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The Bookshelf: Oct. 15, 2015

In this week's Bookshelf, our content partner Kirkus Reviews highlights Choosing Hope.

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Trib+Edu is joining with respected books authority Kirkus Reviews to bring you select reviews of books of note in the field of education. For more book reviews and recommendations, visit

CHOOSING HOPE: Moving Forward from Life's Darkest Hours

by Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Robin Gaby Fisher

Roig-DeBellis always knew she wanted to work with children and “help them become the best people they could possibly be.” So when she was hired to teach first grade at Sandy Hook starting in the fall of 2007, she was thrilled... All that changed on Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman — whose name she has since refused to speak — came onto campus and killed 20 children and 6 adults. After her rescue she discovered that the gunman had miraculously skipped her classroom... Despite support from family and friends, the author’s nightmare did not end with her rescue. School administrators repeatedly ignored her efforts to create enhanced classroom safety measures for her traumatized students, and they eventually asked her to take a leave from teaching. Undeterred, Roig-DeBellis took the time off to turn a classroom project that used donated items and funds received after the massacre to help needy students at other schools into a nonprofit organization called Classes 4 Classes. Though it may strike some readers as Pollyannaish, the author’s sunny optimism about the teaching profession is sincere. Her account of the shooting, her struggle to keep despair at bay in both herself and her students, and her ultimate triumph as a survivor seeking to make a difference help balance the book and redeem it from excessive sentimentality.

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