Barbara Moon, youth services consultant at Suffolk Cooperative Library System and contributor to School Library Journal said it best: “Memoirs tell a story from a life rather than a story of a life.” With the push for students to read more non-fiction or informational texts, classroom and library teachers are challenged to find readings that will engage students and give the opportunities to integrate knowledge and ideas. Memoirs have the potential to stimulate readers, broaden their horizons and allow a glimpse into various life styles and choices ordinary and extraordinary people have made. The focus is more on a time in a person’s life, the way an incident, decision or environment has shaped their life. Memoirs have become a very popular reading choice for both students and staff. Classes such as senior English and child growth have projects where memoirs are a focal point. They are also very popular for outside pleasure reading. Often time memoirs are gritty, intense and deal with serious matters. However the authors often find ways to weave humor, compassion, and hope into the story. Some of the popular memoirs many of our students and staff have read include the following:
The Glass Castle / Jeanette Walls
Breaking Night: a memoir of forgiveness, survival, and my journey from homeless to Harvard / Liz Murray
Liz Murray, who was homeless at the age of fifteen and had drug-addicted parents, reflects on how she overcame obstacles and eventually attended Harvard University.
A Stolen Life: a memoir / Jaycee Lee Dugard
Jaycee Dugard chronicles the eighteen years she spent in captivity, describing what happened after she was kidnapped at age eleven in 1991, the abuse she endured, the birth of her two daughters, the events leading up to her release, and her struggle to adjust to life once she was reunited with her family.