I’m excited to say that I did my first outreach at the local high school. I had previously met with the High School Media Center Specialist and we shared a lot of great ideas. She had tons of insight for me and I let her know that I really wanted to have a presence in the school. She runs two clubs, the Anime Club and a Book Club, both meet twice a month. Right now I have only been able to attend the Anime Club, but I did meet the some of the book club members.
One of the book club girls I met was very excited to recommend a book that she had just read. If a patron recommends a book to me, I will immediately check it out and try to move it to the top of my To-Be-Read (TBR) pile. The book she was so excited about was Positive by Paige Rawl and Ali Benjamin. It is the story of a young girl who was born HIV positive.
Let me tell you about Positive. It will absolutely break your heart. The bullying and torment that this young woman suffers through starting in the 6th grade is enough to move anyone to tears. Until the 6th grade it was a secret about Paige’s HIV status…until she confided in her best friend. By the end of the day, everyone was claiming that she had AIDS. The lack of support from the school administration and faculty members is what really got me fired up. My mother was a high school guidance counselor for 17 years and I can’t tell you the horrific stories that were brought to her on a daily basis. She always stated that her number one job was to stand up for the students…even against teachers. The outrage I felt at Paige’s story was so intense that I had to put the book down three times, just to calm down.
I understand why the girl who recommended Positive was so passionate about Paige’s story. The fact that she was able to overcome all the torment and grow into a beautiful young woman is amazing. She did not just give up and let these bullies beat her down. She stood up for herself and other kids that were being bullied. With the help of Ali Benjamin, Paige’s story is eloquently told in a beautiful light. If you have the chance to read Paige’s amazing journey, you won’t be disappointed.