Imagine you have landed the perfect job in your chosen field and want to give back to community as a way of paying forward what you have learned in university. You sign up for a program called Reading Partners and volunteer to help a child in need at a neighborhood public school. There, you will help coach a child in need to read with English proficiency. You remember the course EDUC 121 emphasized the importance of good books that spread the seeds of social justice. You are excited to share some of these book selections with your new student whom you are excited to meet.
The day has come for you to begin your volunteer work and you enter the school playground to search for the Principal. You see a young girl crying and chasing some children onto the schoolyard. She cries "Give that back to me!!!! Don't call it a rag!!!". You wonder where the adults are to stop the bullying behavior and realize it will have to be you. Her tear stained face reveals a young girl with pain and confusion in her eyes. The cloth is returned to her by the bullies and she quickly dons it on her head. You realize that this is her hijab. This is garment of religious faith. She is a Muslim American who practices Islam. Lo and behold, your student is the bully who ripped the head scarf off of the Muslim American child!
Knowing the power of the page, and that stories matter, you choose the following books (PROVIDED BELOW) to read with your assigned student. You carefully choose the following books with the hopes that each of these books will help plant the seeds of empathy into the heart and mind of this bully.
In your discussion, front load (or backload) each of the story readings with your words of wisdom regarding the importance of understanding 'the other' as a mutual brother or sister of our shared humanity. Your discussion with this bully should shed light on illuminating the Middle Eastern culture in order to demystify its differences in an attempt to grow shared humanity. Discuss, deconstruct, and debunk the myths and misunderstanding of the Middle East, and along the way, open up the mind and the heart of this bully.
A Drop of the Sea (audio provided below)
Four Feet Two Sandals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VraJGkdgPF4
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UadbtM_5600
The Proudest Blue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2oK6mDz5SA
Sami and the Time of Troubles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnEYct8r3k8
Sitti’s Secrets https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO6SjILfeGY