Bookmarked: Teen Essays on Life and Literature from Tolkien to Twilight

Overview

In more than 50 essays, young people from a wide range of backgrounds reflect on how words from literature connect with and influence their lives, goals, and personal philosophies. The essays explore topics including suffering the death of a parent, facing a life-threatening illness, letting go of perfectionism, making friends, realizing goals, and grappling with questions of faith and sexuality. Books cited range from The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby to Twilight and Lord of the Rings. Each essay includes...

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Overview

In more than 50 essays, young people from a wide range of backgrounds reflect on how words from literature connect with and influence their lives, goals, and personal philosophies. The essays explore topics including suffering the death of a parent, facing a life-threatening illness, letting go of perfectionism, making friends, realizing goals, and grappling with questions of faith and sexuality. Books cited range from The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby to Twilight and Lord of the Rings. Each essay includes a brief biographical sketch letting the reader know where the essay writer is today.

Teachers, guidance counselors, and parents working with teens on personal essays— including for college applications—will find that the book presents a varied, intriguing group of essays to use as samples, models, and inspiration. Teachers of literature, writing, and language arts classes can also use these essays as a way to help teens explore literature—and their own responses to it—through writing. Following each essay are questions to prompt conversation, writing, and deeper consideration of the issues raised. The back matter includes tips and ideas for teachers and teens on how to use the book, including ways to use it as a jumping-off point for creating personal essays.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A]ppealing to teachers looking for an example of a student essay . . . Libraries looking to support reflective writing in the English curriculum may also find this book useful."—School Library Journal

“Listen to young thinkers responding to literature from the past 500 years with verve and insight, and I can promise you that you will be inspired. What do you have in common with a teenager whose life has been disrupted by parental drug use and poverty, or who worries about being muffled by wealth, or who has spent a life on the move between countries and cultures, or who has scarcely traveled? As it turns out, a lot. These insights about the ways literature works its magic on us go far beyond the writers’ lives.”—Dr. April Lidinsky, associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Indiana University South Bend, and WVPE public radio essayist

“This powerful, moving collection offers a stunning reminder of how deeply young people are marked by books—how words can print themselves directly onto our hearts, as indelible as any tattoo. Bookmarked makes me think gratefully about the books that shaped me as a teen, and renews my sense of profound responsibility as a writer for people of all ages. Ann Camacho’s dedication to her students and the written word will inspire teachers to add more literature to their curricula and teens to pick up more books—and, as a result, lives will be changed.”—Gayle Brandeis, author of My Life with the Lincolns and the Bellwether Prize–winning The Book of Dead Birds

“As a school board member, I often walk through a sea of young faces in high schools across our district, meeting students who seem to have life on a string. They are good students, making good grades, playing sports, and acting in school plays. Reading Bookmarked, I felt I was seeing these students for the first time. These essays opened my eyes to the issues, problems, successes, and aspirations of these young writers. Each essay is so different, yet they have one thing in common—the search for answers. The stories in this collection validate what any teenager might be feeling.”—Kathy Allavie, Riverside Unified School District

“As a teacher, it’s difficult to teach students how to recognize an author’s voice, let alone teach them how to develop their own. Bookmarked captures the essence of the young writer’s voice. The student writing is insightful, sophisticated, and inspiring. Through their writing, we see how literary works are much more than stories; they are the bridges that help form connections to the world around us.”—Jonathan LeMaster, English teacher at El Cajon Valley High School, literacy consultant and cofounder of LiteracyTA.com

A high-school English teacher, Camacho has gathered more than four-dozen essays from young people—many of them college students or recent graduates—reflecting on their lives, their pasts, their future prospects, and their personal philosophies. Per the editor’s request, each essay is rooted in a quotation from a book that has touched the writer’s life in a powerful way. The results offer a remarkable array of life experiences, some dramatic—a boy comes out to an unforgiving parent; a girl reflects on the murder of her father—some more quietly reflective. The contributions are divided into five sections dealing, respectively, with beliefs and ideals; family, friends, and love; hard times and hope; identity and self; and dreams and the future. Each section concludes with questions designed to spur reflection, discussion, and writing. The book itself concludes with a guide for educators on using the book with students. Though designed for classroom use, the book will also reward an audience of independent readers.—Booklist

“The stories are so raw and honest you feel like you are sitting with these teens at a coffee shop, engrossed in their storytelling.”—Louise Sattler, school psychologist, contributor to Education.com

“Perfect for students about to journey into the college application world or, perhaps, someone who yearns for a philosophical or psychological journey.”—Anika T., age 17, for Fred: The Magazine for Young Mensans

