Saturday, October 18, 2008

YA Author Alex Sanchez at Paideia

Novelist Alex Sanchez (Rainbow Boys trilogy, So Hard to Say, The God Box and others) spent yesterday morning with Junior High and High School students. The day started at 8:15 am with a talk in the Black Box to three JH classes (M&G, J&O, & J&T). He was introduced to the group by a huge fan, a JH student who has read all six of Alex's books and everything else the library owns in the gay and lesbian fiction category!

Alex anchors his talks with e-mails he's received from teens who have been supported, inspired or encouraged by his characters and stories, and weaves in his own story of growing up and coming out to his family. In a small group session with Junior High students, he talked at length about writing, how he writes, and about truth, fiction and life.
Writing fiction is about emotional honesty. It requires you to dig deep into your heart and find what's true. If you can do that, your writing will connect with others.
Alex spoke to our older students in a High School assembly. This talk incorporated many of the same stories and ideas, but was somewhat different in its focus.
Homophobic comments are like papercuts. Each one hurts a little, but it's not a big deal. At school, five, ten, twenty times every day - that's what is happening to a gay teen's heart.
While many of the students were open to and eager for his message, there are always a few students for whom gay and lesbian lives and dignity are difficult and uncomfortable topics. If our guests were only preaching to the choir, though, there would be no need to bring them.

Alex's visit connected on three levels -- as a writer, as a gay man who writes about gay teens, and as a Mexican-American writer. Teachers who continued the conversation in classes after the assembly found that this author visit was spoke deeply to many students, each in a different way, and all very powerfully.

Thank you Alex Sanchez, and thank you to all at Paideia who supported and sponsored this author visit!

For more information on the author visit