by Tupac Shakur
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
At The Head of Her Class, and Homeless
- NPR Staff
In June 2014, NPR published this story about Rashema Melson. At the time, Melson was a homeless high school senior at Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C. She is now a student at Georgetown University.Pair “At the Head of Her Class, and Homeless” with “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore the obstacles that can make it difficult for a person to succeed. How did the rose and Rashema Melson approach these obstacles?
Mother to Son
- Langston Hughes
In “Mother to Son,” a mother utilizes metaphor to communicate the struggles she's faced and the importance of perseverance to her son.Pair "The Rose That Grew from Concrete" with "Mother to Son" and ask students to compare the perspectives of the speakers in these two poems. How does the perspective of the speaker in “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” compare to the perspective of the mother in “Mother to Son”?
The Crow and the Pitcher
- 620-560 BCE
In this fable of Aesop, a thirsty crow is desperate for a drink of water.Pair “The Crow and the Pitcher” with “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore how success is possible despite obstacles. What similar traits help the crow and the rose to succeed? How do they approach adversity differently?
- Julio Noboa
In Julio Noboa’s poem “Identity,” a speaker explains why they would choose to be a weed over a flower.Pair “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” with “Identity” and ask students to discuss how the two poems use nature to explore identity. What does being a flower mean to the speakers of the two poems? What do the two speakers consider important? How do they explore this through the imagery of flowers and weeds?
- Jessica McBirney
In the informational text “Frida Kahlo,” Jessica McBirney discusses the life and artistic career of the famous Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.Pair “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” with “Frida Kahlo” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore overcoming adversity. What do students consider to be the “concrete” that Frida Kahlo was able to break through in order to succeed?
- Jessica McBirney
Lin-Manuel Miranda used his passion for hip-hop music and his New York City origins to create unique and successful Broadway musicals.Pair “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” with “Lin-Manuel Miranda” and ask students to discuss connections between the symbolism in the poem and Miranda’s use of hip-hop music and his own roots in Washington Heights. How is Miranda a “rose that grew from concrete”? Compare the ways in which Tupac and Miranda use art to communicate their ideas.
Growing Trees for Kenya
- Elizabeth Cregan
In the informational text “Growing Trees for Kenya” Elizabeth Cregan discusses Wangari Maathai’s efforts to combat deforestation in Kenya and around the world.Pair “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” with “Growing Trees for Kenya” and ask students to discuss how the speaker of the poem and Wangari Maathai both encountered obstacles. What did they do in the face of these obstacles?
The Biggest Little Artist in the World
- LeeAnn Blankenship
In “The Biggest Little Artist in the World,” LeeAnn Blankenship discusses the famous microsculpture artist, Willard Wigan.Pair “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” with “The Biggest Little Artist in the World” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore achieving success despite obstacles. In what ways is Willard Wigan a rose that grew from concrete? What was the concrete that was in Wigan’s way as he grew up? What message do both texts teach about success?
- J. Patrick Lewis
In J. Patrick Lewis’ poem “The Child,” a speaker describes the childhood experiences of the Civil Rights activist Sylvia Mendez.Pair “The Rose that Grew from Concrete” with “The Child” and ask students to discuss how both poems explore overcoming challenges. What difficult circumstances was Sylvia Mendez living through as a child? How did she manage to succeed despite these circumstances? How does Mendez compare to the “rose” in the poem? What do students think would be considered the “concrete” from which Mendez grew?
- Victor Englebert
In the informational text “Ataka: A Young Desert Girl,” Victor Englebert discusses a Tuareg girl’s experiences living in the Sahara Desert with her family.Pair “Rose That Grew From Concrete” with “Ataka: A Young Desert Girl” and ask students to discuss how the flower and the Tuareg people are able to succeed in difficult conditions. How does the concrete that the flower grows from try to slow its growth? How does the cement compare to the obstacles that the desert presents to Ataka and her family?
Reaching New Heights
- Marjorie Flintom
In the informational text “Reaching New Heights,” Marjorie Flintom discusses the challenges Charlie Villanueva faced because of his skin disease and his later success as a basketball player.Pair “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” with “Reaching New Heights” and ask students to compare the themes of the two texts. In what ways is Charlie Villanueva the rose in Tupac Shakur’s poem? What in Villanueva’s life could be considered the “concrete” that made it difficult for him to succeed? What do the poem and the text teach readers about success?
- Ishmael Beah
In “Unusual Normality,” Ishmael Beah describes his experience transitioning to life as an American teenager after living as a child soldier in Sierra Leone.Pair “The Rose that Grew from Concrete” with “Unusual Normality” and ask students to consider how Ishmael Beah “prov[ed] nature’s laws wrong.” How does Ishmael overcome the circumstances he was born into and “learn to breathe fresh air”? What do they consider the most inspiring detail of Ishmael’s story?
- Francisco Jiménez
In “Inside Out,” a young boy describes his first experience as a Spanish-speaking student in an American school.Pair “The Rose that Grew from Concrete” with “Inside Out” and ask students to compare Francisco with the speaker in the poem. How does the imagery in the poem relate to Francisco’s experiences? How did Francisco “learn to walk without having feet”? What common message do both texts convey about how to face challenges in life?