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Merrick native’s song-turned-book strikes a chord

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Published in the spring of 2018, Tara Drouin’s children’s book inspired by her song, “One Heart,” is striking a chord during arduous times across the United States.

“Its theme and message are universal — that we are one race, the human race,” said Drouin, who grew up in Merrick and graduated from Calhoun High School in 1990. “One Heart is meant to bring people together,” she added. “We need unity and solidarity to be the glue, and music to be the healing potion that helps take us to lasting equality and peace.” 

Drouin, a preschool teacher in Queens, longtime musician (she plays bass) and proud mother of nine-year-old, Kaya, who’s bi-racial, said her intention for the book/song was to spread a message of unity and acceptance through the diversity that children experience in the classroom. But it’s a good read/listen for everyone in society, she noted.

“In light of everything that has happened with race relations in America, most recently with George Floyd and other similar situations over the years, I feel a responsibility as a mom, a teacher and a musician to speak out against this systemic racism,” Drouin said. “We need to change the narrative for our future. We cannot change the past but we must change our future. Our children need to be taught that acceptance, kindness, unity and love are all important to making this work. Our lives are all intertwined, and we can all live on this planet together in harmony.”

With racial tensions running high across the country in recent weeks, Drouin has received plenty of supportive messages on social media.    

“An old friend and teacher reached out to me to say he shared my book with some of his friends who are teachers,” Drouin wrote on her Facebook page. “He said the message was awesome for everything that is going on in the world today.

“I needed that reminder that positivity and educating our children can bring us hope for a better future,” she continued. “I pray for George Floyd's family, I pray that rioting and violence stops, and I pray for a world where . . . everyone is treated equally.”

“One Heart” was written in 2016 by Drouin’s band, Iridesense, and performed with some family members, including her daughter. The book, a collaboration between Drouin and former co-worker Nancy Noskewicz, who drew the illustrations, is available on Amazon.

“I’ve always tried to [send] a positive message in my music writing,” said Drouin, who also conducts school diversity workshops where she reads the book, sings the song and displays a power point presentation.

“One Heart explores the reality of human differences — whether they be differences in eye color, skin color or hair color. Inside, we all have ‘One Heart,’” she said. “This message needs to be shared with children at a young age, especially in these challenging times.”