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Ms. Pigford from Newark NJ is requesting books through DonorsChoose, the most trusted classroom funding site for teachers.

Singing Through Literature

Help me give my students a more relevant and socially conscious text! Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, "Sing, Unburied, Sing," uses imagery and poetic language to expose the societal issues that plague our country now.

  • $420 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Celebrating Black History Month

This project is part of the Black History Month celebration because it supports a Black teacher or a school where the majority of the students are Black.

My Students

My English class is a 10th grade class of passionate and engaging students located in Newark, NJ. The school itself is a mix of kids from all over, with a high enrollment of Latino/a, Portuguese and African-American students. The kids are passionate about reading and writing, and love an active discussion.

So as you can see, my students are a pretty awesome and diverse group of incredibly talented 10th graders.

Here we focus on developing their reading and writing skills as they prepare for junior year, SATs, college and beyond. 10th grade year is all about exploring the concept of dystopia -- especially looking at fictional examples transformed into real life concepts. I would like to offer my students with more relevant and socially aware texts to strengthen our unit.

My Project

Each year, I struggle with helping my students navigate the world of literature. Practicing analytical skills and developing thought-provoking questions are skills that students need in order to excel in college. While teaching George Orwell's "1984" to my students, I had an epiphany. I realized that while Orwell succeeds in exposing issues that are timeless and thought-provoking, he doesn't focus on the impact of racial tensions in our society.

These books will give my kids a chance to realize that their narratives are strong and should not be silenced.

"Sing, Unburied, Sing," uses beautiful and poetic language to help highlight the injustices facing our world today, while opening their eyes to the joys of magical realism. Written by a woman of color, the story succeeds in highlighting the significant aspects of the culture of POC, while also balancing a critique of slavery in America and the American prison system. 10th grade year focuses on the topic of dystopian literature and while fictional, "Sing, Unburied, Sing," helps students realize the critical and dehumanizing aspects of our world that aren't so fictional.

This year was my first year teaching it. It has been a pleasure watching my kids engage with the text critically without having to push them; they genuinely enjoy the book. I've received emails from my students exclaiming to me how much the book made them cry or how they wanted to research the prison system in Parchman, MI to understand more about the conflict. It has been truly rewarding and I can only hope to give all of my classes (not just one!) the same experience.

Ms. Pigford
Grades 9-12

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel • Amazon Business $9.19 35 $321.65

Materials cost


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Total project cost


Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Total project goal


How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


11 Donors


Donations toward project cost


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Project Activity

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