Beyond the Bookroom: Contemporary Novels Mirroring Lives of Diverse Students
Help me give my students from varied cultures choice novels in which they can see themselves reflected.
Hooray! This project is fully funded
My students are some of the most dedicated, talented, and underestimated kids in St. Paul. I have the most magnificent 11th and 12th graders and feel lucky to work with them every day. Even though they face obstacles greater than most of us can imagine, they bring themselves to school, put on a smile, and actively learn.
In our majority-minority high school, my juniors and seniors represent diverse cultures.In a typical 30-student class, 10 are African-American, 5 are Hispanic-American, 10 are Asian-American, 2 are Caucasian-American, and 3 are Multiracial.
Many are first-generation Americans; most are headed to college, several the first in their families.
Our learning community is vivacious and noisy (in contrast to traditional classrooms), and I work diligently to foster a truly student-centered environment full of conversation, challenging texts, and complex ideas.
Our English department book room is filled with “classics”--esteemed novels that predominantly reflect a white, male, and pre-twentieth-century experience. The shelves are filled with class sets of canonical texts including Candide, Hamlet, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Sound and the Fury, and Brave New World. There are a wealth of new literary voices from varied cultures who are not on these selves; however, with tightened school budgets, there is not a wealth of funding to purchase new texts. In fact, our English department has not been allocated funds to purchase novels and plays in more than five years.
When the students in my Advanced Placement Literature classes at our majority minority high school read coming-of-age novels from our school book room, they rarely encounter characters who look like them or live like them in the stories.
Beyond the “classic” texts that I assign from the book room and that we study together as a class, I want to provide my diverse students not only with opportunities to choose what they read but also with texts that they can see themselves in--contemporary coming-of-age novels by authors of varied cultures. For this project, I have selected 17 different titles by authors who derive from Mexico, China, Africa, India, Cuba, Pakistan, Native America, Haiti, Korea, and Dominican Republic but who speak of their experience as hyphenated Americans, as 85 percent of my students are.
Sure, every person transitions from childhood to adulthood, but all of our journeys are different. By donating to this project, you will help me to provide my students with texts that depict coming-of-age journeys that are as diverse as they are. Immersing themselves in books that reflect their own lives in different ways will help my students--especially the reluctant ones--to become life-long readers!
If you donated to this project, you can sign in to leave a comment for Mrs. Mathieu.
DonorsChoose is the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Mrs. Mathieu and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.