Teenage comments in response to our recent writing requests and an invitation to join the ongoing conversation.
Welcome to another roundup of student feedback on our writing prompts . This week, we asked students to recommend favorite things that are often "overlooked," consider whether white writers should translate the work of black authors, and tell us about their childhood reading experiences.
Thanks to everyone who joined the conversation around the world, including the teens from New Rochelle, NY ; Scottsdale, Arizona. ; and Utah .
Note: Student comments have been edited slightly for length, but appear in the case otherwise as they were originally submitted.
What would you recommend that is "overlooked and underrated "? Image Credit ... Steven John Irby for Hfrance.fr
"The joys of the night stroll were the joys of feeling again present in my body ", writes Daniel Pena in The Joys of Biking at Night , " a recent edition of Hfrance.fr Magazine Letter of Recommendation Column .
Taking inspiration from this feature, we asked students about the " overlooked and underrated "things they would recommend to others. TraTrain jets and dig in the dirt to public toilets and essential workers, their answers show how often it's the little things and behind the scenes that can make the biggest differences in our lives.
The power of plants
Something I think is overlooked and underestimated, they are just plants. I think people go about their day and don't think about plants at all, but they are beautiful and we depend on them. In fact, almost all of life depends on them, they are the base of the food chain. Not only that but i mean they make people feel great i know it sounds weird but if you've ever been to a nursery there's something about this place that makes you don't want to go. It is easier to breathe, the humidity helps your sinuses, and it just smells good, refreshing, and absolutely beautiful.
- Landon, Utah
Everyone knows how to sunbathe and sit outside, but no one I know does really daily. After the lowest moment of my life regarding my sanity, I started to sit outside in the sun every day. The warm feeling on my skin and the resulting vitamin DI really really improved my overall mood, and it's something that I look forward to every day.
- Caitlin, Connecticut
Garden chairs. Specifically, lawn chairs on the porches on rainy nights. I think they contribute to the most meaningful moments in life. I love watching the rain. It 's more fun to sit with a friend and talk on lawn chairs about everything that is going on in the world. It's calming in a way, it's different if it's really cold, so each cold breath makes you more aware. It could be less about lawn chairs and more of a feeling of being aware…
- RK, New York
Digging in the mud
I find it is underestimated to go outside and get your hands dirty. Now I don't like gardening but just playing in earth, feeling degraded rocks slipping through your fingers, gently tugging at the roots of one plant or another. It 's something I consider fun. But my friends and family do not see the things of the same way. they constantly blame me for having such dirty fingernails and would probably prefer that I didn't have the opportunity to have them so filthy. Well… I guess it 'sa bit grubby. 'like that. I like to get my hands dirty.
- Clara, IN
Something I think is totally overlooked and underrated, this are the cold showers. Not only do the cold showers wake you up, but they also have certain advantages. I sometimes take cold showers in the morning so when I go to school I am not tired and I do not sleep. also take cold showers after my workout to calm my muscles. Cold showers can also help strengthen your immune system and improve blood circulation. If you are having a bad day, you should also take a cold shower as it relaxes you and prompts you to concgo into different things. i It also makes your skin smoother, which can help people with itchy skin. When I'm in a cold shower, I forget everything. I forget what happened at school, I forget what happened after school and I forget what happened at home. I only think of myself and the cold shower.
- Jake, IL
Face to Face Conversations
What I would say underrated is the meaningful conversations. I know we all want to have fun and carefree lives, but sometimes it feels good to just sit down and have a real, deep love.meeting with someone. It even means a lot more when that person is normally the outgoing and energetic type as it seems like they really want to have the conversation with you. I just feel like people don't talk about feeling like they're having a meaningful conversation anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love the technology we have, but sometimes I would much rather talk with someone face to face than have a conversation with them by text…
- Lauren, Hoggard High School, Wilmington, North Carolina
Twilight train rides
A neglected activity that I take a grthe most fun is taking the train. Most people only take the train with the intention of ending up at their destination, they take the train superficially. I take the train to see the outside world moving quickly in front of me, to feel the rumble of the wagon beneath me, and to observe people entering and exiting the wagon. Sometimes I bring a book to read or listen to music, the train will always have a tolerable temperature regardless of the weather. My favorite time to take the train is when the sun is setting, approaching dusk, and the sky is a beautiful color. I love riding an F or G between 4th and 9th Carroll Street because you can see a lot of the city by crossing the Gowanus. In fact, sometimes I get off at smith and 9th, the highest rapid transit station in the whole world, and take in the views of the glowing city. I strongly encourage others to take the train to theAs you wish, you can find great comfort in the swaying wagons.
