At 17.4%, the poverty level of the community is larger than the national average. Within my district, approximately 75% of students are enrolled in the Free or Reduced Lunch Program. We have a diverse school, with many Hispanic, Pacific Islander, African American, and Native American students.
While my students demonstrate high need, they are more resilient and adaptable than many of their peers.
They tend to undervalue themselves as readers and writers, and I have had the pleasure of witnessing their surprise after composing pieces and devouring books they never believed they could complete or enjoy.
My students need our classroom library to reflect their needs and their circumstances. I live in a district with significant diversity; however, most of the books in my classroom library have white, middle class, female protagonists.
When students walk up to my bookshelves, it's important that they feel that they are represented in the pages they find there.
In my time as an educator, personal connection is the strongest correlation to book love in adolescent readers. The titles included in this project will make sure the teens in my room can find books with themes and protagonists to which they feel connected.
Included in the requested books are protagonists that are Latino, Middle Eastern, and African American. Protagonists in many of these novels face obstacles like mental illness, discrimination, sexism, poverty, racism, and homelessness. Some novels follow the stories of young LGBTQ teens coming out to their friends and families. These books reflect reality for many of my students, and acquiring these titles will ensure that students of all backgrounds feel represented and valued in my classroom.
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