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Chris Duschik

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A Song of Healing
by Chris Duschik   

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Young Adult/Teen

Publisher:  PublishAmerica ISBN-10:  1588511022 Type: 


Copyright:  Dec 1 1999

Publish America

Many in our country are asking questions regarding education. Every thoughtful and mindful parent, teacher, and school district is trying to find answers to complex questions regarding our children. A SONG OF HEALING paints a story of hope, for all of us.

The story of a neglected and physically abused junior high school student named Robert who finds healing through his grandmother and new levels of acceptance and learning through a teacher of dynamic qualities. Robert expresses and understands the world around him through art, eventually helping bring closure to his troubled past. This story is for parents, teachers, administrators, and students alike - anyone who values education and the impact it can hold. The lessons in the book are based upon real-life observations of a multi-award winning teacher, as well as the author's own experiences within public and charter schools. The novel stresses the importance of human connections through art, as well as all experiences that bond us together as human beings. The story presents the kind of education needed in today's technological and sometimes isolating world. The main character in the story is an amalgam of students present in every classroom, struggling with many concerns the educational world must address.

Robert headed for the room that he shared with his little sister, Sandy. He went in and picked her up as they both cried. This somehow made Robert feel better knowing they shared something at that moment. He held the baby and offered her the comfort he wished he could have. He wanted to make up to his sister for everything that was wrong with their family. He was going to help her through. It maybe too late for him, but not for her, he vowed. He wanted to help the only person that seemed to care for him.

He found some paper and began to draw a scene filled with a stream leading to the ocean, trees, and birds, all places and things he wished he could see. These things represented freedom away from his house, away from hurtful parents. He set Sandy back down in her crib, taping the picture to it so she could see it.

"This picture is for you, Sandy. You see the river? It'll help you if you want to leave and take you to the ocean. Just imagine yourself floating away. I want to float away sometimes, too, so don't feel bad. If you ever leave I will always find you. I promise."

Professional Reviews

Extraordinary -- Very highly recommended
A SONG OF HEALING functions like a parable, telling the story of one boy's growth and change. The simple lessons, however, have universal application for individuals in a much broader scope. Robert's untidy appearance conceals a gifted artist. Rather than encouraging his creativity, however, the traditional school system criticizes his waste of time and discourages his artistic expression. His broken home has left his face hardened, hiding the gentle child within. Classmates find him an easy target, and teachers find him a distraction to the other students. Robert's life suddenly changes, however, providing him an opportunity to explore his artist gifts of expression. Nurture replaces criticism in a classroom where learning doesn't just occur within a pencil and the head down. The learning experience expands to bring all elements together, including art, movement, and community. Through an unusual teacher, Robert learns to value of himself and those around him. Individuality is celebrated within the community of a classroom, and those experiences reach far beyond the school. As a child frequently frustrated because I don't learn well in traditional classrooms, A SONG OF HEALING touched my heart, striking an intensely personal response. During my two years of teaching experience, I successfully employed some of the techniques described, including gathering in circles for class discussion, finding the simple rearrangement of desks redefines the energy of the entire classroom expereince. I have also participated in tossing "energy balls" and other energy work that allows groups of completely disparate people work together as a community. Consequently, my first hand experience not only validates Duschik's work, but makes me want to share this book with educators, parents, and anyone else I can gather as an audience. Very highly recommended.

A SONG OF HEALING is a book every teacher should read. Though it is a fictionalized story taken from Mr Duschik's years of teaching experiences, it does examine the herd mentality of some in the teaching profession who cannot seem to realize that all children are not the same. The one real character in this book is a teacher named Mr. Spencer, and he is a superb example of what a teacher should be. Mr. Spencer has learned there is one universal thing all kids need, and that is love. He loves his kids as much as they will let him. He also teaches them to care for each other and to work together in everything they do. He also realizes some children are more gifted than others in some ways, and he teaches them to use that gift to benefit themselves and everyone around them. And he teaches those who have problems at home to use their gifts to heal themselves and others. His teaching methods are different, and he is criticized for them even though they work. Every teacher that teaches for the love of children and teaching can learn from this book. A SONG OF HEALING is also, though fictiion, a textbook to teach us how to heal the broken places in our own lives. It has helped me to understand why I write. That is my gift, my song of healing.

If we could all learn to understand
This is a novel that reaches out and touches not only those who have lived their own, hard pasts, but hopefully those that are in a position to help and need to learn a way to do it. It's about a family, in which all learn to realize they all have suffered and then use the gifts that God has given each of them in their hearts and talents to go beyond hurt and anger to understanding and will to conquer the pain and heal each other. A boy "Robert" that we all have known or known of, a woman that could be any woman out there if she can't find herself or runs from what she sees until someone else or a destitute situation pushes her into the right direction, finally. A grandmother that we could only pray to be like when we're at that stage in our lives, and of course, and extraordinary teacher who cares enough about life to understand it's up to the youth, and his responsibility to find a way to teach the youth, to realize that they need to love themselves and then reach out and touch the lives of others in the same positive way and hope to create a better, more caring, world.

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