This weekend I finished reading Positive, by Paige Rawl, with Ali Benjamin. It is Paige’s memoir about growing up HIV positive, and her mother’s fierce struggle to keep herself, and Paige, healthy and happy. It is also the story of how a happy childhood transitioned to a terrible middle school period, when her former best friend betrayed her, and told everyone that she had AIDS. Paige is terribly bullied, and has a lot of trauma resulting from the experience.
I don’t want to give away too much, because this is a valuable read, but while the text takes us to dark places on Paige’s journey, there is also a lot of hope. I also think that this is an important text for those of us in education to read. I am ashamed to admit that I found myself having some bias that I had to confront regarding HIV and AIDS. I found myself flipping to the back a couple of times to read the facts about HIV that Paige wisely included in the back – she also includes information to help those being bullied, and students that feel suicidal. In a time when bullying often leads to terrible consequences, this is another important volume to help address the epidemic, and what we need to do to help.
If anyone would like to add some other anti- bullying books in the comments, I would love to add them to a list to help students in my buildings as well.