Category Archives: Diverse Characters

A Note on Diversity

When we hear the word diversity, we often think of race, which is certainly an element of diversity, but it is only a part. I included racially diverse characters such as the Native Americans in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and I’m in Charge of Celebrations. Esperanza Rising and Marisol MacDonald Doesn’t Match both feature Hispanic narrators. Grandfather’s Journey portrays Japanese characters. Yo! Yes? and Uptown have African American main characters. However, I do not believe diversity should be limited to ethnicity. Anything that makes a character feel different or apart from others can make them diverse. For example, Divergent portrays characters who are different. Something in their genes makes them diverge from the norm and they are therefore seen as a threat because they cannot be controlled in the same ways as the rest of society. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is narrated by a boy with Autism. His developmental disorder makes him act and think outside the norm. Finally, the narrator of The Perks of Being a Wallflower has suffered a mental breakdown and is dealing with depression and suppressed memories and emotions that lead him to disengage from life. These characters, though vastly different in many ways, are all outsiders for reasons beyond their control.

Diversity can be promoted and celebrated in the library by maintaining a collection that includes diverse characters, whose differences are caused by numerous elements that make them who they are. Having a shelf of African American or Latino books does not make a library diverse. The shelves throughout the library should contain the stories of characters from a vast array of backgrounds, obstacles faced, experiences, social classes and ethnicities. Books featuring characters with varying traits that make them diverse in different ways, should be included in the main collection, features in displays and read in book clubs for maximum exposure and chances of matching the right book to the right reader, so students can find themselves or learn about others in the stories they read.

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Uptown

Bibliographic Information:

Collier, Bryan (2000). Uptown. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Plot Description: The narrator, a young boy, takes the readers on a journey through Harlem. Pointing out all the people and sights along the way like chicken and waffles any time of day, the busy shopping streets, jazz music, the Apollo Theater, the barber shop, the brownstone buildings, a basketball game, church, choir practice, etc. Everything in Harlem is vibrant and full of life through the little boy’s eyes. Then night falls and it is time to return home. Harlem is his world. Harlem is Home.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: AD420L, ATOS Book Level: 2.8, Interest Level: Lower Grades (K-3), AR Points: 0.5

Qualitative Reading Analysis: Organization is clear and easy to predict. The book is illustrated with collages of photographs, paintings and drawings, which support interpretation of the text. Figurative language features prominently in the book. Metaphors are used throughout the text to say that Uptown is all its parts and the events and activities that happen there. For example, Uptown is a caterpillar or Uptown is chicken and waffles. Each page features a metaphor for Uptown and then the narrator’s explanation of the metaphor. Readers are supported in understanding the figurative language with explanations and illustrations. The journey through Harlem is told in first person narration, by a young African American boy who lives there. The register is casual, but poetic and the tone conveys a sense of pride in the narrator for his home.

Content Area: English Language Arts, Art: Mixed Media

Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Reading: Literature

Craft and Structure: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.4 Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Production and Distribution of Writing: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students discuss the use of collages to illustrate the book, then have them make collages to represent their own neighborhoods. After making their collages, students can discuss their neighborhoods and write about them. Have students analyze the use of rhythm in the story and try to use rhythm in their own writing about their neighborhood. Students can present their collage while sharing what they wrote.

Supporting Digital Content: 

http://www.teachingbooks.net/book_reading.cgi?id=3726&a=1

http://2009bookclubblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/uptown_30.html

http://www.teachersforjustice.org/2010/02/visual-arts-lesson-plan-that-allows.html

Awards: NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts; Award Winners-Ezra Jack Keats Award; Award Winners-Coretta Scott King Award/Honors; Award Winners-Marion Vannett Ridgway Award/Honor Books

Character names/descriptions: The unnamed narrator who is a young boy living in Harlem.

High interest annotation: Journey through Harlem with the joyous young narrator and see his home as he does.

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Bibliographic Information:

Haddon, Mark (2008). The curious incident of the dog in the night-time. New York: Vintage Books.

