Minority Resources for Unit Themes

Grief/Trauma and Healing

   Madness Vase/The Nutritionist by Andrea Gibson

Andrea Gibson is a spoken word poet whose work focuses on gender, sexuality, white privilege, bullying, and grief. "The Nutritionist" discusses living with depression, grief, suicide, sexuality, and healing. The poem has an ultimately uplifting message, including the lines:

"You are not weak
just because your heart feels so heavy.
I have never met a heavy heart that wasn’t a phone booth
with a red cape inside"

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman

Matthew Shepard was a university student who, due to his sexuality, was beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998. His murder brought a great deal of attention to the Hate Crime legislation that was happening in America at the time. Newman's novel in verse is about Matthew Shepard's death, his legacy, and the act of healing.

            Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

Set in D.C. in the post-9/11 sniper shootings, with a community struggling to make sense of the random acts of violence Gone, Gone, Gone features two boys who are struggling to make sense of their own lives. While dealing with broken families, a dead brother, and feelings of vulnerability, the boys develop an intense romantic connection and question whether it is worth falling in love in a messed up world.  

Resilience and Survival

                   Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Adaptation is the first in a young adult sci-fi thriller series about three teenagers who race to uncover a government conspiracy. The main character, Reese, is bisexual. Although her sexuality is important to the romantic subplots in the novel, it is never pictured as problematic.  

                    It Gets Better Project

The It Gets Better Project started as a way for LGBTQ+ adults to reach out to LGBTQ+ youth who were being harassed, and let them know it would get better. Now a worldwide movement, the videos aim to help LGBTQ+ youth build resilience, and inspire everyone to make the world safe for LGBTQ+ youth.

Truth

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a young adult coming of age novel that follows the friendship of two Mexican-American boys. Themes of being honest to yourself, family, friendship, loyalty, and anger run throughout the novel. The treatment of 'coming out' in this novel is particularly valuable, as it shows the character struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, without depicting homosexuality in a negative light.

                 Brave by Sara Bareilles

"Brave" is a pop song by Sara Barellis, inspired by her friend coming out. The song is about being brave enough to face our own truths, even if other people may not approve.

Family

               In Mike We Trust by P.E. Ryan

In Mike We Trust is a young adult novel about Garth, a teenage boy who is struggling with his father's death, his subsequent disconnect with his mother, and his emerging sexuality. When his Dad's twin Mike comes to visit, Mike's honesty and acceptance are a salve for Garth's wounds. But as Mike's intentions become murky, Garth finds himself wondering how far he will go for his family to find himself.

                      C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)

C.R.A.Z.Y. is a Quebecois film from director Jean-Marc Vallée about a family of seven trying to understand and love one another. The focus is on Zach, who is exploring his sexuality and rocking out to David Bowie, while still trying to live up to his conservative father's expectations.

Roots

            First Spring Grass Fire by Rae Spoon

Rae Spoon's (pronouns they/them) semi-autobiographical collection of short stories is about growing up queer in Alberta. The author's roots -- growing up in the prairies as part of strict Pentecostal family -- is a large focus of the work.

If You Would like more INformation...

If you want to use any of the above resources in your unit plans, go for it. If you have any questions about the above resources, or want help finding a resource that fulfills a particular need (features an FNMI character, is a poem, would be appropriate for Grade 7, etc) please feel free to fill out the form below for more information and we'll get back to you!