I would use the book Walking for My Life, written by Jennifer Dewey, to teach students about the ways in which suffering can help a person become more knowledgeable and understanding. In this story, the narrator walks through the desert after their car breaks down and comes away from the experience with a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world. I would introduce this text with Victor Hugo’s conversation about suffering and ask students to generate ideas about the ways in which people can benefit from what we traditionally think of as suffering. As we read Dewey’s story, we will look for ways that the text supports Hugo’s claim.
Level: Elementary English/Language Arts
Subject Area: American Literature
Author: Tiffany Heitman