Bolingbrook teacher shares knowledge of Holocaust outside the classroom with published book
Thanks to Brooks Middle School teacher Art Barnett, hundreds of Valley View School District 365U middle school students have learned about the Holocaust.
But now, with the publication of his first novel — a historical fiction piece titled “The Coin: A Story of the Holocaust” — many more youths and adults alike will learn about the Holocaust through the eyes of Barnett’s German soldier character who struggles with the moral dilemma of following orders he doesn’t believe in.
“I’ve always written short stories and poems on the side because I love literature,” said Barnett who teaches seventh grade honors language arts at Brooks Middle School this year after teaching eighth graders and high schoolers for quite a few years. “My book was a story I had lying around for years. But the more I studied the Holocaust, the more I realized that the story I initially wrote was true to life. It’s about a struggle that any human being would have had during that period of time.”
Once Barnett made up his mind to publish the book — and admittedly several rejections later — Outskirts Press of Denver, Col. agreed to print and distribute the 177-page paperback. It hit Amazon, Barnes & Noble and several other booksellers in late September for $10.95.
“I don’t feel any different now that it’s been published, although it is off my bucket list,” Barnett said, adding he has already started a second novel about middle school kids. “If I did it once, I can do it again.”
Barnett says his students look at him a bit differently now that he is a published author.
“I can pull out a book and say ‘you can do this, kids. It’s going to take time but if you put forth the effort, you can do it.’ Students are already asking me to read some things of theirs for possible publishing,” he said.
As for advice for aspiring young writers, Barnett says, “Don’t stop writing. Whatever you’re interested in, write about that.”
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