Fiction versus non-fiction. Who says you have to pick one or the other? Here are some wonderful fiction/non-fiction titles to pair up.
You’ve most likely heard of Wonder by R.J. Palacio, an award winning novel about a ten-year old boy born with extreme facial abnormalities. But have you heard of Ugly by Robert Hoge? Australian Robert Hoge was born with a tennis-ball sized tumor in the middle of his face and short, twisted legs. He tells his story of dealing with rejection and bullying in a straight-forward manner, not asking for sympathy just asking for a witness. Both books offer a chance to discuss empathy, bullying and how we should treat each other.
The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse is a suspenseful historical fiction novel set in 1943 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Hanneke and her family try to live quietly and endure the occupation but, as the mistreatment of Jews escalates, Hanneke slowly realizes that she must do more than watch. Russell Freedman’s We Will Not Be Silent tells the real-life history of Austrian-born Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie as they move from following Hitler to becoming active opponents through the White Rose student resistance movement. Both are inspiring stories of putting your life on the line to stand up for what is right.
In Hurricane Song: A Novel of New Orleans by Paul Volponi, a father and son are stuck at the Superdome for days after Hurricane Katrina devastates the city, learning about each other and about their own strengths. Pair the novel with Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown, which details the sad facts about Hurricane Katrina–more than 1,000 lives lost, 80% of the city under water, bureaucratic upheaval afterwards–in words and pictures.
For race and inequality issues, pair Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and All American Boys by Jason Reynolds, a novel about two teenage friends and their high school being torn apart by racial profiling.
Science and fiction go together when you pair Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-ending Search for a Cure by Jim Murphy and Allison Bland with Incubation by Laura DiSilverio, a fast-paced SciFi dystopian thriller that includes scientists fighting against a plague of locusts. Hey, it could happen…
And, for immigration issues, pair The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu with Daily Life of the New Americans: Immigration Since 1965 by Christoph Strobel.
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