"A teenager left to care for his family. One who found his faith, and another who watched his father relapse into addiction. They are the firsthand accounts of a group of New Jersey high school students living during the pandemic, brought together in one powerful memoir," CNN reports. Shawn Adler, an English teacher at Cliffside Park High School, wanted to document what his students were going through. Stories are not only a medium for self-expression but also a space to ground the writer in the truth of their experience. "I was devastated to know that they were going through this, and many of them are going through this feeling alone," Adler, a former journalist, said. "You know, your first reaction as a teacher is always, 'What can I do? How can I help?'" His students were on board with the idea -- and the result so far is two volumes of these teens' stories. "I was feeling helpless," said 16-year-old Julianna Baldwin, one of the contributors. "By me writing this book, it was giving me the potential to help even one person by sharing my story. And that filled me with the strength to keep going every day."

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