Thursday, November 18, 2010

Introducing the Columbine Student Guide

The Columbine Student Guide is now complete. It's online and free. (The Columbine Teacher's Guide and Columbine Online are in beta, coming soon.)

The idea came this spring, over weeks touring colleges and high schools, meeting thousands of students who had embraced the book. You guys really invigorated me.

Most of you were reading Columbine on your own, out of curiosity and enjoyment.* But a lot of you liked the idea of using the time you'd put in for school, too. And the best papers comes once a subject grabs hold of your imagination. 

I get similar requests as I skype with schools this fall, and emails come nearly every day from students trying to define a paper topic, or looking to jump-start your research. So only six months later (haha) . . .

The Columbine Student Guide. It includes sections to help you:
  • Choose a topic. Extensive ideas for student papers, projects and class presentations.
  • Research. Everything imaginable about the case gathered into one site, organized into categories for easy navigation: Journals, Killers, Attack, Victims, Depression, Evidence, Etc.
  • Explore topics in-depth. Major topics include teen depression, PTSD, survivors and overcoming adversity.
  • Resources. FAQ, author biography, book summary, bibliography, reviews, videos by Dave for students, next reads and more.
  • Skype opportunities. Instructions on how to arrange a skype with me and your class. 
It took awhile to compile all this stuff and then pare it back down into a simple format, but hopefully it will help. Thanks for all the input and encouragement. Let me know what you think.

Much of the material does double-duty in the upcoming Columbine Instructor/Teacher's Guide, but we've organized it differently so that each of you can get what you want quickly.

Please help spread the word to other students—and teachers and profs. Links on your facebook page, blog, discussion boards, etc., are invaluable. Help another student out. And help others discover the book. Thanks.


* A note on "enjoyment." I hear so many people berate themselves for starting to use words like "enjoy" to describe their experience reading Columbine. Please never apologize for enjoying a book. You are supposed to. It doesn't mean you enjoyed the tragedy, or feel good about it in any way.

Books are meant to absorb, transport and enlighten us, and all of those make us happier people. So forget the guilt and use any word that describes your authentic experience. That's what I think.

The Columbine Intro Video is also a great way to gauge your own interest, or to share with friends, teachers and classmates:


  1. I read the book Columbine and have been a different parent as a result. I think I pay more attention than I might have before reading the book. Sometimes it is the small things that we push aside that are really signals to us that something else could be going on. I still am sad to think of all of the opportunities that were missed to put the pieces together and realize that these boys were on a destructive path. I can't also help but think that if they were inner city kids they might have ended up in a different place and program than the one that let them off pretty easy for breaking into that van and that race and affluence played a part here?

  2. Mensajes, I'm so glad to hear it's useful for you.

    Kathleen, that's pretty powerful. I didn't picture the book affecting anyone that way. I'm so glad it did.

    Did you read Sue Klebold's essay in O Magazine? I thought it was pretty remarkable. (I've got it linked on my site, or just google it, if you're interested.)