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Among Silent Echoes reviewed by Melissa Paolozza (she/her), teacher, Sechelt

For today’s trauma-informed and social justice educators, BC teacher Phyllis Dyson’s new memoir, Among Silent Echoes, is a powerful read. Dyson bares her soul in this engaging story of mental illness, resilience, and survival. She offers a unique insight into a child’s perspective of living with a parent suffering from a psychotic disorder. The story is both heartbreaking and joyful. Dyson captures her child-voice vividly as she recalls many happy memories, as well as devastating experiences that no child should have to endure. She recounts with distressing clarity her thoughts, fears, struggles and insecurities, while living both with her birth mother and in the BC foster care system. Her memories offer a window into how powerless and alone a child can feel. She captures the fears and challenges that so many of today’s students are currently experiencing. 

Among Silent Echoes highlights the power of connection that we have as educators. One trusted adult can provide stability and encourage a child’s passions; in Dyson’s case this passion was music. Dyson was fortunate to have friends and community members who provided the connections she needed to not only survive her ordeal, but to carry on and lead a fulfilling life in which she gives back to the community. This inspiring story of resilience emphasizes the importance that educators have in ensuring that all children have a place where they feel safe, valued, and important. It also provides a com-passionate and empathetic view of parents who are struggling with mental illness. These parents need educators’ understanding and support, rather than judgment. 

Dyson’s story is an important read that highlights mental health and family preservation issues that continue to need more attention and compassion in today’s society.

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