Books, Books, and More Books!

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Books, Books, and More Books!

Richard Gill, Writer

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I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman, Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, 57 Bus by Dashka Slater,  and Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka were the four final books picked at the “Read-a-Thon” and will be voted on by Waltham High School students. I was able to read only two of the four final books – Born A Crime  and I Have Lost My Way. Both were not interesting reads but, I Have Lost My Way, fits more of the criteria given by the staff running the “Read-a-Thon.” The staff informed us that diversity in the book, and cross-curricular activities with the book in classes were two of the most important things to look for. Although, I don’t like ranking the value of characters in books based on skin color and gender. However, I see the value in being able to incorporate activities across classes with the one school one story book. In my opinion, Hey Kiddo and Born A Crime have the best chances at winning because Hey Kiddo is a graphic novel, and in respect to Born A Crime it has a good chance of winning because many students are fans of Trevor Noah. However, I find him painfully unfunny and too left of center. I think 57 Bus has no chance of winning because of the issues it brings up – hate crimes and lgbt social issues. And I Have Lost My Way has a little chance of being picked because of the more appealing choices – Born A Crime and Hey Kiddo. Moreover, I take issue with the fact that a nonfiction book was chosen for the summer reading, because traditionally summer reading has been fiction books. Also, I think it’s problematic to make the student body read Born A Crime because the author is basically a political pundit disguised as a comedian, and since Waltham High School has had some racially insensitive incidents in the past couple years, I don’t believe it would be good for healing to make the student body read a book about racism (Born A Crime). I’m under this impression because I remember when All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds, was the one school one story book, and it generated a lot of tension among the students because of it’s plot is about racism and police brutality against a young black man. In conclusion, the books picked for the summer reading are a dismal selection, and I hope the student body will be wise enough to pick Hey Kiddo if anything.