Students at my high school come from a variety of backgrounds. Many are refugees coming from oppressed or war-torn countries. They have unique stories to tell. Since I teach special education, my students benefit from high interest, low-level reading selections. These are not always easy to find. However, I have come across an awesome novel that follows three refugees during different time periods. Not only is this a great introduction into several historical periods, it is also a great springboard for students to write their own stories.
The thing I love most about teaching at my high school is hearing about the countries and cultures where my students come from and being able to share our collective experiences.
Students learn that in our differences, we all share similar hopes, dreams, and fears.
My students need high interest, low-level literature. The novel Refugee by Alan Gratz is a perfect choice for them because it tells the story of three refugees during different time periods in history. Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. All three go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, not unlike my own students. With this novel, students will not only be learning historical context, they will also be exposed to three different narrative voices. This book will serve as a springboard to writing about their own experiences.
Through our shared experiences, students will be able to see that we are more alike than different.
They will learn that despite different obstacles, we all share the same hopes, dreams, and fears.
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