CARTHAGE, Mo. — A couple years ago, a Carthage High School teacher took to the task of grading assignments he had given his class. As Zachary Spiering read each piece – a collection of personal narratives from his Advanced English Learners class – he couldn’t help but think: “Wow … people need to see this.”
And that moment led to the publication of a compilation book of narratives, essays and poems from nine Carthage students called “Transplanted: How Immigrating Changed Our Lives.”
These nine students have lived in the U.S. less than five years – all from Latin American countries. Spiering said when he approached his students about the idea of using the self-publishing tools available on Amazon, they were excited and willing to share their perspectives. Not only was the book a dive into deep personal reflection, but huge educational milestones in language building, editing skills and a new challenge in marketing.
“I was amazed by their stories,” Spiering said. “I don’t think many realize what people go through to immigrate. The most valuable message of this book is for readers to see these works are by kids. They’re just kids – they love soccer, music and girls – and I couldn’t imagine going through what they have. This book gives a glimpse of that experience, and it’s important for our community to better understand our huge immigrant population. It’s not an easy process to move to a different country – it’s a new place, new culture, new language – new everything – and we need to show patience.”
Spiering plans on doing another book this year with his students, and has ideas for other projects as well. In his fourth year at CHS, the Lamar native said his students continue to impress him time after time.
To order a book – which is print-on-demand with the proceeds going to the authors – click here.