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Students read, discuss 'The Price of a Child'

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Students and teachers across the School District are reading a novel this spring about slavery and pre-Civil War Philadelphia as part of the “One Book, One Philadelphia” project – a citywide effort to promote literacy and to encourage the Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book.

The focus of this effort is a book by noted Philadelphia author Lorene Cary. The Price of a Child is set in 1855 and tells the story of a young female slave who escapes from her owner while traveling through Philadelphia and uses the Underground Railroad to find freedom. The book is a powerful account of the period and addresses a myriad of social issues relating to race, gender, human rights, and constitutional law. 

“The book is very well suited to high school and 11th grade in particular because the content fits into American Literature and American History,” said District curriculum specialist Vera Da Vinci.

School District CEO Paul Vallas added, “This book facilitates learning not just by introducing complex writing and new vocabulary, but by promoting the social consciousness of our students.”

Each high school in the District has a class set of the books as well as a curriculum guide created by District staff. Author Cary will be visiting one high school in each of the system’s nine regions to discuss the book.

The Free Library has a list of suggested titles for addressing the book’s themes with elementary and middle school students. For more information, call 215-567-7710.

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