2019 The Globe Reads Hero

Global Learning, Middle School

Northwest Students Participate in Global Book Discussion

The sun was rising in India and setting in the state of Washington as 27 Northwest School students video chatted with students at the Parikrma Centre for Learning in Sahakarnagar, India, on Oct. 9, and discussed the short story “Because Superman Has Better Things to Do,” from the collection The Others, by Paro Anand.

"The story deals with the Dalit [a historically discriminated class in India] and how the characters overcome their mistreatment,” says Roxanne S. “The students we spoke with are part of the Dalit class. It was interesting to read the story and hear their point of view. It was a moving experience about what they go through.”

The students connected through The Globe Reads, an organization dedicated to linking students from diverse cultures, cross sections of society, and countries through shared reading and discussions. This was the fourth-straight year Northwest has participated in the book discussions.

For 8th grade Humanities teacher Jeff Blair, The Globe Reads’ virtual meetup provides a perfect opportunity to introduce a culture many of his students are unfamiliar with. Later this year, Northwest 8th grade students will read short stories from Indian authors as they study the subcontinent.

“For many of our students, unless they have a personal connection to India, it is just a point on a map,” says Jeff, noting the stereotypes of Indians that exist in American culture. “For our students to see on the screen, in real time, kids who are just like them, immediately connects how much everyone has common, and allows them to explore their differences as well. That is the magic of this experience.”