Posted on August 28, 2019
Looking for literature to get students talking and reflecting about their lives, as well as empathizing with the experiences of others? Below, we've listed 9 great personal essays that support those goals, written by authors from around the globe.
Recommended for High School and College Students
- My Story of Chess, from Georgia, a captivating account of a competition with stakes higher than the author had imagined.
- Hunger, from Iranian author Salar Abdoh, a memoir of being young and alone in the U.S. (And watch out for his forthcoming essay "The Cleric and I"!)
- I Am Not Your Cholo, a gently humorous, yet biting, story of U.S. immigration and cultural stereotypes.
- Thunder grandmas, from Kazakh author Zira Naurzbayeva, a memoir of the grandmothers of her youth.
Recommended for College and University Students
- How to be a Woman in Tehran, journalist Habibe Jafarian's essay about her decision to "fight it out" in Iran.
- Memories of Chernobyl, from an Egyptian writer and physician who was studying in Ukraine at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
- A Year Among the Boat People, My People, a personal story of working with refugees from Iran in a time of anti-immigrant sentiment.
- On the Moscow Metro and Being Gay, a Russian essay about challenging state-sponsored homophobia.
- Prison Memoirs, an account of protest and imprisonment from one of the "student leaders" of China's Tiananmen Square Uprising.