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Posts Tagged ‘R.J.Palacio’

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

 

As many of you are, I am having trouble getting my head around another mass shooting.  What scares me most is the rhetoric that surrounds this tragic event. The talk of intolerance that perpetuates racism and fear.

I decided to look for hope.  In the midst of tragedy, we must have hope.  Hope is not denying the fear or the sadness.  Hope allows for something new to come forth.  Hope is like opening a window and hearing the cardinal singing.  Hope is smelling the fresh air after the rain and knowing a rainbow is up there somewhere.  Hope never fails.

 

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s acceptance speech at the Tony’s gives voice to what I am feeling.

We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope
and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
cannot be killed or swept aside.

From a letter written by R. J. Palacio, author of Wonder, to the school district of Round Rock on disinviting Phil Bildner to their schools:

The truth is, I’m tired of intolerance. I’m tired of the unkindness that breeds intolerance. I’m tired of the ignorance that fuels it and the fear that spreads it. We must all—authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, and school administrators—work together to stop intolerance in its tracks when we see it. Kindness can never grow where intolerance has taken root.

If all you did was watch TV news or scroll through social media, you may think that our world was in dire trouble. Terrorism, racism, hatred, intolerance…

But I look to my students, my own children, my colleagues, my friends and I see love, hope, and light. Please, please, please look for the light. Find the helpers. See the good in others. Hope is everything, my friends. Hold on tight to that feather.

hope quote

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Slice of Life Day 10.  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Slice of Life Day 10. Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

I teach gifted in a public school district. In my two schools, I am the only gifted teacher, but in my district, I am one of 6 elementary GT teachers. Yesterday, we met unofficially. We decided to start a once a month book club for reading middle grade literature. We decided that we needed to know more about what was new and what better way to learn about new kitlit than to read and discuss it. A little wine and some snacks, too.

Wonder
This first month we decided to read Wonder. A few of us had read it and loved it. Wonder is one of those important books. If you haven’t read it, you must. For me, the book has taken on new meaning through two children.

One is my nephew, Jack. Jack’s school district in Round Rock, TX. did a “One Community: One Book” project. Everyone in the community was encouraged to read Wonder. Jack is in third grade, and he wrote a letter to the author to be able to attend an event where she spoke. He told me later all about it. R.J. Palacio told the story of how she came to write Wonder. She was in an ice cream shop with her children, and a little girl with a facial deformity came in. Ms. Palacio was not happy with her reaction. She mulled it over and over. That drove her to create August.

When we read Wonder in my classroom, I did not even consider my student Brooklyn. I was reading it for all of the other reasons; it’s a great book and teaches so much about how to choose kindness in this world full of intolerance. I thought it was important to teach this point, but I didn’t even think about how Brooklyn lives like Via, Auggie’s sister, every day. Her brother and her mother are disabled. She knows the looks people give, the head turns, the feeling of being different. But Brooklyn doesn’t feel different at all. Her life is totally normal to her. She expressed this beautifully in her letter to R.J. Palacio for the Letters about Literature contest.

Like Via, I get very angry when I see someone staring at us like they paid us to put on a show. They look my family up and down, but when their eyes get down, they stay down, staring at my family’s legs. “They aren’t aliens! They are just like me and you, but their legs don’t work exactly the same.” I say this every time, but only in my head. I’ve tried to see what they see, but I just can’t see it.

Momma always told me that God gave me to her and the family for a special reason. Your book helped me to realize being different isn’t always bad. Usually, I feel like no one understands what it is like living with my family. No one understands how normal it can be. Your book changed that. You understood, and I want to tell you thank you.

Next month we have selected to read A Snicker of Magic. I haven’t read it yet, but have seen lots of good reviews. Looking forward to reading and sharing with my colleagues who love a good kidlit book, just like me.

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