Which book from your school days do you remember reading and enjoying? Is there a book published today that you'd like to see in today's curriculum for kids?
In order to understand why I'm picking The Stranger (Albert Camus) and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) and The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) we have to go all the way back to high school.
In high school I had one of those really cool teachers for a humanities class. You know the type: goes by his own rules, seems like a made for TV movie about street thugs getting an education but isn't as cliche as them. He gave me the above books to read even though they weren't on his required reading list. He is the man who got me seriously into reading. He was also a Buddhist and heavily into NASCAR, which is retrospect is an odd combination even by today's standards.
It didn't stop me from loving those books. I still have the copy of The Stranger he gave to me the day before I graduated. He didn't write an inscription on it. He just told me to keep and enjoy it and to learn from it. I haven't learned that lesson yet (the book is about murder). So I guess his lesson has been DON'T MURDER PEOPLE, ADAM.
It's paid off... so far...
Is there a book that I wish were on the curriculum today? Yeah. There is. Some people might disagree but I think Harry Potter should be required reading. Harry Potter has created a generation of readers and there's a reason for that: kids can connect to Harry. He goes from a kid to a young adult. Making that transition isn't easy but JK Rowling nails it perfectly, even if it does involve flying cars and wizards.
Oh and the stories are funner than Jane Eyre or the other thousand boring required reading books.
So basically, hook em' young with Harry Potter and then pull them to the dark side with other stuff. If the tobacco companies can do it so can Scholastic.