Supporting Students Struggling with Adversity

Posted by Big Universe on Jan 12, 2015 11:00:50 AM

It would be nice to think that all of our students come to class happy, healthy, well-fed, loved, and prepared to learn. But they don't. No matter what district we teach in, what region, what socio-economic bracket, or racial make-up, the fact is that our students deal with a lot of life outside of our classrooms. Their parents divorce or lose their jobs, loved ones die or fall ill, they are victims of violence, abuse or neglect, they're bullied or experience racism or sexism. Or they don't have enough food to eat at home. Or sometimes, even, they don't really have a home. All of these things deeply impact a student's ability to learn.

And there's not much that we, as teachers, can actually do to help them. If we even do recognize what a particular student is struggling with. But probably the most powerful thing that we can do for kids is to give them books that can help them make sense of what they're going through. In honor of mental illness awareness month, I wanted to come up with a list of books that we could hand to teens who are struggling.

 

Otherwise
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Otherwise

by Linda Oatman High (author) © 2014
Linda is a friend of mine and a fearless writer. In this verse novel, a law has been passed. There will be no more genders. Everyone must appear gender neutral. No more boys. No more girls. Just Otherwise. Same bland clothes. Same fuzzy heads. Spark dreads the countdown leading up to the finality of the new laws passage. Her parents are for it. Theyre tired of conforming to societys standards. But they allow her to take off for a quick camping trip to gather her thoughts. At the campsite, she meets Whistler. And the attraction is instant and mutual. But who is Whistler? And what is Whistler? Boy? Or girl? This gender-bending story in verse will make readers question everything they thought they knew about love, chemistry, and cultural norms.
Bi-Normal
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Bi-Normal

by M.G. Higgins (author) © 2013

Sometimes we find ourselves on a gravel road, not sure of how we got there or where the road leads. Low-level teen fiction tackling tough and gritty topics like foster care, rape, teen pregnancy and more. Series contains a silver medal winner for the Independent Publishers Book Award. Each eBook is approximately 200-pages. Lexile Levels: 390 to 400. Brett Miller is one of the kings of Elkhead High. Everyone knows the kings rule the school. Football stars. Pretty girls. The in-crowd. Brett and his buddies are the tormentors; nobody messes with them. His life seems perfect, Normal. His girlfriend Jillia is hot. He loves her. He imagines marrying her someday. Then Brett meets Zach…

Breaking Point
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Breaking Point

by Janice Greene (author) © 2010

The boys claim that they were only kidding. But their harassment pushes one girl right to the edge.

 

No Exit
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

No Exit

by Janice Greene (author) © 2010
Homeless street kids find refuge in the most unusual place. It’s great to have food and a bed- but is it worth their freedom?
Fat Boy
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Fat Boy

by Janice Greene (author) © 2010

At Carmichael High, the bullies always get their way. Would it be a different story if their victims joined forces?

 

Sounds of Terror
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Sounds of Terror

by Anne Schraff (author) © 2010

Cindy lives in a fancy gated community. Philip lives in a tacky trailer park. Which of them comes from a loving home?

Tough Girl
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Tough Girl

by Janice Greene (author) © 2010

To Wesley Chan, Zoe is beautiful in spite of her messy hair, ragtag clothes and smart mouth. His parents disapprove of their relationship.

 

Blood and Basketball
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Blood and Basketball

by Janice Greene (author) © 2010
Dale has a chance to “go pro” right out of high school. Will he make the grade? In spite of his youth, his skills are superb. Only his trouble-making brother stands between Dale and his lifetime dream. But his brother is all the family he has.
Dark Suspicions
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Dark Suspicions

by Anne Schraff (author) © 2012
Cesar Chavez HS Series—Everyone’s a little nervous after a drive-by in the barrio. But then comes news of another shooting, and it hits very close to home for Ernesto Sandoval. After Naomi’s neighbor and fellow senior, Roxie Torres, is shot, a homeless drifter is arrested. But Ernesto thinks Roxie is a liar.

 

Outrunning the Darkness
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Outrunning the Darkness

by Anne Schraff (author) © 2010
Harriet Tubman HS Series— Sereeta Prince is a honey-skinned beauty with glossy, black curls making little halos around her face. Jaris Spain has been in love with her since junior high. Now his feelings are growing even stronger. But she seems to look right through him like he is made of plastic wraps.
Like a Broken Doll
Kids' Book Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing

Like a Broken Doll

by Anne Schraff (author) © 2011
Harriet Tubman HS Series— Accusations fly when a string of thefts hit Tubman High School. Suspicion falls on Sereeta Prince, whose family life is unraveling, sending her into a deep depression. Treated like a stranger by her mother, an enemy by her stepfather, and like a thief by her classmates, she retreats to a place where even Jaris is not welcome.

 

 

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Reading Lists, Literacy

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