That’s the problem with Norris Kaplan, the main character in the ‘Field Guide to The North American Teenager’.
Norris, a Black French-speaking Haitian Canadian, moves with his Mom to Austin, Texas where she has accepted a position as faculty at the University of Texas at Austin. With brutal quips, he journals his angst in a notebook, as a field guide, detailing scathing, sarcastic narratives of the typical high school Southern cliques.
Not only is he dealing with his immigrant status at his new school, but he is also harboring unattended feelings regarding his parent’s divorce and feeling cast aside as his dad remarries and starts a new family.
This all inevitably leads to Norris looking within for an honest look at learning to cope with change.
With the feel of many teen movie dramas, author Ben Philippe, does an amazing job centering the rarely seen, young Black male learning to deal with the typical growing pains of being a teenager. The character development of Norris Kaplan is very relatable to those attending suburban schools and navigating where they fit into life, much less high school.
Omar Mohamed shares his life story, in the graphic novel When Stars Are Scattered, about how he and his brother Hassan, alone without their parents, escaped Somalia during Civil War to trek 3 months to a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya to live.
The graphic novel details Mohamed, as a 12-year-old, with the help of an older woman, Fatuma, figure out how to live in a place that is not your home but becomes your home. Struggling with a lack of food and taking care of his intellectually disabled brother, and trying to get an education in the camp, Muhamed conveys the harsh realities of life in a refugee camp with a human touch.
This book, co-written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, written at middle-grade level, gives young people an understanding of the difficulties of life being a refugee and seeking immigration to a place one can feel safe and have a sense of peace away from their homeland in strife.
We also provided are other books from K-12, fiction and non-fiction for students to understand the humanity of these experiences.
WE ARE HERE will provide you book reviews, discussions, news, and programming about literature and literacy by and about Black males. This site will also feature vlog conversations on topics related to the promoting literacy and voice for Black boys and young men.