YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2010/2011



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The Bite of the Mango
by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland


YAL Presenter Unit 2010/2011

Subjects: English
Grade Level: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Posted: 2010
Unit Created by: Beverly Rowls

What makes this a good YAL choice...

When we study the Jewish Holocaust we are told – Never Forget – so that such a horror never again confronts people of the world. Either the world does not know history or we, as people of the world, decide to ignore it. The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991 to 2002) is only one example of a more recent war of genocide resulting in over 50,000 dead and two million Africans displaced as refugees. The preparation of child soldiers resulted in the maiming of thousands of innocent people but few in the United States were even aware that this had occurred.


The Bite of the Mango is a memoir by a young girl whose hands were cut off during that war. As an able-bodied young person we all would wonder, how in the world could someone survive the loss of their hands? How could they take care of themselves? How could the ever succeed in life?


This memoir is Mariatu’s story of survival. Her early life was happy until the soldiers came into her village killing and maiming everyone they encountered. As a victim of that war, she learned to care for herself and to share her story. A story where she came from a world of poverty and inhumanity during the war to become a representative for UNICEF. This true story of resilience is one that captures the soul of the reader, making it possible to believe that any adversity can be overcome — Beverly Rowls


YAL Conference Workshop Description
So, You Think You've Got It Bad: Examining Resilience through Memoir in The Bite of the Mango
Jeanine Ntihirageza and Beverly Rowls, Presenters

Teaching is learning. There are many challenges facing both teachers and students. What issues must teachers overcome in working with recent immigrants, refugees and poor populations? Learning about the socio-cultural backgrounds of our students may bring us one step closer to having successful educational endeavors in our classrooms. We can benefit from learning about and building upon our own personal resilience as well as that of our students. In this workshop we will explore techniques that work well with refugees and other populations in our classrooms. Through reading and writing memoirs we can learn more about our students to better serve them as we learn how important resilience is and how both students and teachers can build upon what they have to be successful in life. — Workshop Description for YAL 2010