- Jameson, New Yor k
Often, as a passing statement, poetry is generalized as romantic or for a scholarly study. However, there is much more than dissecting the cadence or getting a good cry from the poems; it is an art form older than written language that can capture everything from the sound of waves to victories on a battlefield. Too many people don't prDon't pay attention to poetry because they think it's hard to understand, but it's often very simple and personal, conveying only what the reader is looking for, not how good the author is eloquent.
- Lee, UT
I would recommend a public toilet. Seriously, it's hard to imagine road trip without them. You couldn't just stop at a gas station to relieve yourself, and you would be very limited in your public activities. A little over a century ago, the streets reeked of the foul smell of human feces, and people regularlydefecated in the streets. Imagine a patio in a charming restaurant where you try to savor your food while the rancid smell of rotting human waste wafted over your $ 75 meal. It has made things so much cleaner, easier, more comfortable, and much more convenient for most of society.
- Rachel, Utah
One food I think is VERY underrated is beef jerky. Oh my God, that 's so good… There are so many flavors to choose from or even to make yourself, if you like to make something like this. My favorite is chiliclassic dried green. Since I'm from New Mexico (Hatch, New Mexico, being Chile's capital of the world), I have to go green… I especially like to eat my favorite jerky with hot fries like Dinamitas or Cheetos hot in some Dorinachos. This snack makes me feel like Remy was doing Ratatouille while eating cheese. Yes. Its good. I have a jerky take that sells BOMB jerky at fairly decent prices. Don't settle for the jerky gas station, either. Street vendors are superior. More power for beef jerky people.
- Jaedyn, Atrisco Heritage HS, NM
If we have learned anything from this situation, it is that the teachers remain among the most "overlooked and underrated " aspects of society. As a daughter of a teacher and a student myself, I can see the effort teachers put into their jobs, especially when of the transition to an online environment. Teachers are the lifeblood of our society. None of us would be where we are now without them. I probably wouldn't even be able to write this legibly without them . It's disheartening to see them paid and thanked so little, in return for the most important resource anyone could have: knowledge.
- Carme, New Rochelle HS
I think warehouse workers are grossly underestimated. I admit that during the pandemic I relied a lot on companies like Amazon. When you click the "order " button after entering your address and credit card information, you probably aren't thinking about that order until it arrives. But between these 2 events, there are a lot of people who work tirelessly with low wages and bad conditions. Without them, society would stop, but no one gives them a second thought.
- Charlie, Brooklyn
Janitor. I have the impression that janitors are underestimated and deserve more respect.
- Genasis, North Carolina
Something that I think is overlooked and needs more attention is the stage crew of plays and musicals. Actors still get all the applause and attention, but if the The stage crew weren't there they would be standing in a black theater. All of the amazing costumes and sets are all designed and made months before the actors come in and start performing. They literally build the floor that there is. actor stand tall. And yet they are neither appreciated nor noticed.incipal of your favorite production, but you'll never know the behind-the-scenes manager makes it all work. The stage crew is usually never in the bill or it's a small list of names on the last page. I think the stage crew should also be bowed after each play.
- Tanner, Utah
Should white writers translate the work of a black author? Image Swedish editionse, German and Spanish from "The Hill We Climb " by Gorman. Credit ...
In Amanda Gorman 's Poetry United Critics. It 's Dividing Translators ", Alex Marshall reports on a debate in Europe about who to ask to translate writers' work in color. We asked the students : How important is a translator 's racial identity?
Some teens believe that sharing racial experiences is essential to befully and accurately capture a work of a black writer, while others have felt that identity does not need to play a role if talent and expertise are evident. Students also discussed the need to empower more black and minority translators in a predominantly white profession.
A shared racial identity is important.
At first I thought it was silly to have such a debate, as tr color of the skin of the anslators should not matter. However, the more I thought about it, I started to change my mind. Amanda's poem was heavily influenced by the struggles African Americans face in today's society. These struggles do not suddenly disappear in Europe, and it is for this reason that Ie thinks that someone who experiences the inequality depicted in the poem should translate it, as it connects them more deeply than a Caucasian. If a white individual translated it, the poem would make less sense for those who wanted to tell it.
