Nonfiction November

In the book world, the month of November is dedicated to reading and sharing nonfiction books. This month I’ll be sharing some children’s and adult nonfiction books that I think you would like. These books will cover various topics and interests. If you’d like to see previous #NonFicNov posts, click HERE.


By: Teachers, Students, & Parents

Edited by: Larry Smith

Published: October 15, 2021

Publisher: Six-Word Memoirs


With 3 kids at home finishing out the school year of 19/20 and then teaching during 20/21, I remember the struggles, feelings of overwhelm, and disbelief that this is what school had become. But, I also remember resilience, perseverance, and a community of support like I had never felt before.

This is the tenth book in the Six-Word Memoir series and focuses on the parent, student, and teacher perspective told with just 6 words. The six-word story was made popular by Hemingway who was once challenged to write a novel with just six words. He wrote, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Since then, many classrooms have challenged students to write their own six-word stories. In fact, I was just given this assignment in a writing class I took this summer. I had to write both a scary six-word story and a funny one.

Rain, howling wind. House is gone.

No tip. Barista adds vinegar instead.

It was a fun assignment and one that I encourage other teachers to try in their classrooms. In this book, students, teachers, and parents both in the Midwest and on the East and West Coasts were given the challenge to share about the pandemic school year in a six-word memoir. Their perceptions and feelings resonated with me both as a parent and a teacher. Some of them I’m sharing below:

“Numbers rose, but sun did, too. ~ Larry Smith

“Synchronous. Asynchronous. Hybrid. Virtual. Zoom hell. ~Shelly Moran

“Protected kids mental health, neglected mine.” ~ Kelly Croasmun

“Pandemic epiphany: teachers are sorely underpaid.” ~ Mishell DeFelice

“Grace is more important than grades.” ~ Lisa Casillas

There were so many stories that had me laughing and crying. A music teacher who longed to share music with kids and was used to passing instruments and letting kids try making music was suddenly teaching kids over zoom which isn’t ideal for collective singing and playing music. Even once they had returned to in-person they were still forbidden to sing or even pass instruments. Instead, she turned to history and teaching kids about music greats, listening to their music, and allowing kids to study their favorite musicians. I laughed out loud with the teacher who works in a behavior classroom and found that masks not only kept her from getting COVID but also kept her from smelling her students’ farts.

From March 2020 to the present day, schools administrators, teachers, parents, and students have traveled through new experiences no one ever expected. Did some good things come out of this experience? Sure. We have learned new ways and maybe even better ways to teach and communicate with students through different sources of technology. Did we also suffer greatly? Yes. I still see ramifications of the pandemic in both elementary and high school classrooms that students may never overcome. Did we all make mistakes? Of course. But, we also learned so much from each other, and in reading this book, I learned that kids are smarter than we realize, more perceptive, and yet are quite adaptable. They learn from us and we learn from them.

If you have a teacher in your life, I recommend sharing this book with them. Let them know you appreciated all their efforts during the pandemic and maybe they will be encouraged to share their experiences and feelings in a six-word memoir. If you know of a classroom that might like to try writing their own six-word memoirs, but sure to check out the website, to get their own classroom kit.

Six-Word Memoirs® is a simple way to engage and inspire anyone and everyone to get to the essence of who they are and what matters most. For more information, check out their website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE NO GOOD YEAR, click the photo below:

Other posts you might like:

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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  1. Katie @ Doing Dewey on November 4, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    What a fascinating idea for a book! Like books that collect vignettes on interesting women in history, I suspect I’d enjoy this and it would have a lot of breadth, but I wonder if it would be missing some depth and leave me wanting more as well.

    • Stacie on November 14, 2021 at 9:25 pm

      It is minimal in that sense, yes. There are a few bigger summaries, but mostly just the 6-word stories. But, sometimes less is more. Some of those 6 words are quite profound!

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