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Finally, I am getting around to uploading and discussing some of the teaching I did for the EXCELLENT and AMAZING book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I’m sure that you have heard of this book if you teach high school and are into the young adult literary scene at all. It has blown up, tons of awards and of course, the movie came in October. I read it right when it was released and loved it. It’s an incredibly powerful book. If you are not familiar with it here is the synopsis from the back:
“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.”
Teaching with The Hate U Give
I knew I wanted to teach this book because it is so incredibly relevant. It was a HUGE success with my high school ELLs. This book is so compelling that I found even my lower-level students were able to access it (of course research has shown that kids can understand books above their reading level if they are particularly motivated to read them.) I had a TOUGH crowd when I read this book. I had several students not only hated to read but were also either apathetic about life in general or completely depressed in miserable. These kids told me every activity I planned was awful and they hated every book. But I persevered and chose this book.
A warning– there is A LOT of mature content in this book. There is a good amount of foul language (including use of the f-word and the n-word) several references to sex, drug use, violence, police brutality, and gang activity. I have never felt that books should be censored. This book speaks to kids– especially kids of color– and their experiences so well that it would be an absolute travesty to deny them access to this book. I know there area conservative parts of the country where there might be pushback on reading this. My advice, get a permission slip signed. Here’s a link to one I grabbed and modified for this book.
These are the prediction questions I created for this novel:–> The Hate U Give prediction questions set
I also created comprehension questions to go with the book. There are questions for each chapter, a different number depending on the length and content of that chapter. They are all opened ended. There is info in the product about how I use these. You can also read more about how I use these questions in class here.
Lastly, I have resources to go with the vocabulary for the full novel. I hope to eventually get a full unit up for the book, but it is a work in progress currently.
If I taught the novel again I would have us watch the movie at the end. This novel pairs really, really well with All American Boys by Brandon Kiely and Jason Reynolds. I ran out of time when I taught it, but in the future, I would hope to teach these two novels one after the other.