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Moms Must Read: Real Life Rape and Terrorism Reflected in Literature

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Moms Must Read:
Real Life Rape and Terrorism
Reflected in Literature

 

Lately, the new news has been filled with horrific tales that sound like they are taken straight from a penny dreadful: college rape, shootings in the LGBTQ community, loss of life of Latino friends and family, and anti Muslim sentiments. These recent acts of violence can often lead children and teens to wonder where to go for help. In these situations my first source of help is a book.  Young adult books, especially, are a good resource for when it comes to discussing difficult topics.  

If a book doesn’t contain an answer then the story within the book might reveal a character who is struggling with an issue in a way that I am. Books provide perspective. Books can help you look inside the mind of the rape victim and get to know her strengths. Books can help you learn about the boy in your math class who you suspect is gay or the big brown eyed girl behind you who wears a veil.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? They should. These are settings of some of the most popular young adult books in America right now. I bet you thought I was referring to the news, didn’t you? Let’s take a look at how real life situations are reflected in literature and see if literature reveals any possible real life solutions.

1. Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson

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At a summer party, our heroine, Melinda, is raped by an older student. She calls the police and the party is raided. Melinda is then ridiculed at school for ruining the party, has no friends, and is accused of being a liar.  She continues to have to see the boy who raped her at school.  Melinda finally learns to speak out against her attacker. This title is a must read for all parents of girls.

This experience exemplifies the sad truth that continues to happen to our daughters in high school and college. Think that’s the only book of it’s kind?

Think again.

Read More: Ask Rene: I Read My Teenage Daughter’s Diary And She Is Having SEX!

 

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2. Thirteen Reasons
Why by Jay Asher

thirteen

Thirteen Reasons Why is the tale of a boy who receives a box of cassette tapes that attempt to explain why Hannah killed herself. Every student who received the box of tapes somehow played a part in the traumatic events that lead Hannah to despair enough to take her own life. Sexual assault aka hooking up (in teen talk), rumors, lies, and mean girl moments all conspire to make this girl’s life unbearable. Some people turn on themselves when they’re hurting, others turn on others.

Read More: SEX TAPE SUICIDE

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3. Persepolis
by Marjane Satrapi

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This controversial read provides great insight into the life of a girl growing up in Iran during the turbulent 1980s. If you don’t know anything about the religion of Islam this graphic novel will educate you. What you will learn is that Muslims are highly religious and that they want peace and safety  for their families just like we do. Only the zealous believers attempt to control and hurt others; eerily similar to what happens in America.

This is a must read for everyone. That girl in a veil in class behind you? She’s Muslim; and just wants to be free to go to school and enjoy the same experiences that other children do. She probably likes pop music and other things that you like.

Read More:  The GEM Debate: Does The “I” In America Stand For Intolerance? Part 2

And speaking of liking the same things you like, have you seen  Ms Marvel?

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4. Ms. Marvel
by G. Willow Wilson

MsMarvel

Finally! Muslim teens have their own superheroine: Kamala Khan. Now here’s a comic that everyone can support! What’s not to love?

Read More: What The World Needs Now….

Speaking of love…

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 5.  Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Saenz

aristotleanddante

I love this book hard. Based in El Paso in the 90s, two teen boys discover that they are friends and ultimately, gay. Did I mention that these boys are Latino? Yes! More books containing positive Hispanic characters, please. These boys debate who is more Mexican than the other and while they lead fairly Mexican lives, they are also normal, middle class American teens.

Read More: Raising Gaybies: The Day I Chickened Out About Telling My Story

Do I need to point out that most of the victims in the Orlando shooting were Hispanic and gay?

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They say that art imitates life and while I don’t know if that’s  true, I do know that during challenging, scary, or sad times in my life I turn to a book. Books almost always contain some kind of answer to life’s questions. The answers to the Orlando shooting, the Stanford rape case, or anti Muslim sentiments may not be completely spelled out in a book; but they will certainly provide alternative ways to think; which, is an answer in itself.

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