My students are readers because I try to introduce books that are exciting, stimulating, and relevant to their own lives. We hope you'll help to support our next reading adventure with Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X.
“I only know that learning to believe in the power of my own words has been the most freeing experience of my life. It has brought me the most light. And isn't that what a poem is? A lantern glowing in the dark.”
This is from the book, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, a performance poet who has inspired young people with her personal journey of self-acceptance. Acevedo early life mirrors the lives of my students in many ways and that's why it's our goal to read her story together as a class. When we read The Hate U Give last year, one of my students said, "It's like I'm reading a book about my life." This was a student whose struggle with grief and isolation had held her back. But by the end of that year, she was thriving. This is my hope for all of my students who have felt marginalized in some way; that they can aim toward self-acceptance through the love of a character that resembles themselves.
In the quote above, Acevedo talks about the power of her own words. I remember realizing that power for the first time as a student and I want my students to experience that same awesome feeling. That's why we've planned a poetry reading for after we finish the book. Inspired by Acevedo's words, students will write poems about their lives, their loved ones, and their most daring hopes for the future. They will visit the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe, workshop their writing with actual poets, and perform those poems on stage. It's an opportunity for them to know and accept the hidden strength that lies in each of them.
I care a lot about my students. In fact, my job is not just to inspire minds and to enrich learning, but also to nurture and to build trust. I do this by letting students know that they are seen and heard and that their stories matter. At the same time, it's hard to provide everything that students need with the financial limits that educators are faced with. I realize that in this time of struggle, it is not a simple request. But for those who are able, I hope that you'll help to provide this funding for a book that will allow students to see and love themselves for who they are. After all, these young people are the hearts minds that could carry us into a day.
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