Anger is a Gift

Moss sat up and glanced over at Martin. “No, I didn’t! I don’t remember that at all.” Martin laughed. “Man, you were a mouthy kid,” he said. “You know you refused to sit in a booster seat?” “You’re kidding, man.” Martin shook his head. “You said you wanted a seat like all the others. You were grown, you said. So you wanted a cut just like them. And your dad supported you, too. He loved how much it annoyed me.” “Sounds like Papa,” Moss said, and he sighed. “I miss him so much.” “Me too, Moss,” said Martin, and he sighed. “Me too.” “I don’t remember that day,” said Moss. “I guess there’s a lot I don’t know.” “We all have memories of your father,” Martin said.

Oshiro, Mark. Anger Is a Gift (p. 388). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition.

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro is a smoldering pain to fire novel: I won’t reveal any spoilers save for one: read it, and then please pay close attention to the author’s recommendations for other readings.*

Some ideas for introducing this novel, and helping students lead discussions:

Text Pairings:*

Teen Vogue: Don’t Teach Kids How to Survive Police Encounters: Train Cops to Deescalate

Another Black Teen’s Death by Police Brutality Drew Hundreds to Protest in Pittsburgh


Are police departments working on deescalation?

Should teachers also be train in deescalation?

The school administrators were complicit in many of the events of the novel. Consider exploring the school systems of institutionalized racism that create the deadly and damaging consequences.

Regarding the novel: What do you think happened to the school administration? What was their role in the events? Esperanza’s parents: intent versus impact discussion.

The Passage of I-940 (Seattle)

The How and Why of Trauma Informed Teaching

One last note: Oshiro recommends reading The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler and I could not agree more. Read this now, and then read Anger.