My students need to experience literature that reflects their cultural heritage and background. Asian literature is virtually ignored in the Western Canon, so we would love to have 105 copies of Yoko Agawa's The Diving Pool.
This project will benefit approximately 105, 10th grade Advanced Placement (AP) Literature students in my diverse, urban classroom. Coming from all cultures and walks of life, they are curious, lively, smart and unbelievably motivated. Students enroll in this advanced class because they chose to do so. It is a difficult class, and for most, is their first experience with learning how to THINK. They are used to memorizing materials and spitting answers out on tests, but this class teaches them how to analyze and reason. We practice critical reading, thinking and discussion and it is amazing to see how students open up, discover how smart they are and learn how to express themselves intellectually. Literature teaches history, human thought and reasoning and exposes them to different perspectives and ways of life. They love it. I do too.
The budget for books in urban high schools is dismal. Our student population is changing greatly, yet our reading lists are still the same dusty, old American and British classics we have been teaching for generations. These classics are wonderful, but we need to open up our sights to the rest of the world. In a classroom filled with diversity, shouldn't our literature reflect many cultures? Asian literature is rich, beautiful and very different from what we have studied before. It reflects the culture and heritage of many of my students. For this reason, I would like to have 3 class sets (105 books) of the award winning anthology, The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa.
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