University School of Milwaukee welcomed author, journalist, and humanitarian Atia Abawi as its first-ever author-in-residence during the 2022-23 school year. Abawi will visit the school on three separate occasions, in October, January, and April, with each visit lasting for two weeks. She will be working with students and teachers in all three divisions, and will also host class visits and workshops that will cover topics such as journalism, international relations, creative writing, news literacy, identity, refugees, and more. Each experience will be tailored to the age level and interests of the students. Her visit was arranged by Kat Zilka, Upper School English teacher, and Laura Klein, Upper School librarian, with further support from faculty at each division level.
Abawi has been working with USM students since 2018, discussing her experience as a journalist, and how her books—although fiction—are based on real-life stories and interviews with refugees and individuals who work with refugees. Her book “A Land of Permanent Goodbyes” has been the required summer reading for various grade levels. She has also written “The Secret Sky,” a young-adult novel, and “She Persisted: Sally Ride,” a chapter book for young readers.
Her visit is sponsored by a Think Big grant, in which teachers can apply for funding to obtain curricular enhancements and to engage in professional development opportunities.