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Jessika Whiteside Brings New Books to the Freshmen of CHS

CHS literature teacher, Jessika Whiteside, is thrilled to keep traditions and embrace new additions to her Intro to Literature curriculum as the year progresses.
Gabe Deedler
Jessika Whiteside assists her Block 5 Introduction to Literature students with an assignment on Nov. 17. Whiteside has always been someone to give a helping hand, and for freshmen leaping into their second quarter at CHS, this is a life saver. “I think they [freshmen] are still adjusting to the workload of highschool,” Whiteside said. “But for the most part, they’re adjusting and figuring it out.”

From teaching freshman literature in Romulus to teaching Introduction to Literature at CHS, Jessika Whiteside has a wide knowledge of ninth grade English education. This year, she continues to make the best of it by showing classic books in a new light.

“We’re about a third of the way through ‘The House on Mango Street,’” Whiteside said. “We’re looking at the themes and working on pulling evidence from the text to support those themes, so that they can work towards writing something bigger about themes that they see emerging.”

“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros is a 1984 novel segmented by a series of vignettes. Aside from being taught in the Intro to Literature class for a while now, the book also explores real-world themes like identity and class that students can relate to.

Whiteside is also teaching two new books this year that were freshly approved by the district.

“One is called ‘The Marrow Thieves’ and has never been taught at CHS before, but I’m really excited about it, “ Whiteside said. “The other one is called ‘All American Boys.’”

“All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiley is a 2015 novel highlighting the issues of racism and police brutality. It also tackles the underlying themes of white privilege.

The novel has been banned from schools in the past because of its use of alcohol, drugs and profanity. However, with recent movements against banned books, AAPS has decided to approve it for classrooms across the board.

“Pioneer is doing a play version of [All American Boys], so we might have some books that we can read and go watch the play, “ Whiteside said. “I’m excited about that because the stars never align to do that.”

On the other hand, “The Marrow Thieves” by Cherie Dimaline also conveys messages of racism and discrimination, implementing additional themes of family and community reliance in times of need.

“I’ve wanted to teach ‘The Marrow Thieves’ for a while, “ Whiteside said. “I’ve taught ‘All American Boys’ but not in Ann Arbor before so I’m happy to bring it back.”

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About the Contributors
Gabe Deedler, Journalist
Gabe is a Sophomore at CHS and this is his first semester doing journalism. When he's not lounging in the school halls or doing classwork, he spends his free-time drawing, playing video games, buying clothes, and working out. He also loves to be creative and design things for people, like stickers or logos. Gabe has taken two years of Japanese and is in his third semester of Mandarin Chinese and he hopes to learn about and visit more.
Payton Sly, Journalist
Payton is a sophomore at Community. This is her first semester on staff. She enjoys traveling to new places. China is one of her favorite destinations, where she loves experiencing the culture, language, and food. Payton has studied Mandarin Chinese since 4th grade. In her free time, Payton can be found reading and listening to music.

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