Thursday, December 20, 2012

Let Their Names Live On

Fifteen of the twenty children killed: (Top row from left) Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Green. (Middle row from left) Dylan Hockley, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli. (Bottom row from left) Grace McDonnell, Emilie Parker, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos

We were all shocked and saddened by the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last week. Yes, I was taking a blogging break, but this is simply too important. It's been nearly a week, and it's still hard to comprehend this atrocity.

I'm not going to get into a discussion here of the many issues involved but I'm sure we can all agree that this massacre was a tipping point for a lot of Americans.  I've decided that I will refuse to utter the name of the shooter and instead choose to learn and remember the names of the victims at the school:

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James  Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonell, 7
Emilie Parker, 6
  Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6 

Rachel Davino, 29, Teacher
Dawn Hochsprung, 47, School Principal
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, Teacher
Lauren Rousseau, 30, Teacher
Mary Sherlach, 56, School psychologist
Victoria Soto, 27, Teacher

What can we do that's positive?  Shelley Moore Thomas, a teacher as well as a writer, suggests doing good.  Ann Curry started #26acts of Kindness to honor the victims.  Many groups are collecting funds, but the best suggestion I've seen so far was in an article by Judith Rosen in PW's Children's Bookshelf this week. We're all book lovers here. Donating books to preserve the memories of the children (and teachers) who died is one of the most positive things you can do right now. Let their names live on! You could donate to Newtown, CT schools or to your own local schools or libraries. I plan to donate some picture books to my local library and elementary school in memory of the children.


  1. There are no words for this tragedy. Thanks for sharing positive things we can do.

    1. There is such an outpouring of grief and love around the world right now because of this tragedy. So something positive has already come out of it.

  2. So many of our writing buddies are teachers. I taught for 17 years. I can't imagine the pain the Newtown community is going through.

    1. I can't either, Sharon. I worked in two different school libraries, and of course I'm a mom too, and I still can't get stop thinking about these children.

  3. Great ideas for ways to remember those poor children. I can't imagine how hard this Christmas will be for their families. And for the families of the faculty as well.

    1. Oh yes, Jennifer. Exactly. It's horrible anytime, but it seems even worse just before Christmas.

  4. What a beautiful post about this terrible tragedy. I like the idea of donating books in memory of the children and teachers who lost their lives. It is important to spread kindness to each other and to remember the victims.

  5. Hi Joanne! Ugh my belly knots every time I see their beautiful pictures. Donating books in their memory is a lovely gesture. a couple of friends of mine took teacher nominations on their facebook page and they picked 26 teachers around the US and will send flowers to them in memory of those who lost their lives that day.
    I think it's safe to say that many of us have been affected deeply by this tragedy, and will never be the same. As a parent of both a 6 and 7 year old, there hasn't been a day that's gone by since that I haven't felt for the grieving parents who lost their babies.

    On a lighter note, nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by my blog!

    1. Nice to meet you too, PK. And I know you're hugging your kids as much as I'm hugging mine (who are a good bit older than 6 and 7, but still need hugging!). I thought a great deal about those grieving families in CT on Christmas Day.

  6. thank you for this post, joanne. it's been impossible to process the horror of what happened. putting something positive into the world is a beautiful idea.

    1. Hi Gina. It's great that so many people are doing positive things because of this, whether it's 26 acts of kindness, or making snowflakes for the Sandy Hook survivors to come back to in January, or donating in some way. Everything helps.

  7. A lovely post Joanne about a stomach-turning topic. Even though we're only about 20 minutes away we didn't personally know anyone who died. Still it has been a sad few weeks. It has also been frightening dropping the kids off at school every day. I can't fathom what those families are feeling... but I'm glad so many people are working so hard to turn something horrible into something positive.

    1. Hi Kat. It must have been frightening for you, with children that age, and living so close too.

      I think trying to do something positive is the only way to deal with something this horrible.

  8. So sad. Donating books is a great idea, Joanne. Thanks for this post. I wish there was a way to withhold attention from the people who do things like this.

    1. Precisely, Myrna. And let's hope it never happens again.


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