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When Other Students Bless a Book

Banned Books Week was in September. And now that it's the beginning of 2015, it seems like it was years ago. During that week, I highlighted banned titles available in the classroom library. One of those titles was Toni Morrison's Beloved. It remains one of the heaviest books I've ever read--and it's also one that has made me think about the legacies and lasting impacts of our actions.

Before winter break, I loaned the book to a twelfth grader, who also happens to be an AP English student. Their assignment over break was to read a book and come up with a question that the book is supposed to make you think about, not necessarily answer. I happened to have the student two years ago, so she came during lunch to ask for recommendations. She was expecting one recommendation, and I gave her two: Jackie Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming and Beloved.

She returned the book this past Monday during my third hour, which happens to be an English 10 class. Normally I hate being interrupted while teaching, but her enthusiasm made up for that as she announced to the entire class that the book had changed her life.

I didn't even have to give another book talk before students started asking out the novel. And since then, I've even had multiple students ask to check it out from the library. As I look over the 30+ book talks that I've given this semester, only a few have generated as much spark as this student's impromptu endorsement.

As we wrap up the first semester, students have generated their own thematic and big-idea groups about their choice books. I'm looking forward to their posters that should look something like #WeNeedDiverseBooks posters here.

Comments

  1. That feeling - the one you get when a reader comes back with bright eyes and a full heart - is quite possibly the best feeling ever. It's especially exciting when their excitement is a catalyst for other readers. I hope you're able to share the posters online eventually; it sounds like a great project!

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