Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Let me introduce you to Melinda. She is entering her first year of high school, she has no friends and has lost her ability to really speak her mind. Over the summer she attended a party and things got out of hand. Melinda called the police and as a result lost her way of life. She is trying to navigate 9th grade amidst the chaos of high school cliques, failing grades, a secret and her inability to SPEAK.
Enter Mr. Freeman, the art teacher. His assignment for the year is to choose a topic out of the hat and focus on that topic for the year. Melinda draws Tree. Now, look at the book cover, it SPEAKS volumes. Next look at the name of the art teacher. Freeman. He is going to be special to Melinda as are the students in this class.
This book won a Printz honor in 2000. In my opinion it took an honor for its memorable characters, realistic portrayal of high school, and the subject matter of the book which sadly happens to too many young women nowadays. The story made me laugh, cry and think about the power of teachers to change lives.
As a inner city high school teacher I see many wounded teens sitting in my class trying to blend into the background. As a parent and a teacher, I want to remind everyone that if your child is failing classes, something is going on and you need to find out what it is. Whether it be social, emotional or mental, failing a class or classes is really a cry for help in my opinion. Have a meeting of the minds with all you students teachers, counselors, social worker etc, to problem solve. Did you know that most schools have social workers and can help your child in many ways? Please help your teachers help your child, work with the teacher and not against the teacher for the benefit of the child.
Books have the uncanny ability to change lives and make you SPEAK your mind!
Where will this book go? I put it on my bookshelf in my classroom when school starts.