MHS Book Talks Tackle Important Topics

MHS Librarian Sylvia Jadczak was recently awarded a Human, Civil Rights, and Social Justice grant from the MEA which she will use to hold a Spring discussion group focusing on the book Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian.

Earlier this year, 14 MHS staff members participated in a Fall Discussion Group, sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council, where they read the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi.  Participants also watched a video produced by the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center entitled Students Speak: Confronting Bias in Maine Schools. The video contained a panel discussion of 4 recent high school graduates who spoke about their experiences as Black students in Maine schools and their hopes and efforts for change. Libby Bischof, a facilitator from the University of Southern Maine, led the discussions over Zoom. They focused on the history of racism, current racial issues in Maine and nationwide, and the racial biases that are inherent in all of us.

The discussions were so successful that the staff members requested another book talk, this time about immigration in Maine. “We picked [Out of Nowhere] because of the topic and because a majority of our students read this book in English classes,” said Mrs. Jadczak. “We are looking forward to discussing this book with the author, Maria Padian, later this spring.”

She said that the grant will pay for the books, the discussion facilitator from the University of Southern Maine, and an author visit for the staff members involved in the book talk and any students who read this book this semester. Mrs. Jadzcak is very excited about the way the talk is coming together and hopes to replicate it for other staff book discussions the future.  

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