More than half of students from low‑income households
$0 still needed
Bearing Witness: Remembering Civil Rights Leaders
My students need a class set of the book Ghost Boys.
Our school is a Title 1-eligible high school located near a military base. Many of our families move frequently. My particular 9th grade classes are part of the Freshman Academy whose purpose is to help lower achieving, struggling students acclimate to high school life. In beginning-of-the-year surveys, most of my students report that the read "zero minutes" per week outside of school. My goal is to supply them with access to culturally diverse, engaging young adult fiction and set them on a life-long path of reading.
The book Ghost Boys is told from the perspective of an African-American child who has been killed by police while playing in his neighborhood. His ghost meets both the daughter of the police officer, and the ghost of Emmett Till. The story of Emmett Till is intertwined with the modern story. Students will read this book in conjunction with the civil rights unit in their textbook.
A prominent theme in the book is that the living have an obligation to make change in the world to honor those who have been killed.
Part of this story involves the tradition of honoring the dead during the Dia de los Muertos. In the fall, before Dia de los Muertos, my students will study the stories of civil rights leaders of the past to "bear witness," as the story says, and keep their memories alive.
One of the last pages implores students to "Wake. Only the living can make the world better." Through reading this novel, discussion, writing, and sharing of historical biographies, students will help a new generation plan to make their world better.
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