VOYA - Laura Perenic
Ann Camacho's Bookmarked challenges readers to create their own philosophy based on an inspiring quote from authors ranging from Rowling to Meyer. Bookmarked entries are by authors from many backgrounds; most of whom are college students or college graduates. Organized by five subjects, like identity and goals, each chapter concludes with discussion questions. The page illustrations give the appearance of handmade paper. Some essays may not resonate with students; a greater variety of voices would have made the collection more accessible. Whilte adults may enjoy reading this straight through, the novelty of quote-inspired essays may wear thin for younger readers. Camacho's book is perfect, however, for English classes in junior and senior high school. Bookmarked is a strong and useful addition to a school library, especially those looking for creative ways to introduce classic literature to young adults. The last chapter includes tips on incorporating the book into class studies through writing prompts and other projects. The consistent tone of optimism presents an excellent opportunity to look at literature in an unbiased manner and provides a strong starting place to build assignments focused on grammar, history, and philosophy. Reviewer: Laura Perenic
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Camacho has collected dozens of essays in response to a call for reflection on the impact a book has made on the contributors' lives. The three-page introspective essays are organized by themes such as "Beliefs and Ideals," "Hard Times and Hope," and "Identity and Self." Each selection centers on a specific quote from a book that inspired the teen writer. The five themed sections are followed by a set of questions designed to encourage readers to think about, write about, and discuss the essays. It is unlikely that teens will read this book from cover to cover. The format is most appealing to teachers looking for an example of a student essay on a specific quote from a novel. A list of quoted authors, along with a section for teachers, makes the book most useful and appealing. Libraries looking to support reflective writing in the English curriculum may also find this book useful. Showing the impact that books have on teens' lives is interesting, but the book will need hand selling, even for those readers interested in the concept.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575423968
  • Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/21/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Lexile: 1120L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Camacho has been an English teacher for more than 20 years. She currently teaches American literature at North High School in Riverside, California. Her students (and the student body as a whole) are very diverse, and many are in the school’s International Baccalaureate program and/or AP classes. Ann also participates in the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) college preparation program for students (often, but not always, from low-income homes) who have college aspirations but are falling short of their potential or who don’t believe college is within reach. She lives in Riverside, California.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Unregulated Friendliness: Ann Camacho

Chapter 1
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time given” —J.R.R. Tolkien
Essays on Beliefs and Ideals

Be the Change: Sameer Patel

The Measure You Give: Julio Sanchez

A Piece of Fruit: Andreea Tanase

A Hot Bath: Emili Lamph

No Royal Road: Karisa Booth

Man’s First Duty: James Roose

Common Sense Rounded Out: Sebastian Chiu

God Himself: Thomas Assali

Our Choices: Raymond Yeung

It Lights the Way: Koutibah Chihabi

All We Have to Decide: Greg Hice

And So . . . Questions for Reflection, Discussion, and Writing

Chapter 2
“S’pose you didn’t have nobody?” —John Steinbeck
Essays on Family, Friends, and Love

Miles to Go: Anthony Accuar

By Any Other Name: Jessica Trumble

So Little: Asma Patel

Am I Making Sense?: Alex Smith

Most of the Time: Saad Patel

See It Through: Rachele Honcharik

Good Is Good: Stephanie Treen

Gone Away: Akhila Pamula

The Whole Damn Bunch!: Michelle Lu

Honest Doubt: Yadira Navarro

Nobody: Zerka Wadood

And So . . . Questions for Reflection, Discussion, and Writing

Chapter 3
“Braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” —A.A. Milne
Essays on Hard Times and Hope

The World Belongs to You: Nooreya Shenghur

Only a Half Step: Roxanna Mohrdar

Words Are No Good: John Joanino

Nothing Beats a Failure: Archeé McDonald

Before I Met the Monster: Kristine Gierz

My Mother Is a Fish: Desiree Rogers

The Rest of the World: Kaylee Rangel

The Time of Your Life Jaclyn: Allavie

Where Is Your God?: Rickey Weaver

To Be or Not to Be: Ashleigh Greenstreet

Braver than You Believe: Vanessa Cazares

And So . . . Questions for Reflection, Discussion, and Writing

Chapter 4
“I am a red balloon.” —Sandra Cisneros
Essays on Identity and Self

A Matter of Infinite Hope: Jimmy Kollar

What Suits You: Adam Fletcher

Climb Into His Skin: Pricilla Nguyen

Different Drummer: Cory Scott

From a Single Spark: Zerghona Wadood

Place by the Window: A.J. Almaguer

When the Light Turns: Blue Ricky Dama

Majority Rule: Paul Gierz

Beautiful Fool: Kelly Nielsen

Shine Like Stars: Hsuanwei Fan

I Am a Red Balloon: Derek Ignatius

And So . . . Questions for Reflection, Discussion, and Writing

Chapter 5
“And did you dream of anything?” —Aldous Huxley
Essays on Goals, Dreams, and the Future

Watcher of the Skies: Quentin Burns

Reach Down and Take It: Max Baugh

Between the Tedious Spaces: Dina Assali

The Lost Game: Hongyu Chen

Missions Are Stupid: Sushana Ullah

Undirected: Andi Christmas

After the Spotlight: David Hunt

Good Luck!: Jeong Choi

Life Is Always a Sketch: Trent Smith

You’ll Move Mountains: I. Obi Emeruwa

Did You Dream?: Javier Moya

And So . . . Questions for Reflection, Discussion, and Writing

How to Use This Book—A Guide for Teachers and Leaders

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