Dr. Stephen Bond’s book “Perseverance In A Strange Land” collects his Wilson [NC] Preparatory Academy students’ responses to 2020. While adults debate closing and re-opening schools, youth endure Covid-19-created home isolation juxtaposed to street protests against racism and police violence. Twenty-year veteran history/social studies teacher, Dr. Stephen Bond’s book “Perseverance In A Strange Land” collects his Wilson [NC] Preparatory Academy students’ responses to 2020., like lightning in a bottle. They explore a range of emotions, probe individual identity and question the wider world they’re on the verge of entering.
Casual social life on-hold, life-markers like prom, athletics and gradation canceled, form introspection in journal entries by multi-racial students, mostly male, aged 15 to 18. Grappling with the cell phone video of Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, students are vulnerable, sad, indignant and insightful. Kids long for adolescence fun in contrast to being confronted with racism and students’ vow to carry on the decades’ struggle for justice.
Drawing on teaching history, Dr. Bond’s section “Motivational Quotes From Phenomenal People Who Made A Difference”. Short bios, photos and quotes of people include JFK, President Barack Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein and astronaut Mae C. Jemison. This puts students’ experience in a larger world context where poverty, limited education, being orphaned, racial injustice can be surmounted for ultimate success. Any of these individuals can be a jumping-off point for students’ further research, writing and discussion. The book ends with fun word puzzles and an empathetic epilogue by Dr. Bond.
This book fits multiple audiences: teachers and parents gain understanding of young people’s interior lives; students can find inspiration for creative writing (& other arts projects) or as conversation-starters one-on-one or in classrooms. Anthony Mercer’s bright illustrations provide a reassuring tone for sometimes tough material.
This book deals with the view and voices of youth in the midst of current headlines dealing with protest, systemic racism and the pandemic in the US. Stories that truly tell what they feel and think. Trying to find the answers as to WHY. Excerpts from students who have been taught by Dr. Stephen Bond really grab your attention. Along with many motivational quotes and different activities, this book can activate the kid.. in all of us. James T. Hall - Amazon Review
This book is so inspiring and beautiful. It is wonderful to hear student voices during this uncertain time. I will be using this in my own classes to share their stories with my students in hopes to inspire them to write as well. The perspectives are diverse and heartfelt and you hear the truth of their stories. This book will stand out and serve as a primary historical document for this time of the Great Pandemic that has affected so many all around the world. Susan Binder - Amazon Review
“Perseverance In A Strange Land” ought to be required reading for teacher’s professional development to stay in touch with the Pandemic’s effect on students and to recognize the racism many of their students face. Concise yet stirring, this book has the potential to be a useful tool for teachers, from novice to veteran, in making school very relevant to student’s lives, while keeping flames of possibility burning in students’ minds.
“Perseverance In A Strange Land: Voices of Youth During the Covid-19 Pandemic: by Dr. Stephen Boyd is available at Barnes & Noble, Walt-Mart and Amazon.
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