Teachers from across the country have written to me in the past year, facing pressure because they teach Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner. In some cases, their jobs were being threatened over their decision to bring this seminal book into their classrooms. That’s where the idea for this kit came from: to offer resources for teaching The Kite Runner and explaining its value to those who are questioning it.
Below are discussion questions from literary celebrities, testimonials from educators, a map of places in the United States where the novel is taught (spoiler alert: in all fifty states), and a passionate letter from Khaled Hosseini himself. Whether the debate is occurring at school board meetings, libraries, or in classrooms, we hope this will provide you with ammunition in your defense of this remarkable book.
As book bans continue to suppress voices, censor ideas, and limit freedom of expression in cities and towns across the country, we remain grateful to you for your service and your example.
President and Publisher
The Kite Runner has encouraged many dynamic and reflective classroom discussions on friendship, power, and forgiveness—all building empathy in my young adult readers. It is a story that allows students to delve into the complexities of the parent-child relationship and reflect on how young people engage with others as they discover their own places in our complicated world. It is a narrative that stands the test of time precisely because it is not a perfect story. The characters are not perfect. They do not always make the best choices. Trust is destroyed. For these reasons our student readers engage with the characters of this novel beyond the surface level. Novels like The Kite Runner give students opportunities to reflect on issues of integrity, identity, and responsibility. This is why we read literature. Complex and engaging stories help readers understand relationships in more nuanced and empathetic ways. Reading, discussing, and writing about the complex relationships of The Kite Runner helps young adults read, recognize, and respond to more complex characters in their reading experiences as well as in their own lives.
—Jennifer A. Ward, High School English Teacher, Grandville, Michigan
View the educator guide for The Kite Runner here
View a letter to educators from Khaled Hosseini here