Acceptance, the Holiday Season and Books

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December – the coldest month with the warmest of themes. It is the time when it’s socially acceptable for a bearded man to enter other people’s chimney and to blast Mariah Carey’s all I want for Christmas on repeat. This month has many different types of importance’s, unique to every person: religion, traditions, midterms, holiday break, etc. With so much happening this month, I wanted to discuss high school, and acceptance during the holiday season in relation to books.

Currently I’m a sophomore in high school and midterms are approaching. Stress has polluted the air, throwing everyone into a frenzy. While I realize high school is a sheltered place and just the beginning, it can sometimes feel like my whole world. I often see other students whose confidence fluctuates with every grade. It is too easy to enable stress and worry take over when school feels like a competition to emerge at the top. However high school isn’t just academic, it's a period of time where teenagers have to attempt to figure out who they are, find a friend group, and think about the future outside of classroom walls. Recently I had become so worried that I wasn’t smart enough to be successful that I ended up spending so much time being frustrated that I didn’t even make an attempt to try. Later I realized that everyone has different capabilities and that I had to understand that not everyone can be Einstein, no matter how hard they try. Though it most definitely sounds cheesy, I took my parents advice and set my goal to trying my best. I know this phrase is used as an excuse, but the maximum anyone can give is their best. Most people in America who have gone through high school can relate to each other’s high school experiences. There are so many components and layers to high school. If a young adult novel takes place at school or is comprised of teenagers, it has to feel real and relatable to make an impact. An author has to truly capture the emotions, scenarios, and mindset of this time to be successful when writing to young adults.

As social media and the internet continue to grow, more and more information is uncovered and discovered, forcing people to observe their surroundings. This month people will be celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or simply snow days. I think it is very important during this season to respect everyone’s choice in how they do, or do not celebrate. I realize that there is always controversy involving the way Christmas is handled at schools. However the conversation is important to prevent any child from feeling alienated. Similarly I support novels that have strong opinions in them, but an insightful story has to look at the plot and ideas from more than one perspective (I learnt that at school).

Before I end this post I just wanted to remind you to remember to experience the little things in life that bring you joy during this crazy season.

Happy Holidays!

Faryal Jabbar