Plot Description: Christopher is a brilliant 15 year old math genius, whose autism makes some aspects of daily life, like interacting with other people, difficult. On one of Christopher’s night-time strolls through the neighborhood he discovers that Mrs. Shear’s dog, Wellington has been killed. Christopher resolves to find the killer, despite his father’s warnings to let it go. Christopher shares all his musings and the rationales behind everything he does as he takes readers along on his daily routine and attempts to sole the mysterious death. In pursuit of Wellington’s murderer, Christopher discovers clues to his own family’s secrets, which will turn his world upside down and lead him on journey.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: 1180L, ATOS Book Level: 5.4 , Interest Level: Upper Grades (9-12), AR Points: 10

Qualitative Reading Analysis: First person narrative from the point of view of a 15 year old boy who is autistic. It is told in stream of conscious, as if the narrator were telling the reader everything that he was thinking and not holding anything back. He is very straight forward and easy to understand. Even though the narrator does not lie, since he believes it is wrong, he is sometimes unreliable because he does not have all the facts or does not always understand the facts. Metaphors and sarcasm are used by adult characters, which are not understood by the narrator who takes everything literally. The vocabulary is contemporary and familiar. The narrator explains anything that would not be common knowledge (and some things that are). The sentences are mostly simple and compound, with some complex construction too. The organization of chapters are non-traditional. There are some very short chapters, less than a page even and the chapters are only prime numbers. This is because the narrator likes prime numbers, which he explains in chapter 19. The story is told chronologically, except when explicitly stated by the narrator that he is referring to something in the past. There are little graphics, charts, tables and illustrations throughout the book to help the narrator explain different concepts and events.

Content Area: English, Math

Content Area Standard: CA CCSS English Language Arts: Reading Standards for Literature 6–12 Craft and Structure

3.Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters/archetypes are introduced and developed).

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6 Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).

High School Geometry: Similarity, Right Triangles, & Trigonometry

Prove theorems involving similarity CCSS.Math.Content.HSG.SRT.B.4 Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

Curriculum Suggestions: Students can analyze the organization of the story and it’s unusual chapters. They can also compare and contrast the story with the common elements of mystery or detective genres. Have students look for examples of figurative language in the text and explain how this language is perceived by the narrator. Students can research autism to better understand what Christopher is dealing with in his everyday life. Students can incorporate art by designing a new cover for the novel or illustrating a scene from the story. Have students write about an event in Christopher’s style. Have students learn about some of the science or math concepts that Christopher talks about. For example, research formulas and rules needed to solve the triangle math problem in the appendix.

Supporting Digital Content:

http://www.randomhouse.co.nz/content/teachers/TN_CuriousIncidentOfTheDogInTheNighttime_Apr04.pdf

http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/library/books/thecuriousincidentofthedoginthenighttime.htm

http://curiousincidentunit.wikispaces.com/

Awards: Carnegie Medal, YALSA Top Ten, Costa/Whitbread Children’s Award, Alex Award, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Editors’ Choice, Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

Character names/descriptions: Christopher who is very gifted at mathematics, but struggles with day to day life. His father with whom he lives. Siobhan the teacher with whom he discusses everything. Mrs. Shear the neighbor whose dog is killed.

High interest annotation: Christopher is the fifteen year old Autistic narrator, whose search for the killer of Wellington (the neighbor’s dog), leads him to uncover secrets about his own family.

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Divergent

Bibliographic Information:

Roth, Veronica (2011). Divergent. New York: HarperCollins.

Plot Description: In a future Chicago where people are divided into factions that honor each honor different virtues: truth, service to others, friendship, knowledge and courage. Beatrice has never truly felt like she belonged in her faction. Then her aptitude test reveals the reason. She is not like the others. She does not fit nicely into one faction. She has traits of multiple factions. She is something dangerous: Divergent. Beatrice is told not to let anyone know her results. She chooses to be brave and join the fearless faction of Dauntless. Once there she becomes Tris and faces a grueling initiation process, where only the strong survive. Along the way Tris makes enemies, as well as befriending other initiates and forming a special bond with her mysterious instructor, Four. However, initiation is not the only perilous thing she must face. Tris learns some of the faction leaders are hunting the Divergent and have sinister plans for the members of both her old and new factions.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: HL700L, ATOS Book Level: 4.8, Interest Level: Upper Grades (9-12), AR Points: 16

Qualitative Reading Analysis: Includes subplots, time shifts and complex characters. Explores themes of varying levels of complexity and abstractions. There is distance between the reader’s experiences and those in the text. Experiences are unfamiliar, as they take place in a future world, but some themes and issues will be familiar, such as fitting in, finding your place, family loyalty, individuality, struggle, etc. However, most students will hopefully not have experience fighting for survival. Register is casual and familiar. Vocabulary is rarely overly academic or strange to the reader. Unfamiliar concepts and societal structures of the future world setting are explained to the narrator’s understanding of them. Sentence structure is mostly simple, compound and some complex construction. Narration is first person and reliable, but limited to the narrator’s knowledge and perspective. Genre is familiar and text is consistent with the rules of that genre. Organization also adheres to convention.

