Students choose “must read” book selections
Thursday, May 22, 2008
CANTON, Mo. – Education majors at Culver-Stockton College spent part of last semester selecting “must read” books for teenagers. Working with librarians, teens from age 13-16, and parents, the C-S students chose three novels: "Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie," "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," and "The Shadow Speaker."
"Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie" by Jordan Sonnenblick is told in the sarcasm-laced voice of a 13-year-old boy.
“It deals with all the trials and tribulations of watching someone you love suffer through cancer. In this case, it was Steven's (the narrator's) little brother,” said Nicole Wagner, C-SC student. “It is a very heartfelt and intense book that keeps you reading until the very end. The story is told through the first-person point of view, which allows readers to relate to Steven and what he is going through, as well as many issues that adolescents face.”
The novel was published by Scholastic Press in 2005 to great acclaim and was named to several “Best of 2005” lists, including the American Library Association’s Teen’s “Top Ten.”
C-SC students also named "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie as a must-read selection. Published in 2007, the book follows the story of a promising cartoonist growing up on a Spokane Indian reservation. Junior decides to leave the reservation for a good education at an all-white school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
“The story takes you through all the thoughts and feelings of the main character,” said Wagner. This book is geared more toward the male gender and is a book that male adolescents, especially, would like.”
Also selected by C-SC students as a must-read is "The Shadow Speaker," by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu. The book, published in 2007, is a fantasy tale of the world in 2070 following a nuclear attack that opens dimensions between worlds. The main character is Ejii, a 14-year-old Nigerian girl born with magical powers.
“Okorafor-Mbachu combines fantasy, science-fiction and futuristic endeavors to create a masterpiece that makes you want to keep reading,” said Wagner. “The story is so compelling that the book could be read by people of all ages. It combines adventure, danger, excitement, and magic to create a story that you will not want to put down.”
Terry Sherer, associate professor of education and chair of the C-SC Division of Education and Applied Arts, said he believes the three “must-read” books selected by C-SC students this year are “three of the best I’ve read in a long time.” “I even vaguely recalled the slings and arrows of adolescence as I laughed, cried, and was intrigued by the fascinating range of characters these three authors so cleverly created. Adolescents are going to be sharing these three books for a long time,” Sherer added.
C-SC education majors review books and select “must-read” recommendations annually as part of preparing to be middle-school and high-school teachers.
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