Parkland Speaks: Survivors From Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories

Posted January 30, 2019 by shooting in Book Review / 16 Comments

Parkland Speaks: Survivors From Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories, edited by MSD teacher, Sarah Lerner

Review by Lauren

source: copy from publisher; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add to Goodreads)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.

Review: On February 14, 2018, a gunman in Parkland, Florida entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people…and injuring many others. Parkland Speaks is a collection of writing, art, and photographs from students at MSD, reflecting on this terrible tragedy and how their lives have been irrevocably changed.

Parkland Speaks - art, photos, and writing from the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting. Everyone should read this. #bookreview #ontheblog Click To Tweet

I really loved that the book was edited by an MSD teacher, Sarah Lerner, who also shares her own thoughts within these pages. This is a book that is difficult to read, and it will probably be something you read a little at a time, but it’s also many other things too – inspiring, hopeful, and full of so much courage.

One of the poems in the book that really stood out to me is Can’t You Hear? by Alyson Sheehy:

You can blame what you want, pull on whatever thread

Bully us into silence and treat us like we don’t matter.

However, don’t forget there is no future when all of us

are dead

Although it seems that is still not enough for all lives

to matter.

Can’t you hear the screams now? Cause they are only growing louder.

Powerful, isn’t it? MSD students have been outspoken about change in gun laws ever since February 14, 2018. You’ve probably seen their names in the news and their pictures in magazines. I like that this book focuses on students you may not have already heard from, but it also includes some of the known names, like Emma González. On February 17, 2018 (yes, just three days after the shooting), Emma gave a wonderful speech known as “We Call BS Speech” and this book includes excerpts from it. Here is a sample:

They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS.

They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS.

They says guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS.

They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS.

That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.

Again, powerful words. I’m in awe of all these kids, of everything they have survived. I’m in awe of all those who have been affected by gun violence – in school, at work, in the movie theaters, across the country and the world. I’m in awe, but I’m so sad that these things keep happening. Things need to change, and maybe it’ll start with the young. I have hope for a beautiful future.

I highly recommend Parkland Speaks. It’s needed in every school, every library, every home. Don’t let these voices be silenced.

16 responses to “Parkland Speaks: Survivors From Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories

  1. These kids take my breath away for how hard they’re working to change things. This book sounds brilliant, and I like that a teacher edited this. Great review, Lauren.

  2. RO

    This was such a tragedy that still makes me cry with sadness for what these poor kids went through, and everything they saw will forever be etched in their memories. I commend their strength for wanting things to be better and for sharing their feelings. How brave to share these painful stories.

  3. Oh wow. I’d like to read this too. A little at the time because it totally breaks my heart, and it’s unthinkable that so many young kids have to have something like this to deal with. These words are incredibly powerful and they do provide hope that change is possible with persistence. Thank you for sharing this review, Lauren. ❤️

  4. Man, reading this book has got to be so emotional. What an important piece of culture and art, though! How powerful for them to express their experiences and thoughts and raw emotions like this! I’d like to read it some time soon.

  5. This sounds like an important and powerful read. I think I will definitely make time for this one and just know that I might have to take it a little at a time as you suggest. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year already.

  6. I want to read this, even though I know it will also be incredibly hard to handle emotionally. I can’t imagine how difficult this last year has been for the students and their parents.

  7. I have been eyeing this one. I really do want to read it. Those excerpts you shared are powerful. I truly hope that this next generation will continue to stand up and fight for change!

  8. Jen

    Wow that is powerful. It all needs to stop. I hope my kids and other ones like them can be the change makers my generation seems to have lagged on.

  9. School shootings is a topic I haven’t been able to read 🙁 Made me way too anxious, But I’m glad people are writing about it! We need this topic fresh in everyone;s minds!

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