Content Area: English, Literature

Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

English Language Arts Standards: Writing

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students take an online quiz to see which faction they have traits of and then explain which faction they would chose and why. Have students draw which tattoos they would have if they were in Dauntless. Students create their own faction in groups. Analyze characters’ personalities and behaviors and why you think they make the choices they do, based on what we know about them from reading the book. Have students rewrite a scene from a different character’s point of view.

Supporting Digital Content: 

http://www.teachingtheapocalypse.com/the-apocalyptic-era-teaching–ya-lit-blog/teaching-divergent-ya-lit-ideas-and-research-projects

http://practitioner.teengagement.com/four-resources-for-teaching-divergent

http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2012/10/24/teens-top-ten-an-interview-with-veronica-roth/

http://files.harpercollins.com/HCChildrens/OMM/Media/Divergent%20DG.pdf

Awards: SLJ Best Book, Publishers Weekly Best Book

Series: Book 1 of Divergent Series

Character names/descriptions: Beatrice (Tris) the narrator who learns she is different (Divergent) and must learn to use those differences to help her society, Tobias (Four) another Divergent who is Tris’ instructor and love interest, Eric an evil Dauntless leader, Jeannie Matthews is the Erudite leader with horrific plans to control the population, Will and Christina are Tris’ new friends, Peter is her enemy

 High interest annotation: Tris learns why she has never felt like she fit in and now she must use the dangerous secret of her Divergence to save her society from destruction.

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Esperanza Rising

Bibliographic Information:

Ryan, Pam Muñoz (2000). Esperanza rising. New York: Scholastic Press.

Plot Description: Esperanza is a wealthy young girl whose family owns El Rancho de las Rosas in Mexico. All her life she has been waited on by servants and given everything she could desire. Then one day her life changes forever. Her beloved Papa is killed and his evil brothers threaten Esperanza and Mama if they do not do as they are told. So they flee to America under the cover of darkness with their former servants. In America their lives are vastly different. Mama and Esperanza live in a farm labor camp and must learn to work for a living, and work hard. At first Esperanza is left to take care of the babies while the others work, something which is very difficult for her, since she has never had to take care of herself before, let alone others. Then when Mama is taken ill, Esperanza must find the strength to work and be El Patron of her family. Set against the backdrop of Great Depression Era California and workers strikes, this is a story of family, community and hope.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: 750L, ATOS Book Level: 5.3, Interest Level: Middle Grades (4-8), AR Points: 6

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The organization of the text is clear and chronological. The conventionality of the text is fairly complex in that it employs many examples of figurative language such as similes, metaphors, and personification throughout the story to paint a vivid picture of the scenery and Esperanza’s experiences. The vocabulary is mostly familiar and conversational, including dialogue. It also has Spanish words mixed into the English narrative, but they are always in italic font, so they are easy to recognize and the English equivalent always follows. Sentences are simple, complex and compound phrases. Themes are clear, but conveyed with some subtlety. The experiences are not common to most readers, though some students will have immigrated from other countries, so be able to relate to some experiences of being new to a country and a few may know what it is like to completely start over. There are some references to historical and cultural events, such as the Mexican Revolution and the Great Depression, but everything that is essential for understanding the story is explained.

Content Area: English, Literature, History

Content Area Standard: History–Social Science Content Standards for California Public Schools

California: A Changing State-4.4 Students explain how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing the transformation of the California economy and its political and cul­tural development since the 1850s.

  1. Describe rapid American immigration, internal migration, settlement, and the growth of towns and cities (e.g., Los Angeles).
  2. Discuss the effects of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and World War II on California.

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature

Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

English Language Arts Standards: Writing

Text Types and Purposes: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.7 Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

Curriculum Suggestions: Have students research the Mexican Revolution and the Great Depression (in particular finding out about the farm workers in California and forced repatriation). Have students write a letter to Abuelita explaining what life is like in America. Analyze how Esperanza changes over the course of the novel and what brings about those changes. Have students record examples of figurative language throughout the story. Chart the ‘mountains and valleys’ of Esperanza as the story unfolds.

