Picture books have always been a good way to teach your children difficult concepts. They cover everything from bodily functions to the makeup of modern families. At Slate, Gabriel Roth writes about a picture book that taught his child about death. You could also read T.K. Dalton on teaching your children about gender.
In the Times Book Review, Year in Reading alum and Edinburgh author Alexander Chee reviews Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, a Millions contributor. He describes the book as, among other things, a departure from your average literary thriller: “If we know this story, we haven’t seen it yet in American fiction, not until now.”
Millions staff writing appearing elsewhere: At In Character, my essay about Derrick Borte's The Joneses and the idea of the American impostor (ECW).
Canonical literature isn't the only way to learn about America. The bestseller list can be equally as telling. Matthew Kahn is reading 100 years of No. 1 bestsellers from 1913 to 2013. He blogs about the books and discusses the project in an interview with Salon's Laura Miller. When Miller asks what makes a bestseller, he claims, "A lot of it is just a matter of accessibility. A focus on plot and character rather than structure and the prose itself."