11 Books Every '90s Kid Definitely Had To Read In School
If you grew up as a reader, you probably read quite a few strange books in the ‘90s. Thanks to the Scholastic book fair, children of the '90s had plenty of reading options, and bookish kids (like me!) could often be seen burning through paperback after paperback. You might have forgotten about some of the books on this list, but I promise your teacher made you read them.
Teachers had their own ideas about what reading would be the most educational — and it didn’t always involve include your favorites: Goosebumps, Bailey School Kids, The Baby-sitter's Club. In fact, it rarely involved those books. You wanted to read for pleasure, but your teacher wanted you to read so you could learn.
Of course, you could learn plenty from your favorite books, but there are some books that pretty much every ‘90s kids had to read in school. Some of them are still popular today, and kids are putting down their newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid books in order to complete their assigned reading. Others are sort of lost to time, but that doesn’t diminish how great they were. You can probably still find your copies of the following required reading books on your childhood bookshelf: here are the books that your teachers made you read in the ‘90s, that you can now appreciate when you look back on them.
'Number The Stars' by Lois Lowry
'Catherine, Called Birdy' by Karen Cushman
'A Long Way From Chicago' by Richard Peck
'Esperanza Rising' by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Ok, so this was published in 2000, but '90s kids probably remember reading it in class anyway (just a little later than the '90s). Esperanza and her family have to leave their ranch in Mexico and move to California in this powerful book about immigration, family, and the American dream.
'A Girl Named Disaster' by Nancy Farmer
After Nhamo escapes her village to avoid an unwanted marriage, she sets off on an unforgettable adventure. I read this book during reading circle in elementary school, and I'm sure you did too.
'The Whipping Boy' by Sid Fleischman
Prince Brat is a prince, therefore he can't be whipped — instead, his whipping boy Jemmy is punished in Prince Brat's place. This 1986 Newbery medal winner became popular just in time to be on a ton of school reading lists in the '90s.
'Hatchet' by Gary Paulsen
'Bridge To Terabithia' by Katherine Paterson
'Where The Sidewalk Ends' by Shel Silverstein
'Sarah, Plain And Tall' by Patricia MacLachlan
When Anna and Caleb's widowed father advertises for a wife, Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton answers the ad. This book took home the Newbery Medal in the late '80s and was on tons of reading lists in the '90s.