Supporting Digital Content: 

http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/esperanza-rising-learning-not-be-afraid-start-over#sect-introduction

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/esperanza-rising-teachers-guide

https://www.fsd1.org/schools/moore/phooss/Documents/Novel%20Studies/Esperanza%20Rising%20SB%20pdf.pdf

http://www.hbavenues.com/highpoint/library/pdf/HP_LL_TG_C5_1.pdf

Awards: YALSA Top Ten, Americas Award for Children’s Literature, Smithsonian’s Notable Book, NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, Jane Addams Book Award/Honor Books, Pura Belpré Award/Honor Book, Jefferson Cup Award/Honor, Publishers Weekly Best Book, Judy Lopez Memorial Award: Children’s Literature

Character names/descriptions: Esperanza is a young girl who loses her life of comfort in Mexico and must begin again in America. Mama is her mother who tries to be strong in her new role as head of the family, but finds it increasingly difficult. Miguel, their former servant whose family helps Esperanza and Mama escape to the US. Abuelita, Esperanza’s grandmother who stays behind in Mexico. Marta, an outspoken field worker who wants better wages for workers and helps organizes a strike.

High interest annotation: After terrible tragedy takes her father and her home, Esperanza must listen to her Grandmother’s words and rise like a phoenix from the ashes of her privileged former life to start again.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Bibliographic Information:

Chbosky, Stephen (1999). The perks of being a wallflower. Pocket Books: New York.

Plot Description: This is Charlie’s coming-of-age story, told in his own words. Through his letters to an unknown person, we see Charlie’s first year of high school. He shares his trials and tribulations, as well as his triumphs, as he tries to figuring out who he is and where he belongs in the world. After his best friend’s death the year before, he had a break down and spend time in a mental hospital. Charlie is a loner as school begins. Then he befriends a group of Seniors at a football game and slowly becomes a part of their world. Through observing and then ‘participating’ (as his favorite teacher tells him to do) he has both successful and detrimental results as he navigates high school, family relationships, friendship, acceptance and love.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: 720L, ATOS Book Level: 4.8, Interest Level: Upper Grades (9-12), AR Points: 9

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The genre is familiar. The story is a first person narrative being told in letter form to an unknown recipient. The narrator is generally reliable (but not always), with a limited point of view. He uses stream of consciousness, as if he were speaking to someone, with little asides and explanations and opinions on people and events, as he sees them. The organization is conventional, but on occasion briefly shifts to the past before returning to the main story timeline. There are subplots and time shifts as he remembers snippets of his childhood and Aunt Helen, who died when he was young. Charlie (and the reader with him), slowly uncover more about the past as the story unfolds. The characters are more complex and not always understood because the reader only knows the characters through the eyes of the narrator. I would consider the text very complex based on these attributes of text structure, but not on it’s vocabulary, which is contemporary, familiar and conversational, while the conventionality is largely explicit and easy to understand, making the language features moderately complex. For knowledge demands I would put it in very complex because there are references and allusions to other texts and cultural elements, it explores themes of varying levels of complexity and abstraction and some of the experiences will be outside of most readers experiences. There are also many experiences that readers will be able to relate to, such as grief, trying to fit in, making friends, dating, family relationships, choices about sex, drugs & alcohol. Some themes are clear, while others are more subtly revealed over the course of the novel.

Content Area: English, Literature

Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards for College and Career Readiness: Anchor Standards for Reading

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

English Language Arts Standards: Writing

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

Curriculum Suggestions: Ask students to write their own (real or imagined) narrative of a coming of age event such as the first day of high school, first date, forming of friendship, etc. Students can write a letter to themselves like Charlie’s at the beginning of the school year, telling about their hopes, fears, goals, etc for the coming year and offering advice and encouragement to themselves. Respond to one of Charlie’s letter’s as if you were the recipient. Comment on what he has told you and offer your advice. Have students research suicide in teens and suicide prevention. Write an essay on how you would help Charlie cope if he was your friend. Rewrite one of the scenes in the book from another character’s point of view. Read this book paired with another coming of age tale, such as The Catcher in the Rye and have students do a comparative analysis.

Supporting Digital Content: 

http://books.simonandschuster.com/Perks-of-Being-a-Wallflower/Stephen-Chbosky/9781451696202/reading_group_guide

http://smago.coe.uga.edu/VirtualLibrary/Stephans_2013.pdf

http://nrpatrick.iweb.bsu.edu/portfolio/resources/Artifacts-&-Rationales/The-Perks-of-Being-a-Wallflower-Unit.pdf

Awards: SLJ Best Book, ALA Notable/Best Books

Character names/descriptions: Charlie: the narrator, Sam: the girl he is in love with, Patrick: his best friend and Sam’s step-brother, Mary Elizabeth: a Goth Girl who has a romantic interest in Charlie and is Sam’s close friend, Aunt Helen: his dead aunt who he thinks of often.

