Teachers find success in NEH program led by Harvard scholar
Edward Mason, Harvard Gazette, July 23, 2012
"Nicole Guillen, a high school teacher at the Alliance Marc and Eva Stern Math and Science School in Los Angeles, said the fantasy of Lewis Carroll or “Peter Pan” read by older generations may not be as relevant to today’s students as the violence depicted in modern literature.
"“They’re growing up where gangs are part of everyday life,” Guillen said. “In some communities, what kids see is very real and it’s a horrifying type of reality, and that’s why they like seeing it in a book: I don’t have a Wonderland or a Neverland, but I do have this reality.”
"Elizabeth Gray, who teaches at an alternative East Brooklyn, N.Y., high school, countered that escapism is an important part of fantasy literature.
"“I teach a lot of gangs; I’m not sure they always want to read about gangs,” she said. “They might prefer to read about Neverland. I wonder if [“Hunger Games”] is too close to home?”
"Lauren Bielefeld, a ninth-grade reading teacher from Fountain Valley High School in Orange County, Calif., said fantasy literature tests moral compasses.
"“Kids like to imagine what kind of kid they would become,” Bielefeld said. “I can hear my kids do that with ‘Lord of the Flies’ and with ‘Hunger Games.’”"