Thank you to the 859 teenagers who participated in the fifth week of our 10-week Summer Reading Contest, and congratulations to Ava, our winner, as well as to our many runners-up and honorable mentions.
Scroll down to take a look at the variety of topics — from racial justice protests and caste discrimination in tech to celebrity deaths and the art of letter writing — that caught the eyes of our participants this week.
And please remember to always check the top of our contest announcement to find the right place to participate, any week from now until Aug. 23.
Ava chose an article headlined “‘Hamilton’ Review: You Say You Want a Revolution” and wrote:
Because I was once one of *those* kids back in 2016, you know, the kid who knew the entire Hamilton soundtrack by heart and dressed as Thomas Jefferson for Halloween (which is still horrifying to me after realizing the irony of that costume choice as a biracial girl), I was instantly drawn to click on A.O. Scott’s “‘Hamilton’ Review: You Say You Want a Revolution.” I wanted to see if, like myself, the critic’s view on the musical had changed given the current political climate.
Many people have drifted away from the optimism and patriotism described in this review. Twitter even called to “cancel” the musical because of the way it celebrates slave owners. My old favorite character, the jazzy and comical Thomas Jefferson, owned over 600 slaves. The iconic, soulful George Washington was an active slave owner for 56 years. Knowing this, and knowing how the slavery discussed as a side note in ‘Hamilton’ has lived on through economic and social inequalities, I feel that I’ve lost the optimism of that twelve-year-old girl blasting “My Shot” in my mom’s car.
When I read the critique that the show is “heartbreaking” as well as inspiring, I knew that I wasn’t alone in realizing that there have never been “good old days” to romanticize. I am also left to wonder if the cast of black and Hispanic actors as our founding fathers was truly intended to be an empowering statement about our whitewashed history, or if it’s a crutch used to avoid the topic of race that is so prominent today.
In alphabetical order by the writer’s first name.
Huda on “I Am Here to Prove You Wrong”
Lang on “You Should Start Writing Letters”
Sinead on “Yeah, Let’s Not Talk About Race”
Yuxuan on “Who Belongs in America?”
Amy on “Why We’re Capitalizing Black”
Bettina Tang on “Talking to Kids About Racism, Early and Often”
Leyan on “What Did You See on Your Run?”
Radha Zutshi Opubor on “Why We’re Capitalizing Black”
William on “Global Methane Emissions Reach a Record High”