BY KATIE MESSNER ’24
“Dear Martin,” a best-selling young adult novel, has been banned in several school districts throughout the United States. The book is about a high school student named Justyce, and deals with topics of race, police brutality and identity.
Bestselling author Nic Stone of “Dear Martin” Zoomed in with students at UAHS on March 7 to talk about her motivations for writing “Dear Martin” and her writing in general. Some selected students and those in Book Club sat in the Learning Center and asked Stone questions while classes watched online.
“I couldn’t be more pleased,” Deal said in an interview after the event. “I am very excited that our students and our staff got to experience her words and her wisdom and her humor. There were some tough questions from our students, and I was really proud of them.”
Deal talked about the process of getting Nic Stone to speak at UAHS.
“It had almost been a year,” Deal said. “We wrote the grant in late April of last year [for] grades 6 through 12. We lobbied with some outside groups to try and get funding because bestselling authors are quite pricey, even virtually.”
After Zooming with the high schoolers, Stone Zoomed with the middle schoolers in the afternoon. Students throughout the high school and middle school read “Dear Martin,” either personally or for a class. English teacher Dorothy Sutton was one teacher who taught the book.
“Reading it myself helped me understand a population different from myself,” Sutton said. “Teaching it in class was really interesting because I have all these young people who brought this other perspective to the table which was awesome.”
However, there was some pushback from the community.
“I got some pushback from other families, a couple families who didn’t want their kids reading the book, which was a little bit heartbreaking for me,” Sutton said.
Deal shared a similar sentiment.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion, as long as they are not trying to cancel it,” Deal said. “And that obviously did not happen.”
Stone’s most recent book, “Chaos Theory,” brings attention to teen mental health and is available in the Learning Center.