When Dagne Furth, an experienced English literature and global citizenship educator, helped her students publish a book called Dear Tariq this past year, she knew she wanted to make the project available to teachers around the world.
Dagne supported two of her own students and a young Syrian artist living in Jordan to write, illustrate and publish Dear Tariq, a story about two boys (one from the US and one from Syria) whose paths cross through an exchange of letters and a deep sense of connection. The book explores the impact of the boys’ connection in terms of developing intercultural understanding and action related to the root causes of circumstances that result in humans becoming refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.
“It was amazing to watch these students create Dear Tariq and connect with each other through the process,” says Dagne. “I was determined to help them publish this book, and this led me to create my own organization called New Day Storytelling Advocates.”
Through New Day, Dagne is committed to helping young changemakers publish more stories, both in book form and through blogging, and the two students (Geo Chen and Selena Morse) who authored Dear Tariq are mentoring younger students in how to use their voices to create positive change.
Because Dear Tariq involves themes that relate to many units of study related to migration, equity and conflict, Dagne reached out to me several months ago, wondering if we could partner to create curriculum for Dear Tariq. I am thrilled to share that we wrote a full unit for this text! It’s a unit geared for grade 3 students, but can easily be adapted for a range of grade levels, and you can access the curriculum through Dagne’s website.
Photo above: Dagne and I collaborating on Dear Tariq curriculum.
“We hope that teachers will be able to use Dear Tariq to teach about global issues and root causes, as well as see an example of how students can use storytelling to create impact,” says Dagne.
Check out Dagne’s website and the video below that features both Dagne and student Selena Morse (now a freshman in college). The interview provides background on the process of writing and publishing Dear Tariq, and also highlights the leadership role that Selena had throughout the experience. For any educator interested in engaging students in advocacy and storytelling, the interview will be inspiring and helpful.
In addition, check out these additional resources if you’re interested in exploring more resources related to teaching about migration and amplifying student agency and voice in your classroom!
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