Books You Should Read Before Graduating from High School

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Annarose’s senior year of high school is just about to begin. Rather than use a prepared booklist and lesson plan for literature, I’m putting together a list of “Books you Should Read Before Graduating  from High School.”

You’re a bunch of smart folks, so what book(s) would you recommend? I’d like to get a broad range of suggestions, so bring them on!

Please leave me a comment with your all-time favorites, life-changers, literature, non-fiction, or just great reads.

Thanks so much friends; you’re the best ever.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Melissa
    August 20, 2014

    Tale of Two Cities!

    Reply
  2. Melissa Grogan
    August 20, 2014

    To kill a mockingbird and anything by Chaim Potok.

    Reply
  3. Katie R
    August 20, 2014

    ditto! A Tale of Two Cities.

    Reply
  4. Karen
    August 20, 2014

    "Boundaries" by Townsend & Cloud, "Pride & Prejudice" by Jane Austen, "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne…and I could go on and on… 🙂

    Reply
  5. Cindy
    August 20, 2014

    My favorite way to teach literature! My sons weren't as interested in book talks but my daughter and I read many titles together and the discussions are the best part! So we would add these books with a variety of topics; Into the Wild by Krakauer, The Screwtape Letters by Lewis, Something by Dickens, Something by Shakespeare, Same Kind of Different as Me by Hall, Outliers by Gladwell, The Book Thief by Zusak, The Help by Stockett… Happy Reading!

    Reply
  6. Kayla
    August 20, 2014

    Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Good Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, As I Lay Dying, short stories by O Henry, The Diary of a Young Girl, The Hiding Place, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret Life of Bees, The Help, I am a Man: Chief Standing Bear's Journey for Justice, The Great Gatsby, Song of the Lark, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Black Like Me

    Reply
  7. Anita
    August 20, 2014

    To Kill a Mockingbird, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime Sophie's Choice.

    Reply
  8. Sami
    August 20, 2014

    Les Mis and anything by Dickens! (I recommend doing a audiobook for Les Mis though–helps get through the slow parts!).

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  9. Kim
    August 20, 2014

    Absolutely The Scarlett Letter.

    Reply
  10. Susan PD
    August 20, 2014

    The Color Purple, something by Toni Morrison, The Joy Luck Club, Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder….also could go on and on. Lots of great suggestions above too. But for Dickens I'd say Tale of Two Cities, although the shortest, is nowhere near the best—Great Expectations or Dickens' own favorite David Copperfield are both great reads.

    Reply
    1. Ann
      August 22, 2014

      I agree about Dickens. Tale of Two Cities is good, but David Copperfield and Great Expectations are wonderful.

      Reply
  11. Laine
    August 20, 2014

    The Giver and Wonder, Uncle Tom's Cabin. The Secret Life of Bees and Saving Cee Cee Hunnicut (sp?) are wonderful books but both deal with the loss of mothers, which might be a trigger for loss issues. But both have a wonderful message that illustrates that there is hope and one can move forward and develop connections of love and attachment with caring, nurturing adults who choose to be in their lives in a parental role.

    Reply
  12. tyndalelibrary
    August 20, 2014

    Till We Have Faces, Huck Finn, Lewis' Space Trilogy, the Code of the Woosters, War in Heaven, King Solomon's Mines, the Iliad, the Silmarillion, Phantastes, Lilith, Great Expectations, Manalive, Peace Like a River (MUST read!), and if I think of more I'll come back! 🙂

    Reply
  13. tyndalelibrary
    August 20, 2014

    Oh! And Howard Pyle's Robin Hood.

    Reply
  14. Kaci
    August 20, 2014

    The jungle by Sinclair challenged me in so many ways to think outside myself and to enter into others struggles to survive.

    Reply
  15. Claire
    August 20, 2014

    In His Steps by Charles Sheldon

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  16. Beth
    August 20, 2014

    Life of Pi, The Old Man and the Sea

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  17. Sarah
    August 20, 2014

    1984, The Giver, Fahrenheit 451

    Reply
  18. Sarah
    August 20, 2014

    The Giver, Number the Stars, Address Unknown, Island of the Blue Dolphins

    Reply
  19. Elizabeth
    August 20, 2014

    My reading list for each of my high school children has been so different. I tend to make the list based on the needs and interests of the child rather than one set list everyone reads. Here are some of the books that at least one of my high schoolers(out of the three that have finished or nearly finished high school) have read. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Red Badge of Courage, Middlemarch, Darwin's Black Box, Sergeant York, The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aenead, Beowulf, Canterbury Tales (selections), a lot of Shakespeare, Storm, some PG Wodehouse… Probably I should stop here.

