Students in eighth grade English are currently reading Warriors Don’t Cry, a memoir by Melba Pattillo Beals. Pattillo-Beals was one of nine African American students chosen to desegregate Little Rock, Arkansas’ Central High School during the 1957 – 1958 school year. The book recounts the frightening and appalling experiences that the author experienced at CHS that year. Though the book examines the terror and fear Pattillo and the other Little Rock Nine faced, it also highlights the courage and determination they showed during this momentous struggle for civil rights. Once students are finished reading and discussing the book, they will be asked to select one important theme to write an essay about. The focus of the essay will be on creating a specifically worded theme statement which states the author’s message about life or human relationships.
A central question we will explore when we read is: What can we do alone and with others to confront racism? How can we as individuals and as citizens make a positive difference in our school, community, and nation. We will also be looking at this book as an example of a written piece that blends informational text with narrative style.