Flash Fiction Stories for Students and Teachers

Fiction - Anthology
132 Pages
Reviewed on 07/03/2021
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Author Biography

Theodore Jerome (Ted) Cohen is an award-winning author who has published more than ten novels--all but one of them mystery/thrillers--two books of short stories, and eight flash-fiction anthologies. He also writes illustrated storybooks for children (K-3) in the series Stories for the Early Years as well as Young Adult (YA) novels under the pen name "Alyssa Devine." During the course of his 45-year career he worked as an engineer, scientist, CBS Radio Station News Service (RSNS) commentator, private investigator, and Antarctic explorer. What he's been able to do with his background is mix fiction with reality in ways that even his family and friends have been unable to unravel!

Dr. Cohen's writings (he holds three degrees in the physical sciences) have received the highest reviews from Feathered Quill, Hollywood Book Reviews, Kirkus Discoveries, Pacific Book Review, Reader Views, and Readers' Favorite, among others, with many of his books recognized for their excellence through medals awarded by several of these same organizations following their annual book competitions. In 2017, for example, Readers' Favorite awarded Dr. Cohen's first short story anthology, The Road Less Taken: A Collection of Unusual Short Stories - Book 1, a Silver Medal while the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE) awarded the same book its Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best in Category: Short Stories. The NABE also awarded Dr. Cohen's collection, Creative Ink, Flashy Fiction: Flash Fiction Anthology - Book 3, its Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best in Category: Anthology - Winter, 2018.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Debra is posing for a graduate picture with a distinguished older man. Her friend, Brian, approaches and introduces himself to the man he believes to be Debra’s father. He goes on and on about how proud this man must be of Debra’s accomplishments, only to discover, when he stops long enough to allow Debra to speak, that the man isn’t Debra’s father: “in a way he is responsible for my being here today. Jeff’s the firefighter who rescued me from my crib 21 years ago during our house fire.” A poignant final line to a short piece of flash fiction. And there’s more: a few stories about Einstein (you can’t get away without bringing him into a story or two), a few war heroes, and so many other telling stories about teachers (like the forever-late professor) and students. Memories are interwoven intricately into education, both in the form of public education in schools and the education we receive at home (like a boy enhancing his reading skills studying a forbidden girly magazine).

Theodore Jerome Cohen and Alyssa Devine have done it again with another fascinating and telling anthology, this time dedicated to education: Flash Fiction Stories for Students and Teachers. There are short-shorts in the anthology, as well as longer pieces, and an excerpt from one of Cohen’s mystery/thrillers. Each selection is concise, well structured, and full of compelling meaning and good reading story material. Each story begins with a photograph (or, as the author calls them, photographic prompts) that suggests what the famous saying insists; that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Many of the stories are based on actual people and events, but some are creations from a mastermind of storytelling and there are endnotes to further explain specific references. The stories are serious, humorous, even whimsical and some read like memoirs of another era, each one focussing on education: either from the teacher’s perspective or from the student’s. For someone enmeshed in the education system as I have been for many years, this definitely is a fascinating read.

Astrid Iustulin

Flash Fiction Stories for Students and Teachers is the fifteenth volume in the Flash Fiction Anthologies Series by Theodore Jerome Cohen, who also uses the pen name of Alyssa Devine when he writes young adult novels and other works. Like the other books in this series, this is a collection of stories, some long, some very short, all inspired by a photograph. The photograph is at the beginning of each story, but even if the reader can guess the subject, the creativity of Cohen/Devine will surprise them every time. With the typical humor of the short stories written by these author(s), Flash Fiction Stories for Students and Teachers is a book that you cannot miss.

This is not the first book by Cohen/Devine that I have read. Like the previous ones, it was an enjoyable read that confirmed to me the author(s)' skills. Their subtle humor and the ability to represent a scene in just a few pages (or less than a page) have always made a positive impression on me. Moreover, I was surprised to find stories inspired by photographs that already appeared in previous volumes of this series and that ​​Cohen/Devine have used them to tell a completely different story. I liked this because it gives an idea of the author(s)' inventiveness and resourcefulness. I recommend Flash Fiction Stories for Students and Teachers to anyone who loves short prose, especially those who do not know Cohen and Devine yet. They will be thrilled.

Michael Gardner

Flash Fiction Stories For Students And Teachers is the second collection of flash fiction stories I’ve read by Theodore Jerome Cohen and his pen name Alyssa Devine. Like the first, each story is inspired by a photo. This time the inspiration comes from teachers, students, and learning environments. These are included with each story, which adds visual appeal to the read and richness to the work as a whole. It’s probably a more accurate description to say these stories are "about" students and teachers, rather than saying they’re "for" students and teachers. Being neither myself, I still thoroughly enjoyed the read, which gives us a diverse mix of stories ranging from serious to humorous.

As I believe I said in my review of another flash fiction collection by Theodore Jerome Cohen, flash fiction is hard to do well. Giving a reader a complete story in only a few hundred words requires skill and craft. Theodore Jerome Cohen has both in spades. His stories are very polished, with every sentence carefully considered. Many are only a page long, a few hundred words at best, but all are excellent. It’s also the mark of a skilled writer to produce an effective story using only dialogue. Stories like "Problem Solved" manage to give a clear sense of the scene without a single description outside of dialogue. Another gem is the very amusing story titled "Screwed!", which was one of the most memorable for me. Another very good collection of flash fiction where a lot of attention has been given to the layout as well as the words, which makes the book a full five-star read from me.