As part of an ongoing series of one-question interviews, the Globe asked Toronto high-school teacher Stephen Dalrymple what his favourite book to teach is.
Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian. Interspersed with the text of the novel is a series of doodles, diagrams and comic strips. These are the work of Junior, the book’s protagonist – an odd-looking but bright fourteen year-old boy who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The novel is an account of his experience transferring to the high school in the neighboring white community. My students love this book. Not only does it induce class-wide giggle fits when read aloud, it’s also a tough story that provokes serious discussion about social inequality and prejudice. Last November, a student put up his hand and said, “Sir. You know, that’s the first book I’ve ever finished. It was pretty good.” I knew then that this book was a keeper.