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Keywords:

  • Literature ;
  • Adolescent/young adult literature;
  • Teacher education, professional development ;
  • Preservice;
  • To learners in which of the following categories does your work apply? ;
  • Adolescence ;
  • College/university students

Abstract

An incident of bullying, violence in the classroom, or suicide can unsettle teachers' views of their teaching, their role as a teacher, and their relationships with students. Unfortunately, there is a high probability that many educators will teach a young person who has been bullied or considered suicide. This article explores the shifts in preservice teachers' understanding about issues of bullying and suicide through their self-selected reading of 13 Reasons Why (Asher, 2007) and Hate List (Brown, 2008). Results found preservice teachers chose to read either 13 Reasons Why or Hate List because they knew someone who committed suicide. Their engagement in the books allowed them to understand and imagine the characters' experiences, perspectives, and decision-making. Through reading and discussions they developed compassion and empathy for the characters; this compassion and empathy extended to their future students.