Our students are kind, open-hearted and sensitive. They enjoy exploring big-picture themes and questions that allow them to exercise their growing maturity, explore ways to apply lessons to their life outside of school, and work through difficult feelings. Because our school and surrounding neighborhoods are not very diverse, reading about diverse experiences is essential to helping them envision a better, more inclusive world.
The first time I read Night was in high school. Almost fifteen years later, I still remember exactly how I felt as I digested that book. The scene in which Wiesel describes the death of his father weighs as heavily now as the day I first read it. Night taught me about the evil humans were capable of, as well as the resilience of the human spirit. More than any other book, Night forced me to grapple with such an unthinkable moment in history and allowed me to empathize with my fellow humans in ways I would not have been able to before.
I am requesting 120 copies of Night for my students.
I want to help my students develop the same skills: to identify what connects us all as humans and to tap into the empathy that technology and social media have rendered dormant. Combined with excerpts from Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and other non-fiction texts, Night will give my students a rich reading experience that will challenge them to deepen their understanding of humanity and of their own capacity and responsibility to think, feel, and act in moments of injustice.
The discussions sparked by Night will also provide an opportunity for all of us to engage in a meaningful exploration of pressing existential themes: forgiveness, morality, perseverance, and the choice between leading a happy life or a meaningful one. Together, through our reading and discussion of these texts, we will all learn more about what it means to be human.
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