- Svea, Park Slope, Brooklyn NY
Certain racial plays or basic plays that address racial issues and
- Azaria, Virginia
I think Amanda Gorman 's poem should be translated by a black person for several reasons. First, much of the poem highlights the struggles black Americans face. Non-black people might not be able to figure out how to incorporate this into a translated poem because they don't face it. Besides, I think it would be insensitive to hear a black person's concern from someone who isn't that. For all poems, I think race, class, political position, sexuality, etc. should all be taken into account when translating for the reasons I havenoted above. To add, translating is taking ideas and words from one language to another, not just copying the words of a poem exactly as they are in another language. You need someone who understands the content of the writing to do this, preferably someone of the same race, class, sexual orientation, etc. as the author. This is so that they really understand ideas and how to make them shine in another language.
- Johanna, Brooklyn, NY
The race should not be the qualifying factor.
We can understand why this subject has provoked such a wide debateur. I agree with Amanda, it is important that an author’s work is translated correctly and in a way that still honors their original work. That being said, I don't think race, background, or even gender should be a factor in qualifying one person to be able to translate another's work. I think they should be looking at the credibility and intent of a translator rather than things over which they have no control. If we really want equality and respect, why continue to use discrimination as an answer?
- Milton, Minnesota
I think it is inherently racist to exclude certain translators from projects based on theirskin color. Like I said before, someone's skin color doesn't define them. The actor who currently plays Alexander Hamilton is of African descent and that suits me perfectly. As long as the person is capable and can do the job, you shouldn't exclude them from a project just because they are not of the breed. We always celebrate the great work of Amanda Gorman at the end.
- Cailin, North Carolina
It seems that, even with efforts to overcome, certain prejudices are still prevalent - sometimes even actively propagated - in contemporary society, as heir to the past and the sometimes continuous use of discriminatory rhetoric, and among theseprejudices, unfortunately, there is the issue of skin color. Although racial discrimination in the past was arguably one-sided, used by whites to ridicule `` people of color, '' the nature of discrimination has changed in recent years: everyone, no matter what. either her race, is able to employ racist rhetoric on the grounds of deception, as recent cases of anti-Asian violence show, and the case of Amanda Gorman's poetry translation speech is an example of racism… For many, including myself, an arbitrary innate skin color, acquired from birth and independent of autonomous decision-making, does not dictate a person's abilities. Instead, we need to borrow the words of those with expertise in black literature to assess whether the translation was accurate or not.
- Jaden, Cheongna Dalton School, Korea
Approach with cultural care and caution.
In my option it 's correct for a white translator to translate a piece of writing by a black author, provided that certain steps are taken to ensure that the translated piece is as close as possible to what the author wrote. A team of translators from different backgrounds would be a good idea. It would give them a different perspective on the translation and make it easier to see if someone is changing the words for personal gain. It would also help in solving the differences in a single language.
- Eleese, Connecticut
Work and responsibilities of a translator are really important and something big in my opinion. For example, I also speak Spanish and sometimes google translate has things that don't really make sense… My first thought to this debate I didn't think much but I was just thinking about how I would feel if I was the author and I was writing in Spanish. I think it would make sense if someone who has lived in a Spanish speaking city or country could translate it. Because then I know the person translating it is someone who understands where I'm from and can identify me. I think it is important for the translator to find ways to translate these same words and meanings not onlylinguistically, but also culturally.
- Clarisa, Atrisco Heritage Academy
A translator's race should not affect their ability to translate the work of a person of color although there are things to consider. As mentioned in the article, each translator translates with a certain bias based on their own experiences. A translator of a different race from the original author would be treated differently than the author and this could impact the meaning of the original piece. There is also the problem of not fully understanding what it is, for example a white translator not being able to fully grasp the meaning of "The Hill We Climb". With the goodWith qualifications and experience, translators of any race can translate any job, but prejudices and personal experiences should be taken into account.
- Kyla, New Rochelle
Empower black and minority translators.
White translators would struggle to show real emotion when translating an article about black struggles because it's something they never have and will never experience on their own. Translators should be obligated to ensure that important sentences and meanings are kept in morceaux during translation. I agree with American literary translators when they say that a real problem is the scarcity of black translators, as it is really important that every piece written is translated with the best ability to show real emotion and to keep the meaning. With fewer black translators, more and more whites will have to translate black work, which could make the black community uncomfortable.
