Nonfiction · Poetry · Review · Young Adult

Parkland Speaks, edited by Sarah Lerner | Book Review

Parkland Speaks edited by Sarah Lerner, white "gather" pillow

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Pub. Date: 2019

Genres: Memoirs, Essays, Poetry

Pages: 192

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

A year after the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, the students and teachers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas share their stories of the shooting and its aftermath in Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories, edited by MSD teacher Sarah Lerner. The book is a collection of essays, poems, and photos, all leaving an impact on the reader and sharing each person’s perspective on the shooting.

It is truly amazing how many people contributed to this collection of personal experiences for this book. Some affected me more than others. I am also admittedly more drawn to the essays than the poems because I read more prose than poetry. These writings are raw and powerful. I was also surprised to see elements of writing that I haven’t seen in a while be used well and with impact by the writers. The editor also did a great job of organizing the essays and poems by theme and topic.

Besides the terror and trauma of the moment, I was surprised to see how much of this book covered the grief and recovery these students and teachers went through. For example, I had no idea that therapy dogs were brought in to help the students with the healing process.

I also appreciated the book design. I like the cover design for the paint design as well as the handwritten words behind the paint. I like that every page has a different design to showcase handwritten works, notebook paper or other design. I like that pictures are also included, and that does remind me of a yearbook in a way. That’s an important note since the editor of this book is the yearbook adviser at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and she does ask in an essay how this should be covered in the yearbook.

Parkland Speaks is a powerful collection of poems, essays, and artwork that tells the stories of these survivors. It is worth a read.

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