Laura Marion and Kristen Osborne-Bartucca recently invited the school to join the fourth annual American Studies Book Groups. Eight adults from around campus ended up participating by reading and discussing books alongside students including How to Hide an Empire by Daniel Immerwahr and Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. Students were asked how the author made a persuasive case and then present the argument to their class.
Alexandra K. ’24 read Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, which explores the tragic but true story of a child with epilepsy in order to convey the cultural conflicts between the Hmong and the Merced medical community. She shared, “While our group might naturally side with American doctors in the book, Fadiman invites us to consider how our deeply rooted Western beliefs may rest on our own cultural assumptions. Instead of taking sides, our group has taken the time to discuss how we might have acted if we had been raised in the Hmong community, with traditions and beliefs just as entrenched as those of a doctor who has undergone years of residency. Dissecting our own perspectives and stories has led me to better appreciate the subtle line between truth and belief.”
Stephanie Monteleone supported Alexandra’s group in discussion and shared, “I really enjoy these book groups because it gives me an opportunity to see students shine beyond what I typically see in my classroom. I appreciate the casual vibe since I'm not being asked to evaluate their learning. Instead, I just get to hear their point of view or sincere response to the story.”
We look forward to celebrating this tradition for years to come.