Well, it’s finally arrived: the school year is here. Whether you’re attending class in person, remotely, or through some kind of funky hybrid, we’re here to support you. Here are the new study guides we have this month—along with a few classics—and remember that our expert Educators are always available to answer any questions you might have about your homework.
1. $2.00 a Day by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Schaefer
Edin and Schaefer’s nonfiction account of the poverty crisis in the United States recounts the exhaustive studies the authors undertook in cities in the Midwest and South, finding that the 1996 welfare reform act actually exacerbated poor working conditions. Ultimately, the authors propose several solutions to this crisis, notably increasing the minimum wage and creating government-subsidized private sector jobs.
2. Blood Brothers by Willy Russell
Russell’s 1983 musical follows Mickey and Edward, who are twins separated at birth and raised at opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. Eventually, they meet and become friends, though tragedy inevitably finds them in the end.
3. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Bennett’s 2020 novel is also a tale of estranged twins, Desiree and Stella Vignes, who lead very different lives. The novel also focuses on their daughters, Jude and Kennedy, who eventually meet and uncover their shared past.
4. Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger
Jünger’s 1920 memoir recounts his experiences as a German officer serving in World War I. Similar to other texts of the time, Jünger’s memoir portrays a bleak, unromantic vision of the war and the massive casualties accrued on all sides.
5. Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Saad’s workbook-style program takes white readers through a four-week journey to educate themselves and personally reflect on racism and the function of white supremacy in American society.
6. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Vanderpool’s 2010 novel is about Abilene Tucker, a girl who travels to her father’s hometown of Manifest and uncovers important truths about the past.
7. Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
Yep’s YA novel follows Moon Shadow Lee, a Chinese boy who immigrates to America in 1903 to live with his father in the Bay Area. Together, they build an airplane, called Dragonwings.
Oldies but Goodies
And since it’s the start of the school year, you probably need a refresher on some of the classics in English literature. Here is a short list of the perennially popular texts from our library:
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee remains one of the most taught and popular books in English classrooms across the country. To help you study smarter, be sure to check out our detailed chapter summaries with accompanying analysis.
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne continues to give English classrooms an opportunity to discuss the atrocities of World War II through a heartbreakingly beautiful narrative.
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio provides classrooms with a powerful account of empathy and our shared humanity by following young August as he navigates school life despite being bullied for his physical appearance.
- The Tempest by William Shakespeare remains one of the more accessible and, arguably, fun plays from the Bard that continues to reward close reading and meta commentary on plays within plays.
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare continues to serve as one of the pillars of early high school education, and, really, we can see why: Who wouldn’t want to read a text about witches, fate, and regicide? Fun stuff.
One More Thing
And finally, since you’re going to be doing a lot of critical reading and analysis, don’t forget to check out our Guide to Literary Devices and Terms! Good luck!