- Lindsay, Connecticut
I believe it should be up to the original author to determine who translates their work. However, some poems embody certain struggles and experiences that cannot be reflected by all translators. Racial identity is byParticularly important in this case, as white writers will never be able to fully understand the experiences and struggles of minorities and describe them in the same way as originally intended. Additionally, it is important that black writers / translators have a voice in an area largely occupied by white writers. Translating the works of black authors would be an ideal way to support and empower black and minority translators.
- Geetika, New Jersey
What children's books have Have you had the biggest impact on yourself? Image Credit ... Jacqueline Rogers from "The Mouse and the Motorcycle", HarperCollins
In " Beverly Cleary helped boys love books , "David Levithan honors beloved children's book author who died in March, writing : "Beverly Cleary knew what she was doing. She was writing directly to the reader, showing that she knew us and what our lives and feelings were like. "
We asked students to propos of their childhood reading experiences, whether with Ms. Cleary's books or with others. Which characters inspired or comforted them, or made them feel connected to their identity, to the world and to the people in their lives? Many of the books mentioned invited them to a whole new world, taught them something new, or made them feel seen.
Books This inspired the love of reading
Relevant characters. Funny stories. Humorous jokes. Beverly Cleary's books are always a form of comfort. Since I was a child, these books have always been there. When my sister read Harry Potter with my mother, Ramona and Beezus were there for me. When I felt bad I would walk to the library and pick up a copy of Ramona the Pest. I remember my mother sitting on the red sofa with me, carrying a used copy of Ramona and Beezus and reading every word, line by line. I looked at the book, trying to follow. I remember looking at the backs of the books, trying to figure out the order the books came from. And wanting Henry Huggins 'book to end the journey. Before Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, the Ramona delivers there for me.
- Natalia, Julia R. Masterman
One book series that has an impact on me is the Harry Potter series… This series has done a lot for me. As a kid who moved around a lot and had just moved to a new country, it helped me find something similar.laire at home. It quickly became my comfort book when things were stressful or weren't the best. It also transported me to this new land with magic, dragons and the like, something that obsessed my third year self. Finally, it helped me to continue my love of reading by introducing me to the magic of reading. After I finished the series, I continued this reading frenzy, where I would bring back dozens of books from the library and stay in my room reading them all day. Harry Potter gave me the greatest gift: a love for reading and an affinity for writing.
- jahnavi, Princeton, NJ
" Magic Tree House 's "Mass Appeal
A children's book series that had a big impact on me would be the Magic Tree House series. Each book took me on an adventure to an event in history and I would relive the event history through the characters. I would learn about the Ice Age or the Egyptians and through these little adventures my love for history grew. Mary Pope Osborne, the author, made every event and period so exciting and this prompted me to deepen my knowledge and bring out library books on these certain topics. These books helped broaden my knowledge of the world at a young age and influenced who I am today.
- Alexa, New York
When I started second year I hadn't logged into a lot of books, but as soon as I picked up the Magic Tree series House, breaks between classes became times when my friends and I could imagine we were visiting a magical treehouse and traveling through history. By the end of second year, I started writing my own time travel books, and even my birthday cake was decorated with the faces of Jack and Annie. Mary Pope Osborne sparked in me a new sense of curiosity that still accompanies me today. When I study a fascinating subject in history or pick up another fantasy novel, I remember how the Magic Tree House series brought a special kind of magic into my life: the love of reading, of learning and'writing.
- Camille, Scottsdale, AZ
The real moment I fell in love with reading was with the Magic Tree House series when I was 5 years old. I could get my hands on his. These books paved the way for others like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson who would end up making elementary school the most pivotal time for me as a reader. I was finding out who I wanted to be, and these are books like those that really provide something to fall back on if I ever needed it; the characters in these stories were my friends if ever my real ones disappoint me, and these adventures were there so that I could escape if I ever needed to.
- Carme, New Rochelle HS
Books that taught important lessons
When I was little my parents gave me The Giving Tree, to this day I still have it. When they gave it to me, I couldn't understand the meaning. After reading it so many times, I realized how deep it is. The book shaped who I am today and how to take nothing for granted. One of the other books I read when I was little was Ferdinand. It helped me understand the importance of non-violence. Children's books can have a youthful aspect to them , but their meaning is veryvery strong.
