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Cover image for Choosing hope : moving forward from life's darkest hour
Choosing hope : moving forward from life's darkest hour

New York, New York : Penguin Audio, [2015]
Physical Description:
5 audio discs (5 hr., 30 min.) : digital, CD audio ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Title from container.

Compact discs.
The heroic Sandy Hook teacher takes the lessons of that fateful day to present five sections-- purpose, perspective, choosing the path, choosing to overcome, and finally choosing hope-- that provide a clear and organized road map that will inspire and teach listeners to overcome their own personal tragedies, whatever they may be.
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Call Number
CD 371.782 Roig 2015

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" S]tirring...a bold, inspiring and ultimately hopeful book."
--Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of the New York Times bestseller Thrive

Kaitlin Roig-Debellis is the first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who saved her entire class of fifteen six- and-seven-year-olds from the tragic events that took place on December 14, 2012, by piling them into a single-occupancy bathroom within her classroom, mere feet from the brutal and indiscriminate massacre taking place outside the door. Since then, despite the unimaginably painful experiences she endured, she has chosen to share her experience with others, in the hope that they too can find light in dark moments.

Choosing Hope is a lot of things. A written witness to a tragedy that will never be forgotten. A gripping firsthand testament to the power of good over the power of destruction. An inspirational memoir by a brave young woman whose story is one of courage, heroism, faith, and resilience. And a celebration of all the people who make the choice to pass along their hope and positivity to young ones--parents, mentors, and especially teachers. There is no moving on, but there is always moving forward. And how we move forward is a choice.

" M]oving" -Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Water and She's Come Undone

" B]rave" -Karen Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life and The History of God

"Although now I have witnessed the worst of mankind, instead of feeling bitter or regretful I have chosen to embrace gratitude. I believe in the power of kindness, the influence of educators and mentors, faith and God, and most of all I believe in humanity. Bad things happen to all of us, things that test us and impact us and change us, but it is not those moments that define us. It is how we choose to react to them that does." --Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis

From the Hardcover edition.

Author Notes

Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis is the founder of the nonprofit Classes 4 Classes, Inc and an inspirational speaker for teachers and organizations across the country. Previously, she was a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Roig-DeBellis contributes to a biweekly educational blog for The Huffington Post and has been honored as a Glamour magazine Woman of the Year and chosen as a "L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth." In 2013, she received two honorary doctorate degrees and the Dedicated Teacher Award from The Chicago International Conference on Education.

From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

When a gunman stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., killing 26 people-including 20 children-in 2012, teacher Roig-Debellis swiftly herded her 15 first-graders into a cramped bathroom, where they sat in quiet terror for 45 minutes until rescue arrived. In this memoir, Roig-Debellis, writing with Fisher, recounts that tragic day. The author shares details of her past as an adopted child raised in a loving middle-class family in a Connecticut town. Early on, she knew her career goal; inspired by her fifth-grade teacher, she vowed to become a "dedicated educator, a counselor, a mentor, and a life guide." Little did she know how literally that wish would manifest (readers are forewarned that they may wish to skip a portion of the "My Darkest Hour" section, though the retelling is handled with great care). Following the tragedy, Roig-Debellis advocates for her students, insisting upon an extended delay in return to school. Eventually classes resume in a different location, but the author's pleas for extra safety measures for her traumatized students are ultimately denied. Not to be deterred from her mission to help others, Roig-Debellis initiates Classes 4 Classes, an online nonprofit that enables kids to help other kids. The memoir not only dramatically conveys how swiftly an "ordinary" life can change, but also probes the depth of the struggle to rise from despair to hope. Agent: Hannah Gordon, Foundry Literary + Media. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A former first-grade teacher's heartfelt account of how she survived both the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and the events that followed it. 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. Each day was a joy: "we just didn't have bad days at Sandy Hook. It was always sunny inside." All that changed on Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunmanwhose name she has since refused to speakcame onto campus and killed 20 children and 6 adults. The minute Roig-DeBellis heard gunshots, she hid 15 students and herself in a tiny class bathroom and prayed. After her rescue she discovered that the gunman had miraculously skipped her classroomwhich was the first in the hallway where the gunman began his spreeand gone into the classrooms next to hers, "shooting everyone he saw." 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. A flawed but still courageous and inspiring book from a genuine hero. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.