6 Young Adult Books That Push the Social Boundaries and Take on Life’s Challenges

Literature is a powerful tool in moving kids toward adult understanding, and now more than ever, do we need our children to be elastic in their thinking, to fine tune their course to true north of their moral compasses.

Reaching back into some classics and throwing in some new edgy titles, we can start to introduce the complexities of things like bigotry, gender identity, politics, and tough subjects like dealing with disease and death. Stories provide context and dynamic for teens to understand conflict and come to grips with the sticky fact that life often doesn’t resolve neatly like in fairy tales.

For these more challenging issues, the following books come highly recommended by teachers and parents alike.

Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi. This book takes place on the streets of Chicago and opens with the kids bonding around ideas of courage and nobility gleaned from comic books, Hindi myths and the parcour phenomenon. Soon enough they bond through these ideas’ connection to reality, when they are rocked by a random act of violence that shreds their world.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. One famous story referencing this book is about a solider on the front lines in in WWII who wrote to Smith telling her that the book saved him. A raw story about a young African America girl with big dreams growing up in ruthlessly racist New York, this book came to define the impact that racism has on children and women.

To view the rest of my recommendations, please click here to be directed to my Huffington Post page.

Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on February 28, 2017.

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