On Feb. 14, 2018, a 19-year-old former student returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where he killed 17 children and faculty members in a six-minute assault. The attack sparked a wave of student activism across the U.S., with children demonstrating for swift action on gun violence in the country. Now, Parkland students are saying #NeverAgain in a new book of first-person accounts of the tragedy, out this fall from Crown Books for Young Readers.
Edited by Melissa Falkowski and Eric Garner, who teach journalism and broadcasting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting from the School That Inspired a Nation compiles "first-person accounts, richly researched and reported articles, and photographs by and about the students" who were affected by the tragedy, according to a press release. The book contains contributions from Parkland student activists Ryan Deitsch, David Hogg, Christy Ma, Nikhita Nikoola, and Delaney Tarr, and from Marjory Stoneman Douglas' student-run school newspaper and TV station. Falkowski says she hopes We Say #NeverAgain "will inspire others to take up issues that are important to them and work toward positive change."
We Say #NeverAgain is the latest entry in a long list of youth-activism-driven titles slated for release in the midterm election season. The Parkland survivors' book will release on the same day as Start Now!, Chelsea Clinton's activism guide for young readers. Those two books will be followed a few weeks later by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-N.Y.) children's book, Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, which hits store shelves on Nov. 13.
In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, student activism surged across the country. On Mar. 14, students walked out of their schools for 17 minutes to memorialize the victims of the Florida tragedy and to protest against U.S. legislators' lack of action on gun control. The National School Walkout followed on Apr. 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. The need for this kind of activism — and for a positive response from legislators — feels particularly pressing when one considers that, since the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School, the U.S. students killed in school shootings outnumber U.S. soldiers killed in combat zones.
This is not the first book Marjory Stoneman Douglas students have published about the shooting. Hogg, one of the more visible Parkland activists, has his own book coming June 5 from Random House. Written by David Hogg and his younger sister Lauren, #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line "is a manifesto for the movement begun that day, one that has already changed America — with voices of a new generation that are speaking truth to power, and are determined to succeed where their elders have failed," according to publisher's copy.
We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting from the School That Inspired a Nation will be available from Random House imprint Crown Books for Young Readers on Oct. 2.