First Summer Reading Novel for all Grade Levels

Phoebe Lai, Staff writer

Due to racist incidents involving the swastika and racial slurs during last school year, the English Department of PV High picked the novel Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals as a summer reading book across all grades.This stirring, eye-opening novel about the struggles of the Little Rock Nine and African American school integration in Arkansas perked several ears and sparked discussions in classes.

When asked why the English Department chose this book speci cally, sophomore English teacher Karen Kostrencich said, “There was a general feeling after a bullying survey went out from Be The Change that 48% of the student body felt that they had been bullied regarding their race or religion on campus, which is really concerning.”

English teachers gave students several activities and presentations, from Powerpoints to visuals, to help students better understand Warriors Don’t Cry.

“The kids seemed at rst a little reluctant to talk about the race issue . . . I showed some videos of the Little Rock Nine as adults facing the adult white traumatizers that had abused them, and the reconciliation . . . Most of [discussions] were that people were just shocked at how bad abuse was that she faced,” said senior English teacher Tracey Bly.

Sophomore Lily Vancans was one of the students who felt passionate about and affected by the summer reading book. Vancans felt as though the novel brought up a significant topic.

“It’s important that outside of class thatwe have those conversations with people that we know have been discriminated against and maybe just try to and out what their experiences were so we can learn from them,” she said.

On the other hand, some students did not enjoy Warriors Don’t Cry as a summer reading novel.

“I thought it was boring book . . . Not because I didn’t like the message, it just didn’t really seem interesting. There wasn’t much action,” said sophomore Kheydon Gracie.

Night, another summer assigned book regarding the traumatic Holocaust, was assigned to freshman students this year as well. Both Night and Warriors Don’t Cry seem to have gained constructive responses from multiple student.

Rodrigo Boixo, freshmen, said that Night “was a really true part of our history and it’s very important that we remember that and never forget.”

Agreeing with Boixo, freshman Ian Blanco said, “[Night is] really good because people will understand what happened in that situation and history won’t repeat itself again.”

Whether or not students felt satis ed with the summer reading books, students and teachers can concur that Warriors Don’t Cry aimed to spread a message of racial equality at PV High.

According to Kostrencich, “discussions that are happening, which is the rst step, have opened up those lines of communication that need to happen.”