Same Sun Here shares the friendship of Meena and River — pen pals in Kentucky and New York City. The book is organized in letters that these best friends write to each other in 2008-2009. Good old fashioned snail mail. Each letter is like another chapter in the book. It really lets the reader see how vulnerable the characters are. They ask each other about their lives in a way that only middle school students can.
Meena and River form a quick bond over the love of their grandmothers and mountains, the fact that their fathers work far away, and their excitement of sending letters to each other instead of emails.
Meena and River’s letters drift through their lives — school, living situations, and their hopes and dreams. Just like the review of Exodus last month, this book is extremely relevant right now. River describes the mountain top removal (MTR) near his house and the resulting impacts. Meena tells of class and race discrimination she and her family experiences. Both teenagers share their excitement (as well as their communities excitement) during Obama’s inauguration. When a MTR accident happens in Kentucky, both students are shaken and the story shares the importance and power of organizing and marching for change.
This book would pair well with the Experience Energy curriculum from Climate Generation.