“Without books that open minds, through fictional portraits or real, our young people may never have the information they need to make sound decisions or overcome irrational fears.” (Hopkins 2012)

I try to remember these words from Ellen Hopkins as I read about the concerns arising over the 2011 novel, 13 Reasons Why.

As a parent, it’s my responsibility to analyze and discuss literature and media with my son that is culturally relevant and influential. As a teacher, it’s my responsibility to address the needs of my students with their parents/guardians.

13 Reasons Why (thirteenreasonswhy.com)

How are you addressing the recent concerns and reignited interest in ’13 Reasons Why’ with students and parents?

As a teacher and parent, I’d want to incorporate it into my curriculum, even as an optional course. I would emphasize substantial analysis of the novel, articles reviewing the Netflix series (like this linked article from The New Yorker), and interviews with the creators, with class guest speakers, including school counselors and mental illness experts. I do not think silence is the solution—keeping silent or silencing others like has been done in the past in Oklahoma.

Extended Reading

  1. The 13 Reasons Why Backlash Reminds Us That Adults Should Actually Listen To Teens
  2. Teens Explain What Adults Don’t Get About 13 Reasons Why
  3. Musical.ly Compilations for 13 Reasons Why
  4. New Rochelle Parents Raise Concerns About ’13 Reasons Why’ Letter Sent Home With Young Students

Works Cited