My district recently adopted some more current novels, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely among them. I’ve had this novel since its publication, and while it didn’t collect any dust, I made sure to read as much as I could. Well, now it’s time to dive in with my students. While I went rogue my first year in the district, and “taught” Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, it was the first novel my MLL students had read since elementary school. I was even fortunate enough to go hear him speak that fall and wanted to bring my students, but my principal wouldn’t approve the $200 bus fee. (Yes, I’m still salty.) Recently he saw All American Boys on my desk, asked if I had read it, and said we’re about to–he shared that he and his wife listened to it, and his wife had an emotional response. (I did mention that Jason Reynolds was the author I and the librarian went to see…in a not-so-subtle way.)
Here is the photo with Jason Reynolds, and he autographed copies for me, and yes, I am still over the moon to have heard him speak and meet him:
I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, my students now can write him a letter and see if he wants to stop by our little alternative high school.
And I can’t help but think — All American was published in 2015; in YA years, this could be considered a ‘long time ago.’ But it’s tragically just as relevant and needed now in 2022. White supremacy continues to grab and hook its tentacles into every aspect of our lives, from #CRT, Women’s Health Care, police brutality, and trying to begin to heal from #COVID, Texas’s inhuman and cruel treatment of trans kids and their guardians/parents, and the absolute nightmare of the Trump years.
So — this kind of helped me see the bigger thoughts — take some time to read Ijeoma Olua