Reading as a Punishment

Reading
Reading by Quinn Dombrowski

On February 8th the New York Times published Teenagers Who Vandalized Historic Black Schoolhouse Are Ordered to Read Books.  The article describes a crime, where 4 young boys, vandalized a historic black schoolhouse.  The judge of the case handed down a strange ruling.  The boys had to read.  For someone like me, this would not have been a punishment, but I also didn’t go around vandalizing anything.

USA Today article on the schoolhouse.

Pictures and more from Patch.com

Now, I don’t know if this will work.  If those kids see this as a punishment then maybe not, but if they take it as a learning opportunity then maybe so.  I’m not sure how enlightened kids that would do this kind of thing are, there is also their age to consider.

I did think that the list of books they were ordered to read was actually pretty well thought out.  It wasn’t just, we are going to give you a bunch of books to read as a pure punishment.  They thought about the books hoping to give the kids a little background and maybe teach them an understanding that they didn’t have and they weren’t learning from their parents or school.

For those of you interested (like me) here is the list:

The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
Native Son,” Richard Wright
Exodus,” Leon Uris
Mila 18,” Leon Uris
Trinity,” Leon Uris
My Name Is Asher Lev,” Chaim Potok
The Chosen,” Chaim Potok
The Sun Also Rises,” Ernest Hemingway
Night,” Elie Wiesel
The Crucible,” Arthur Miller
The Kite Runner,” Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns,” Khaled Hosseini
Things Fall Apart,” Chinua Achebe
The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood
To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” Maya Angelou
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” Rebecca Skloot
Caleb’s Crossing,” Geraldine Brooks
Tortilla Curtain,” T.C. Boyle
The Bluest Eye,” Toni Morrison
A Hope in the Unseen,” Ron Suskind
Down These Mean Streets,” Piri Thomas
Black Boy,” Richard Wright
The Beautiful Struggle,” Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Banality of Evil,” Hannah Arendt
The Underground Railroad,” Colson Whitehead
Reading Lolita in Tehran,” Azar Nafisi
The Rape of Nanking,” Iris Chang
Infidel,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Orphan Master’s Son,” Adam Johnson
The Help,” Kathryn Stockett
Cry the Beloved Country,” Alan Paton
Too Late the Phalarope,” Alan Paton
A Dry White Season,” André Brink
Ghost Soldiers,” Hampton Sides

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