It's weird how a microcosm of the world can happen under the smallish roofs of one school. This one week - let me repeat - one week, has included so much in these teenager's lives. A popular senior girl is pregnant. It was all over the school within minutes. (And, yes, it's true) A young woman at a neighboring school committed suicide by slashing her wrists. She died several hours later. Her best friend shared the story of this young woman's abuse at the hands of her father. Abuse that led to her own self-destruction. Another student, proudly gay in this tiny little rural hamlet, went from having his first "real" date (which he was so excited about) to being bullied for waving his hands too much.
So, when I hear about books being banned for violence, or hard realities, I want to shout. There are only 500 students at my school. It's not an inner city school, or a wealthy suburban school rife with designer drugs, this is a conservative country high school. And ALL of this happened in one week. Let me correct that. The weekend (the date) and the last two days.
These young adults need guidance, stories that help them make sense of hard truths. They don't need whitewash and rainbows - correct that. We all need rainbows. But how can we truly KNOW the beauty of that rainbow without the realities of all aspects of life. Decision-Action-Consequence. There lies the learning.
What hard truths do you wish you'd known about as a teen? What book stands out to you as one not afraid to take the risks necessary to answer hard questions?