We all see the world through the lens of our own past experiences. The more complex and chaotic the world becomes, the more we limit our vision. Now more than ever, we need to cultivate understanding and compassion for our fellowman beings. We must step out of our own tunnels and into the lives and cultures of others. By traveling the roads others have taken, we can begin to get a glimmer of what shapes their lives.
It is my hope that you will travel into the worlds of others through these novels and many other books by wonderful authors.
A young Yankee teacher is swept into the cultural clashes of integration in Mississippi
A Novel based on actual events in the deep South.
Kenda, a naïve teacher journeys to Mississippi on a quest to change the world and escape an abusive fiancé. Arriving in a newly integrated junior high school in 1970, Kenda is greeted with a confederate flag and a “Yankee go home” sign. She quickly learns that even when equality becomes the law, culture prevails. A culture she knows little about. Her challenges go beyond the classroom. Her teacher salary isn’t enough to pay the rent; she moonlights in a hospital lab. Kenda learns the ways of the segregated south through friendships she creates in unlikely places. With the help of these friends, Kenda’s persistence sees her through challenges and even a lawsuit. She makes a difference in the lives of her students, and they change her. Even though magnolias don’t bloom in September, they do blossom in their own season, just as Kenda and the kids in her classes do.
What Readers are saying:
" This story quickly envelops you in the sweet and sticky humidity of life through the eyes of a young “Yankee Girl” whose teaching journey brings new texture to the history of school integration -and life itself- in the Deep South. ‘‘Honey Chil”- grab u a sweet tea; take a load off- and enjoy this great summer read!"
Michelle Ferre Apr. 20, 2019
". . . a remarkable glimpse into a time and part of our country that needs to be told. . . The wonderful way that Miss Kirkenbaum (aka Miz Lady) met her students where they were, and brought them along is the big takeaway for me. In addition to the Educational lessons are some gripping subplots that kept me from putting the book down. As I say - a must read!"
David Driscoll, former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education May 13, 2019
". . . reflects life as a teacher in the South at a turbulent time in American history. [The author] weaves the narrative with authenticity and you can feel the pain and frustration comingling with the courage and dedication of the lead character, Kenda. This is relatable today as a novel that takes you back, with characters who jump off the page."
Josh Brogadir, newscaster and former middle school teacher. Apr 28, 2019
Magnolias Don't Bloom in September is also available at Bookshop, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other bookstores.
Through the years, I've listened to stories of survivors at kitchen tables, my grandmother's, mother-in-law's and two friends'. We talked through tears and a pinch of laughter as they relived the era marked by the rise and fall of Hitler in Europe. Their stories have become the novel, Heroines of the Kitchen Table.
Heroines of the Kitchen Table
Four women defy Hitler, and struggle to save their loved ones
Join Kenda for suspenseful episodes of fright and daring, heart-wrenching separations, and clever tactics. The four heroines, survivors of Hitler's regime, share their stories over kitchen tables. Strange coincidences occur, and one of these brings Kenda to hear the other side of the story on a plane bound for Germany. In Heroines of the Kitchen Table, no one is safe and no one wins in the world where hatred and war prevail.
“A big-hearted book reminding us of what courage looks like. With few survivors and women's stories, we need more books like this.”
“…riveting, a must read.”
“…amazing! It touched my heart in so many ways, and at some moments even brought tears to my eyes.”
“…loved this book…all [the heroines] survived with strengths and cunning they didn't know they owned.”
“Amazing stories told superbly by the author.”
“…accessible to all, a ‘way of opening the past’.”
“…should be required reading for young adults who'd be humbled to see people not only survive, but thrive after life's most painful and horrific times ...loved the ending.”
GYM CLASS KLUTZ
A Smart Kid Struggles and a Tough Teacher Cares
Shy Kenda wants desperately to belong in her new high school. She’s clumsy, a nerd and the size of a twelve year-old. Mary Sue, the only kid she knows in her huge school is one of the bullies--a popular girl who plays every sport like a pro. It’s 1962 and Miss Ditch teaches gym class like boot camp with uncompromising determination to make all her students star athletes. Unexpected things happen when these three personalities collide. Join Kenda, Miss Ditch and Mary Sue on a path laden with obstacles, protectors, perseverance and growth.