Read All About It



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High school is a complicated time for most people. Navigating through drama, relationships, and figuring out who you are doesn’t make it easy. Finding your way through literature is a great way to help understand high school.

The changes experienced in high school are some of the biggest in a person’s life, and learning to deal with those changes can be difficult. For somebody struggling to cope, reading about characters going through something similar can be comforting. AP English III teacher Lisa Bonner believes that reading is a way to provide somebody with the courage they need to embrace change. 

“I recommend a nonfiction book called Educated by Tara Westover who’s raised by parents who don’t believe in education. She realizes the importance of education and it opens a whole new world for her. Reading books, especially nonfiction books, about people’s experiences can give us hope. We can see that well, they did it so I can do it too,” said Bonner.

In high school, it can be difficult to accept differences when you feel out of place. Constantly trying to fit in and make friends can make it a struggle to embrace what makes someone stand out. As a child who grew up different from her peers, English teacher Amy Markan has had to learn to embrace being unique. 

“The last book I read was Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. It talked about an Indian family, and it parallels my life a lot. I wish I would have read it at your age. Coming to school smelling like Indian food, having henna on my hands, having to explain being different, and being the only brown kid in a school of all white kids. You get to experience and learn life lessons through these books,” said Markan.

While in high school, LGBTQ+ kids can struggle to feel seen and heard. Being different from their peers can lead to feeling alone in their experiences, and like they don’t fit anywhere. Even if you aren’t part of the community, reading is a great way to learn more. For art teacher Stacy Bailey, seeing characters like her helped open her eyes to who she was.

“I recently read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She was a closeted actress in early acting in America, and I thought that was an interesting portrayal of LGBTQ life. LGBTQ representation in general is very important. For instance, when I was going to school in the 90s, no teachers were out and I didn’t even know a girl could be gay. If we only see one kind of person, we think there’s no other way to be, and we end up lying to ourselves or trying to fit into something we don’t fit into,” said Bailey.

Going through high school can be made even harder by experiencing loss and grief. Losing friends and family you were previously able to rely on can leave students floundering for a way to cope. Librarian Patricia Becht believes reading can be a way for students to process their grief.

“I think authors use their experiences to express that (grief) in fictional characters. Because they’re not speaking about themselves, they’re able to share all the details that we wouldn’t share in general speech. You can find books for self help under tough topics on Sora. It’s available for all the students under classlink,” said Becht.

High school can have a big impact on mental health and not enough people are educated on it. With the stress of the future looming it can be difficult to deal with problems in a healthy way. For Vice President of the book club Bianca Medina Ardizzi, reading has been a way for her to better understand mental health.

“I recommend Girl interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman, and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. It has taught me a lot more about mental health. In Girl Interrupted and Fight Club they talk about more serious mental illnesses. It helped explain what it’s like instead of making it demonized and exaggerated,” said Medina Ardizzi.

Understanding high school isn’t easy, and having a good way to deal with all the challenges is crucial. Reading can give students a way to learn more about how to make high school better and guide them through the struggles they will face.