My students are avid readers. We had to say good-bye to our books, as well as our school, which was like saying good-bye to old friends. The characters and their problems become a part of our story, interwoven into the fabric of our lives.
The students in my class are advanced readers.
We need high-quality, rich literature that is has strong connections to history or society. We learn in my room from a humanities standpoint, so that the learning is layered and relevant, as well as rigorous. I hope that my students will get to enjoy the beauty of these books, as they always like a challenge and some thought-provoking material.
Anyone who has ever taught advanced students and the truly gifted knows that their minds must be constantly engaged and challenged. I need many, many books, but even a few sets will be a starting point for us. There is no way I can sufficiently thank any donors who might contribute to our cause. The thought of opening the doors in August with nothing to offer is intimidating and saddening. I want all of my students to have the same, or even better, opportunities to learn that their predecessors had.
By reading To Kill a Mockingbird, my students will be able to have a personal glimpse of Jim Crow America. We do an extensive research project in which students study in depth the ramifications of the Jim Crow laws and the danger of bigotry. Putting the novel with the research allows the students to internalize their research findings, becoming a part of the story themselves.
The House on Mango Street brings a strong cultural appeal to the students, presenting them with a story that is lyrical, colorful, and real, while The Book Thief presents students with a picture of the Holocaust and World War II through the eyes of a German child, with Death serving as the narrator. Both give students a fuller picture of the world and of the clash of cultures and belief systems.
The novel The Life of Pi brings students a story of survival and determination coupled with spirituality and cultural clashes. Students will relate to Pi's internal conflicts as he tries to determine who he is.
All of the titles I selected are of high quality and interest level.
I want my students to own their reading, to know the beauty and inspiration of a good book. I want them to see the world from many perspectives and to see the dangers of prejudice and ignorance. My students will become leaders in their communities, public voices. I hope to make their voices tolerant and strong, informed and assertive.
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