I’ve had two days of class so far, and I am just in love with the course I’m taking! I mean, I was pretty much destined to love taking a class called Social Justice in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, but I want to reiterate how great it is. If nothing else, it’s really exciting to have somewhere in real life to talk about books. 😀 (I would join a book club, but I feel like mostly book clubs don’t read the kinds of books I’d like to. And anyway, school is like a really expensive book club in itself, lol.)
One of the projects we’re doing this summer is creating presentations for the books we’re reading. Everyone in the class is covering two of the texts, and I’m the first one going! So next Wednesday, I’ll be doing a 15-minute presentation on the diary of Anne Frank–and later in the semester, I’ll be presenting on Laurence Yep’s The Traitor. I picked Anne Frank because I’ve always been interested in Holocaust literature and The Traitor because it’s set in the Old West ca. 1885.
I’m a little nervous, because I really want to make a splash with my presentation–after all, I’m the first to go, and I think I’m the only one the professor doesn’t know from a previous class. So my work will really speak for me here. Luckily, I do have the week to do it, and my roommate assures me that I create good presentations. 🙂
These are the topics I’ll be covering:
- Historical/social/political/cultural context of the texts – Obviously, I’ll talk about the Holocaust. I plan also to point out the long (long, long, long) history of anti-Semitism in Europe.
- Authors’/illustrators’ biographies – Luckily, Anne covers some of this in the book. 😀 But I’ll talk about the Franks’ lives before they went into hiding, the fact that Margot Frank also kept a diary that has been lost to history, and Otto Frank’s life afterwards. I’ll also mention the fact that both Anne and her father did some editing of the diary.
- Reception of the text (reviews, awards, criticisms) – Did you know that some people claimed that Anne’s diary was a forgery? Spoiler alert, a lot of them were Holocaust deniers and probably weren’t very pleasant people. I’ll talk about that as well as the text’s continuing popularity (including adaptations), use in schools, scholarly articles, etc.
- Censorship and access issues – Anne Frank’s diary has been challenged in schools as recently as this year. People generally want to censor the book because the unexpurgated version includes some fairly frank (if you’ll pardon the word choice) discussions of periods, breasts, and sexuality.
- Programming ideas – There are obvious choices here, such as “children and the Holocaust,” “life in dangerous times,” and “famous Jewish people.” But there are also options like “diaries, fact and fiction” and “teen memoirs and autobiographies.” I’m still thinking about additional ideas for ways to incorporate Anne Frank into library materials, but I really like the idea of pairing her with Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Pregnancy Project.
That’s what I’ve got so far! In addition to finishing rereading it, I’m reading Tofu Quilt and Jane Adams: Champion for Democracy.