Nattering Social Justice Cook: Supporting The Next Generation

Ancient village with modern kids and bubbles.

Ancient village with modern kids and bubbles.

If you don’t know about DonorsChoose, it’s a great program that lets you support individual classroom projects. I sponsored one in honor of my aunt Nona. Here’s the lovely thank you note I just got.

Dear Cat Rambo,

Thank you so much for your donation to my classroom. Having copies of Persepolis: The Story Of A Childhood has had a dramatic impact on my students as they finish their eighth grade year.

When the students received copies of a book that they were actually interested in, they felt like they were the ones in charge of their learning experience. The decision to design a unit around Persepolis was student driven. Earlier this year I noticed that students were coming to class regularly asking questions about the Middle East and Islam. In student interest surveys, the class overwhelmingly expressed a desire to learn more about these topics. So when students got copies of Persepolis, they felt as if their voices were being heard. When I started the unit, I noticed a big increase in student engagement. “I felt lucky!” Eighth grader De’jean Williams said when the class received the books. “Adults hardly ever listen to us- it’s nice when they finally do.”

The Persepolis books have provided students with a window into life in the Middle East. Students are beginning to understand the complexity of the forces shaping the region. They are deeply engaging with questions about the role of government, culture and religion influencing a society. Middle school is the time when students are first beginning to shape their world-view. Reading Persepolis is helping students in this process. As the United States gets more and more involved in the region, I am so glad that my students understanding of the region is growing.

Thanks again for your generous donation! You are truly making a difference in the lives of young people!!

With gratitude,
Ms. Founds

Want to see students reading diverse, interesting, informative reading that features protagonists like them? Find programs doing just that and help them.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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