A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line is a slim, small-format nonfiction book written by David Hogg, 17, and his sister, Lauren Hogg, 14, survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 2018. It is both a memoir of their experiences before, during, and after the shooting and a call for other young people to stand up, become socially active, and urge politicians to take action to stop gun violence. Their gripping, alternating accounts of what happened on that day include mentions of blood and seeing teachers and students dead on the floor. There's infrequent strong language ("hell," "ass," "badass," "s--t," as in "get your 's--t' together," "s--tty," "pissed off"; David recalls getting in the car after the shooting, overcome, and repeatedly yelling "f--k"). The Hogg family will donate proceeds from the book to charity and local community organizations. Publisher Random House will also donate some proceeds in the Hoggs' name to the American nonprofit organization Everytown for Gun Safety.
What's the story?
#NEVERAGAIN: A NEW GENERATION DRAWS THE LINE begins with siblings David and Lauren Hogg giving separate accounts of the Valentine's Day 2018 shooting at their Florida high school that left 17 people dead, 14 of them students. These gripping, heartbreaking accounts portray terrified students huddled in classrooms, holding hands with friends or strangers as they feared for their lives and texted with friends and family members to get or give information. The book then gives backstories of what David and Lauren's lives were like before the shooting -- growing up in California, adjusting to a new school in Florida, getting involved in debate club and a TV production class, and in David's case, growing from a low-achieving, dyslexic student to a star in AP classes and student journalism, engaged and politically aware. He becomes politically active after his comments in interviews following the shooting thrust him into the media spotlight. Lauren joins the #NeverAgain movement with him, and together they continue in efforts to stop gun violence.
Is it any good?
This compelling memoir and manifesto shows how teens responded to a tragedy in their community by standing up and demanding that adults in power do something to prevent it from happening again. The usual "thoughts and prayers" from politicians was not enough for them -- they demanded action. #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line is written in authentic, articulate teen voices, which should be particularly effective in reaching young readers. David writes that "we hope that seeing things through our eyes will give you ideas of your own. Because none of us can do this alone and we need you, basically."
David is self-deprecating and admits to sometimes being "a jerk" in middle school but also shows how finally connecting with caring teachers helped him grow up, become engaged and self-disciplined, and do well in high school. He explains that his eventual activism was grounded in all he'd learned about American history, government, politics, journalism, media, and even the gun control issue in his classes and on the debate team. Lauren shares the depths of her grief -- she lost two close friends in the shooting -- and how her commitment to working for change grew. David and Lauren's loving, supportive relationship and their warm, respectful relationship with their parents (their mom, an elementary school teacher and their dad, an FBI agent) is also an inspiring model.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the issue of gun violence is presented in #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line. How does learning about the teen authors' personal experiences affect how you view the issue? Does it help make the issue real for you?
Why do you think people sent false texts about David and his fellow students being paid actors after they spoke up after the shooting?
What could you do to make your community and/or your country a better place? What issues are most important to you? How can kids and teens make a difference?
- Authors: David Hogg, Lauren Hogg
- Genre: Biography
- Topics: Activism, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publication date: June 19, 2018
- Number of pages: 165
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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