Author Feature-Ashley Hope Perez (2016)



Spirit of Texas Reading Program-High School

Featured Author

Ashley Hope Perez 

Ashley Hope Pérez

Out of Darkness

Ashley Hope Pérez is the author of the YA novels Out of Darkness (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), The Knife and the Butterfly (Carolrhoda Lab, 2012), and What Can't Wait (Carolrhoda Lab, 2011). Her debut novel What Can't Wait won a spot on the 2012 YALSA Best Fiction for YA list, and The Knife and the Butterfly was included in the 2015 YALSA Popular Paperbacks list. Ashley grew up in Texas and taught high school in Houston before pursuing a PhD in comparative literature. She is now a visiting assistant professor of comparative studies at The Ohio State University and spends most of her time reading, writing, and teaching on topics from global youth narratives to Latin American and Latina/o fiction. She lives in Ohio with her husband, Arnulfo, and their son, Liam Miguel. Visit her online at http://www.ashleyperez.com/.

 


 

Find her on the web:

 

If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact yart.historian+webmaster@gmail.com

 

Follow Us:



Book Trailers

 


If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact yart.historian+webmaster@gmail.com

 

Follow Us:

 

 

Book Quiz/Discussion Questions

Printable Copy

TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION (from Lerner Publishing Out of Darkness Discussion Guide):
https://www.lernerbooks.com/digitalassets/Assets/Title%20Assets/16981/9781467742023/Discussion%20Guide.pdf

  1. The book progresses chronologically, with the exception of a section at the beginning. This section, "The Explosion," is from Wash's perspective in the brief interval before and immediately after the gas explosion. Why do you think the author begins this way and doesn't include this section later? How does this introduction set the tone for the rest of the novel?
  2. How does Beto and Cari's "good luck game" work? How does this game tie into the guilt Beto feels after Cari's death?
  3. Naomi believes that "carrying a name was a way of caring for those who'd given it." How does Henry disrespect this idea?
  4. Why, among Henry's list of rules, does he ask that Naomi, Beto, and Cari refrain from speaking Spanish anywhere (in school, on the street, or elsewhere)?
  5. Why do you think Beto decides to get baptized by Pastor Tom while Cari decides not to? How do these decisions reflect the differences in their personalities?
  6. Why does Mr. Turner refuse to sell to Naomi during normal store hours? What racist remarks and actions does Naomi encounter throughout the novel, and how is this similar to and different from the racism Wash encounters?
  7. Most of the members of Pastor Tom's church are all too eager to find a scapegoat for their problems, though he preaches that the troubles come as a result of their sins. How do they believe what Pastor Tom preaches, but are quick to blame anyone but themselves?
  8. How does Wash's father advise him to approach Mr. Crane about the green gas idea? In general, what are Wash's father's rules when it comes to dealing with the white community, and how does Wash feel about this approach?
  9. Why does Estella, Naomi's mother, choose to cut her braid off and give it to Naomi just before her death? Similarly, what about Naomi's choice to give the braid to Beto and his decision to put it in Cari's coffin? What might the braid symbolize in these situations?
  10. Why doesn't Naomi tell Beto and Cari stories about their mother?
  11. Twice in Henry's room while he's away, Naomi discovers that his Bible is open to Psalm 77: Thy footsteps are not known. Do you think this psalm resonates with Henry in a particular way, or has he simply left the Bible untouched? How might Naomi read these words in relation to Henry?
  12. When Henry forces Beto to come along with him on a hunting trip, he tries to make Beto shoot a dove. What events later in the novel does this foreshadow?
  13. Pastor Tom knows about Henry's weakness for alcohol and has some idea that he can be sexually impulsive. If he knows that these desires can override his responsibility to care for Naomi and the twins, why does the pastor nevertheless encourage Naomi to marry Henry?
  14. What are the reasons Abuelita gives for why Naomi should marry Henry? How does her reasoning compare to Muff and Tommie's reasoning? What do these perspectives on Naomi's situation say about the time period and cultural context of the novel?
  15. What experiences make Henry believe that he's bad luck? How does his conception of luck as something that's inherent and unchanging contrast with the twins' idea of luck?
  16. Why do Naomi, Wash, Beto, and Henry all feel as if they are to blame for Cari's death? How do they respond to this feeling differently?
  17. What happens when Henry tries to make Cari's coffin? What makes Wash's approach to making the coffin different from Henry's approach, and how does this reflect on the characters themselves and on the relationships Henry and Wash have with Naomi and the twins?
  18. Do Pastor Tom's actions in response to the lynch mob change how you view his character? Why or why not?
  19. Who is revealed to be the narrator of the story at the end of the novel? What is the narrator's motivation for telling Wash and Naomi's story?
  20. The novel offers a range of dramatically different notions of what "love" and "family" mean and how they can drive action. Describe at least two contrasting understandings of these notions and explain what accounts for their differences. 


