Help me give my students copies of "All the Light We Cannot See" and "The Nightingale" for our WWII literature unit. I want them to read books with multiple perspectives - seduction and deception can be the root of hatred.
Each morning I arrive at school eager to meet my 150+ teenagers. I love hearing their perspectives on the world and what interests them most. I do have some avid readers; however, their biggest complaint is that what we are reading is outdated. They want current books that address their interests and their struggles. They are curious, interested, and are constantly thinking about the bigger world, its problems, and their solutions. They often witness racism, intolerance, and violence. They want to know not only what happens but also why and how these prejudices get into the hearts and minds of their peers. Understanding what makes us vulnerable to such strong feelings is one key to diminishing them. They are eager to be world-changers!
Elie Wiesel's memoir Night is a horrifying account of the atrocities committed against the Jews during the Holocaust. It is a powerful reminder to all of us of the hatred that exists in the world and the charge we've been given to "Never Forget." My students read Night each year; however, I want them to not only know what happened during the Holocaust but also to know why and how it can happen. What are the conditions that make people vulnerable to dictators, hatred, and violence so much so that they turn a blind eye? I want them to have access to All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale so they can better understand the seduction and deception that can lure otherwise good people into committing such heinous acts of violence. Both novels have multiple perspectives and have characters from around the world. Reading these novels will give them a much broader view of how and why we find ourselves in situations we never imagined-it can be a slippery slope.
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