Dystopian LiteratureI am teaching a themed unit on dystopian literature in my 6th and 8th grade Literature classes. The students will read four novels over the course of the year, identifying...
I am teaching a themed unit on dystopian literature in my 6th and 8th grade Literature classes. The students will read four novels over the course of the year, identifying aspects of dystopia, and then will select a modern-day social issue and solve it through project-based learning.
Specifically, I am searching for good dystopian literature that touches on the theme but is also appropriate for their age level. The area in which I teach is fairly conservative. Thus far, I have selected the following titles:
I am looking for novels, short stories, poetry, and songs. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I would add some short stories, such as just about anything by Ray Bradbury. "A Sound of Thunder" is fascinating. Of course, there is also Animal Farm and Anthem for the 8th graders. For the 6th graders, Haddix's Among the Hidden and the rest of the series is always popular. Don't forget that The Giver has two sequels.
Some I might recommend are Wyndham's The Chrysalids and The Triffids. The second of these is my favorite though it usually takes second place as a book to study: the opening is chilling and has proven to be innovative. I might recommend We by Soviet writer Yevgeny Zamyatin, but you would have to screen it carefully to confirm there are no age-inappropriate references to adult intimacy (it's been a while since I've read it ...). It has been overlooked for years, but I'm delighted to find it is now on at least some school reading lists.
Given the conservative restraints in which you are working and the age of your students, I would wholeheartedly recommend The Giver and the two sequel novels that follow it. They are an excellent collection of books that raise serious issues concerning dystopian fiction such as the limits placed upon humanity in exchange for security and stability. You might like to use "The Lottery" as a short story.
I agree that any of Bradbury's short stories would really work well. I would recommend "There Will Come Soft Rains" and "The Veldt" in particular. I think that both of those point to the dangers of technology which is an issue that should be easy to get students to care about.