This year, students at Christ Church Day School are participating in a program called One Book, One School. Every day during the time the students are not on campus, they complete a chapter or two from the book, Planet Omar, Accidental Trouble Magnet. This wonderful, humorous novel focuses on a Muslim student who is new to his London school. He is bullied and insulted for his religion. As he approaches these challenges, this imaginative young man will make you laugh so hard that “snot will come out of your nose (plus you might meet a dragon and a zombie.)” It is sure to make readers smile even through the hard, uncomfortable chapters.
Following each section, the students record videos of themselves responding to a question or assignment. Younger and older students are paired up to encourage each other with the reading assignments and bond over shared experiences and feelings. The videos have been a huge hit and are watched and responded to daily.
Interwoven throughout this program are outside interviews with people of different faiths, races, and challenges. Students are able to interact with these individuals, ask questions, and make connections with them. Similarities are discussed, and differences are celebrated.
As Omar demonstrates his creativity, our students create with him. This past week, our students designed imaginary creatures with wonderful characteristics and stories. After recording information about these creatures, the students brought them into school so everyone could enjoy them.
Making connections with other students, people different than you, and a novel with a challenged main character are some of the benefits of One Book, One School. During this time of limited interaction with one another, this program shines a light for our students, and allows them to grow, learn, and join together during this pandemic.