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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Two great stories -- but I am afraid you probably can't use either one in your classroom.

Kim, Derek Kirk (2011) Same Difference  New York:  First Second

This is a great story about a guy who has always regretted his decision not to go to the prom with a blind girl.  Later, while helping his quirky friend with a situation she got into by messing with her housemate's mail from his ex-girlfriend, he runs into the blind girl again.  What happens next is a heartwarming and heartbreaking and quirky and interesting tale that does a great job of developing themes of prejudice and preconceptions for both Asian people and those who are blind. 

But here is the problem, the book contains a fair amount of vulgar language, some sexual references and some sexual imagery.  Also a lot of smoking.  And that is a shame because I don’t think any high school teacher could get away with keeping this in their classroom – even if they were very careful of which students they loaned it out to, sooner or later a parent objection could get very ugly.

Still, it is a good book.  You might want to read it for yourself and decide.

Fialkov, Joshua Hale; Tuazon, Noel; Keating, Scott  Elk’s Run. New York:  Villard.   Very interesting book – set in Appalachia somewhere – a band of moralist Christian separatists live a life free from the influence of television or radio or modern media in a valley accessible only through a single highway tunnel.  When a mob-based “justice” killing threatens to bring the attention of the outside world on the idyllic community, young John and his friends try to escape to the outside world, and on the way find some of the secrets of the town’s founders.   

            This is a really interesting story, but like Same Difference, there are so many vulgar words that there is no way it could be used in class, or even be a part of a classroom library.  Sigh. 

By the way, I start teaching next Thursday.  I'll try to keep up with postings, but if you want to save yourself the trouble of having to check this blog from time to time, sign up to be a follower on the side over there.  If you do that I think you get email notifications or something.  But they don't try to sell you stuff.  Honest.


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