Recommendation Needed: Af-Am Coming of Age Story

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by Beowulf, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

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    Nov 27, 2006

    Greetings! I'm new here. I teach h.s. English, and am looking for a "coming of age" short story or novella, preferably by an African-American author. We just read To Kill A Mockingbird, and the next novel that I planned to teach in connection with TKAM is in short supply. The inventory list does not match what I have on the bookshelf.

    My school is primarily African-American, and everything we have read thus far is by white or Latino authors, so I am looking for something more reflective of the culture and experiences of my students.

    Much obliged,
    Beowulf
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Nov 27, 2006

    Hi, Beowulf, and welcome to AtoZ. I teach 5th so I can't be of too much help. What about Black Like Me or - ooh this is a good one - The Color of Water - that fairly recent book written by a black man raised by his white mother. I don't know if that would be too 'charged' for you kids. Check it out for appropriateness.
     
  4. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

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    Nov 27, 2006

    Thanks for the reply :D I'll look into those suggestions. Nothing is too charged for my class, as long as the controversial nature isn't gratuitous.
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oh no, it is a beautiful book. It is by James McBride.
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Right now I'm reading Cry, the Beloved Country the classic about South Africa in the 1940s. Have you thought about something like that?
     
  7. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Movie suggestion: "Brother Future."
     
  8. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

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    Dec 1, 2006

    The Color of Water looks really interesting. I think I'll pick it up for myself. There are two books called Black Like Me, one by John Griffin and one by Jocelyn Emana Maxine.

    I'm hoping to find something relatively short that I can get quickly. Those books all sound great, but they're too long. A short story would be ideal, or perhaps I can approach it through poetry.

    Huge thanks for the help, and if anyone has additional suggestions I'd be glad to hear them.
     
  9. smarkham01

    smarkham01 Companion

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    Last edited: Dec 2, 2006
  10. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Dec 3, 2006

    You might want to get Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Virginia Hamiltom. It talks about an African American Family during the Great Depression and it is a very good coming of age story. Black Boy by Richard Wright is another good one. Terry G.
     
  11. Raising3boys

    Raising3boys Companion

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    Dec 3, 2006

    I am not sure of the reading level of your students, however what about Christopher Paul Curtis books?The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 or Bud Not Buddy? Both of the books are class favorites and leads to wonderful discussions.
     
  12. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

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    Dec 3, 2006

    Awesome input! Thanks!
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dec 3, 2006

    Those are at a 5th - 6th grade level, though.
     
  14. kris007

    kris007 Rookie

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    Dec 29, 2006

    Anything by Maya Angelou is great! She has some great poems that you could throw into the unit.
     
  15. logan_morgan

    logan_morgan Rookie

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    Dec 30, 2006

    If you are interested in a short story, Donald R. Gallo does some excellent compilations of short stories by current authors. I don't know of anything specifically related to your needs, but he has compiled stories around themes, such as history, sports, etc. I teach 6th grade and many of the stories are too mature for my kids, but all are excellent. I found his books in my local county library
     
  16. mrsk

    mrsk Rookie

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    Jan 9, 2007

    I loved "The Ways of White Folks" ( collection of short stories) by Langston Hughes. He wrote a lot of short stories in addition to his poetry. Many of his poems have a "blues" rhythm to them which could be fun to tie to some music. He is one of my favorites. You can also touch on the Harlem Renaissance with it.
     
  17. Ms_Bindergarten

    Ms_Bindergarten New Member

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    Jan 9, 2007

    Life Changing Memoir...

    This book flew into my mind when I read your post. The book is Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody. I read this book in college however, it was a fast, easy read and very appropriate for high school. Anne real name Essie Mae (you find out why the name change in the book) writes of her struggles, triumphs and heartbreak in the book. After I read this book my perception of history, my life up till 21 years old AND my future had changed FOREVER.

    Hope this helps...
     
  18. mrsk

    mrsk Rookie

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    Jan 9, 2007

    That was a great book. I agree.
     

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