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Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

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Reviewing Sadia

As a fifteen-year-old adjusting to life in high school, Sadia begins to realize that growing up in Winnipeg brings many challenges. Balancing school work, extra-curriculars, and relationships, all while trying to discover yourself is a daunting task. Sadia faces pressure from her family, peers, and herself, while trying to figure out where she fits in.

When the new school year begins, Sadia’s best friend has started de-jabbing. This poses a real dilemma for Sadia as she has difficulty understanding why her friend would all of a sudden start lying to her parents.

This novel can serve as inspiration for many of our students. Living in a multicultural society means accepting everyone for who they are. Traditional rules need to be adjusted, and Sadia’s story serves as a prime example. She loves to play basketball and is a vital member of her school team. At an annual tournament, some of the opposing teams take issue with a piece of Sadia’s clothing — her hijab. Just when she thinks there is no hope, Sadia receives inspiration from an unlikely source.

Curriculum Connections

During the story, Sadia’s teacher Mr. Letner provides the class with an assignment that can definitely be used in any junior/intermediate classroom. The “If You Give a Kid a Camera” task gets students to take photographs of moments that matter to them, and explain the importance behind each photo. It leads the students on a path of self-discovery, as well as helping them to see each other in a different light, building feelings of empathy and compassion.

With themes of social justice, friendship, dealing with the pressures of being a teenager, standing up for what is right, being true to yourself, and giving young people a voice, this book offers many different angles for curriculum connections. Deep and relevant discussions will be sparked from reading this book with a large or small group of students.

Follow the author on Twitter: @ColleenNelson14



Since jumping at the opportunity to become a Teacher-Librarian, Geoffrey Ruggero has transformed the Learning Commons at a Maple Public School into a modern learning space. His passion for reading and making inspires students to bring their learning to life in many unique ways.


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June 20, 2019
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