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Relevance

Relevance to Students: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

  • "I'm not Chinese, so why is this book important to me?"
  • It may help you answer/reflect on questions such as the following:
    • Where is your family from originally (what country/countries; what part of the United States)? How and why did your family come to the place where you now live?
    • What aspects of your family's culture do you still use (celebrations, language, food, religious traditions)? What have you adapted? What has been lost?
    • Have you ever had difficulties in translation within your family? What kinds and why? This may occur even if everyone in your family speaks the same language.
    • Do your expectations for your life differ from your parents' expectations for you?

Relevance to Students: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

  • "I'm not Mexican-American, so why should I read this book?"
  • Have you ever hoped to escape the surroundings in which you were brought up?
  • Have you ever felt sexually exploited? (Recent research shows that 1 in 5 adolescent girls has felt sexual pressure/abuse from a boyfriend.)
  • Have you ever vowed to fulfill your dreams even when you see others falling back on theirs?
  • Have you ever seen your parents work so hard that they were too tired to pay attention to you?

Relevance to Students -- When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

  • “I'm not Puerto Rican, so why would I want to read this book?
  • Have you ever had to deal with mean or unfair teachers who judged you before getting to know you?
  • Have you ever had difficulty mastering a skill in one of your classes?
  • Have you ever questioned your beliefs?
  • Have you ever had to spend a week or more with a relative you hardly knew?
  • Have you ever had to cope with the death of a grandparents?
  • Have you ever had to go to a new school where the teachers and students did not welcome you with open arms?
  • Have people ever called you names because of where you live, what you look like, how you dress, or how you speak?
  • Have you ever enjoyed the forbidden fruit of overhearing adults gossiping about things they don't want you to know?
  • Do your parents work very hard because they want you to have a better life than they had?
  • Do your parents expect you to take care of your younger brothers or sisters, sometimes without regard to your needs?
  • Have your parents ever accused you of not living up to their expectations?
  • Have you ever cried because you heard your parents arguing?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you NEED to read these books!


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