In A Silent Way: A Novel by Mary Jo HetzelIn A Silent Way: A Novel by Mary Jo Hetzel

In A Silent Way: A Novel

byMary Jo Hetzel

Paperback | October 18, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 113 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Not available in stores


In a Silent Waychronicles the coming of age in the late sixties of young Jeanna Kendall as she quietly facilitates a close-knit community of learners in a progressive urban school, grapples with racism and sexism within her community activist group, and experiences the extreme highs and lows of her first intimate relationship-which happens to be with a revered and powerful community leader. Jeanna encounters all the same issues we confront today: youth of color demeaned and destroyed, wise community elders discounted by leaders who "know better," and the "sexploitation" of women in the movement. Gradually overwhelmed by the mounting challenges she faces on all fronts, and on the verge of a breakdown, a crisis emerges within her movement group that transforms everything and everyone and opens up a new world of possibilities-ones deeply relevant to us today.
In a Silent Way: A Young Teacher Activist in Urban Americaemerged out of Mary Jo Hetzel's experience teaching in one of the first alternative high schools in the late 1960's and from her life long involvement in grassroots social movements for racial, economic and sexual justice. She was the founding director of the Boston Campus of Sp...
Title:In A Silent Way: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:October 18, 2016Publisher:She Writes PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1631521357

ISBN - 13:9781631521355


Editorial Reviews

2016 Best Book Awards: Fiction: Multicultural Finalist"In a Silent Way offers a moving portrayal of a committed, young teacher-activist, Jeanna, who is determined to effect change in her urban school and community. Jeanna's culturally relevant and inclusive pedagogy, and her determination to never give up on her students, ultimately wins their respect and admiration. All the while, Hetzel makes sure to shine a much needed light on undemocratic practices and unequal gendered power dynamics in social and racial justice movements." -Jonathan Kozol, education activist and award-winning author of Death at an Early Age and Savage Inequalities: Children in American Schools"In A Silent Way is a deeply personal historical novel of importance, because it reveals what happens when the convergence of race, gender, and class struggles intersect inside people's lives and communities. Mary Jo Hetzel has written an unconventional coming of age story of a young white woman swept up into the political whirlwind of urban America in the late sixties. A must-read for those who want to know the roots of today's #BlackLivesMatter Movement, as well as the contemporary offshoots of the Occupy Walls Street Movement."-Sam E. Anderson, co-editor of The Black Activist Journal, writer, and education activist"In a Silent Way captures the racial, class, and leadership issues of the 1960s that continue today as they play out in an alternative school and multi-racial movement group. The main character of the teacher is are well developed, and her students' quandaries, anger, fear, despair, then hope and action ring true. Leading by listening, in the classroom and the movement, emerges as an essential touchstone. In the novel, as I've learned in my own work, students can and do lead, often seeing more clearly and less encumbered by ego than adults." -Monty Neill, Executive Director of FairTest"Much as her main character does with her students, author Mary Jo Hetzel grabs hold of your heart and mind in this compelling, beautifully written, and breathtakingly honest story of an idealistic young teacher's struggle to connect and work for a better world. In a Silent Way will resonate powerfully with teachers, students, parents, and anyone involved or interested in today's struggles for educational, social and racial justice." -Lisa Guisbond, Executive Director of Citizens for Public Education"As I read In a Silent Way, I was filled with hope and empathy for the main character, a young teacher named Jeanna. Self-empowerment is learned, not taught, and once learned, it is the greatest gift of all. I wish we could assign this book to all teachers in urban communities, so that the conversations that need to take place toward quality education can happen with clearer understanding. This will be our parent group's first read."-Malikka Williams, black parent and organizer in Dorchester, MA"Teacher Jeanna's willingness and courage to confront the social, racial, and political realities of urban life, and to give her students the powerful literacy tools needed to achieve social, economic, and educational justice, is nothing less than astounding. On the other hand, her tortuous coming-of-age journey through a world riddled with traps and snares, and her suffocating silence, evoke the reader's empathy and rage. In a Silent Way is a must-read for all educators of urban students." -Junia Yearwood, BPS English teacher of 32 years and literacy empowerment facilitator"At its core, In a Silent Way is about a young teacher, Jeanna, unleashing the brilliance and unique talents of her students while seeking to remain true to herself within a fractured grassroots social justice group. By sharing character Jeanna's educational practice, Mary Jo Hetzel offers compelling guidance to all those interested in creating an urban educational system that promotes the aspirations of youth, teacher, parents, and community. -Ellen Hewett, Director of the National College Transition Network at World Education "This riveting, engaging journey of a young, white, activist educator in the late 60s unfolds unlike any other story previously told. This young woman chooses to join in the struggle for Civil Rights, while allowing her students to utilize their passions to change the course of their lives in an urban alternative high school. The reader is drawn in as the story unfolds, and taken along unanticipated pathways where the incidents and learnings that occur are completely applicable to this day. Since learning from our history may prevent future missteps, this powerful novel is a must-read."-Karla Nicholson, Executive Director, Haymarket People's Fund"A fascinating and compelling story showing how the choices we make shape the world in which we live."-Chuck Turner, Boston Community Organizer/Activist"Mary Jo Hetzel is an activist and humanist of the first order. Her weaving of students' projects into exciting presentations shows how students can soar when a teacher believes in them. I hope this novel will help people see the need for change in our 'change' organizations and our schools." -Sandra McIntosh, Chair of The Coalition for Equal, Quality Education and former Parent Coordinator at English High School"In a Silent Way is a riveting debut novel that starts with what appears to be a familiar trope-the idealistic, young, white teacher who takes on a classroom of inner city kids-and turns it on its head. However, this gripping, nuanced portrait set in 1969 also reflects a difficult reality for women in progressive movements, one that is often glossed over." --Lisa Borders, author of The Fifty-First State and Cloud Cuckoo Land