Help me give my students a modern coming of age novel. It follows a young girl growing up in Zimbabwe, and then her journey when she moves to Michigan, dealing with identity and what "home" really means.
Everybody loves a good story, and my students are no exception. My students crave stories; they want to hear stories similar to their own lives, stories that defy their own path, stories that give them hope, and stories that break their heart.
These kids are deeply connected and affected, and the more stories I can give, the better adults they’ll become.
Many of my students have lives with deep tragedy, and I want to give them stories that show they’re not alone. For others, I want to show how incredibly blessed they are. Story-telling is how I teach them about humanity.
I teach at a school in a rural district. I have a growing number of students of color, which means I need more diverse literature than what's currently in the canon. Students vary from highly educated, affluent parents, to those who come from single-parent homes or foster parents. I have students who don't blink twice when receiving an expensive holiday present, and those who aren't sure where they're sleeping that night. Needless to say, the vast differences in my students means they need diverse reading material.
We Need New Names is the final novel in my junior level IB class--it is the perfect novel to explore America's new coming of age story: one of an illegal immigrant. The young girl moves from Zimbabwe to Michigan, expecting to live her life like a celebrity, and finds out that the "American Dream" isn't easily handed out, especially for someone who is on the "outside." Students will explore topics such as identity, culture, and representation.
This book is so important because it tackles race and gender representation.
In a country currently divided on several different fronts, this book opens up the conversation for one to recognize the humanity in everyone, not just those who come the same background as you.
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