Do you remember what you did in your spare time when you were in seventh and eighth grade? I remember babysitting, playing baseball in the street with my friends, swimming in my backyard pool, and wasting an inordinate amount of time trying to beat The Legend of Zelda. I was also in the school band which met once or twice a week, and I took lessons for which I was rarely prepared. Our band concerts were twice a year, and I am pretty certain our audience consisted of mainly our parents because, quite frankly, they were the only ones brave enough to subject themselves to the torturous cacophony of a junior high band concert. This experience starkly contrasts with the experience the students have in Central Middle School’s Symphonic Band.
Ok so I’m falling short of my goal of reading forty books. In my defense, two of the books I read were on the heavy side-one in terms of the sheer number of pages and one in terms of content. Navigating Early, the latter of the two, is written for junior high students, but it is not your average teen fiction. Clare Vanderpool outdid herself on this one. Her themes are so intricately woven, I may need to read it again before I even attempt to help students navigate it.
Searching for multicultural literature in this global society ought to be easy. There are millions of books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, not to mention 142 million books in the Library of Congress. Also, with the growing number of authors who write for children, finding multicultural literature for adolescents ought to be easy as well. Then why do I feel like salmon swimming upstream?