Recommended by: Matthew Petrunia, professor of speech and English at Fashion Institute of Technology; United College Employees of FIT.
Suitable for: Grades 9 – 12
Why I chose this book: We need more people who are willing to share the rough-and-tough aspects of their journey so others can know they are not alone in their struggles. This is one of those feel-good, inspirational stories. Dillard managed to beat the odds and come out on top.
How teachers can use this book: Many of the book's characters speak in a southern dialect, which can enrich students' understanding of other regions and cultures. Dillard's counselor suggested that he process his feelings through journaling and writing. Using this book, English and language arts teachers can encourage students to use writing as a vehicle to process their feelings.
What I liked best: I love Dillard's writing style. He has a nice way of making you feel like you are there with him in the pages, in the midst of every struggle, challenge and triumph. The author also uses humor, which helps the reader deal better with some of the more somber experiences that Dillard had to endure.
About the author: A native of Durham, NC, Bernard Dillard is an assistant professor of mathematics at FIT. He makes presentations to youth about overcoming their own challenges. For more information, go to www.GotLemons.net.
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