On the first Saturday each month, Brenda Buchanan, Mary Brooking, Laura Kilmartin and I host Books in the Brook at Continuum in Westbrook. I’ve blogged about it before. We’ve had phenomenal authors, including many bloggers on this site, read from their work. This past Saturday, we did something a little different. We invited students from Westbrook High School to read. Six students came and blew us away.
They are all recent immigrants to Maine and they wrote of their journeys to Maine and their dreams for the future. Several had been in Maine for less than a year. Many had harrowing stories, including a bomb placed in a car or having to choose between escaping with their father or staying with their mother who hadn’t received a visa yet.
Imagine for a moment being a teenager, uprooted from your homeland because of violence and fear, struggling to learn a new language and new culture, facing prejudice and fear on top of all the angst and difficulties inherent in being a teenager anywhere. Now imagine that instead of crawling into a hole, as I might, you find the courage to tell your story. And not just to your friends or a supportive teacher, but in front of a room of strangers like these kids did at Books in the Brook.
They are amazing and Westbrook and Maine are lucky to have them.