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Reviewed by Allison Marks for Readers' Favorite
The Schoolhouse by Jill Watson Glassco is a collection of seven short stories about her grandmother Elsie Thomas Brazelle’s real life experiences as a first-time teacher in a one-room, eight-grade schoolhouse. In 1916, on Whitwell Mountain in a remote part of eastern Tennessee, Elsie faces many challenges with courage and grace. During the five-month school term, she deals with a hound dog chasing hens around the classroom, boys fighting during lunch, an “unbalanced boy” disrupting lessons, a bewitched woman wielding a butcher knife and a wooden club, and even a forest fire that threatens to burn down the school. With each test, Elsie calls on God’s help to find the best solution. By the end of the school year, Elsie’s faith in herself has grown and strengthened, as well as her faith in and love of God.
Glassco intersperses the text with verses taken from the New American Standard Bible. At the end of each story are work pages that assist the reader to reflect upon and expand further their personal understanding of the themes covered: realizing one’s dreams, overcoming fears, conquering the pitfalls of pride, treating others who are different with love, facing troubles head-on, working with others to achieve a common goal, and fully grasping the meaning of finishing life strong. The full-color illustrations capture the untouched nature of both the picturesque landscape and the people who live within it. The Schoolhouse is a well-written book filled with lessons for readers of any age to learn, to embrace, and to realize in their own lives.