Reading can stimulate your mind. Books are an amazing item to own at the comfort of your home, because let’s face it, TV can get overrated at times. For those of us that like to read, having a home library is essential. Plus, nowadays reading has gone digital, so it’s easier to carry your books with you in a tablet or phone. There are all types of book categories, from fictional to educational and from romance novels to mystery books. Being at home, relaxing, and reading a book can be rewarding, especially before going to bed. For me the best books to read at home are those that have true educational topics such as the economy, history, and social justice.
Last month we honored a leader of the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plus, February is Black History Month, in which we honor and remember the trials and tribulations of African-Americans in the United States of America. Throughout history we have learned the importance of understanding the struggles of others, especially through great non-fictional books. However, fictional books can also be educational and teach us about the struggles of others for social justice. Therefore, in honor of Black History Month, here are 5 of my favorite educational fiction novels that discuss the social struggles of many different groups.
Native Son by Richard Wright
This first fiction novel is about race, and the tension that exists between skin colors and stereotypes. One of the famous African proverbs that relates to the book is that “it takes a village to raise a child”. According to this author, we are who we are because of the society that we grow up in. These types of statements tend to be controversial among different groups of people due its opinionated nature. Either way, this book can help you understand how racism and prejudice affects relationships between different groups of people.
Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
Addiction can be hard to comprehend, especially when we are not struggling through an addiction. Jesus’ Son takes you on a unique journey that forces you to visualize addiction. The collection of stories describes how hard it is to suffer from the disease through its descriptive words and stories. If you know someone that struggles through addiction, this is a great book to read in order to understand the disease itself without underestimating the will power of others.
The Ecstatic by Victor Lavalle
These next groups of people that are harshly discriminated against, are individuals suffering from schizophrenia or other mental illnesses. Media doesn’t help these types of issues, let alone the stereotypes that come along with them in Hollywood. Individuals struggling through schizophrenia tend to be stereotyped as dangerous, when in fact this isn’t always the case. On the contrary, people suffering from schizophrenia are more likely to be the target of bullying and discrimination. Reading The Ecstatic takes away the fear that many people have when facing with individuals struggling with mental illness.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Feminism has been an ongoing battle throughout many generations. This science fiction novel addresses that in a way in which fantasy meets reality. In a world of gender fluidity and androgynous roles in a galactic world, the author proves how going against the norm of gender roles can reshape the way society runs. Whether you agree with feminism or not, this book sure is so entertaining and revealing that it literally takes you out of this world.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
People aren’t the only ones that need love; animals have also been victims of social injustice. Charlotte’s Web is an old time childhood classic book. Believe it or not, many people still haven’t read Charlotte’s Web. This book discusses the challenges that two friends face, the spider and the pig. Regardless of what your point of view is on being vegan or not, this book tells a descriptive and emotional story on what it’s like to live in a farm as an animal and being belittled. However, I wouldn’t judge you if you become vegan after reading this book. Therefore, if you love advocating for animals’ rights, then this is definitely the book for you.
There are thousands of other educational fiction novels, but these are just some of my favorites. Next time you are at a book store or library, pick up one of these educational fiction novels to read while you’re at home relaxing. If you haven’t done so, then read them all. Reading a book doesn’t have to be boring anymore, especially when reading an interesting and educational fiction novel. You will gain useful knowledge through critical thinking, and understand what’s going on around the world through someone else’s perspective. As the famous saying goes, knowledge is power.