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Reinventing Joy

Kathleen Canrinus, a CTA/NEA Retired mem­ber, retired from teaching in 2007 and spent the next 10 years learning to write. The now 77-year-old’s debut memoir, The Lady with the Crown: A Story of Resilience, explores how unforeseen trauma can instantly trans­form a normal happy family into a uniquely wounded one. When Canrinus was 15, her mother barely survived a car accident. Brain damage on top of inevitable mother-daughter friction almost guaranteed an end to a loving connection. Yet as Canrinus married, had children and became her mother’s caregiver and conservator, their bond endured and grew. The book charts not only their resilience and courage but also Canrinus’ indomitable pursuit and reinvention of joy. Themes that high school students could relate to: mother-daughter dynamics, relating to someone with memory deficits, and facing adversity. On Amazon.

Animal Rescue

Nancy Hofrock retired last year after a 36-year teaching career and runs a small rescue group in Southern California. In late 2021 the CTA/NEA-Retired member published Neb­ula’s Great Adventure, based on her work in the animal rescue community over the last three decades. Young readers learn what happens when Animal Control shows up at Neb­ula’s home and tells the owners they have more dogs than the law allows. Her new foster parent helps raise her eight pups and finds the entire family loving forever home

Baseball Is Life

Sharing a name with the greatest home run hitter in baseball seemed to put young Henry Aaron Mitchell on a path toward greatness. And indeed, Ryan Blanck’s 2021 coming-of-age novel Two On Two Out begins with Henry stepping into the batter’s box in his first Major League game, set on giving a performance that people will be talking about for years to come. Blanck, a high school English teacher and Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association member, goes back in time as Henry navigates life in the suburbs of Kansas City — coping with anxiety, confronting bullies and racism, experiencing young love with his high school crush. But Henry never strays far from the baseball diamond; the game he loves car­ries him through all of life’s ups and downs. On Amazon.

Got something for this section — a book, blog, album, video series or podcast? Tell us at editor@cta.org with “Lit From Within” in the subject line. We lean toward new(ish) work that can be used in the classroom.

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