If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact yart.historian+webmaster@gmail.com

 

Follow Us:



Academic Programs

Printable Copy

Introduction

This series of activities can be used to encourage teens to think about how the lens we view the world with or the point of view of an individual affects how we see the world. Depending on who is telling the story, several people can have completely different versions of the same event based on their personal perception.

Activity 1 can be used as an introduction to illustrate how different lenses can affect the telling of a story. Activity 2 will allow students to keep track while they are reading and will allow them to complete the literary analysis in Activity 3.

Books to display

  • City Love by Susane Colasanti
  • How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
  • Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Activity 1 - POINT OF View scenario:

Introduction

Out of Darkness is told from several points of view. The point of view changes with each chapter, with several voices repeating throughout the novel. By telling the story in this fashion, the author can provide more insight and details about what is occurring in the story. In order to understand how different points of view affect the story, students will work in small groups to describe an event from their assigned perspective.

TEKS

  • English 2 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 6, 7, 8, 13a
  • English 3 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 7, 8
  • English 4 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 7, 8

Supply List

  • Composition book
  • Pens or pencils

Description

Discuss with students how they and their friends can tell different versions of the same event. Ask them why they think this is. Discuss with students primary vs. secondary point of view. This does not need to take more than 5 to 7 minutes. Explain that they will be divided into groups and assigned a point of view to describe an event. You may create your own or use our example.

Imagine that two big Texas football rivals are playing in the state championship. Each group will write 2 to 3 paragraphs about the big game from the perspective of their assigned person. (Create groups of 3 to 4 students. Use as many of the perspectives as needed for your class.)

  • A player from the losing team / winning team
  • The parent of one of the players who attended the game
  • A parent who could not attend the game but heard about it from their child who played
  • A girlfriend of one of the players
  • A waitress who didn't attend the game but heard about it from one of her customers
  • A journalist from the losing team's town who was at the game
  • A coach / teacher from the losing team / winning team

Give students 10 to 15 minutes to write from their assigned perspective.

Have students share a couple of sentences. Discuss which of their viewpoints would be considered primary and which would be considered secondary and how the story would be impacted by their particular lens.

Activity 2 - READING JOURNAL.

Introduction

Pérez uses several points of view in Out of Darkness. The point of view changes with each chapter, with several voices repeating throughout the novel. To keep track of the various points of view, students will keep a journal as they read.

TEKS

  • English 2 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 6, 7, 8, 13a
  • English 3 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 7, 8
  • English 4 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 7, 8

Supply list

  • Composition book
  • Pens or pencils

Description

Students will assign pages in their composition/notebook for each character (point of view). To ensure students stay on task and don't fall behind, assign due dates for the before and after sections. Include an in-class discussion of what they have observed and connections they have made while reading. They can add notes from these discussions to the reading journal, which will help them to write the literary analysis in Activity 3.

As they read they will keep track of: what the character says, does, thinks, or how the character is described. Encourage them to write down quotes that support their observations and inferences, as this will be used in Activity 3. They will also need to keep track of the two main parts of the story - Before (explosion) and After (explosion). They can separate them by a line and Before/After labels.

The journal will be used to complete Activity 3.

