Why did you take 100 high schoolers to Elliott Bay Book Co.?

Adam Gish: When I was learning to read, I was not in the computer-driven era. There were times in my life when I didn’t have access to other media, meaning TV, so books were an incredible source of comfort. They were always a place to open a door to live somebody else’s experiences. Books help us recognize that we’re not alone, and I think in any life that can be crucial.


Were students drawn to particular books?

The Hate U Give sold out, but I think the adults, both volunteers and employees at Elliott Bay, were surprised by the wide range of books chosen.


Do you think that was due to people’s perceptions of teenagers?

Yeah, I think a lot of assumptions on that day were blown out of the water for adults when they saw kids arguing vociferously about literature.


Why do you think people have these misconceptions?

We often tend to underestimate or have no real idea about certain groups of people, especially when it comes to large differences in age. We think the Internet can give us everything, but it often leaves us woefully ignorant of what is perhaps more important.


What is it like teaching high schoolers?

I enjoy teaching high school, because, while it is difficult, you are also dealing with kids at an age where change is inevitable, and they’re not as cynical or set in their ways as adults are, so there can be a sense of energy that’s wonderful. There are people who farm animals and there are people who farm vegetables; I get to help grow human beings. 


Recommended Reading

Just Mercy

by Bryan Stevenson

“It sheds a bright light on the incredible and tragic irony of the numerous injustices within the justice system. And at one point, the author makes the claim that we are always more than even our worst moments. This is profound in how much compassion is required in truly
administering justice.”

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