High interest annotation: Starting high school is rough. Especially for shy, Charlie. Will he stay on the sidelines observing or gain the courage to take risks, find himself and fully participate in life?

Personal Notes: I enjoyed this novel and think it would be good for reluctant readers. It deals with a lot of ‘controversial’ issues and real life pressures and choices facing teens, so I think many would find it relatable.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Bibliographic Information:

Alexie, Sherman (2007). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Plot Description: Arnold (known as Junior), is a Spokane Indian boy who lives on the reservation with his parents, older sister and grandmother. He has health issues and is constantly picked on by the other Indians. His only friend is Rowdy, a tough kid. After an incident at school, Arnold is persuaded by his teacher that the only chance he has of really learning and making something of himself, is if he leaves the reservation. So he transfers to the closest school off the reservation (more than 20 miles away). The Indians on the reservation resent him for leaving and life becomes even more miserable when he is no longer just an outsider, but a traitor. He hopes his new school will make up for the ridicule he receives. Arnold gets to school any way he can: getting rides from his family (when they have gas money), hitchhiking and even walking. How will he be perceived by the white students and teachers? Will he be able to alter their perceptions? Is he destined to always be an outsider or will he find a way to connect with his new classmates and most importantly, his new crush Penelope?

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: 600L, ATOS Book Level: 4 , Interest Level: Upper Grades (9-12), AR Points: 6

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The text organization adheres to conventions and its structure is clear and chronological, with some temporary shifts in time. There are illustrations which are suppose to be drawings and comics made by the narrator, which augment the story and help explain or depict events, often in a humorous way. Different fonts, text sizes and bolding also draw the readers attention to the drawings. The language is straightforward and easy to understand. The register is familiar and casual, with a small bit of academic language during one scene with a ‘genius’ student. Some experiences may be uncommon to the reader like living in a community like a reservation, but most students will relate to feelings of grief, loneliness, wanting to fit in, etc. References to texts or cultural events are explained. Theme is clear, but also contains some subtlety. First person narration provides accurate depiction of events, but only from one point of view.

Content Area: English, Literature, History

Content Area Standard: CA CCSS Writing Standards for Literacy in History, Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects

Research to Build and Present Knowledge 8. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Curriculum Suggestions: Students research the history of the Spokane Indian Tribe. Look at maps of the Tribe’s past and current boarders. Have students create a list of their tribes, like the one made by Arnold in the book. Have students create their own illustrations or comics in one of the styles Arnold uses. Students can write an essay on what Arnold learns through the course of the book. How does Arnold cope with adversity and grief? Have students write about how they would cope with the situations Arnold faces.

Supporting Digital Content: 

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/absolutely-true-diary-part-time-indian-storia-teaching-guide

http://libwww.freelibrary.org/onebook/obop11/0_Absolutely_True_Diary_Curriculum_full.pdf

http://www.randomhouse.com.au/content/teachers/tsk%20absolutely%20true%20diary.pdf

Awards: Book Sense Book of the Year Award, Kirkus Editors Choice/Best Book, YALSA Top Ten, New York Times Best Books, BCCB Blue Ribbon Book, National Book Award, Horn Book Fanfare, Publishers Weekly Best Book, American Indian Youth Literature Award, SLJ Best Book, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award/Honors

Character names/descriptions: Arnold Spirit (Junior) a smart high school freshman who faces ridicule when he transfers from the school on the reservation where he lives in order to further his education, Arnold’s Father is an alcoholic who disappears on drinking binges, but is always there to support Arnold for his games and performances. Arnold’s Mother, Arnold’s Grandmother who loves to travel to Powwows and is very tolerant. Mary is Arthur’s older sister who hasn’t left the basement in years, Rowdy is a tough kid with an abusive father and Arnold’s best friend on the Rez, Eugene is Arnold’s Father’s best friend and an important person in Arnold’s life, Penelope the white girl Arnold loves, Roger a popular basketball player at Reardan High

Personal Thoughts: This is a coming of age story, further complicated by issues of ethnic identity. I have discussed the book with several second generation American students who easily identify with Arnold as they search for a balance between trying to belong in their family’s culture and fitting in with American culture. I think it will be a hit with students, especially at my mostly minority school.

High interest annotation: Can a nerdy, sickly Indian boy make it in the ‘white world’? Arnold plans to find out when he transfers to a school off the reservation after he figures out that he has to leave in order to follow his dreams.

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