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in the hoosegow

Saturday, March 07, 2009

give it to the giver

A parent challenged one of the books I assigned for the first time this year. The book is The Giver. It is a challenging book, and it has won multiple awards. I think it was a good choice for this class. We began the year with a book about a natural disaster, with some fairly gruesome descriptions of the aftermath of a hurricane. We also read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, which describes life of a black family in the south in the 1930s. We read Brian's Song. We just finished our unit on the Harlem Renaissance. I guess I am surprised that this is the first complaint I've received!

I felt differently about it than I expected to. I sympathize with the parents and I can't say I think they're wrong to try to shelter their daughter for a bit longer. On the other hand, I believe this is a terrific book to use for reading & responding. I'm having the kids keep a log of their "impressions" as we go along. I plan to have them write about their responses, both emotional and logical. Could that happen using another text? Certainly! Do I plan to move away from this book? Well, my dean and others might get to make that call, and that's okay with me. It's more important to me that they read something that is challenging than that they read this book. I am interested to see how this plays out.


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