We've been reading a new novel these past couple weeks in Language Arts. The name of the novel is Home of the Brave. The main character of the story is a young man named Kek. His story is very unique one, as he is a refugee who has come to America from Sudan.
Kek is a Lost Boy.
As a new person trying to adjust to America, we hear and see a lot through Kek's voice of the many struggles, unintended comedy, and small victories along the way. Something that really resonates every time I read this book with students is how many things are taken for granted as 'every day' pleasures, conveniences, and blessings.
For example, Kek shares a story of standing in line for 9 hours at the refugee camp for a handful or corn. When he first goes to the grocery store with a friend, he is overcome and has to leave. He cannot stop smiling when he gets his own desk at school, even though he first assumes he must pay for the furniture. Kek cannot believe the daily feast he receives at school lunch!
This is always such a good thing for the students to read; to realize that while life is tough, while things can be hard and annoying, and while in this country it always feels like the "Joneses" are staying ahead, we live in a land and time of plenty. This doesn't discount many daily struggles we all have; in fact, we all do. But it serves as a great point of clarity for my students that there are different realities out there for everybody.
At the end, this is why we strive to read literature and stories written by people who are different from us, and are about people who are different from us. The power of new perspectives will always help us see the world in new ways.