My class and I continue to read I Will Always Write Back. This book tells the true story of Caitlyn, a normal, boy-crazy seventh grade American girl and Martin, an exceptionally driven and smart Zimbabwean boy living in the poverty of a developing country. As I have been sharing Caitlyn's awakening of the greater world, I decided to finally put my world map to good use.
We started by finding Zimbabwe on our map. Then I asked students to note when they read books that took place in different countries. Slowly we're starting to see the variety of places our everyday reading can help us explore.
One student read a book about Mount Everest. As we looked for Nepal, she noted that the map itself listed Mount Everest. Another read a book about social justice heroes. Germany during World War II, India in the early 1990's, and Brazil in the 1970's were just a few of the places he realized he had read about.
It may not be the most profound class project, but I hope this opens my students' eyes. So few of these young people will ever travel outside of the four-states. And yet reading is an avenue to understanding the world.