I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on January 22, 2019
Source: the publisher
Featuring art and writing from the students of the Parkland tragedy, this is a raw look at the events of February 14, and a poignant representation of grief, healing, and hope.
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing, and hope.
The intimate collection includes poetry, eyewitness accounts, letters, speeches, journal entries, drawings, and photographs from the events of February 14 and its aftermath. Full of heartbreaking loss, a rally cry for change, and hope for a safe future, these artistic pieces will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and the importance of valuing and protecting the ones you love.
TRIGGER WARNING: This book is about a school shooting, and everything that entails – guns, death, PTSD, anciety, depression, etc. Please be cautious in reading this review if those things are a trigger for you.
I’m not going to use my usual “Hey, everyone! I’m SO excited to be on the blog tour for….” intro for this post, because I can’t say I’m excited to be on a blog tour for a book about a school shooting. I don’t know if “humbled” is the right word, either. Honestly, I don’t know what word to use. But the minute I received the email asking if I’d like to participate, I knew I had to say yes. It’s too important a topic to say no to.
School shootings – mass shootings in general – are becoming far too commonplace. We as a nation are growing numb to them. We CAN’T grow numb. We have to stand up and demand stricter gun laws, among other things. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School refuse to be silent, and we should do as they do.
As for the book itself… Parkland Speaks is a gut-wrenching read. Children should never have to fear for their lives while trying to receive an education. Parents should never have to fear that they’ll never see their children again after sending them off to school in the morning. For the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, everything changed on February 14, 2018. Seventeen families lost loved ones, and those who survived the ordeal lost friends – and their innocence.
This book contains poems, stories, diary entries, essays and more – both from students and from faculty who were there that day. Some of the poems are students reflecting in the aftermath of the shooting; others are stories of those who were in the freshman building during the shooting.
The most chilling passage, in my opinion, was one entitled “Nothing Bad Ever Happens in Parkland.” It was a testimony before congress by Stacey Lippel, language arts instructor at MSD. She was right in the thick of the shooting. She saw the shooter. A bullet grazed her arm. Yet she risked her life to save others. She saved many lives by ushering students into her classroom.
One truly heartwarming part of this book? All the stories about the therapy dogs, and how they comforted the traumatized students.
I HIGHLY recommend this book to EVERYONE. It’s a really hard book to get through, but it has a powerful message. Like I said earlier, we as a nation are growing numb to mass shootings, and we can’t let that happen. This book should be required reading for all politicians – for everyone, really, but especially politicians. These stories are heartbreaking and gut-wrenching and IMPORTANT. The lesson learned from reading this book is obvious: we must stand strong against gun violence and demand stronger gun safety laws.
I hate feeling like I have to say this, but if you don’t agree with my stance on gun safety, please don’t comment on this post. Don’t argue with me. Don’t try to start something, because I’ll just delete your comment and block you. Polite discussion is encouraged, but if you’re looking to pick a fight, you’re in the wrong place.
Please Note: Some of these quotes are snippets of longer passages. The Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) I read did not have page numbers, so I can’t include them here. Instead, I will include the title of the passage the quote comes from.
“Watching my students find their voices after someone tried to silence them…” – ReWrite
“Tears begin to stroke my eyes when I realize one of my messages will remain unread forever.” – Inside a Fearful Mind
“The text read ‘I just want you to know I love you all and don’t worry, I will be okay.’” – Third Floor
“Rose petals and blood covered the floor.” – Third Floor
“That’s when I realized… I left them in that building.” – 2/14/18: The Day My Whole Life Changed
“I didn’t know who the teacher was… I remember her saying something along the lines of ‘I want you to know that if anyone comes through that door, they will have to go through me.’” – Journal Entry #1
“Remember me when I’m gone.” – Immortal Dreams
“Together we will all stand strong.” – Political Puppets