Discussion Guides and Resources

Discussion guide for Either the Beginning or the End of the World:

Either-the-Beginning-or the End of the World Discussion Guide.

Readers’ Guides and Resources for The Good Braider

The Good Braider Blog   reading lists of books about Africa,  hear a South Sudanese rap star,  follow my journey in photos to Kakuma refugee camp at

The Good Braider, An Educator’s Guide  Portland High School ESOL teacher Thomas Talarico’s educator’s guide featuring vocabulary skill building and comprehension questions

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The Good Braider Discussion Guide

Good Braider Discussion Guide PDF  a Discussion Guide for community reads, book clubs, and classes

The “I’m Your Neighbor” Guide to The Good Braider with Questions that Connect Readers to their Communities

 

 

 

The Good Braider is part of YWCA Hartford Region’s “A Week Without Violence”

The Good Braider is part of YWCA Hartford Region’s “A Week Without Violence”

YWCAWWV SidewalkIn honor of YWCA’s national movement, a Week Without Violence, YWCA Hartford Region has invited me to tell the story behind The Good Braider in an evening that also features young refugees and survivors of violence. I am deeply honored to bring Viola’s  story tothe YWCA Hartford program entitled, “Rising Above: Stories of Female Survivors” on Oct. 15.

Readers Write Viola’s Next Chapter

Readers Write Viola’s Next Chapter
Megan, 9th grader, Gorham High in Maine, wrote "College." She is from Burundi.
Megan, 9th grader, Gorham High in Maine, wrote “College.” She is from Burundi.

 

Heather Flanders, ELL Specialist at Gorham High School in Maine sent me two stories.  She wrote, “I hope you are as moved as I was,” and I was. The stories were written by her students Amna and Megan, their own visions of the next chapter in my novel The Good Braider.   Amna is from Kharotum, Megan is from Burundi. In their chapters, they imagine Viola supported by her grandmother’s “power to believe” and as a high school senior on her way to college and willing to take on the hard task of writing essays. Amna and Megan have their own bright futures.

 

 

 

 

“My Beloveds” by Amna who is from Khartoum

I’ve gotten this far.

Habuba would of been proud of me, if she was with me.

What am I talking about?

She is with me.

I refuse to think she’s dead, but that she’s watching over me like God and the Angels watch over us

Sometimes I talk to her, I hope she can hear my words.

I would of had lots to say to her if she were here.

A year ago, I was in a war, I was living trying to survive, in that war.

And now I live in Portland, Maine where I’m safe

and free.

I knew I would make it this far, and I couldn’t do it without the help of my beloveds.

Andrew, who is now like my prince

My Friends, Abby, Jamal, Poni, and Jakie, who were there for me, when I had trouble fitting in

in this new world

Mrs Mejia who gave me her words of wisdom, she is like no other, with a mind full of knowledge

and a heart made with love.

And to her red nails, I would probably never forget.

My mother, who made this possible

Francis, who gave me love with fun, who is the blood that flows in my heart, always with me until I run out.

Habuba, who gave me hope and the power to believe.

 

“College” by Megan

Summer vacation is now over.

I’m returning to school as a senior, next year I am going to college.

Mrs. Mejía is talking to me about college applications, it is very

complicated, so I decide to ask Andrew who is now my boyfriend.

Andrew offers to help me with the applications but I’d rather have

Mrs. Mejía help me. This year I have so many essays to write and

it seems like I’m gonna struggle with homework and jobs. I plan

to quit the job for senior year but I still have to talk to my mother.

I don’t think she will approve of my decision, but after the incident

happened, she has been trying to understand me and my decisions.

It is now 2 p.m and I have to go home so I can talk with my mom, but Andrew

offers to drive me home and I can’t say no to those sweet green eyes.

I get home and see a woman in the kitchen, she is covered from head to toe,

and she smells like Juba, I try to see her face and she turns and says,

“oh…hi you scared me Viola!”

“Gwendolyn…..”, I start crying and I can’t believe it, she is standing here,

in my kitchen, in Maine with her little kid. My mom comes in the kitchen and

all my attention turned away from Gwendolyn and towards my mother. Mom looks at me

and says, “what’s wrong?”

“Nothing….can I talk to you in private?”

“ Of course…tell me what’s bothering you?” My mom talks to me like an adult now,

she’s very understanding.

“This year I’m gonna have to write a lot of papers, and you know I struggle with writing….So I was thinking about quitting the job for this school year. what do

you think?” I’m shaking as I say it, I do not know what her reaction is gonna

be like, I’m nervous.

“ Ok. you can do it but as soon as your senior year is over I want you to look for a job.

The only reason I’m doing this is because I want you to have a scholarship.”

“Thank you mother.”

After that conversation, I feel so relieved and go back to the kitchen to talk

to Gwendolyn so she can tell me her journey, I cannot believe my life is so organized and happy

I have finally settled, I’m almost an american but my memory

keeps me a african girl.