Growing up is hard for everyone. It's the fight to balance one's youth with the inabilities to be taken seriously because of the limit that comes with young age. Then, you add on hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Let's not forget to throw in a family, friendships, and one's crush.
Quickly, you can see how things become complicated and hard to balance. We get it. We were there. We had to learn to balance all that was on our plates.
But for some youth, things are harder to balance. They instead are faced with difficult situations. Situations that are often unfair and way beyond what they should be even dealing with at their young ages. Situations like hard home lives, loss of loved ones, or questions about things deep within themselves.
One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock tells the story of two girls that are struggling with questions about themselves and their sexuality. They each have questions and truths that they know would bring shame to their families and provide each of them with difficult futures.
One True Way is a story set during the 1970’s. It is based on the lives of Allie and Sam as they navigate the challenges of growing up in a conservative town in South Carolina.
From the moment they meet, Allie and Sam just click. They just get each other, and they quickly become inseparable.
It takes a while, but soon, Allie and Sam come to terms and admitted to each other why they feel connected. They are in love, and now they have to find a way to be together. But, they also have to find a way to be accepted in their ultra-conservative community.
I am a true believer that the books within a child's life should reflect who they are and what they are going through within their lives. To me, that means it is my responsibility as an educator to have a diverse classroom library. My classroom needs to be full of books about all different races, ethnicities, genders, cultures, and sexualities.
Many teachers would shy away from bringing in books that feature LGBTQ characters, but I say bring them in. You have students in your classroom, or school, that are struggling with figuring who they are. They should have access to stories about characters that are going through the challenges that they themselves are facing. Stories are safe, and they provide our students with an ability to connect and feel understood.
My greatest tip when adding diverse literature into your classroom is to always, always preread the story. Stories that take on gender, race, ethnic, or sexuality topics often are written for a more mature classroom. Make sure you read the books in order to make sure they are well-written and appropriate for your classroom.
For example, One True Way never utilizes any inappropriate language. The two main characters only hold hands and admit their love for each other. This book would do great in a classroom. It takes on an issue and it remains respectful to the readers.
Books are making huge strides and more and more well-written and appropriate books that take on all issues are entering the book world, and they must-must enter our classrooms!