First-generation American LatinX Liliana Cruz does what it takes to fit in at her new nearly all-white school. But when family secrets spill out and racism at school ramps up, she must decide what she believes in and take a stand.
Liliana Cruz is hitting a wall—or rather, walls. There’s the wall her mom has put up ever since Liliana’s dad left—again.
There’s the wall that delineates Liliana’s diverse inner-city Boston neighborhood from Westburg, the wealthy—and white—suburban high school she’s just been accepted into.
And there’s the wall Liliana creates within herself, because to survive at Westburg, she can’t just lighten up, she has to whiten up.
So what if she changes her name? So what if she changes the way she talks? So what if she’s seeing her neighborhood in a different way? But then light is shed on some hard truths: It isn’t that her father doesn’t want to come home—he can’t...and her whole family is in jeopardy. And when racial tensions at school reach a fever pitch, the walls that divide feel insurmountable.
But a wall isn’t always a barrier. It can be a foundation for something better. And Liliana must choose: Use this foundation as a platform to speak her truth, or risk crumbling under its weight.
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Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From
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Students reflect on how aspects of their identities are more visible or felt in certain situations and read an informational text to help them consider the interplay between individual identity and social identity.
Students explore the costs and benefits of sharing aspects of their identities, discuss an informational text about “narrative identity,” and apply these concepts to their own lives in an original poem.
Students learn about a project, created by two young adults, that engaged people across the country in conversations about race, identity, and culture. Then they start to envision what sharing their own stories can look, sound, and feel like.