Minnie McClary is the new girl and knows that she doesn't quite fit in, especially not after she lost it one day in language arts. In art, Minnie has to paint a self-portrait - but how can she do this when she doesn't even know who she is anymore? Things aren't great at home, either. Her uncle Bill is building a huge replica of the Apache helicopter he flew in Iraq, and her father has blown some sort of whistle and has to start over in a new job.
Then Miss Marks takes over Minnie's language class and encourages students to think critically about everything. They write their thoughts and questions in journals, marking the most private entries "For Your Eyes Only". Minnie and her classmate Amira are inspired, but some people in town wonder why Miss Marks is encouraging students to ask these questions and just what, exactly, she's teaching.
When a group of angry parents demands Miss Marks's suspension, Minnie finds herself asking a lot of questions - and figuring out what she has the power to change.
©2012 Valerie Hobbs (P)2012 Listening Library
Valerie Hobbs writes beautifully about the importance and process of critical thinking, questioning, and speaking through the lens of a 6th grader named Minnie. In addition to gracefully questioning how we learn and enact "othering" through prejudice, hate, name calling and rejecting what is different from ourselves, Hobbs raises great questions about what good teaching is, what it might feel like for girls to step into their power, the lasting wounds of conflict both on the school grounds and in war. She shows the resilience for healing relationships (familial, friendship, enemies, and communal) that can come from unflinching and heartfelt communication And she does so with honesty and grace.
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