To help students set up their composition / notebook have them label pages for each point of view:

  • Wash - 10 to 15 pages
  • Naomi - 10 to 15 pages
  • Beto - 6 to 10 pages
  • Henry - 5 to 8 pages
  • The Gang - 3 to 5 pages

Activity 3 - Point of View - Literary Analysis

Introduction

The journal allowed the students to keep track of the different points of view in Out of Darkness. Students will analyze how the point of view contributed to the narration of the story as well as the development of the characters.

TEKS

  • English 2 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 7, 8, 13a, 15c, 17c,
  • English 3 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 7, 8, 13a, 15c, 17c,
  • English 4 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c, 7, 8, 13a, 15c, 17c,

Supply list

  • Composition book
  • Pens or pencils

Description

For this activity students will choose one or two points of view from the novel to discuss. They will write a 4 to 6 page paper analyzing how the chosen point(s) of view contributed to the story. Students will use notes from their reading journal to support their thesis with quotes from the text.

 

If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact yart.historian+webmaster@gmail.com 

Follow Us:



Active Programs

Printable Copy of Program

Supplemental Documents

Flyer

Oral History Release Form Template

Oral History Sample Questions

‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍
General Introduction

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez is historical fiction set in the 1930s in Texas. The novel is inspired by historical events that took place in New London, Texas and the historical atmosphere of East Texas in the 1930s. Many communities have experienced historical events that have helped shape them as we know them today. The activities listed below will help teens immerse themselves in the history of their community. They are designed to help them learn about their community's past, so they can be responsible for shaping its future.

Remembering our Past, Taking Responsibility for our Future

Activity 1: Collecting Oral Histories

Many communities have experienced events like those in Out of Darkness. The purpose of this activity is to gather oral histories from local residents regarding important events in your community's history.

Books to Display or BookTalk

  • Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans by T.R. Fehrenbach
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • A Texas Tragedy: The New London School Explosion by Bobby Johnson
  • The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale
  • Texas: A Historical Atlas by A. Ray Stephens
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Activity Supply List

Detailed Description of Activity

Preparing to Interview:

One of the first things that needs to be done is deciding on a topic to discuss in the oral history interviews you will be conducting. Be sure to choose an event that has happened during the lifespan of living individuals. This activity can be tailored to collect oral histories from teens specifically, or the teens can collect oral histories from adult members of the community. If you are going to collect oral histories exclusively from teens, be sure to pick a topic that falls within their lifetime.

Once you have settled on an event you would like to discuss in your interview, you and/or your teens will need to conduct research so you have some background information to prepare your questions. If you cannot think of an event that is specific to your local community you can broaden the topic to something historically significant to the state or nation. For example, while no one in your community may have been present in New York on September 11, those living will certainly have memories to share of how the events impacted them

After you have decided who, in general you would like to interview, you will need to formulate some questions to ask those you are interviewing. The Smithsonian Center for Folklife recommends that you make sure your questions are clear, concise and open-ended. They also advise to note which questions are key so you are sure to ask them, but do not have to be tied to your list. Also suggested is to structure your interview as a story with a beginning, middle and end, building on your questions to link them in a logical way.

Selecting Equipment to Record Interviews:

Depending on what is available to you, equipment can be very basic, or you can use more sophisticated recording equipment. Most teens have smartphones with them at all times. Phones can be used to record oral histories. There are many apps that can be downloaded free if the phone you are trying to use does not already have an audio recording app. A phone can also be used to record a video oral history if you prefer to have a video rather than only audio. On a more sophisticated level, a computer and microphone can be used to collect better audio. If you do not have audio editing software on the computer you will be using to collect the audio, Audacity is a good open source free software that can be downloaded from http://audacityteam.org/. Portable digital audio recorders can also work well. Many record using flash memory and the interview can be uploaded to the computer at a later time. Before you conduct your interviews, you will want to test out your equipment and make sure you understand how it works.

