishments, but an individual’s actions can still have a huge impact.

Goodreads. Popular Read Before High School Books. https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/read-before-high-school

Parr, Ben. Google: There are 129,864,880 Books in the Entire World. http://mashable.com/2010/08/05/number-of-books-in-the-world/#RTvrwKODfEqz

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