“A Very Large Expanse Of Sea” is not about Acceptance, it’s About Appearance.

We have all read a book about acceptance, “be who you are”, “don’t conform”, but how many people have read a book about appearance. The book A Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Tahereh Mafi may seem like it’s about acceptance like many other young adult novels but if you look closely, it’s actually about how appearance defines you not only to those around you but to yourself as well.

The Book A Very Large Expanse of Sea is about a Muslim girl, Shirin, living in the US in 2002, a year after 9/11. Shirin is in high school and is just trying to make it through like everyone
‘else with a few extra obstacles. Shirin then finds herself falling for a guy, but does not want to.

You can see how people perceive Shirin right in the first few pages. On page 10 Shirin is talking about her first day at her new school she says “my math teacher looked at my face and gave a five-minute speech to the class about how people who don’t love this country should just go back to where they came from” you can tell first of all she says it so casually that obviously it’s happened before. She doesn’t use words that make her seem like she’s outraged she just saying it as if it happens every day. You can also see that, the way she says “looked at my face” that he was making assumptions about her just by her hijab. The math teacher defined her identity with one look thinking he knew everything that he needed to know about her. Shirin talks about this on page 159 while mentioning another event where people told her “go back to Afghanistan you camel-fucking terrorist.” She says “But It never mattered what I said anymore. people talked over me, they talked for me, they discussed me without ever asking my opinion.” She’s saying that people, just like her teacher, define her by one simple glance and think they know everything.

Now it’s not just people who aren’t Muslim that judge her. On page 195, after she kisses a guy in his car in front of everyone, a Muslim girl (not wearing a hijab) confronts her. This girl says “Girls like you don’t deserve to wear hijab, it’d be better for everyone if you just took it off.” Now this girl as well thinks she knows her just by one thing, and Shirin tells her this, she says “you don’t know shit about how I’ve lived or what I’ve been through or why I choose to wear hijab and it’s not your place to judge me or how I live my life” now as you can see the author uses words like shit to show how Shirin is really angry with this girl. Now, this girl thinks she is somehow better then Shirin just by one simple thing, Shirin wears a hijab.

When this girl, who goes out of her way to tell Shirin she’s a “bad Muslim”, confronts her she responds back. Shirin asks her if she ever kissed a boy and she replies “This isn’t about me” she huffed “this is about you. You wear hijab.” So you can tell it’s not just about the fact that she’s Muslim its that you can see she’s Muslim.

Earlier on in the book on page 95, Shirin is Talking to Ocean (her friend) and he says “I genuinely don’t care that you cover your hair. I don’t mean”—he hesitated— “as long as it’s like something you actually want to do” Shirin then says that she likes it makes her feel in control, she gets to choose who gets to see her hair. You can see from this that Shirin Doesn’t think her Hijab means she’s terrorist or isn’t allowed to kiss people, she just likes having it there because it makes her powerful. This shows that by one simple article of clothing you can be defined in so many ways.

So as you can you can see the book is about appearance and how it’s perceived. The author shows how her teachers and peers define her. It shows how other people in her religion perceive her and what she thinks of herself. Tahereh Mafi could have just made this just a book the same as a lot of other young adult novels but she decides to add another element to it. She didn’t make the book about acceptance she made it about appearance.

Arduino Board: The Intersection

In class we were sown a idea of a busy intersection. Then we went on tinkercad and had to try and figure out some way to create something that would make it safer.I decided to do traffic lights. SoI went on tinkercad and did tutorials of how to make a circuit with led lights. After I learned,I made the traffic lights. First I just did it with a red light, green light and yellow light. Then after I figured out that I added a pedestrian light and another set of lights. Here is a picture:

Then we had to code it. First I started coding with blocks because that wears much easier. Then after I got good at it I tried text and that was just as easy. Here is my code:


Then afterI finished that made it for real with an actual arduino board. The pieces were much smaller thenI had expected and it was hard to get the wire in the right hole on the arduino board. Then after I completed making itI copy and pasted it from tinkercad to arduino and my code worked.I had a few issues with the way my LED was placed butI easily figured it out. My photo of my arduino 


Kids During The Industrial Revolution

The Dirt Road

Clip, clop, clip, clop. Our horse and buggy trotted down the dirt road. my father and I in the front, my mother and baby sister sitting in the back. Everyone is tired from the long journey we’ve had. I wish we could just go back to our old home and be able to run around in the fields and soak in the sun. I loved spending days out in the field, learning from my dad about how to properly plant the seeds and groom the fields, hoping one day I would be as good as him. Then one day the owner of the farm bought new machines and taught us how to use them. The machine did 10 times the work of one man. Then the owner started to get rid of the labourers because there were too many of us doing one man’s job. My best friend Philips family was the first to leave. More and more family’s left. Our family was one of the last family’s to be kicked out. Now here we are, the hot sun beating on us, the bumpy road beneath us, all of us, and our stuff, squished into one cart, on our way to look for jobs in the city. I just hope our new job is just as fun, and will be able to give us enough money so someday I can manage my own farm.





I’m woken up by the the church bell across the street. That means it’s 4am. I have one hour to get ready. Not to go to school like the kids my age on the west side of town, but to go shuck oysters with my mother and sister. I wash up and get ready to leave.



    My knuckles are bleeding, I’ve only done half a bucket today I’m much slower. It’s silence in this crowded, dusty room. Only the sound of feet shuffling and oysters being shucked. People have talked before, but then they are taken away and never seen again and someone new comes to replace them.