Conducting the Interviews:

Schedule your interviews at a time and place that the person you are interviewing will be comfortable. Be sure to place your recording device in a location that will clearly pick up your subject's voice. Try to use a location that will be free of background noise. Run a test in the location before your interview so you are certain the equipment is working and the audio is clear. To start with you will want to ask the subject questions that will put them at ease. The Smithsonian Center for Folklife recommends starting with questions like, "Where were you born?" "Where did you grow up?" They also recommend avoiding questions that will bring a yes or no response and following up with questions like "Could you explain?" "Can you give me an example?" or "How did that happen?" The key to a good oral history interview is to participate in the conversation without dominating it. Be sure to get a signed release form from your subject. A template is provided in the Activity Resources section. When you are saving the audio or video from your interview be sure to save them in an organized and logical manner so they are easy to identify.

After conducting the interviews they can be kept for historical purposes, or possibly shared in some sort of online exhibit. Be sure that you notify the participants of what you will be doing with the interviews before they are interviewed.

Activity Resources

Activity Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

Activity 2: Historical Presentation

The purpose of this activity is to provide teens with information about historical events that have occurred in your community.

Books to Display or Publicize

  • A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
  • Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans by T.R. Fehrenbach
  • Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • The Color of Courage: A Boy at War: The World War II Diary of Julian Kulski
  • Echoes in the Glass by Cheri Lasota
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  • Texas: A Historical Atlas by A. Ray Stephens

Activity Supply List

  • Speaker or Historian
  • Space for presentation
  • Microphone (optional)
  • Speakers (optional)
  • Projector and Computer (optional)
  • Water for Presenter
  • Flyers for advertisement

Detailed Description of Activity

Planning your event:

First you will need to decide what topic will be discussed during the historical presentation. This may be best achieved by finding a speaker for your presentation first, then finding out what their specialties are. If your library or local public library (for teachers) has a local history department or historian, you might want to speak with them first. If they are unable to make a presentation themselves, they will certainly be able to direct you to someone who will be able to make a presentation. If you do not have a local history librarian in your community, you may want to contact any historical societies, or possibly history teachers or professors. Another resource to consider is a directory of distinguished speakers created by the Texas State Historical Association (https://www.tshaonline.org/speakersbureau/). Hiring a speaker from the Texas State Historical Association will require that you pay the speaker a fee. If you need support to fund the speaker consider speaking to a Friends group, or your school's PTA.

Once you have scheduled your speaker be sure to publicize the event. To publicize the event be sure to get the word out among your library's Teen Advisory Group if one exists. If your event is taking place in the school be sure to have it included in the announcements, you may also want to speak to the history teachers so they can promote the event in their classes. Post flyers at your library or school and other public places that will allow you to promote your program. (A sample flyer is included in the Activity Resource section)

Be sure to do some research about your speaker so you are prepared to make a proper introduction on the day of your event. Include their credentials and what they will be speaking about. Familiarize yourself with what you will say at the introduction so you aren't stumbling on the day of the presentation.

Discuss with your speaker ahead of time any technology needs that they will have during their presentation. Consider the space your speaker will present in and decide if audio equipment like a microphone and speakers will be necessary. Make arrangements to have any necessary equipment ready on the day of your event.

On the day of the event:

It is normally helpful to the speaker if they are allowed to see the room they will be speaking in before their presentation. Be sure to offer to show them the setup and make sure that they have everything they need. If your speaker will be using any technology be sure to do a quick test to make sure everything is working. Also take the time to show your presenter how to use any technology that you are providing for them, such as remotes for PowerPoints. If your speaker has agreed to speak for a designated amount of time be sure to watch the clock and be prepared to interrupt if needed so the speaker will not run past their allotted time. If your speaker is willing to answer questions, be sure notify the audience at the conclusion of their presentation.

Activity Resources (Produced by the Committee)

Activity Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

 

If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact yart.historian+webmaster@gmail.com 

Follow Us:



Passive Programs

Printable Copy of Program

Supplemental Documents

Book Cover Design Contest Guidelines

Cover Design Entry Form

Time Capsule Instruction Sign

Time Capsule Writing Prompts

General Introduction

These passive programs are intended to be used by teachers and librarians to reach out to teens who may not attend a traditional scheduled library program. Passive programs can be left in a central location for a predetermined amount of time so anyone passing by can interact with or experience the activity.

