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Beacon Books to Turn to During the Coronavirus Quarantine

Beacon Authors Honor Their Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week


And then COVID-19 shut the classroom doors. Nationwide, many schools are closed for the rest of the academic school year for in-person classes. Who knows what the new reality of education will look like when the pandemic is behind us? As teaching has moved online and as parents have taken up the role of at-home educators for little ones, one thing awaits at the end of quarantine: our appreciation for all educators who help guide the new generation to their futures. This Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked some of our authors to tell us about the teachers who made a difference in their lives. Here’s what they had to say.



M.V. Lee Badgett

“A high school English teacher, Mrs. Fryzel, was the one who got me to think that I could be a writer. As she walked me through a very imperfect essay I’d written, she paused at one sentence. Looking me in the eye, she told me that someone who could write that sentence should think about being a journalist. It’s not the career I ended up with, but I am definitely a writer.”
—M. V. Lee Badgett, The Economic Case for LGBT Equality: Why Fair and Equal Treatment Benefits Us All 


Naomi McDougall Jones

“The great teacher of my life was an acting teacher, Tracy Trevett, that I had at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She was the very best kind of instructor. I’d watch her, and as each student got up to perform in class, she would completely modulate her teaching style and feedback to fit exactly what she could see that student needed—be it tough, coddling, pushing, inspirational, etc. She had a nearly preternatural ability to see right through to the core of people. I think she was the first person who ever really saw me for all of who I am.”
—Naomi McDougall Jones, The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood


Zach Norris

“One teacher who I am especially appreciative of is Mr. Lawrence Puck. He consistently engaged us to think differently, as he would have us breakdown movies that were popular at the time. He is tremendously funny and insightful. He encouraged me to run for student body president and apply to colleges I would not have dreamed of attending. I am thankful for the paths that I might not have seen without his wit, insight, guidance, and belief in me as a student.”
—Zach Norris, We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities


Danielle Ofri

“In the very beginning of first grade, my teacher firmly taught us to write the following four words: ‘Written and Illustrated by.’ Ms. Zive conveyed to us, right from the start, to take ownership of our writing. I’ve never forgotten that lesson, and after I published my first book, I embarked on a years-long odyssey to track down Ms. Zive. Even if we can’t all find our early teachers, we owe them a collective debt, because they set us down the pathway that defined our lives.”
—Danielle Ofri, When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error


Ian Zack

“In eleventh grade, books lit a fire in my beleaguered belly. Words became, suddenly, as thrilling as roller coasters, as palpable as flesh, as infinite as space-time. Thank you, Mr. Macekura, for Joyce, and Eliot, and Pound, and for standing up from your too tiny desk to deliver your mustachioed, bespectacled incantation: ‘Isn’t that cool?’ It was. And here I am.”
—Ian Zack, Odetta: A Life in Music and Protest