Illusions of More: A Story out of Shadow

In this depth-oriented, psychological novel, American public school teachers are overwhelmed and under-resourced. In the small town of Purewater, ELL teacher, Sienna O’Mara, is the only person available to give nine-year-old Pilar the attention and the compassion an orphaned refugee needs. In Sienna’s class, dubbed the Writers’ Lair, Pilar is haunted by traumatic loss. A mispronunciation sends Sienna to a local Saturday swap meet. Marigolds, sugar skulls, and a gift from an enigmatic art dealer on El Dia de Los Muertos induct her into a sacred mystery. As mandated text books, standardization, and shadowy objectives stalk the teachers and children at Moore Elementary School, a voice no one expected to arise in the United States emerges. Revealing what is erased before it can be written, this shattering, heartwarming, and redemptive novel lets readers peek behind the illusions of more to remember how much lives and dies in a child’s and a teacher’s story.

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“Only a few pages into ILLUSIONS OF MORE, we realize we are in the hands of a master storyteller. Ms. Anjali populates her novel with characters we love, balancing the mechanized madness of public school teaching with a multicultural world where the imagination of the children meets the passion and caring of their teacher. Such is the gift of Ms. Anjali’s writing that she speaks with the authentic voice of one who has lived what she portrays, her fiction distilling a cruel and beautiful reality into its essence. We are moved, enriched, and grateful.” Elizabeth Clark-Stern

Thank you to the journalists and the educators who are bringing vital information into consciousness.

NPR: Teachers Could Face Penalties for Lessons on Race, Gender, and Politics
NPR: Teachers are Drowning
NPR: Teachers Are Asking for Mental Health Resources
NPR: Teachers Need to Be Nurtured too