Renee Watson discusses her novel, This Side of Home, with Linda Christiansen on TTT


Join Renee Watson, Linda Christensen, Andrew Kulak, and students from Jefferson High School (Watson’s alma mater) on Teachers Teaching Teachers on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 9:00 pm EST.  The conversation will discuss Watson’s debut YA novel, This Side of Home, which was published by Bloomsbury in February, 2015.

In her inspired YA debut, Renee Watson explores the experience of young African-American women navigating the traditions and expectations of their culture.

Identical twins Nikki and Maya have been on the same page for everything-friends, school, boys and starting off their adult lives at a historically African-American college. But as their neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, suddenly filled with pretty coffee shops and boutiques, Nikki is thrilled while Maya feels like their home is slipping away. Suddenly, the sisters who had always shared everything must confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.

Watson dedicates her novel to Linda Christensen, “my teacher, mentor and friend.”  Christensen, in turn, writes about the “wonderful novel by a Jefferson (HS) graduate… about the gentrification of Albina” that is now an “anchor text” in a gentrification curriculum that Christensen has developed over the last two years with students and, more recently, Katharine Johnson, co-director of the Oregon Writing Project.  This work has come out of their work with teachers who attended the four-week OWP Writing Institute during the summer of 2014.


Watson and Christensen will be joined on Wednesday, February 25th on Teachers Teaching Teachers by Andrew Kulak, who teaches high school students and uses This Side of Home in his classroom.  His students have explored a curriculum around gentrification as part of their Senior Inquiry.  Some of Kulak’s students will join the webcast, as well.


What an exciting hour this will be!  Please join us on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 9pm EST on Teachers Teaching Teachers at

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