3 Books Your English Teacher Thinks You Should Read

Continuing with our series, "3 Books Your Teacher Thinks You Should Read," the T.Lo Club is hosting retired educator, Darrel Harbaugh. Mr. Harbaugh taught for over 36 years in high schools in Kansas, and 34 of those years were at Coffeyville's Field Kindley Memorial High School. He taught a variety of subjects including English, Oral Communications, and Debate and Forensics; and today, he graciously gives us his list of 3 fiction books everyone should read.

"3 Fiction Books Everyone Should Read" by Darrel Harbaugh

To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee
"Now I assume that since many high schools across the country teach To Kill a Mockingbird most people have already “read” it. If you have not read it, then do so. My mother who is 86 just read the book for the first time a couple of years ago. She knew that the book was required reading in my English classes and basically wanted to know why. She loved the book! After reading it, she asked me to give her a test. Suffice it to say, I did not “test” my mother, but we did have some very enlightening discussion. She was alive during the 1930s when the book is set. I was not. If you read it in high school, read it again without a teacher telling you that you have to read it because it is in the curriculum. This book has been credited with helping start the civil rights movement, but just as important, the story is told through the eyes of an innocent child. The book is as much about life lessons such as “consider things from someone else’s point of view” as it is about racism. The first half of the book is about growing up in what appeared to be a “more innocent” time. The antics of Scout (the narrator who is five are the beginning of the book), Jem (Scout’s older brother who is nine) and Dill (Scout and Jem’s friend who is six) are fun. The fact that many say the character Dill is based upon Harper Lee’s childhood friend, author Truman Capote, has always been intriguing to me. The best reason I was ever given for reading/teaching this novel was when a close friend of mine told me, “To Kill a Mockingbird is a manual on how to raise children.” Every father should strive to be Atticus Finch, and children should be as imaginative and creative as Scout, Jem and Dill.

Fahrenheit 451: A Novel  by Ray Bradbury and Animal Farm by George Orwell
"I enjoy science fiction, and I would recommend Fahrenheit 451  and Animal Farm by George Orwell. Both teach us about society and pose the question of what sort of world in which we want live? Again, common high school text, but what can I say? I am a high school teacher.