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For more classroom resources, check out Alicia's YouTube channel.
Genesis Begins Again discussion questions for your students:
1. Describe Genesis at the beginning of the book and again at the end. How has she changed? What has brought about these changes? Talk about how the author reveals Genesis’s character through action and dialogue, pointing to specific impactful scenes. What parts of Genesis’s experiences or character do you most relate to?
2. Genesis has a long list of reasons to “hate” herself. How does the list start? What does she add to it, and why do you think she keeps it going? How does it affect the way she views herself? What happens to the list at the end, and why? What kind of advice or support would you have given to Genesis? Do you think that sometimes you can be your own harshest critic?
3. Genesis receives messages that darker skin makes her look ugly and that it will hold her back in life. What makes her feel this way? What is her mother’s view of skin color? What is her grandmother’s? What is her father’s? Why do their views have such a big impact on Genesis? Do you think her family realizes what their words and actions do to her? What does Genesis do to try to change her appearance?
Meet the Author
Working in pairs, have students gather information about the author, first from the book and then from the Internet. What do the acknowledgments and back cover flap reveal about Alicia D. Williams? What can be learned about her, if anything, from the story itself? What Internet resources such as the publisher’s website give even more information? Does knowing more about her impact how students read or relate to the story? Have students write a letter to Alicia D. Williams, explaining how they felt about the story and what more they’d like to know about her and her experiences, or Genesis and her experiences.
Is Beauty Everything?
Halfway through the book, Genesis declares, “‘Beauty is everything.’” Ask students to write an essay on this topic in relationship to the novel and to our society in general. It should explore why Genesis feels this way, and how her views change throughout the book. It should also reflect on the messages that society gives about the importance of physical beauty. The students should also give their own views on the role of beauty, and how it relates to their lives and experiences.
For complete curriculum guide: Genesis Begins Again | Book by Alicia D. Williams | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster (simonandschuster.net)
Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston Common Core questions:
1. Who was Zora Neale Hurston? What is she known for?
2. As a child, Zora loved to listen to and create her own fantastical tales. Where were some of the places that she gathered these stories?
3. Zora loved writing stories, but her papa and grandma didn’t approve. Who supported Zora and her storytelling during her childhood?
4. As Zora continued to attend school and participate in different literary clubs, she met and wrote alongside a number of famous Black poets, writers, and thinkers. Can you name some of the people whom Zora worked with? What else would you like to know about them? 5. After hearing the story of Zora’s life and the many challenges that she overcame, what would you say is the central message of this book?
For complete Jump at the Sun Common Core Curriculum:
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