Suggested Reading Part 1: Poems and Short Stories
Sometimes finding good books to read is hard. No matter how many youtube videos you watch, how many bookstagram accounts you skim through, or even how many librarians or booksellers you ask, sometimes the recommendations just seem to be all the same. Same old New-York times bestseller, same old staple of the genre. When you ask for a good fantasy book, who wants to hear Harry Potter for the thousandth time? Which is why Little English Bookworm have started to curate this suggested reading list: books that cover every genre, books that you may never have heard of before.
Part 1 of this suggested reading list is covering two genres, often much neglected especially by children and young adults. Unlike in the 19th century, when Lord Byron was the coolest kid on the block, reading poetry and even short stories is regarded with a hint of disdain by most children, especially those who have been force fed Shakespeare and Wordsworth their entire school lives. Yet despite this apparent lack of interest from many younger readers, that doesn't mean that there aren't wonderful poetry and short story books out there for every kind of reader. So on that note, here is some poetry and short stories that hopefully you won't have heard of before!
1. The Great War
This book was published in 2014 to mark a century since the start of the first world war. Eleven stories inspired by eleven different objects from the first world war such as the nose of a Zeppelin bomb are written by prominent authors such as Michael Morpurgo and John Boyne. Touching and raw, these stories are perfect for a younger reader who is interested in finding out more about the first world war. Non-fiction isn't for everyone and portraying these complex and emotional historical events through fiction is sometimes the best way to learn about difficult times in history.
2. I Will Not Be Erased
This book was written by contributors to the online magazine gal-dem. Gal-dem is a magazine created exclusively by women or non-binary people of colour. This is their first book and, though it's not exactly a collection of short stories, I couldn't resist including it as I think it's such an important book for teens to read. The writers based all their pieces on an article of writing, usually a diary entry, from when they were a teen.
When reading this I was often hit with pangs of: I know exactly how that feels. Even if you are not a racial minority this book covers topics which are relevant to all young adults. Navigating growing up, figuring out who you are and what your beliefs are outside of your religion or your parents, learning to love your body, your first sexual experiences, your first encounters with drugs - these are all topics which most of us struggle with. Yet they are rarely discussed and it's often hard to put words to such difficult and often uncomfortable topics. So many books are given the label of "handbook to growing up" but I believe these stories are the real deal. Trust me, you'll love it.
3. Survivors + Heroes
These two books are retellings of real life stories for a younger audience. The book Heroes focuses on animals who have showed bravery under extremely tough conditions, whereas Survivors focuses on human survivors who have endured some almost unimaginable circumstances. Perfect for a younger reader who loves adventure.