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Author Speaks to Middle, Upper School Students

Author Ibi Zoboi spoke to Middle and Upper School students in mid-October. Zoboi was born in Haiti and immigrated to New York at the age of four. She writes young adult novels ranging from a retelling of “Pride and Prejudice” set in present-day Brooklyn to a coming-of-age story about a young girl with a big imagination. Zoboi spoke to Upper School students about language, the western literary canon, a body of books that represents narrow western culture, and the importance of reading books outside the canon to gain context and an understanding of the perspectives of people around the world. She said traditional classroom books should be paired with books by people of color. “There are different ways of thinking about what intellectual rigor means,” Zoboi said. Zoboi spoke to Middle School students later in the day and held a workshop for eighth-grade English students in Laura Clemens’ class. Zoboi asked students to write poems about home and the places where they’re from using poetic languages and literary devices. Students read the poems and Zoboi shared her feedback with the class. Zoboi’s visit was arranged by Middle and Upper School associate librarian Gail Bloom and Middle and Upper School head librarian Megan Whitt.