The theme of my middle school classroom this year is "Find Your Voice: Youth Speak out." I teach English as a Second Language and intervention classes for struggling readers.
I passionately believe my students hold the keys to changing our challenging world.
My students are primarily English Language Learners, and many also receive special education services. They are overwhelmingly Latinx, busy exploring who they are while expanding the idea of what it is to be a young person in America.
Recently, I read two books that took my breath away: "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas and "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. These young adult novels moved me to tears at their beauty, pain, and depth of emotion. I was reminded of the confusion and significance of being a young person in our current era.
One of my greatest joys in life is reading, and I want to help my students experience this joy through stories rooted in self-love and truth.
"The Hate U Give" and "Aristotle and Dante" will give my students a mirror to reflect on their own realities as they grapple with their own coming-of-age stories. "THUG" tells the story of a young Black woman navigating racism, police brutality, and activism on a journey of self-discovery after experiencing a traumatic loss. "Aristotle and Dante" beautifully introduces readers to two Latinx young men growing up in El Paso while struggling with anger, masculinity, and sexuality.
Throughout our time reading these books as a class, youth will participate in group discussions and have opportunities to write reflections on what speaks to them from each novel respectively.
I know these books will inspire my students' hearts and minds, just as they have inspired mine.
Thank you for your time and support. It means the world.
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