I ENTERED the classroom of 32 seventh graders at the worst time imaginable — seventh period on a Friday afternoon, the weekend before winter break. I knew the deck was stacked against me. I had been warned by the very enthusiastic teacher who asked me to read my short story as part of her unit on ethnic literature, that this class was a “rowdy” group.
I came prepared with two grocery bags, one filled with boxes of donuts and soda and the other with my copy of Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul and my grandmother’s candlesticks.
I knew one thing for certain; Even if the students didn’t understand my story, they would appreciate the Jewish tradition that learning should be a sweet experience. Munching on donuts while listening to me read would capture their stomachs, if not their hearts.
I scanned the overcrowded classroom; typical adolescents sporting pimples, nose rings, hair gel and Attitude. When the teacher introduced me as the local Tucson author who wrote a short story called “Grandmother’s Candlesticks,” eyes rolled, chairs tilted back and notebooks opened in preparation for some serious doodling.