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Children — Literature and Law

Seemingly unrelated news focused on children in early 2021. Children’s literature author Beverly Cleary passed away and publishers of Dr. Seuss books announced it will discontinue publication of six Dr. Seuss books. The House passed the American Dream and Promise Act; action by the Senate awaits. Articles and suggested activities provide background and stimulus to debate, research, write and draw — to look at challenges to children’s literature and to children who are dreamers. 

NIE Curriculum Guides

There is always change, but 2020 was a year of extraordinary changes — global deaths due to a pandemic, marches for racial equality and justice, name changes of schools and teams, a woman of Indian and Jamaican heritage on the Democratic ticket, NASA’s return to space shuttles — and mundane curtailments that influenced culture. Students read, discuss and debate, and write about these changes and those who made a difference.

“Rhetoric,” “misinformation,” “disinformation” and a flood of words related to the pandemic, campaigns and social media dominate the press and conversations. Lexicographers choose “lockdown” as their 2020 word of the year because of its “unifying experience for billions of people across the world.” Planet Word opens, Tom Toles retires, and The Post makes a Black and White decision. We focus on language —composed of words new and archaic. Words changing denotations and connotations, adjectives coloring the characters and scenes writers paint, words sharing roots and expressing unique cultures. Always reflecting character.

North Africa — ten years after the Arab Spring began in Tunisia — faces economic, social and political uncertainty. The region’s history, geography and culture are the backdrop for new relations and contemporary strivings for a voice, fair government and economic stability. Students are introduced to the five countries through maps, photographs, videos, news and commentary.

At home more people are walking, biking, hiking and camping, giving that segment of the economy a boost. While visits to museums are non-existent or severely limited during the pandemic, exhibits, tours and interactive activities have moved online for world-wide access. Activities include how journalists update stories, how museums are facing today’s challenges and thinking of the next generation, and how ecotourism confronts survival. Many face difficult and real decisions.

Campaign 2016

Campaign 2016 provides avenues for diverse study. At the foundation are candidates’ speeches, actions and policies, and party platforms. Understanding polls and their influence, analyzing political cartoons and political ads and using social media form another strand of study. Considering bellwether Indiana towns and a Virginia town that lacks enough candidates to run for office, defining issues and using original documents offer more challenges for students.