This book we have banned from all classrooms. Even AP and Honors classrooms (classes that you choose to take). Never thought it would happen in our community.
So, of course, I ordered the book. Tomorrow night they are addressing the issue again and I'd like to get through as much of it as possible. Bonus point: it has cartoons! The protagonist makes sense of his senseless world by drawing cartoons (rendered by the illustrator listed above)*.
So far I've laughed out loud, teared up, gotten angry. I say good things for a book to invoke.
And it made me sad as I remember First Nation kids coming to our tiny village in Canada to go to high school. Two hours away, by boat, from their families. They lived with families in our village. The boys played basketball, the girls hung together in a clique and the only time they spoke to me was to call me a 'f'ing b*tch'. So there wasn't much interaction between the groups... why didn't our gov't (BC Provincial) provide the funds so they could go to school and stay home with their families? I can't imagine the stress they were under, living with strange people, going to school with teenagers who are at the worst age to be inclusive and compassionate.
Would a book like this helped? Would it have allowed the boys to speak and the girls to open to friendship? As I recall we were reading the Horatio Hornblower series and The Old Man and the Sea (good books for a village trapped by an ocean). I'd like to think we would have, at least, chipped away at the icy wall between the two groups of kids, helped us grow a bit, open our world.
Isn't this what a good book is supposed to do - invoke thought and discussion? There are discussion questions at the end of the book. I bet there are teacher guides out there.
I'm going to try and get to the meeting and the candidates' meeting that follows the next week.
There is time enough for a lot of classic literature, landmark literature, books that follow the ever changing benchmarks and prepare kids for the ever changing high stakes tests. There should be room for a book (with cartoons!). Or, at least, the choice to include whatever book the teacher and the language department decides will meet their goals. After all we are demanding expertise in the subject area, demanding master's degrees, demanding jumping through qualifying standards and tests, demanding continuing education - and we're going to second guess every single book???
* Trying to remain as anonymous, and non-searchable, as possible. Really, I'm not paranoid - much.