Review of Common Core Standards in the Novel Tears of a Tiger

Tears of a Tiger by Sharon M. Draper is an excellent book to be taught in classrooms. There are many reasons that the novel should be taught; it qualifies for many Common Core Standards, has engaging content with mature aspects, and appropriately discusses controversial topics, such as death.

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Firstly, the young adult novel follows the common core standards for highschoolers. One of the standards, 9-10.5, requires an analysis of how the author creates effects such as surprise, tension, and mystery. Draper’s book includes flashbacks, of the accident that killed Robert, the tension between Andy and his friends, and mystery the whole book on how Andy is going to deal with his emotions and guilt. The novel contains excellent tense and surprising material for students to understand and analyze deeply. In addition to having multiple subplots, the novel also includes multiple narrators and perspectives. Another standard, 9-10.3, compels students to study how complex characters develop, interact with other characters, and advance the plot. The story starts off with Andy as the main character and follows his mental journey. He lies to his parents, coaches, and teachers and tells them that he is doing okay after the accident. Soon his bottled up emotions get the best of him when his girlfriend breaks up with him and he commits suicide to have his little brother find him. His developing mental state gets worse and worse and advances the plot with every tense conversation he has with a trusted adult and friend.

Furthermore, young adults read literature deemed appropriate for their age group and this novel is fit for being read. Teenagers are engaging in risky behaviors that include violence, alcohol abuse, and reckless driving. They prefer truth because they have experience with these kinds of risks. The novel speaks from a teenager’s perspective who has young adult-like thoughts and actions. Draper does not conceal truth and reality in her novel and it includes a believable story and grit which makes it an engaging read to struggling readers. The book is written on a middle school level for grades six and up. The appropriateness of the novel is not a problem for teenagers and by reading the book they gain valuable insight into how other teens feel and deal with stress. It should be taught in classes because it is relevant to teenagers and suitable to their maturity levels.

Lastly, this novel handles potentially controversial topics in an appropriate, meaningful, and relevant manner. The most potentially controversial topic in this novel is Andy’s suicide, where he is found dead by his six year old brother. Authough it may be a difficult topic to address, the chapters that come after that part show the impact of his suicide on his classmates and friends through their letters. The section talking about how the school didn’t help Andy even when he asked for it moves kids in a way where they understand the impact of suicide and death. Because this novel can be heavy-handed at times opposers may say that it is not appropriate for young adults. They argue that it could engourage these risky behaviors and that teens shouldn’t be exposed to harsh realities of the world. Their argument is sheltering kids and isn’t prepering them for the future. Draper’s book may include controversial topics such as teen drinking and suicide, but those actions and the consquences of them, death, gives young adults a life lesson to not do these behaviors. Teenagers should read violent books because they teach sympathy and empathy. This kind of literature shows a different side to life and exposes teens to situations that others are in such as suicide, bullying, and violence. They aren’t lies about the real world and can result in positive change by promoting hope and caution. The author wrote this book with controversial topics in a way that positively impact the young adults that read it.

I believe that the novel Tears of a Tiger by Sharon M. Draper. has amazing messeges and lessons throughout it. I want the board members to think about the potential this novel has to become a story that inspires the millions of kids who would read it. 

07 July 2022

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