Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction is making its way into school libraries and classrooms and is being adopted as a textbook in some schools. I was happy to hear from teacher Lee Karpa from Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School in Massachusetts about how Tomo was used in a new World Lit elective. Here are Lee's words:
"Recently our English Department embarked on a new endeavor, offering a World Literature elective course in addition to the general four-year required English classes. The one-semester elective was launched in September of 2011 and was successful enough for the course to be offered again in the 2012-2013 school year.
"In this Contemporary World Literature elective, students are asked to read and write beyond the rather challenging demands of their required English classes. I began the year with the study of Japan, its literature, film, and culture. We began reading selections from Tomo which gave students manageable reading chunks. Not only were the selections accessible, they were enjoyed by all of the students. I began by assigning a few short stories to the entire class, then having students choose a selection which was later shared with the rest of the students. Based on the students’ reviews, each student chose another story to read. Finally, students who had read the same story met to discuss. In this way, the majority of the stories were covered.
"The Tomo stories in verse were shared primarily in class, with students reading the poetry aloud, followed by discussion. A couple of the longer poems were read by each student reading one stanza. The students loved this manner of reading poetry, feeling that the verse came alive and became approachable.
"Tomo was the perfect vehicle for beginning a World Literature class."
Thank you, Lee, and thank you to all schools, book groups and classrooms that use Tomo. Thank you for being friends to Tohoku through fiction.