8 Books on World Issues that Are Must-Reads

Reading is a great way to escape and step into a different world. It’s also a great way to learn – through both nonfiction and fiction. Reading books on world issues, world events, and historical occurrences can teach you just as much as watching the daily news, but it just might be more interesting. Many of these books, even if fiction, cover important events or significant issues in general – and we wanted to share them with you.

8 Books on World Issues That You Should Check Out

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram is a novel about a man, Lin, who escapes an Australian prison with a false passport and flees to the underworld of contemporary Bombay, India. Without a home, family, friends, or true identity, Lin is on a search for love and meaning, all while running a clinic in the slums of Bombay. He deals with war, prison torture, murder, betrayal, and so much more.
Throughout this book, you will see the love and passion for India, along with the poverty and daily lives of citizens of Bombay. 

That Night by Amy Giles

That Night follows the lives of two teens after a mass shooting in Queens, New York. It’s an event that changes their lives forever. The shooting affects the two in very similar, yet very different ways. Now, they have to go through their lives dealing with their everyday hardships along with the aftermath of that night. The paths of the two teens cross, and as they become friends, they learn to heal together.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai 

The Taliban took over Swat Valley, Pakistan, and one girl stood up and spoke out. Malala Yousafzai fought for her right to an education. At just 15, Malala was shot in the head and to defeating the odds, survived. She’s become a global symbol of peaceful protest and is known for her bravery. Read her story, and how she fought and recovered in, I Am Malala.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Pulitzer winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn join together to travel across Asia and Africa, meeting women and learning of their everyday struggles. They not only tell the stories of these struggles and the horrific events that take place in their lives, but they also show us how, with just a little help, a life can be transformed.

“Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential.”

Half the Sky will teach you so much and help you understand the lives of women in other countries and what we can all do here to help.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give follows a sixteen-year-old girl named Starr Carter, who goes between her poor neighborhood in which she lives and the fancy prep school she attends. Starr has to learn to balance these two worlds, but when a police officer shoots and kills her unarmed childhood best friend, Khalil, her world comes crashing down. 

While headlines in the news and papers call Khalil names, people from his neighborhood and surrounding areas begin to protest. Only Starr knows what really happened, but she has to figure out how to not let it endanger her own life. The Hate U Give tells a story that happens all too often, and it’s a book you won’t be able to put down.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini 

The Kite Runner begins at the end of Afghanistan’s monarchy and leads up to present-day following the friendship between two boys who are growing up in Kabul. Although the two boys grow up in the same household, they live completely different lives. One boy, Amir, is the son of a prominent, rich man, while the other boy, Hassan, is the son of Amir’s father’s servant and is a Hazara – an ethnic minority usually shunned.

As they grow up and Amir and his father flee to America for a better life, Amir can’t help but constantly think of Hassan. Although this novel is fiction, it is set upon a historical background.

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree is based on interviews with different young women who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, and this book tells the story of one young girl who was taken from her home in Nigeria. 

One night, a village in Nigeria was attacked by the terrorist group Boko Haram. A girl was kidnapped along with several other girls and women who are forced to follow their captors’ radical beliefs. While watching her friend accept everything, the girl continues to fight for her escape and her future.

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree discusses world issues that many may not know about, but it’s an empowering read to hear the stories of so many women and their fights for their survival. 

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

Beneath a Scarlet Sky follows a teenager, Pino, living in Milan. One night his home and town are destroyed by Allied bombs, and Pino joins an underground railroad that helps Jews escape over the Alps. While helping, Pino falls for an older woman named Anna who is a widow.

Pino is forced by his parents to become a German soldier for his own protection until he is injured and must become General Hans Leyers’ personal driver. Hans Leyers was Hitler’s left-hand man. The book follows Pino and the horrors he experiences in the war and with the Nazis while spying on the German High Power.

Hopefully, you enjoy all of these great books on world issues and take something away from each of them. Have you already read any of these? What did you think of them? Let us know in the comments below. If you have another suggestion, we would love to hear that too!

Published in Featured Articles, World Views
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Alyson Pittman is a contributing writer for WBD and a JR marketing associate for Excite Creative Studios, an Atlanta-based creative agency.

Alyson graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. She was in multiple organizations at KSU where she held leadership positions. As a part of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Alyson held the Social Coordinator position and planned/promoted large events.