Students’ book aims to soothe souls

Aurora, Newtown shootings inspire Parker children’s project

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In the wake of the July 2012 Aurora theater and December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary mass shootings, students at Parker’s Challenge to Excellence Charter School experienced a wave of emotions.

“We were all just really depressed,” said seventh-grader Ayla Blanton. “Then we were angry because we couldn’t believe somebody would do such a horrible thing, that they would destroy so many lives.”

The then-sixth-grade students channeled those feelings into something tangible, the creation of a book filled with positive messages. “Colorado: A New Perspective” includes messages of hope, photographs and drawings from the members of Glenn Thompson’s 2012-13 sixth grade class. The 71-page book includes links and suggestions for inspirational and upbeat videos, movies, books and songs.

“We were trying to counteract those horrible acts by choosing to do something and be positive,” Thompson said. “We’re very happy with the finished product, and also with the idea our thoughts and actions could hopefully give some specific help to people that need it.”

Parent Tracey Ramirez suggested the idea of a project after the Aurora theater shootings. The Newtown tragedy reaffirmed the need for such a book.

“We felt really bad for the people involved in those incidents,” student Kenna True said. “We just wanted to make them happy. We were trying to help make it better.”

The book’s intended reach goes far beyond the two communities.

“We also wrote the book for anybody that was down, to let them know they’re loved,” True said.

“To put a smile on the face of anybody going through a hard time,” added student Aasal Rae.

“We tried to let them know they can be happy again,” Blanton said.

The ultimate goal is to send copies of the book to the families of victims in both Aurora and Newtown, Conn. The hoped-for money to cover the costs of publication and send the books will come from book sales.

“Colorado: A New Perspective” is a print-on-demand publication, which means it is not carried in stores but is printed upon order and mailed directly to the customer. It is available for about $15 plus shipping through Bookcrafters.net and Barnes and Noble.