Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi. Miles and his dad are new to NOLA when Hurricane Katrina hits and father and son must evacuate to the Superdome. Important to class: shows the complexities of father-son relationships. Important to me: reminds/teaches students about Hurricane Katrina and life in NOLA.
Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall. Selina is a Barbadian immigrant to NYC whose mother craves the American dream and whose father longs for Barbados. Important to class: Caribbean voices are seldom heard in an English classroom. Important to me: for the above reason.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Follows the orphaned Baudelaire siblings as they combat their nemesis, Cout Olaf. They come up against a rather bleak series of events in doing so. Importance to class: shows how no matter how bad your life gets, there is always something worth living for. Importance to me: shows the importance of family and sibilings
Emma by Jane Austen. Emma is a romantic and self-appointed matchmaker with the best of intentions, but some times her execution is a little off as she learns about love and friendship. Importance to class: considered a classic that offers a good insight to an age-old theme of male-female relationships. Important to me: can engage students with classical lit b/c of its timeless theme of dating and marriage.
Something Rotten by Alan M. Gratz. A retelling of Hamlet in modern times. Important to class: makes Shakespeare accessible to students who may hate the Bard, while putting the story in tems that they may be able to understand in a move obvious way. Important to me: Shakespeare + modern fiction = win
Rikers High by Pal Volponi. Martin is accused of a crime and subsequently incarcerated but later allowed to attend high school in prison, where he meets a teacher who believes in him. Important to class: shows the hardships of prison life and the school-to-prison pipeline. Important to me: shows the positive influence teachers can be in their students' lives