Talk about a time when a book or author that made headlines affected you personally or your work.
Four years ago, I was in my third year of teaching middle school language arts in a rural school in Oklahoma. Here is a little background information, so you can understand the awkwardness and gravity of the situation I found myself. Oklahoma is considered to be in the Bible Belt. The Bible Belt is filled with very conservative evangelical Protestants. As a language arts teacher I think book talks or book reports are important for students to give each month. During this time, Fifty Shades of Grey was splattered all over the media. I had read the book when it first became an Amazon #1 best seller before the media made it a big sensation.
I had an eighth grade girl bring the book to school to read for silent reading and I am assuming to eventually present to the class during her book talk. Now, I love when kids read and my only limitation had ever been that the book had to fit the student’s reading ability. The young lady who brought the book was very intelligent and was considered gifted and talented, obviously I couldn’t say the reading level was too difficult. I was not sure how to deal with the situation because I had never been placed in this type of predicament, so I went to my principal hoping to get his advice. His response was a laugh and he gave me his well wishes. After a day of worrying about how to handle the situation, I decided to speak privately with the student. I decided to tell her she was allowed to read the book, but it was not a school appropriate book for a book talk and that she was not to share or discuss the book with any of her peers and the book was to stay in her locker when she was not reading it. The next day, the student returned and told me she thought the book was too adult for her. I felt a huge relief!