This year my department added a YA unit to our To Kill a Mockingbird unit. We worked together to find titles that we felt would fit with the different issues and themes present in To Kill a Mockingbird. We ended up choosing a variety of novels that dealt with issues like racism, homosexuality, maturity, the stigma of teen pregnancy, etc. I was really impressed by the connections my students made when they read their chosen books. One of the activities I put together involved them working together with their book group to form spine poems about the book they chose to read. This activity went over really well with my YA Lit class as well. For this post I chose a few poems from each class and have them organized by book.
This might look like an “easy” assignment, but it was incredibly engaging and thought-provoking. Quite a few students created their poems quickly and went on to create more. Most of my students debated with their groups on how the poems should be “written.” They discussed which titles to use, which order they should go in, and if they were representing their ideas with enough detail. It created a disaster in my room, but it’s too much fun to let that stop me from doing this again and again in my classroom.
**Warning–Some of the explanations are spoilers.**
Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg (Goodreads)
Created by: Jimmy, Kylee, & Na-Kiahya
Explanation: He couldn’t help that people found out he was gay after he was exposed. He realizes how he lied. He thought he was in love, but he’s unsure.
Created by: Josh S.
Explanation: Bobby realizes he’s gay, which makes him uncomfortable. He wonders if he should come out to his friends and embrace it.
Created by: Percy, Christian, Hannah
Explanation: He’s trapped in his silence but he’s in love. He decided not to lie because of football, and consequently most of his team was behind him and his confession.
Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff (Goodreads)
Created by: Chloe
Explanation: It’s crazy if Jolly stays in her house. She feels trapped between being the best mom she can be and finding a job. She lets opportunities pass by and then comes back and starts to get her life on track.
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupula (Goodreads)
Created by: Kayli, Elizabeth, & Marissa
Explanation: The story of a girl,where the girl meets a boy and the rules of attraction make things change. She ends up lovesick and trapped. Her life is ruined until something like fate makes it perfect.
Created by: Allie and Alicia
Explanation: We chose That Summer because that’s when everything started. we chose Things Change because everything starts to change in her life. We chose Girl Meets Boy because when they met she later got pregnant. We chose Lying Game because everything in her life–family and friends–gets caught up in lies. We chose Betrayed because Delaney betrayed Miranda. We chose The Fault in Our Stars because everyone was putting each other at fault. We chose Tell Me a Secret because there are many secrets in this book. We chose Something Like Hope because Lexi gives her hope, and hope for her life being okay and her family.
Luna by Julie Anne Peters (Goodreads)
Created by: Felicia, Kevin, & Tyler
Explanation: We thought that Crazy, Impulse, and Revolution went together as Luna’s way of having her revolution (changing) into a girl permanently. The Living Dead Girl in her being Luna who has been oppressed and forced to stay quiet since Liam spawned her. And Exposed meaning that this girl living in secret has come out of the shadows and from now on is going to show her true self.
Created by: Lori, Shaylyn, & Ryan
Explanation: Luna is tormented and marked by being trapped in the wrong body. When she dresses like a girl it becomes clear. She switches bodies and becomes perfect.
Created by: Ana
Explanation: Liam feels like he truly should have been a girl, so he’s the king of screw ups. The girl inside of him is being held hostage then is exposed.