It still speaks to me, the me who endlessly explains my name to strangers in person and at the other end of the phone.
After I read “Girl” to the class, we discussed sentences. With Kincaid in mind, we wrote flash pieces featuring someone close to us or our protagonist trying to teach us or them something.
They thought that he would have had so much authority that he could have drawn fish out of the sea simply by calling their names and that he would have put so much work into his land that springs would have burst forth from among the rocks so that he would have been able to plant flowers on the cliffs.
They secretly compared him to their own men, thinking that for all their lives theirs were incapable of doing what he could do in one night, and they ended up dismissing them deep in their hearts as the weakest, meanest and most useless creatures on earth.”A few lines from a favorite: “In English my name means hope. It means sadness, it means waiting.” Cisneros’ “My Name” transports me to times when I asked my mother to spell my middle names and explain their origins, when I slumped during roll call.
That night, a student bought the novel to discover what happened to Daniel, whose “older brother, firstborn son of a firstborn son, surprised my parents (and all their friends, and the entire gossiping Korean community of Flushing, New York) by getting kicked out of Harvard University (Best School, my mother said, when his acceptance letter arrived).
Now he’s been kicked out of Best School, and all summer my mom frowns and doesn’t quite believe and doesn’t quite understand.” by Angie Thomas.
It feels important to share living writers with students.
Like me, sometimes they see the same titles again and again over the span of their education.
In fact, we love it so much we made an entire website to inspire children to produce creative writing!
But sometimes a teacher just needs some exciting prompts to get their student’s imaginations flowing and writing.