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What Students Are Saying About: Climate Change, Young Adult Novels and Snail Mail

Eye-opening books

I have read one book in particular that has helped me make sense of the things that people face in the world everyday. The book is called “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” The book is about a teenage boy, Charlie, who is learning to cope with the death of his best friend. He sends anonymous letters to a person who he has never met. Throughout the fictional novel, Charlie write letters about the emotional pain he feels. He falls in love, loses his first love, loses friends, he even learns about his dark past … The novel helped me understand how many people go through many tradedies, but some people can over come those challanges.

Courtney W., Fannin County Middle School

When I read To Kill a Mockingbird, I realized that the issues that many people of color face today are not new, but they have been going on for a while. It also made me understand that I don’t have to follow or believe in the “popular” opinion or whatever the majority of people tell me to believe in. I can be like Atticus and stand up for what is right even if I know that I won’t win …

I have definitely found that reading fictional novels that contain real life issues in them has helped me not so much just understand our world better, but it has consoled me with the fact that I am not alone and that some people go through the same things I go through and that some people feel the same way I do.

Yessenia, Rhode Island

Personally, reading fiction has molded me into what I exist like as of today … Particularly, I would like to mention a book,‘Tuesdays with Morris’ by Mitch Albom, which really struck me. The story itself revolved around two men, with a vast age gap, however one with life lessons that I can without a doubt say has impacted me the most. You never find books these days that really focus upon just accepting important aspects of life and then entirely letting it go in order to continue with everything. There’s a part where Morrie says, “I embrace aging”, which really inspired me to think that this can be applied on death. Death itself can happen at any given moment and to accept that everyday is a new day where you have to accomplish something whether small or monumental really preps you for your day to day lives, when you take things for granted.

Maryam S, Islamabad

Right now I am reading “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” by Hank Green, and It has impacted how I see social media and “influencers” … In his novel the main character April becomes viral overnight. She has spent her life avoiding social media, but now is forced to confront all of it first hand. Initially a design student who marketed products, now she must market herself.

From a first person perspective, Green shows how April feels about this rise to fame, the addictiveness of social media ,and the impact it has on her. This allows me to understand fame from a different perspective and not from only the consumer. Often is it that we see the good side of fame: the brand deals, the discount codes, the viral tweets, and even the scandals. Yet there is still a big disconnect between the consumer and “influencer” as we adapt to the internet, and Hank Green meditates on it. Therefore the novel allows me to more easily reflect on our society’s culture and way we handle it.

Kelsie Dakessian, Massachusetts

Reading about sensitive topics in school

One book that really stuck out to me and forced me to learn more about abusive relationships was Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. I had heard stories from people or from just watching the news about abuse, but actually reading a story about a girl who felt she was trapped in an abusive relationship really opened my eyes to how horrible abuse truly is, even if the story was fictional. I believe these types of novels allow people to experience certain aspects of life, both negative and positive, that they may not have a good understanding of.


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