Book Review: Parkland Speaks edited by Sarah Lerner

Format: Paperback

Pages: 192 pages

Published: January 22, 2019

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Genre:  Young Adult, Nonfiction, Poetry, Short Stories


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.


This is a difficult book to review. Not because this was a horrible read, but because how can I possibly critique a powerful and thought-provoking book where its initial intent was not only to tell a story but to heal?

On February 14, 2018, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School faced a tragedy that is unfortunately becoming too common in this country. Seventeen lives were lost and many were injured, both physically and emotionally. It was a day that changed Parkland forever. It was a day where precious innocence was completely erased. But the Parkland community, through their pain, united together, to heal. And the healing process is beautifully portrayed in this anthology of heartbreaking artwork and uplifting writing.

Some of these essays and poems were excruciating to read. I could feel their pain dripping from the pages. But this book was absolutely necessary. As hard as it was to relive that pain, Lerner did an amazing job compiling stories that truly reflected the real emotions of that day and its aftermath. We, the public, will never understand what they are currently going through, however, this book allows to empathize a little bit more. Readers of this will truly understand the effects of gun violence. I am not here to start a gun debate but hopefully by reading this book, many people eventually will open their eyes to a new perspective.

What I love about this book is that it displays the power of healing. Writing and other art forms are great ways to heal a persons trauma and grief and this book flawlessly displays that technique. Painful read, you cannot help yourself be in awe in these students’ bravery and survival. Towards the end of the book, you don’t just feel the sadness, but the hope of a new beginning and a better tomorrow.

Emotionally but beautifully compiled, this anthology is a great example how art can help a person deal with a tragedy. But it is not just that. These survivors are intelligent, insightful and have a lot to say. We need to hear more of their words and wisdom. This is a definite book that everyone needs to read.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Get It At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository|IndieBoundYour local library


Published by karma2015

I was born and raised in New York. I still live in New York but kind of sick of the city and one day I wish to move to the UK.I have a Masters degree in Library Science and I currently work in a special collections library. I loved books ever since I was a little girl. Through the hard times in my life, my love for books has always gotten me through. Just entering another world different from my own intrigues me. As long as I am entering in another universe, I like to create my own as well. I love to write and hopefully I will be able to complete a novel.

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