Do you love to read books about real people overcoming real challenges? Are you interested in writing your own family’s story of trials and triumph? Nicole and I share a love of reading good books and a love of writing family stories, so put those together and you have the Family Locket Book Club. Join us in our quest to discover books that amaze, inspire, and uplift. Read the book and share your thoughts in our comments section. Are you a member of the Goodreads community? Check out our Family Locket Book Club group.
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March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is: “Celebrate Women in Public Service and Government.” When I first read this title, I immediately thought of women serving in high profile positions: politicians, judges, etc. But then I realized that the smaller contributions of everyday women are just as noteworthy. Most of us spend much of our growing up years influenced by women in public service: teachers. But who teaches the homeless children? What can break the cycle of poverty in a family? Questions most of us don’t even think about.
Which is why, for our first book club selection, I chose:
Stacey graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. On her first day teaching at a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City the carefully prepared lesson plans flew out the window when she realized the children couldn’t pay attention because they lacked food and sleep. Somehow she found the courage to persevere through multiple challenges and began to write the profound stories of some of her students. Read more of Stacey’s story on her website.
“But we can’t impose our own goals, wishes, or help on anyone. We can only teach, support, and love. We give them more opportunities, more choices. Then we love them regardless of the choices they make, hoping that they will learn to make better ones in the future.” (p. 96)
Published in 1994, I didn’t read this until last year when my neighborhood book club selected it. A former elementary school teacher, I was completely caught up in Stacey’s stories. I taught 4th grade for two years in an older, but well equipped school. My students came well fed, clothed, and rested. The janitor swept my spacious classroom every day. The parents of my students volunteered on a regular basis.
What a contrast this is to Stacey’s experience as a first year teacher. She gathered her students for class by rapping on the shelter’s bedroom doors to waken the children. One of her parents took the children out of class so they could help with drug deals. She cleaned the filthy classroom by herself. She had to petition the school district for books. Her students regularly came to class hungry, unwashed, wearing the only clothes they owned.
Despite these challenges, Stacey didn’t give up and began to make a difference. She loved these children and treated all the homeless individuals at the shelter with compassion.
“I have taught math, reading, and self-worth. Through the lives of these children I have learned the difference one person can make and what happens when nobody steps up to make a difference.” (p.180)
“Nobody Don’t Love Nobody” will change the way you look at the homeless in your community. Give it a read and share your thoughts!