Arguably the best books and stories open minds and hearts, and take readers on a journey of wonder, questioning, and learning. They are rebellion and hope in print.
1. A Time for New Dreams by Ben Okri
Thought provoking, beautiful, and perhaps not technically a novel, Okri looks at childhood, self-censorship, the importance of education and the recent economic meltdown.
2. Fledgling by Octavia Butler
Changing the world by talking about it differently and recognizing that its not only white young males who can be the heroes in stories. Questioning what it means to be human, this novel looks at a young girl who remembers that she is good vampire.
3. The Butterfly Prison by Tamara Pearson
Humanity on the margins: in this novel, stories reveal the complex connection between individuals and the bigger issues. Interwoven with the two main narratives are historic and current examples of oppression and resistance – These snippets are in a similar style to the writings of Uruguayan author Eduardo Galleano.
4. Children of the Days by Eduardo Galeano
More a collection of short stories than a novel, it was worth including because it resurrects the most important, forgotten bits of history in Galeano’s moving and lyrical way.
5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Racism is examined in depth in this romantic and modern novel, as is life in the U.S. for Black people.
6. Sex Wars by Marge Piercy
This novel is on this list because people from the past can inspire people in the future, and it deals with women who were intelligent and gutsy in a time that did not reward such qualities in women. “There is so much in this novel about women’s history that should not be forgotten-especially now,” says one reader.
7. Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars by Rivera Sun
The stakes are high. No, not a murderer at large, but life, death, the planet and the extinction of humanity. “The climate change countdown is ticking … One question hammers in Jack’s ears: what are you going to do? Steam Drills, Treadmills and Shooting Stars sings the anthem of our times, celebrating the everyday hero, and rallying us all to meet adversity with gusto.”
8. A Mercy by Toni Morrison
This novel looks at the roots of racism in the U.S, going back to slavery’s earliest days, and showing the relationship between men and women in early U.S. that often ended in female victimization.
9. The Quiet Violence of Dreams by K. Sello Duiker
This story challenges ingrained myths about maleness, Black male sexuality, and urbanised Africans. At the same time it explores the insecurities of relationships between young Black and white students during times of personal transition.
10. Vanished: The Mysterious Disappearance Of Mustafa Ouda by Ahmed Masoud
An un-traditional story set against the political unrest in Palestine, following a young boy trying to find his father. This novel is about friendship in difficult circumstances and what its like for young boys living in the Gaza Strip.