In Alumni in Action, Books

Illusions of More: A Story out of Shadow by Janiece Anjali

“One can easily miss archetypal events.”
—Mare von Franz

Today, pending legislation in many states is designed to pressure public-school teachers to don a dehumanizing still-face and maintain a rigid silence in the inevitable moments social justice concerns crop up in the classroom.  Is there any leverage left to intervene in this mandated imposition of trauma?

Psychotherapist and Pacifica Alum, Janiece Anjali, M.Ed., M.A. offers us Illusions of More: A Story out of Shadow.    

In this depth-oriented, psychological novel, American public-school teachers are overwhelmed and under-resourced. In the small town of Purewater, ELL teacher, Sienna O’Mara, is the only person available to give nine-year-old Pilar the attention and the compassion an orphaned refugee needs. In Sienna’s class, dubbed the Writers’ Lair, Pilar is haunted by traumatic loss. A mispronunciation sends Sienna to a local Saturday swap meet. Marigolds, sugar skulls, and a gift from an enigmatic art dealer on El Dia de Los Muertos induct her into a sacred mystery. As mandated textbooks, standardization, and shadowy objectives stalk the teachers and children at Moore Elementary School, a voice no one expected to arise in the United States emerges. Revealing what is erased before it can be written, this shattering, heartwarming, and redemptive novel lets readers peek behind the illusions of more to remember how much lives and dies in a child’s and a teacher’s story.

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