Subscribe to SLJ
Bowllan's Blog
Inside Bowllan's Blog

Writers Against Racism: Saved By Her Enemy by Don Teague & Rafraf Barrak

"I’m no different than anybody else here."
 -Rafraf Barrak, SAVED BY HER ENEMY


CBS News Correspondent, Don Teague, sent me his first book SAVED BY HER ENEMY by Don Teague and Rafraf Barrak (Howard Books/Simon & Schuster 2010) and as a former journalist who now teaches (and blogs), it’s a book that should be used in the classroom – especially high school. In the nutshell, it’s current, educational, and more importantly it’s real! And students can relate to what’s real.  

So I am going to "keep it real." 

Here’s how I would outline a high school lesson plan and activities for SAVED BY HER ENEMY:

Objective: Overcoming Hate?

Guiding Question: Is it possible to grow up hating a country, only to find yourself one day living in that country?

1) Pre-reading activity: make predictions about how you think the story will unfold. What were your thoughts about Iraq prior to reading this story? What are they now? Where did you hear your information about your understanding of Iraq? Newspapers? Internet? News Outlets? Who and/or what helped you to form your opinions?

2) In teams of two, using Google Earth, illustrate your own map showing Don Teague’s journey to and from Iraq by sharing specific locations from the book.

3) Describe Rafraf. Is she someone who had a right to hate America? Where did she form her views? Who influenced them?  (Discuss)

4) List the situations that occurred which bridged the bond for Teague and Rafraf. What happened to them? What were their obstacles?

5) What is the role of a journalist in a war-torn country? What is the role of a translator?

6) Was Don right in seeking political asylum for Rafraf? What do you think the challenges would be for both Don and Rafraf?

7) Pretend you are Rafraf, write a letter to your mom, explaining your opinions about the US before you went – using specific examples from the book – and what life is like now in the United States. Use descriptive words.
7b) Compare and contrast your life growing up here in the US with Rafraf’s life, growing up in Iraq. Describe the similarities and differences.
7c) Create a powerpoint and/or MovieMaker news story as though you were a reporter covering the Iraq war.

8) Define: ambush, secular, Sunni, Shia, insurgency, du jour, IED