    Reply
  20. Kelly
    August 20, 2014

    The Giver
    Brave New World
    Assuming you already included the Christian life changers like Crazy love, Radical, So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore, etc._??

    Reply
  21. Abby
    August 20, 2014

    Frankenstein (with study about the genre), Farenheit 451 (great on audiobook), Their Eyes were Watching G-d. I did not like The Scarlett Letter, but it may be important for cultural reference. Huckleberry Finn is another must-read (maybe dated, but very important).

    Reply
  22. Lisa H.
    August 20, 2014

    A Severe Mercy and The Search for Significance are two that come to mind….

    Reply
  23. amy
    August 20, 2014

    The Hiding Place (nonfiction) by Corrie TenBoom, I'll come back again if I think or more – many of my favorites have already been listed!

    Reply
  24. Kate
    August 21, 2014

    Sarah's Key

    Reply
  25. Bonnie
    August 21, 2014

    Wow, a lot of good ones listed here. Since she's a senior, presumably heading out on her own/off to college soon, here are three that made me think about my Christianity deeply as well as come to a better understanding of what others believe. The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer, Love your God with All Your Mind by J.P. Moreland, and The Universe Next Door by James Sire. Having a good overview and understanding of Church history also gives a lot of food for thought and discussion as the church and culture interact over the centuries. I'd recommend Everett Ferguson's Church History Vol 1, From Christ to Pre-Reformation, then Justo L. Gonzalez The Story of Christianity, Vol 2: Reformation to Present Day, and then focus in on a lot of American philosophy/theology/civil rights with The American Evangelical Story by Sweeney.

    Reply
  26. Karen
    August 21, 2014

    All of the above plus The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Moby Dick, anything Hemmingway, Across Five Aprils, Animal farm, Lord of the Flies, Catch-22, An American Tragedy, give me time and I'll remember the name of the Pearl Buck novel. Top of my list is To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Reply
  27. Emily
    August 21, 2014

    Divine comedy by Dante. Beowulf. (I like Seamus Heaney trans). Poetry of George Herbert & John Donne. Paradise Lost. Shakespeare (I like videos–merchant of Venice w al Pacino, Henry v w Kenneth Branagh, much Ado about nothing w Branagh again). TS Eliot, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien. I could go on and on… Oh, and Following Jesus by NT Wright

    Reply
  28. Becca
    August 22, 2014

    A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

    Reply
  29. Ann
    August 22, 2014

    Get some good natural history and other nonfiction in there! Anything by Bernd Heinrich, Carl Sagan, Lewis Thomas. American Childhoods, edited by David W. McCullough. John Adams, by the other David McCullough. The Greatest Generation (even though they were no greater than any other generation). How We Die, by Sherwin Nuland. Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond.

    Fiction: One is One: http://tinyurl.com/q7kagsv . A really great book that very few people know about; I still read it. Huck Finn, definitely, and so much other stuff by Twain.

    Reply
  30. Julie M
    August 22, 2014

    In addition to the great ideas already suggested, Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss for all young ladies; biographies of great men of faith: George Mueller, Jim Elliot, Adoniram Judson, David Brainard, Hudson Taylor; Animal Farm; The Hobbit; The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. Now I want to go read a good book!

    Reply
  31. daysofwonderandgrace
    August 23, 2014

    A few others have not mentioned: Willa Cather's My Antonia; Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose; Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; Elizabeth Elliot's biography of Amy Carmichael, A Chance to Die; and because they lit the flame of my literary candle at that age: short stories by Flannery O'Conner and poetry by T.S. Elliot. And if it isn't already on the list, C.S. Lewis's Til We Have Faces.

    Reply
  32. Heidi
    August 23, 2014

    Les Miserables, which I only saw once here, and many others. I love reading. Oh, something by Jamie Langston Turner.

    Reply
  33. charity
    August 25, 2014

    Our family has the classic literature we study as part of school, but an additional list of books to read before graduating that covers things we live, like laws of nutrition(diet for a new america, sugar blues)…family (the strong willed child, the family bed) health(dead doctors don't lie, immunization research as we have children with violent responses) religious books that educate and encourage .

    Reply
  34. lydiab316
    August 27, 2014

    The Great Gatsby, Mere Christianity, The Hobbit

    Reply
  35. Kelsey
    August 29, 2014

    A Severe Mercy, The Book Thief, Lord of the Flies, The Grapes of Wrath, The Scarlett Letter, The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre and The Hiding Place.

    Reply
  36. Susan Sackrison
    October 28, 2014

    The Keeper of the Bees. I love Gene Stratton-Porter. I read this just aboit yearly . . .

    Reply

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