Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yours, Anne

I have a special student. Well, honestly I have a lot of special students, but if I could give a "You're a Terrific Kid and I love Talking with You about Books You Read because You Always Say Things that Make me Take a Moment and Think, WOW, You're a Cool Kid" award, this award would go to Lyka Mae.

She takes the time to read books that I say I really enjoy, and then patiently lets me talk to her about them. It's honestly a highlight of my time here. Our latest book was Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

Background knowledge is so important when you pick up a book. Grasping loose ends until you have a firm understanding of what you're about to read makes understanding easier, and in the long run, more solid. Background knowledge was slightly tricky for this book. World War II has a major part in Philippine history. The English textbook the students are issued at school feature articles about the Japanese invasions, the Bataan Death March, and Douglas MacArthur's landing. They know WWII, in the Pacific. WWII in Europe and other surrounding areas is not covered as much however. Other unknowns, like religion also came up while reading the book. Roman Catholicism is it here in Inopacan. A small group, perhaps 100, citizens in town are not Catholic. Learning that Anne was Jewish gave an opportunity to introduce new ethnicities and religions. Anne's diary offered so much for discussion.

So what did we discuss? Well of course we talked about the Haulocost. What did it mean? How could it have happened? What has the world learned from it? And then my wow moment happened. Lyka said, in this simple honest voice, "I think I'm a lot like Anne."

In all my excitement to share points that I had gathered when I read the book, or had talked about in previous discussions, I had forgotten this obvious link between author and reader. Both are the same age, both are girls, and both are wise beyond their years. The book doesn't just showcase social injustice, but also the feelings that young girls have. Those feelings of, "Seriously, can ANYBODY understand me and not judge me at the same time?" Lyka could feel where Anne was coming from.

And that is what it's all about. :)