I teach ninth grade English at an urban charter school that serves a low-income, high need population. What is unique about our school is its public policy focus, specifically on how individuals and communities can take action to shape policy decisions. We teachers have created the curriculum, combining the local school district's standards with our school's own public policy standards in order to offer our students courses that are rigorous, relevant, and empowering. The ninth grade English teaching team has created a powerful quarter unit for the freshmen. Our unit will introduce the ninth graders to the study of public policy through the lens of the Holocaust, concentrating on these essential questions: 1. How does dehumanization happen? 2. How do people resist injustice? We are lucky to have a librarian at our school whose passion is reading and collecting contemporary young adult literature. It was through our librarian, that the ninth grade teachers came across the book, "Hitler's Canary." It takes place in Denmark during World War Two and through the main character, a Danish boy, it tells the story of how the Danish citizens resisted the Nazi occupiers and smuggled the country's Jewish population to safety in neutral Sweden. "Hitler's Canary" is a piece of historical fiction that would serve our students in a myriad of ways. First it is a compelling read. Secondly it tells a very complex story on an early middle school reading level which would be very accessible to most of our ninth grade students. Finally it is a public policy success story-- how the individual, the community, and even a government take action to fight injustice in an organized, peaceful way. The difficulty that the ninth grade English teachers are facing is that our department does not have the funding to buy two class sets of this book. "Hitler's Canary" was published in March of 2007. Only hard-covers are available, no paperbacks. We simply do not have the money in our budget to buy 50 hard-cover books. I teach students who not only have never heard of the Holocaust, but have never heard of Jews, Judaism, Nazis, or anything else related to World War Two. The Holocaust is a look in the mirror at the darkest sides of all of humanity, of all of us. Holocaust history and literature is rich with stories of our failures and successes, as individuals, neighbors, citizens, and governments. Our students need to learn about this time in our history. They deserve the chance to grapple with it. The ninth grade students need the books. Our students deserve to experience the bright yellow jackets, the thickness of the pages, the pages that have the publishing information and the dedication. I want them to have the whole book, not photocopies of various chapters. I want them to experience holding the book, flipping through the pages, and stacking the books. Because of budget constraints, our school depends on the copy machine a lot. Our students lose out on the experience of handling and being comfortable with actual books because of our low budget. The content of "Hitler's Canary" is so compelling and crucial that I want my students to have the real thing: the book itself. There are only two ninth grade English teachers at my school, me and my colleague. We have a maximum of twenty-five students per class. For this reason we are asking for two class sets of the book which is two sets of twenty-five books, fifty total books. Help my students experience this story and learn about the Holocaust on a reading level that they can access. Your donation will be greatly appreciated and felt for years to come.
|Hitler's Canary Sandi Toksvig • Barnes and Noble||$15.25||50||$762.50|
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