I teach at a small school with a student body that is made up primarily of low-income families. In recent weeks, these students have watched with interest the various people on the news speaking up in ever louder voices about the things that they believe in, everything from raising the minimum wage to the importance of believing the stories of people who have been the victims of assault. The kids have questions, and the discussions that they want to have are important ones. I want them to be prepared to have them - both in and out of the classroom.
We need books on the shelves that will encourage students to first ask important questions, and then work to find answers to those questions.
I want to provide a selection of both fiction and non-fiction that inspires action, encourages empathy, and shows that it is not only important, but also necessary, to ask the hard questions. They have the curiosity. They have the energy. And I want to fan that spark into a flame.
The ninth grade attended a screening of the film adaptation of THE HATE U GIVE, and the 4 copies of the book we have are not meeting the demand for the novel following the film. In addition to obtaining several additional copies, we hope to continue building the collection we started last year, comprised of books that address issues like police violence, sexual assault, prejudice, and mental health.
A good book inspires good conversations, hard conversations, conversations that are worth having.
The hope is that these books will give them a starting point as they figure out their own feelings about these very complex topics and encourage them to speak up, whether it is with questions or in an effort to make a real change.
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