Friday, October 25, 2013

Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Social Science

We're back to our look at the Outstanding Books for the College Bound list. It only comes out every five years and the new edition comes out in January and the committee (which includes me) is seeking nominations of new books to put on the list!

Yesterday, we looked at Science and Technology, Tuesday we looked at Literature and Languages, Monday we looked at History and Cultures, and Sunday we looked at Arts and Humanities.

Today's the last day, as we look at Social Science!


A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. One day Ishmael, age 12, goes to town with some friends. While there, he village is attacked and his family flees. He never sees them again. He and his friends run from the war-- trying to stay in front of the fighting so they don't get caught, don't get killed. Still, a group of boys traveling together is a thing to be feared. Eventually, Ishmael is caught and forced to join the army fighting against the rebels in Sierra Leone. He's given massive amounts of drugs, a gun, a little bit a training, food, and a hatred and desire to kill the people who killed his family.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. What exactly is the tipping point, when a trend turns into a phenomenon, a popular item becomes a runaway hit, a decades old sneaker becomes a hipster's required footwear? Gladwell explores different tipping points and what can cause one.

Sold by Patricia McCormick. When monsoons wash away Lakshmi's family's crops, she must take a job to help support her family. Told in verse, a stranger says he can get Nepalese Lakshmi a job in an Indian city, but instead delivers her to a brothel.


What the World Eats by Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel. Menzel went around the world photographing families surrounded by a week's worth of groceries. It's amazing to see how much or how little families consume around the world, how much they spend, and the price differences between foods in different countries. Recipes and some cultural notes are also included.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. In just 19 minutes, one student shot and killed nine students and a teacher. The trial shows how a bullied boy found solace in violent video games until the day he snapped.

The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen. This book is full of celebrities talking about how to save the planet in little, doable ways.


Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Scheff. When he was in high school, Scheff became addicted to meth. He started with booze at 11, then moved to pot before going harder. He tries to stay clean and sober, but it's harder than he thought. Also on the list is Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction, written by his father.

Killed Cartoons: Casualties from the War on Free Expression edited by David Wallis. Just because you're allowed to draw what you want doesn't mean major publications will publish it. This collection of political cartoons were all drawn by Pulitzer prize winners or finalists and all were pulled before publication. In addition to the cartoons, commentary is added in order to give context to why.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls. Rex Walls was a dreamer, but a drunk. Jeannette's childhood was spent traveling in the Southwest, but in they end, the family ended up in the same small West Virginia town that Rex had fought so hard to escape.

What books do you think should be added to the list? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE nominate them by filling out this form!

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