I recently read this book and it is one of those books that after you read it, you want to share it with the world.
The book is called, Positive, a memoir by Paige Rawl. It's not the kind of book I would recommend for just any class. It's a mature subject and you definitely want to read it all the way through before deciding on whether you want to use in your classroom or not. I would say 7th graders, possibly 6th graders would enjoy it.
Paige is a girl who was born with HIV essentailly beause her father cheated on her mother. The cause of her disease is not something she goes into in detail in the book and it's not what the book is centered around. What it is centered around is how she overcame being an outcast because of her HIV. To her, she always thought of it as something similar to a disease such as diabetes. Until one day when she as comforting her best friend and opened up about it. That "friend" told everyone and then began the social challenges in Paige's life. How she overcame all of what she went through is a true testament to her character. This young lady did more in her life by the time she was 18 than I have done in my entire 40 years. This story is an inspiration.
Something I am sure none of us think about when we are told to celebrate diversity is those who are suffering with an illness and how that can be isolating. I am guilty of this before I read her book.
During my first year of teaching, I had a student who had AIDS. His name was Charles and he lived with his grandparents who were taking care of him. The other students didn't know about his situation and I am not sure how much of it he understood. He was only in 4th grade and hardly in school because he got ill often. He never was able to make many friends because of it. I thought about Charles when I read Paige's memoir. I also thought about another student I didn't teach, but who was in the same school, suffering from cancer. Everyone knew she had cancer simply because it was not something she could hide.
There are so many children in our world with burdens like this to bear. There might be one in your classroom now. If this book seems like it would be appropriate for you to share with your students, I urge you to do so. I truly feel it offers so much in the way of connections and conversations.
And if it's not appropriate for your class, perhaps you'd like to read it for your own enjoyment. If you do, I would love to hear about it.
Daughter of the King, wife and mother, former upper elementary teacher, curriculum and course developer