Georg Engel's Ernest J. Gaines: A Lesson Before Dying To understand or not to understand, that is the question...
Made With Goldfish

On the following pages you'll find a few proposals for lead-ins:

The first is intended to make students aware that a false conviction leading to an execution may also happen to youngsters their own age, if they are at the wrong place at the wrong time (to use a trite expression).

You can also use an appropriate cartoon as a lead-in to the novel: there are two proposals here.