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Learning to Love Herself as Genesis Begins Again

Learning to Love Herself as Genesis Begins Again

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams, quite deservedly, is the winner of the 2020 Newbery Honor and the 2020 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. This modern novel brings diversity and intersectionality to your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Published in 2019, it is written in a modern language that middle schoolers will relate to. It is written by a Black author with a Black female protagonist and is a great way to bring diverse voices into your classroom, not just for representation, but for all students to learn from and relate to. Genesis has been dealt a hard hand in life and with her issues and those of her friends, just about every student will find something to relate to.

From the Book Jacket:

There are ninety-six reasons why thirteen-year-old Genesis dislikes herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list:
-Because her family is always being put out of their house.
-Because her dad has a gambling problem. And maybe a drinking problem too.
-Because Genesis knows this is all her fault.
-Because she wasn’t born looking like Mama.
-Because she is too black.

Genesis is determined to fix her family, and she’s willing to try anything to do so…even if it means harming herself in the process. But when Genesis starts to find a thing or two she actually likes about herself, she discovers that changing her own attitude is the first step in helping change others.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Genesis Begins Again for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

It is vital to use literature in your classroom that is diverse and represents all voices. Students should see themselves in the literature that they read, and it’s also a way for other students to learn from and understand people that are different from them. Learning from different cultures enhances our empathy as humans to open minds as well as hearts.

Genesis Begins Again tackles issues of poverty, being evicted and having to move homes and schools frequently, having an alcoholic and untrustworthy parent, and at the root of Genesis’s hurt, is the colorism that she faces from her peers, her father, her grandmother, and most of all herself. The novel shines a light on how our American culture and media have a set image of what “beauty” is and how all too often, most of us don’t fit that mold. Genesis Begins Again is a relatable tale of how Genesis learns to trust others and love herself for who she is instead of striving for some unattainable image that could never be. This book is worthy of all the accolades that it has received and is a valuable novel for middle school students to use in their classrooms.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

The Persevering Pinballs

The Persevering Pinballs

I was a voracious reader as a child. One of the many books that I read that has stuck with me as special and memorable was Betsy Byars’, The Pinballs. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

The Pinballs was published in 1976, so it is a little dated, but the underlying themes in the story will still resonate with kids today, and in today’s turbulent times maybe even more so! Kids can relate to the feeling of having no power and being bounced around like a pinball only going where they are pushed to go.

From the Book Jacket:

Carlie knows she’s got no say in what happens to her. Stuck in a foster home with two other kids, Harvey and Thomas J, she’s just a pinball being bounced from bumper to bumper. As soon as you get settled, somebody puts another coin in the machine and off you go again. But against her will and her better judgment, Carlie and the boys become friends. And all three of them start to see that they can take control of their own lives.

See what people are saying about The Pinballs Novel Study by The Teaching Bank!

I offer a complete novel study to accompany The Pinballs for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

pinball machine

Kids will find something to relate to in Carlie, Thomas J, and Harvey’s experiences. Topics of foster care, child abuse, alcoholism are as relevant today as they were in 1976. Byars hits these themes head-on and kids will appreciate the bluntness of the reality. Students will feel the pain that these protagonists experience and they will also journey with these characters to find that ray of hope that can lead you to a better place. Perseverance is the name of the game with these characters and it is a good lesson for any young reader to see and feel to help with their own personal struggles.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.