This Business of Children

"…because the story that claws at my brain and keeps me awake nights has to be told."

~Vera Harriss

Vera Harriss, Deidre Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are elementary school teachers in the fictional town of Blevins, Maine whose secret, private lives change dramatically as you read.

Vera, who is about to retire, vents her anger during a Board of Education meeting with a speech that brings the audience to its feet. Why does Deidre, an exceptional teacher, leave the job she loves to become a corporate trainer down South? Then there is Mark, the perennial job hunter looking for a corporate position with more prestige and pay but then turns down the perfect offer when it finally comes through. Stu, one of the most popular teachers in the school, struggles with a deep, dark secret that he can only share with Deidre. What causes Stu’s untimely death?

Vera Harriss, Dee Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are eager to share their intriguing secrets and entangled lives with you.

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Click for a Video Synopsis: This Business of Children by Trailer to the Stars

Guest blogger: From the TBR Pile: Chloe JonPaul


Chels ★★★★ A Great Novel ~July 26, 2011 The first quality the reader will notice about this novel is the characters. It is extremely easy to connect with them. The reader may not necessarily agree with their decisions and/or actions one hundred percent, but the reader and the characters will come to some sort of friendship. The novel is very interesting, covering a wide array of topics differing from character to character. The novel is a quick read, the reader won't be listlessly turning pages. The reader will enjoy finding that one character out of a few, he/she really likes and reading about him/her. Just about every main character has some redeeming quality. The reader will enjoy finding the different nuances of each one. This book is great for adults who enjoy novels concerning friendship, trial and tribulations, prejudice, etc..

Wendy E. Thomas ★★★★★ Wonderfully written, a real gem ~August 3, 2011 Chloe JonPaul has pulled together an amazing cast of characters throughout the pages of "This Business of Children." The narrator of the story; Vera, is wildly likable as she tries to weather the storms of what she had thought would be an easy last year. Instead she discovers that life is ever changing and you either have the choice of continually adapting or face the very real prospect of being left behind. JonPaul, a retired fourth grade teacher herself, fills the book with inside information on the work that goes on behind the books and lessons in a school setting. With compassion she shows us how teachers struggle to keep doing their job under circumstances of deprivation, lack of appreciation, and where there is always a never-ending line of needy students coming through the doors. You teach for the love of teaching, but sometimes not even that is enough to get you through the day. "This Business of Children" is the well written, intriguing story of people trying to do the right thing under adverse conditions and it will draw you in from the very first page. You'll sit and read until the book is finished simply awed at what teachers have to face both in and out of the classroom on a daily basis.

Clarinda ★★★★★ A dual tribute ~July 25, 2011 This is a tribute to author Chloe JonPaul for superb novel which I also regard as a fitting tribute to my parents, who provided the oddly spelled last name of Vera Harriss, and to my mother, who was fortunate enough to know Chloe when she was a young high school student. I know Margery Harriss would love this book…Oh--and by the way--this book's magic extends to non-teachers, too. How about everybody who ever went to school in the US?...

Weezielou ★★★★★ Complexities in the Lives of Teachers ~August 1, 2011 During my retirement year, I experienced the identical reminiscent feelings as Vera did in the classroom, the bittersweet ending to a huge chunk of my life; the joy of having completed my last batch of report cards,the reminiscent look backs, the warmth of the students' tightly-squeezed hugs as they said their good-byes, and the farewells from the additional human beings that would be missed. As a recently published author of A+ Teaching -180 Ways to Enhance Your Success as a Teacher, I appreciate the time, thought, and detail included in Chloe's book, This Business of Children. She took me on a journey through 34 years as a classroom teacher, and I treasure the experience! Thank you, Chloe!

Jennifer Chatham ★★★★ An interesting read about the US school system and the red tape that hinders it! ~August 3, 2011 This Business Of Children is a fictional account of a group of teachers trying to stand up to the system. Vera has arrived in her last year of teaching with few upsets and confrontations. She has been a good teacher over the years and has mixed emotions about her upcoming retirement. She expects the year will be pretty much the same as it has always been, catering to the school board system and their miles of red tape. After meeting Dee, and watching as she stands up for the school and the children, Vera comes to realize that taking the safe approach isn't always the best way. Dee is a new teacher recently hired by the Blevins District School Board to bring her inner-city style of teaching to the students who are often truant, pregnant or many of the other misaligned societal standards of today's youth. She doesn't appreciate the way that Blevins runs its schools and makes a stand and brings attention to the bureaucracy of the school superintendents. Mark, another teacher, is stuck in a loveless marriage and doing a job he believes he loathes. He is always scouring the newspapers in hopes of a better future. Dee and Mark become entwined in affairs of the heart and Mark begins to see his future in a different light. Stu is the type of teacher that students giggle about. He is a closet homosexual who becomes distraught when those he loves most die. After his lover dies of AIDS, Stu must brave the accusations and be tested as per the government's instructions. He befriends Dee who is open to his plight and together they brave the decisions that will change everyone's lives forever! Together these four share their lives, each fighting the odds, and work to bring a solution to the growing concern about their countries educational system. I thought each of the characters found within the pages was believable and enjoyable to read. They all worked together to bring a cohesive front to the plot and each of their tales was relative to the story. I really enjoyed reading the character of Dee, she is very ballsy and most definitely has moxey! She brought a life to the story that may have otherwise suffered. The red tape of the school bureaucracy really made me livid. It is no wonder that children behave as they do when time and again they see very few fighting for their worth. Another reason why I enjoyed Dee so much, she genuinely cared about those around her, even when she was unsure of herself. You couldn't help but feel for teachers and the true nature of the forces they have to work and survive in. Teachers and education should be the backbone of everyone and everything, for it is from learning we all survive, and when the educational system is attacked and unattended, the children are the ones who suffer. It was not long ago that only the rich and the theologians were given the opportunity to learn, something many have forgotten in the past fifty years. This is a book that will grip you and allow you to realize that something is definitely wrong with the educational system of today and the red tape involved is mind boggling. It will make you wonder where we have gone wrong and give you a reverence for teaching and the teachers who take the time to ensure we learn.

Chloe Jon Paul