Our public middle school consists of a diverse group of students of different backgrounds, abilities, and talents. Each student is in one of the following talent groups: dance, vocal music, band, visual art, photography, or drama. The arts are integral to our school.
We are a community of readers, thinkers, writers, bloggers, and activists.
My students routinely read, write about, and discuss current social issues, explore their identities, and immerse themselves in a wide range of literature.
Every day, my students inspire me with their energy and creativity.
For this unit, my students will be working in book clubs centered on reimagining classic literature to represent the diversity of our community, our nation, our world. The books they will be reading will help them reimagine their own identities as readers and learn about the experiences of people whose lives may be very different from their own. This will help them develop empathy and enrich their understanding of the world. In this unit, my 8th graders will ponder, discuss, and write about the following questions:
Why do books considered classics lack racial, gender, religious, and ethnic diversity?
How can we ensure that young people read about a variety of experiences that are both different from and similar to their own? What contemporary young adults books should be considered classic literature and be read by future generations?
In the last few years, there has been an exciting array of books written by minority groups whose voices have been absent from the canon for over a century. Books like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater show conflicts related to systemic racism and hate crimes toward people who do not conform to accepted gender identities. Your donations will help to get books like these in the hands of adolescents who are struggling with their own identities and who are trying to make sense of the senseless intolerance, inequalities, and injustices that plague society. These books will help offer them hope and empower them to see past differences and act in ways that will benefit all people.
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