Who knew that reading a novel intended for 7th graders could lead me to do some deep thinking and exploring of my own beliefs. The concept of Restorative Justice is explored in the novel through the Tlingit tradition of Circle Justice. It has been amazing to hear the thoughtful responses of my new students to this concept. For me, the topic hits pretty close to home. Teaching in urban schools for 5 years, I have seen my share of law breaking and I have always been disappointed by the lack of “justice” being served. Throughout those times, times of seeing kids beat and verbally abuse each other, times of having desks thrown at me, being sworn at, sexually harassed and yes, even poisoned by students, I was always concerned about what could be done to not just punish students for their actions, but to get at the root of why these things were happening. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if school districts employed a system of Restorative Justice. What would happen if people in our communities came together to heal, rather than to seek some Hammurabi code of justice. As I sit in my classroom and listen to students debate whether or not there is any hope for a delinquent bully, weighing issues of domestic abuse, mental illness and outright cruelty, I wonder what the world would look like if grown-ups would sit together and have these same conversations. What would happen if we all looked for hope and sought healing?