As the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden is one of the most well-known teachers in the world, so it’s always exciting when she shares her knowledge, talks about her favorite parts of the job, and celebrates her fellow educators. Dr. Biden did all three when she teamed up with Good Housekeeping for their September 2021 issue to celebrate the incredible impact teachers make in the lives of their students. A passionate teacher for decades, Dr. Biden shared that she’s ready to get back in the classroom — and she also revealed her favorite books to teach.
“I love teaching the classics!” she said. “To Kill a Mockingbird, The Scarlet Letter, and The Great Gatsby.” It’s not surprising that these classics top her list, but she also shared a newer book that she loves sharing with students, too, adding: “Most recently I taught Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.”
Honestly, we think they belong on every teen’s reading list!
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Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
This New York Times Bestseller by comedian and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah is not only soul-stirring but, like the author, it’s hilarious and smart — a must-read memoir about coming of age during the twilight of apartheid.
To Kill a Mockingbird
This classic by Harper Lee is still relevant today. Set in fictional Maycomb, Alabama, the story centers on the awakening of a young girl to racism and prejudice in her town. When one of the town’s Black residents is falsely accused of a crime against a white woman, the girl’s father agrees to defend the young man.
The Scarlet Letter
Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter is considered his best work. This fictional tale takes place in Puritan 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, where a young woman is led from the town prison with her infant daughter in her arms and a scarlet letter “A” (representing adultery) on her chest.
The Great Gatsby
Set in the Jazz Age, this F. Scott Fitzgerald classic (you may have seen the 2013 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire), follows a mysterious millionaire, Jay Gatsby, who is obsessed with reuniting with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.
Before you go, check out these children’s books by Black authors and illustrators.