Notes for Our Future

In this passive activity teens will write letters of advice to those in the future to be included in a time capsule.

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley
  • Time Capsules: A Cultural History by William Jarvis
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Time Capsule by Lurlene McDaniel
  • We Were Here: A Short History of Time Capsules by Patricia Seibert

Activity Supply List

  • Pencils
  • Acid Free Paper
  • Watertight container to serve as time capsule (preferably made of polyethylene, aluminum, or stainless steel)
  • Shovel (optional)
  • Access to printer

Detailed Description of Activity

There are many important things that we can learn from our history. In this activity teens are invited to write to other teens in the future to give them advice.

Start by selecting a retrieval date for your capsule. The longer the duration, the more challenging the retrieval will be.

Provide the teens with acid free paper and pencils (ink will stain and change over time) to write their notes to the future. The paper and pens can be left out in any easily accessible area so teens can write their letters when it is convenient for them. Near the paper put out a sign explaining the activity (see example). It may also be helpful to provide teens with some writing prompts (examples included).

Once you have collected all of the letters that you wish to include put them all in your time capsule container. The time capsule can be buried, or it can be sealed and left somewhere in your library or school with instructions about when to open it.

It is not recommended to bury your time capsule, but if you are burying your time capsule be sure to note its location so it can be found in the future. Seal your time capsule with two part epoxy before burying. The Minnesota Historical Society recommends that the capsule also be sealed inside a 6-mil polyethylene bag or wrapping to provide further protection. They also recommend burying the capsule at least three feet deep to protect against wide temperature fluctuation. Time capsule packages can be purchased from Future Packaging and Preservation (www.futurepkg.com) starting at around $180.00.

Register your capsule with the International Time Capsule Society so there is an external record of your capsule. To register your capsule visit, http://crypt.oglethorpe.edu/international-time-capsule-society/register-your-time-capsule/.

Activity Resources

Activity Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

Book Cover Design Contest

In this activity teens will make a new book cover for Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez. Teens can then turn in their designs to be entered into a contest.

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design by Ned Drew and Paul Sternberge

Activity Supply List

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Colored Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Discarded magazines
  • Glue
  • Access for teens to computer

Detailed Description of Activity

How often have you heard, "don't judge a book by its cover?" While it is definitely impossible to judge a book by its cover, the cover can heavily influence whether or not we read a book. In this activity teens will be given a chance to redesign the cover of Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez.

There are several ways that teens can design their book covers by illustrating with coloring materials, creating a collage from discarded magazines or creating the cover digitally. All three methods can be used, or you can single out certain media to use.

Canva is a website that has templates to make book cover designs that can be downloaded or printed. It is very easy to use. There are images that the site charges to use, so the teens will need to be sure that they choose the images labeled as free in their designs.

The contest portion of the activity can be hosted digitally via Facebook, a website, or another online platform such as Flickr where you can share images of the entries. If you are using Facebook the number of likes an entry receives could be the method of voting and choosing a winner. Entries can also be displayed in a public place for the contest. Place a number by each entry and provide slips of paper and a ballot box to collect the ballots.

While it isn't necessary to have a prize for winners, a nice set of colored pencils, a gift card to a bookstore, or something similar would be a nice prize for the winning design(s).

Incentives

  • Book store gift card
  • Nice set of colored pencils

Activity Resources

  • Contest guidelines example
  • Book cover design entry form

Activity Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

 

If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact yart.historian+webmaster@gmail.com

 

Follow Us:

 

 

Resources

Academic Program

Active Program

Flyer

Oral History Release Form Template

Oral History Sample Questions

Annotated Bibliography

Book Quiz

Passive Program 

Book Cover Design Contest Guidelines 

Cover Design Entry Form 

Time Capsule Instruction Sign 

Time Capsule Writing Prompts

Read-A-Likes 


If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact yart.historian+webmaster@gmail.com

 

Follow Us:

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this
Created on Apr 7, 2016 | Last updated April 17, 2016