Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Dear Reader, Love Daniel Kenner

Hey there reader! My mom, Maureen, knew at twelve years old what she wanted to do, and she was able to live her dream. She could think of no better accomplishment than teaching a child to read or helping them see themselves as inventors and thinkers of big ideas. The deeper she got into her long flowing career, the more it reinforced the idea she was where she supposed to be. The rewards she found in teaching the handicapped and disenfranchised were small moments loaded with power and inspiration. For thirty-five years, the students held the most important role in strengthening her skills as a lifelong learner. Witnessing how they and their families made difficult decisions through hardships and limitations, challenges and setbacks, reinforced her desire to push on, empathetic and tough.
Diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer five months after her husband, and my father, Buddy, was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia, Mom’s world turned to chaos. She got more and more sick at a time when she was forced to take on new roles. But, she remembered the faces of the children. By doing so, she continued to find hope in all of the moments along the way, and actively participated in life. Room For Grace is a memoir of a teacher, a wife and a mother inspired by the lessons she learned from her students. Emulating the strength of her true competitors, warriors and winners, Mom got through sixty-three chemotherapy treatments.
Mom was always confident her students knew they could count on her to do her very best; just as she counted on them to help make the world a little bit brighter each day. My mom was the teacher who encouraged her students to expect a lot from themselves. In her classroom they were allowed to dream, no future too far off.  They were taught to choose hope and to accept help from others. There were values, she urged, they must remember to help them continue to grow. The first was perseverance. Mom was positive that from their time at school, they learned how to spell it, but more importantly, they learned what it looked like. It was up to them to be eternal optimists and cheerleaders for their friends. But mostly, Mom focused on compassion and tolerance. “Be respectful of individual differences and remain curious about the unique personalities of all your peers,” she’d say. “Don’t be fearful to interact and work with people who look different and who act differently than you.” Often, while on the sidelines, Mom stood proudly, watching with delight acts of compassion and friendship her students displayed toward each other and toward members of their community. It was from her student’s purest of actions that Mom internalized these lessons and carried them with her into chemotherapy, time and time again. Because of them, Mom remained optimistic about the future.
I’m so proud to share Room For Grace and my parents with you. More information can be found at

About the Authors

Daniel Kenner rocked out to Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” while other infants sang “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” A proud member of Actor’s Equity, SAG-AFTRA, and National Players Tour 60, Daniel was a Presidential Arts Scholar at George Washington University and Scholarship recipient at The British American Drama Academy. Directed the Washington D.C. premier of Sarah Kane’s Crave. Author of the manuscript, Roux. Winner of the Rhode Island Playwriting Festival for his World War II letters home drama, Fields of Sacrifice. Adapted Les Misérables for high school stages.
Maureen Kenner’s heart was in the classroom. For thirty-five years she was a Special Education teacher in the Providence Public Schools. Born and raised in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Maureen graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in education and later earned a Master’s Degree from Providence College. Maureen was a vital influence at the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point, working tirelessly as a mentor for the betterment of all children and their families. Honored with many accolades throughout her career, Maureen was awarded Providence Teacher of the Year in 2003. Living with cancer, as a model patient, Maureen exemplified integrity, courage, grace, and hope. For thirty-one years, through sickness and health, Maureen was the beloved soul mate to the late Jacob “Buddy” Kenner, her intense love recognized in 2016 as a Rhode Island Caregiver of the Year.



About the Book:

Author: Daniel Kenner & Maureen Kenner
Publisher: Silver Boot Imprints
Pages: 200
Genre: Memoir & Biography


Stage 4 cancer for her and a debilitating disease for her husband: life crashed down in an instant. Maureen Kenner found resilience, however, in the lessons she learned from her Special Ed students in Providence, RI. Her students lived with their hearts opened despite struggles of the highest magnitude. Through these students, Maureen gains courage, humor, and the strength of spirit to face her devastating realities, head on. Maureen’s oral history was captured by her son Daniel who tenderly wrought this book out of their recorded conversations. Through anecdotes and hard-earned lessons, Maureen tackles challenge after challenge and reframes daily struggles with a positive outlook allowing her to transcend and conquer mortal fears with dignity and room for grace.


"Maureen Kenner was one of those people who brightened every room she entered. Thanks to Room for Grace, that light is not extinguished. Although her story shares great sadness, Room for Grace is a book of hope and a celebration of life that sheds Maureen’s light on us all."

—Ann Hood, Author of The Obituary Writer and The Red Thread

“In these pages, you will find a story like no other. Maureen’s story is one of courage and love, a story that will move you to your core.”

—David Flink, Chief Empowerment Officer, Eye to Eye

“The piercing light of Maureen’s compassion, love and intelligence, will leave every reader wanting to reach out in the spirit of service and live life to the fullest.”

—Annie Lanzillotto, Author of Hard Candy: Caregiving, Mourning, and Stagelight

“Buddy Kenner was a big-hearted teacher, universally beloved by all, a warrior for the arts and their importance in the curriculum. Amazing and unique guy. Read this book.”

Tom Chandler, Rhode Island Poet Laureate Emeritus



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