I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Quick Book Talk

With the idea of teaching reading (& writing) finally a reality for me next year, I've taken the opportunity to read some teen novels - yes, even more so than usual...

1. Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver) - Groundhog Day + High School Musical + Tuck Everlasting = this book. I think that's a pretty fair mix. The main character gets into a car accident (in the first chapter - don't worry, it's not a spoiler alert) and spends the rest of the book figuring out what she needs to do to make good. She basically relives the same day 7 times, getting her epiphany/a-ha moment as she awakes the final day. At first I was put off because it seemed to glamorize popularity, underage drinking, sex, drugs, skipping classes, etc...but as the story progresses, the main character comes to realize that these things aren't all they are cracked up to be. I was pretty satisfied with how all these topics were handled, and I would highly recommend it for any high school student (or adult for that matter). You only live once...so make it count.

2. No Place (Todd Strasser) - Homelessness. Taboo topic. Not so, my friend. This book presents this issue in a very approachable and able-to-understand way. It tells the story of a (white) high school senior who is preparing next year for a full baseball scholarship to Rice University. He's a pretty popular guy, complete with a beautiful girlfriend and a number of pals. However, both of his parents come on hard times with their jobs, and they find themselves moving in with his uncle's family. But that doesn't quite work out, so they move to a tent city, Dignityville, where he meets a girl from his school and finds himself in a situation that is pretty uncomfortable. Issues are presented from both sides - the pros and cons of a more permanent homeless establishment. I think this book would be a great way to brace homelessness with high school students, especially within the context of teaching social justice or Catholic Social Teaching. There's quite a bit of truth to what was stated in the book, and I think anyone would do well to use this book as a starting place for becoming more informed about homelessness.

Happy Reading!

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