• November 14, 2018

    Dear Parents:

    We’re pleased to announce that Ben Mikaelsen, a well-known and award-winning Young Adult author, will be visiting South Middle on Wednesday, February 13th. Many of our eighth graders read his novel Touching Spirit Bear when they were in sixth grade, and they may have read his novel Petey last year.

    The title we’ve chosen for the eighth grade to read is Tree Girl. It is the story of a 14-year-old girl who faces the horrors of civil war in her native Guatemala and her attempts to protect her sister while they are trying to escape the war. We will begin studying Tree Girl at the end of November, and students across the grade will have opportunity to create a range of projects in response to the text.

    Please note: This powerful book realistically portrays the horrors of war and the text includes scenes of intense violence. However, we strongly believe in the literary merits of the story, which is why we’ve chosen to offer this particular book. The novel will be taught exclusively in English classes, and the teachers will mediate and manage these difficult topics as they arise.

    Please feel free to visit the author’s web site, www.benmikaelsen.com, for further information. Our school library will have copies of his books to preview, as will the Great Neck Library. If you should have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s English teacher via email or call (516) 441- 4644.

    Thank you,
    The South Middle School English Department