In New York City, Carol O'Donnell and her seventh-grade students explore themes of multiple worlds and dual identities. They read poetry by Diana Chang and Naomi Shihab Nye; James McBride's memoir, The Color of Water; and essays and short stories by Gish Jen, Khoi Luu, Lensey Namioka, and Julia Alvarez; and watch Tina Lee perform a monologue. O'Donnell uses historical documents and a documentary video about the U.S. Census to provide context for the works. Through a series of innovative drama, role play, and writing activities, the students examine the social and cultural experiences of the characters and reflect on their own definitions and experiences of identity.
Teacher educator Valerie Kinloch notes, "Carol encourages her students to create their own stories, to share their stories, and to grapple with the ways that we can define our identity in the texts that we read."