By Sharon Myrick
**Publication Date 14-August-2018**
At first I wasn’t quite sure what to think of School Tales. It came across haltingly, as though it struggled to find a voice. Or perhaps too many voices. It felt like a manual for how to teach high school. But it definitely kept my attention and made me want to get to know the voices better. Specifically those of the students of both Hilltop Academy and Stone Creek High School.
Myrick clearly has her finger on what drives children to succeed, and if I could, I would give anything to have been a student in a school that she ran. Her philosophies about education come through loud and clear. There is something about her belief in teenagers and their ability to behave like adults when expected that makes me wonder if schools haven’t had it wrong all along.
I really found compelling the way that the characters grew through the story. Each character had a story to tell that is probably not unlike most teenagers today. While I will say that these particular kids tended to be model citizens, I do also believe that given more responsibility for their own choices, kids will learn to be better custodians of their futures. The book truly made me think. I wish I had someone like Myrick teaching my own 20-something son when he was a teenager.
This small rural farming/college community in the Appalachian area is one of those places that most people don’t focus on. The kids that grow up in these communities are often only thinking of a way out – because they don’t want to be like their parents. There is a strong sense of community in these places which Myrick does a beautiful job of explaining.
While School Tales does often feel like a manual for success in raising the next generation of free-thinkers, it does get you thinking and feeling and wishing for everyone in the story to achieve the dreams they desire. I became so connected to the characters, that I am wondering where they will end up in ten years. Myrick has a winner with this one.