Specifically, what one book would you assign for every student (I am in the US, but you should feel free to answer based on wherever you live!) to read in high school if you had that power?
Bonus points if it’s one that you figure most high school students don’t already read, but they should. Middle school suggestions welcome too. It can be one you read at that age, or one you have read since then that you think would be good.
My answer: I read Luna, by Julie Ann Peters, on the recommendation of a friend in seventh grade. It is about a pair of sisters growing up, one of whom is cisgender (the narrator), and one of whom is transgender (her sister, who is named “Liam” by their parents but chooses the name Luna for herself). There might be better YA novels about trans* youth out there today; I have not read this book since middle school so it might merit some criticism in ways I hadn’t considered at the time. The story is told by the cisgender character so a story told by a trans* character might be a better choice in some ways. So if you have read this book and disagree with me, feel free to say so! But before I read it, I had literally never heard of the concept of being trans* because I come from a conservative area. This book took me from a state of ignorance to one of wanting to try to listen and to be an ally—it essentially told me, “you aren’t always going to know everything about a person just from meeting them, so don’t be an asshole!” I think we would all be better off if students all had to read a book like this one!
My friend and I actually used to hide this book (and some others we had about LGBTQ youth) from our parents, teachers, and classmates—I went to the sort of school where even having a book about being “different” could get you picked on. In high school we tried to start a GSA but it was a private school and the principal was like “ew no. Request denied.” :/
Anyway, what book would you make everyone read and why?