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9th Grade Reading Extension Unit

As part of my graduate program, we had to take a YA lit class which made me happy and sad. Happy because there are so many amazing YA lit books out there. Sad because...I couldn't figure out how I was supposed to squeeze them into a school year. I have tried a few different ways of trying to integrate YA lit into class, which you will see iterations of in a few different posts, but this particular year, I carved out time during "testing season" to give students time to read YA lit book (or other classics, if they wanted) that connected to the classics we had studied as part of the class. Testing season was the perfect time to give kids time and flexibility to read because the normal school day is all crazy and I never have a full class of kids.


This particular year, we had studied Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Romeo & Juliet, Lord of the Flies, and The Odyssey, so for the "extension unit," I chose books connected to these classics. Below are the books I chose and how they connected to our core texts or other core 9th grade classes (world history & biology).









Nonfiction. Connects to history & WWII.

​Nonfiction; connects to history & WWII.

​A girl with a wine birthmark on her face has to navigate her terrible father and passive mother. Connects to The Odyssey-many allusions to journeys , growth, and challenges.

​Just thinking about this book makes me cry. Connections to WWII/the Holocaust. Beautiful writing.












​Novel in verse; connection to WW1 & women's suffrage.

​Nonfiction; Biologist reports on the effects of DDT. Launches the environmental movement. Connects to biology.

​Actually enjoyed listening to this, for some reason. Connects to The Odyssey.

Connects to The Odyssey.

​History-Industrial Revolution












Forbidden love in the '50's. Connects to Romeo & Juliet.

​A down and out dude starts finding mysterious playing cards in his mailbox. Heroic journey-connects to The Odyssey.

​A teenager with Asperger's Syndrome has to work in his dad's law firm for the summer. Heroic journey-connects to The Odyssey.

Kids battle to the death. Connects to Lord of the Flies.

Three stories combine into one to comment on Asian American identity. Connects to ninth grade theme of identity.



If there are any YA lit books that you enjoy pairing with classics, please feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below!

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