CHADRON – Chadron State College English majors Lydia Privett of Wahoo, Nebraska, and Nalani Stewart of Colorado Springs, Colorado, led a discussion group with Chadron High School students this semester focusing on “Hey Kiddo,” a graphic memoir written and illustrated by Jarrett Krosoczka and used as the Common Reading Experience at CSC.
Privett and Stewart volunteered to meet five times over several weeks with a group of about six Chadron High School students in the high school library before school to discuss “Hey Kiddo.”
Stewart said the Common Reading Experience offered a chance for everyone across campus to come together and connect regardless of differences.
“I like the idea of the program. It creates a reason for people to think creatively together that may not have been there in the first place,” Stewart said.
Privett said the Common Reading Experience was valuable.
“This book was accessible to everyone. I think the high school students enjoyed the aspect of the graphic memoir itself. It was a quick and easy read that was stock-full of valuable, real-life experiences that can connect students from all different backgrounds and walks of life,” Privett said.
She said one of the students pointed out an interesting insight about Jarrett's relationship with his grandmother, Shirley.
“He said their relationship was just as complicated in real life as it appears in the book. She was a very dynamic and unpredictable character. Maybe the readers were meant to have mixed feelings about her as Jarrett likely does,” Privett said.
Privett said the group spent time analyzing the author’s relationships and each character’s role in his life.
“We pushed the boys to think about why Jarrett was more concerned about reaching out to his father with the sole intent of [establishing] a relationship with his siblings rather than actively pursuing one with his father,” Privett said.
Stewart said one of the students explained that he felt he could connect to the author’s story, even though not all of the aspects of their lives were similar.
“Working with younger students really opened my eyes to the way that people, in general, interact with the written word. Authors create worlds with their pens but their readers jump into that world and run with it. Discussing the book with other students helped me to see that words are powerful. It is always interesting to see how written works can be interpreted and understood differently based on what a person has gone through, and where they have been,” Stewart said.
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