Book Summary: Seeing Red By Katherine Erskine

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Seeing Red By Katherine Erskine Recommended by: Rose Reissman, Ditmas IS 62 Literacy Support, United Federation of Teachers 346 pages Suitable for Grades 7-12 Summary: The title “Seeing Red” suggested anger, determination, political reverberations and violence. Although the inside flap revealed that Red was the twelve year old male protagonist of this historical fiction work, I was drawn in by the possibilities a work set in 1972’s Virginia, which focused on racial discrimination and the realities of black/white relations post the desegregation rulings could have for collaboration with the middle school American History curriculum. I read the “Author’s Note.” In that note the author speaks about “defining moments in our lives when something…show more content…
. . you have the power to be whatever kind of person you want to be.” Teachers can focus on the social studies discrimination realities of Virginia circa 1970’s and 2014’s and how Red, Rosie, and Darrell define themselves as citizens. The book deals with child abuse, gangs, doing the right thing, legacy and family dynamics . The book models curriculum and community aligned oral history and essay writing. Students can apply the insights gained by Red to their ongoing actions as citizens of their community and their study of American history. English teachers can assign community oral history research as modeled in the book by Ms. Miller in which they research the ways their community has reacted to discrimination concerns or the history of a community center/house of worship. This can be in tandem with Social Studies colleagues plus allow the English teacher to include informational literacy integration of knowledge and ideas by having students analyze various accounts of segregation as shared in history texts or documents and as presented in this historical novel. Most importantly this well researched historical fiction work fully addresses the CCSS standard 11 for responding to literature in that in reading it students can analyze the narrative by making connections to other history documents/texts, cultural/race relations perspectives and personal events (death, loss, sibling relationships, boy/girl relationships, friendship, family
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