    I’ve now done one and a half buckets, I’m am almost halfway through the day. This day has seemed to just go on and on. All I can think about is what I’m going to get my little brother for his birthday. Tomorrow he is turning 5. He is two years younger then me so on my birthday I don’t expect a gift from him, but he loves getting gifts so I want to get him something. I’ll take today’s pay and go get him something. I think I might get him a toy car.



I leave the factory with today’s pay in my hand. My mom often doesn’t let me go into town to spend my earnings, but today she said yes. I see the toy store. A mother and her son walk out. The boy has a toy plane and is pretending to fly it. The woman’s chin is pointed so high, and her neck is so long, she looks like a giraffe. She catches a glance of me and quickly looks away. Her and her son hurry away to the other side of the street. That’s when I realise how awful I look.

I walk into the the store and see the car from the window and pick it up I bring it to the owner. I ask how much. And he says that is 5 cents I earned 10 cents today so I’m good. I give home the money and head out.                                                                                                


I can’t sleep, I keep thinking about that mother and son. What did I do wrong? Was it something I did? Was it my facial expression? Then it hit me it was the way I looked. The old brown dress I’ve had since I was 5 all torn and dirty, my knuckles are wrapped in fabric with blood seeping through. My face and arms have splotches of dirt and oyster gunk from work, I haven’t showered in a week because papa says it costs to much. I think back to what they looked like, the mother in her fancy hat, a long peuple dress that sticks out at her waist with lots of layers underneath. The kid with a nice vest over top of his clean white shirt with fancy black dress pants. That boy probably was coming home from school. A nice school with books you can read and paper you can write on. That night I fall asleep thinking about school and how I long for the chance to be able to read and write. I snuggle up to my moma who’s beside me and close my eyes.






I’m here, I’m finally here. After traveling for weeks in a crowded, loud, cold ship  I’m finally here. I step off, the cold breeze is nipping at my bare skin, my parents are holding my family close, making sure no one gets lost. A large old building sits here in the middle of the water on this port named “Ellis Island”. Herds of people are shuffling into this building, eager to get through to, America.

America, I’ve heard that that word in movies, and books, and conversation. But this word was just a place i had dreamed about. America, free from the beggars on the road, wanting something, to be able to put in there mouth, and eat. Free from the riots that mom and dad would shield my eyes from. Free from the angry words of the villagers. America.

My papa told stories of the food here. He said people eat alligators. But America had Lots of sweets. He told of the ice cream store with tubs and tubs of ice cream sitting in a freezer. And the candy shops with rows, and rows of gummy’s, and chocolate, and lollipops galore. I can’t wait.

I’ve always dreamed of being able to call this place home. Now this place isn’t just a star on the map its home.

Hydrophobic maze

In my class maker space we made hydrophobic mazes. So you are able to put a drop of water on it and let it roll around the board, just like a marble would. We are able to accomplish this by spraying it with a hydrophobic spray.

First we started out by making a sketch  of the maze we didn’t need exact measurements so it was just a rough idea of what it would look like. Here’s mine:

Then we went on tinkercad and made the maze with measurements. This part was. Kind of annoying because it was just repeating the same thing over and over again and it took a lot of patience. But I was able to finish on time.

Next we got to making the actual maze. What I did was I took a chopstick aligned it up with the tinkercad maze and cut it using scissors. Then we had to sand it down. Here is mine after one class of work.

As you can tell I dint get a lot finished and it. Took a long time. And again it was just repeating the same thing over and over again, measure, cut, glue. But I was able to multitask and talk with my friends at the same time. There were a couple things I had to change because of spacing problems. But I was able to make it all fit in the end. After that we were able to spray it with the hydrophobic spray paint. That was super fun because I’ve always liked using spray paint because I’ve used it in some of my other classes. Here is my finished product, as you can see I am moving a water droplet through the maze while this picture was taken.

Overall this project. Was super fun. when I came home after school that day I showed it to my sister and she thought it was so cool. but this project was super fun to make and it turned out great.

Thanks for reading,

Published by Cate Roper


In makerspace we’ve been building a tool box. We had to saw the wood then nail it together then we put our name into the side of the box.

First we had to cut 6 pieces of wood from the plank. We cut 2 long ones for the side and 4 little ones for the end. When I was cutting one of the long ones I cut it half and inch too short but luckily I could just take off some of the end and turn I into a short one.

Then we had to pair up the small ones and glue them together. Then we had to cut off the ends to make a triangle like shape which is what I’m doing in the picture below.

Then we drilled holes so we could stick the dowels in it. That part was he’d because it wouldn’t do it itself you had to apply a lot of pressure on to the drill to get it to go down. But it was alas super cool. For some reason I wasn’t paying attention so I measured the hole on one of them in the wrong place but the other one was in the right place so the holes didn’t align. So I had to align the hole and cut off the excess part. So now my box is shorter than the rest of them.

Next we had to assemble it. The first few times I was using the hammer and nails it was hard to get the hit exactly right. The nail would go diagonally sometimes it just wouldn’t go in. But as it went on it got easier and easier. By the end all I wanted to do was hammer nails.

After I assembled it I got to do the wood burning. So on mine I put my name the year and a happy face. The wood burning as so fun at first it wa kind of weird and a little scary because it was burning right into the toolbox. But after a while I got used to it and it was so cool.

In the end mine toolbox turned out great even though I had some bumps along the old with sawing and measuring. And I had a lot of fun in the process

Made by Cate Roper.