Let’s take a look at just a few:
"Fast Food Nation" attacks elements of the food industry, "including the exploitation of minimum wage workers."
When I was in school, we read “The Jungle,” which attacked elements of the meat industry and resulted, at least indirectly, in the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. Just a suggestion: work for a month at any fast food restaurant, then come back and tell us whether they are exploiting minimum wage workers.
"The Things They Carried," a book about Vietnam, "will educate your students on the horrors of war."
Yeah, heaven forbid students learn about the horrors of war. Listen to the song “What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine,” which includes lines such as “I learned that soldiers seldom die,” “I learned that wars are not so bad, I learned about the great ones we have had, and someday I might get my chance.” Star Trek taught us that the horrors of war should make us want to avoid it.
"Nickel and Dimed" spurs "conversations about the causes and effects of income inequality."
Since most kids today are likely to end up on the lower end of income inequality (see above exploitation of minimum wage workers), shouldn’t they be aware of the disparity? Or should we just tell them, “you’re screwed, get used to it?”
I was in elementary school during the 1950s and remember the “duck and cover” drills. We also practiced how long it would take each of us to walk home if there was alert and we couldn’t wait for the buses to come. All ridiculous, but at least we weren’t shielded from the possibility of nuclear war. The sooner kids learn that the world isn’t perfect, the sooner they can learn to deal with it, and often books are the best way to learn from the experiences of others.