Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Authors and Artists Series: Patricia McCormick visits Belmont

On Tuesday, December 20th, award-winning author Patricia McCormick visited with two groups of readers inside Belmont’s school library.  The first group, comprised of young men and women residing at Boys Town sites, prepared with their ELA teacher, Ms. Ernyey, by reading I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World.  The second group, comprised of young men residing at two different SCO sites as well as a Martin DePorres site, prepared with their ELA teachers, Ms. Nadel and Mr. Villaronga, by reading Never Fall Down.  Both groups read and discussed the respective texts, both heavily researched by Patricia McCormick, and drafted their own questions to ask the research-oriented author.  

All of us are grateful to Ms. McCormick for her generosity with her time and talent, as well as the beloved titles and enduring understandings she has made possible through her writing, and to Literacy for Incarcerated Teens for generously purchasing copies of both books for all of the participating students, faculty, and staff. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Monday, December 19, 2016

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick

Many students here at Passages have heard of Malala Yousafzai, but for those who have not, a quick mention of the fact that she was shot at close range and that a bullet entered her head and travelled down under her skin to her shoulder quickly grabs their attention.  Patricia McCormick, with whom readers may be familiar from her works of fiction based on in-depth research and lengthy interviews on the Cambodian genocide, sex slavery, self-harm, and war, has collaborated with the Nobel Peace Prize winning teenager to provide younger readers with access to Malala’s story and the context in which it unfolded: life in Pakistan’s Swat valley before the 2007 earthquake that set the stage for the Taliban to come to power and eventually issue an edict in 2009 that no girls were permitted to go to school.  

Readers may be inspired by Malala’s courageous activism while beginning to develop schema for understanding Sunni Islam and its conflict with Islamic jihadists, life in rural and urban Pakistan, and Pashtun culture.  This edition contains two sections of reproductions of color photographs which help readers visualize the Swat valley, public floggings, Malala’s everyday life, and her travels as an activist and humanitarian. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Yousafzai, Malala with Patricia McCormick.  I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World.  New York: Hachette, 2016.  Print.