- Lucas, Brooklyn, NY
The Adventures of Bailey's Schoolchildren were my favorite books to read when I was younger because I loved mystery. It had the biggest impact on me because it influenced what I want to do with my life, a criminal investigator. Not only that, but it taught me that there can be stories without a happy ending or a happy beginning.
- Stephanie, New York
A book that I found thati inspired and guided me to be who i am today is The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. The main character, Vashti, was not interested in creating a play and didn't know where to start. It's something I can relate to, if I'm not good at something I tend to give up or not try at all. Sometimes, too, I don't know where to start and therefore I give up. I can understand how Vashti feels in this situation. She tried. His first hanging piece was his motivation. She thought she could do better and tried and tried. I work on having that kind of frame of mind with everything I do.
- Harshita, MA
A series ofbooks that I connected with is Percy Jackson and the Olympians because a lot of the characters are mentally challenged like me. There is also a lot of LGBTQ + representation and being a lesbian, it was the first performance I remember seeing and it took some comfort to me because it shows that it 's as normal as a straight character. All of these listed attributes never stopped the characters from being strong and heroes.
- Megan, New York
Books that have changed me
I have never read a book by Mrs. Cleary, but I have always enjoyed reading, especiallynd n I was younger, so some books still marked me to this day. The biggest example would be Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. The characters have so much depth and persistence to be children's novels. The books took me to another world, a world where a bunch of kids always save the day, during the tough times in my life. Another series that shaped me is the Rebecca Rubin book series by Jacqueline Dembar Greene. They formed around the American Girl Doll, Rebecca, but the books opened me up to the genre of historical fiction, which remains my favorite genre. I thank these two writers for providing me from an early age with characters and deep concepts that really shaped who I am.
- Claudia, New York
"The world according to Humphrey "is the first book in a series written by Betty G. Birney about a curious hamster. This book really inspired me because it is written from an unusual perspective, the animal of the Humphrey class. The book shows how different life is if you see it from a unique perspective. It takes place in a small classroom where this little hamster makes everyday life a little more magical and fun. He takes on great adventures where he has to face many challenges and in the end always overcomes them. These books have taught me to never give up, no matter how scary life seems, to always try to make the most of situations, and that being small doesn't mean you are limited. It has helped me to become a more creative person with a big imagination.
- Tess, JR Masterman
I remember always reading Judy B . Jones growing up in elementary school and I remember wanting to be as outgoing and social as she was in the books. It inspired me to always treat people the way I wanted to. to be treated. This shaped me to be mindful of all the crazy possibilities that could arise in life at any time possible in order to cherish the little things… She reminded me that I was a child and to enjoying my life. Each book always dealt with so many different situations she found herself in. It got me thinking about how if she was able to overcome problems as a little girl, so could I. These books helped my creativityand my mentality to develop a bit.
- Katie, New Mexico
The children's books that I think most impressed me as a child were the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. This series of books has often influenced everything down to my language. I would use phrases that the book described and the other things that I found incredibly interesting now when I think about it. Books have influenced my way of seeing the world. There were many typical college stereotypes riddled with throughout the book and those stereotypes stuck. They had a big impact on my college life because I assumed college was going to be full of cliques and grade 8 students were going to shave in their lockers and look like tou to big nasty bullies. This account, although containing some truth, was minor.
- AHENRY, Norwood High School
Move away from reading
Unfortunately as I progressed into third grade the world of books started to close away from me . I was annoyed how my relationship with books had become more of a business transaction than a fun experience like when I was younger. I no longer had the same curiosity to find books that aroused my interest, and my father no longer read books to me to fall asleep. Up to'now there were only a few books that I really liked - the ones I remember are' Milkweed 'and' Bomb '. Recently I tried to read more. Maybe I don't like reading so much in third grade, and I think it gave me time to figure out what I liked and what I didn't like - especially to read.
- Francis, JR Masterman, Philadelphia PA
I used to get lost in all the stories. In fact, there was a time in sophomore when I got so lost in a book that I didn't notice the people around me trying to call my name. Once the fourth grade started we had to read some books or some lengths and from there I lost the excitement I had while reading. It became a competition between my classmates to see who could read bigger or longer books. The stories I got so lost in have become too long and too boring for me to enjoy. Since then and again, I don't really enjoy reading as much as I used to and don't do it unless I really have to.
- Claudia, JR Masterman