On Wednesday, 2 December, The Wheatley Book Club met virtually with Paola Mendoza to discuss her new Young Adult book, Sanctuary, named as one of School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2020. The book is a dystopian story about an America in the not too distant future and focuses on the lives of undocumented teen Vali, her undocumented mother, and her brother, Ernie, who is a US citizen. The narrative brings into focus the struggles and hopes of this small family and the risks they take to ensure their survival as they travel across the country in hopes of reaching California, a Sanctuary state.
Ms. Mendoza is an award-winning filmmaker, artist, and activist, most notably known as one of the founding members of the 2016 Women’s March. The students asked many probing questions and Ms. Mendoza graciously and thoughtfully engaged with them. Her biggest message, that the youth of America is the solution, that they are changing the landscape for human rights and have a solid foundation in seeing people on the basis of their merits, not on their status, echoed throughout the conversation.
It was an engaging and exciting experience that left all of us energized and inspired. Thank you to Mrs. Jo Beth Roberts (our Librarian and Advisor to the Book Club) for arranging this special meeting! Thank you to Mrs. Roberts for the write-up. Thanks to Anya Chabria for the screen shot of the Google Meet!