Belleville West High School is in the midst of reading Patrick Ness’ “A Monster Calls.” Every student, every staffer, every teacher is reading the same book about a young teen whose divorced mom is going through cancer treatment when an ancient monster appears and interferes in his life.
The award-winning book explores some familiar teen lit themes of bullying, isolation, loss and acceptance. It is a worthy read for adults, too.
To advance the dialogue, West is encouraging every teacher of every subject to incorporate the book into lessons —we imagine the calculus and auto shop teachers will have their hands full on that one. While we’ve seen other colleges and schools have entering freshmen share a book or experience, this experiment with the whole school is intriguing.
As we see education leaders wringing their hands over Common Core and worrying about one-size-fits-all education, it is good to see a local school explore a single novel together. After all, stories and school are ultimately about sharing experience to help our young people find their way.