Back to School

The art, science, and struggle of teaching and learning.

 


 

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

By Muriel Spark

 

At of heart this deceptively slim novel is the larger-than-life figure of Miss Brodie, a teacher the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls in Edinburgh just before the outbreak of World War Two. Readers, much like her pupils, are sure to fall under her spell. But is she a dangerous fantasist or merely living her life vicariously through the girls she teaches?

 


 

Work Hard. Be Nice.

By Jay Mathews

 

The inspiring, important, and compelling story of how two young educators turned their personal failures in the Teach for America program into a new classroom paradigm, creating the acclaimed Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), which today includes 66 schools in 19 states.

 

 


 

The Death and Life of the Great American School System

By Diane Ravitch

 

A passionate plea to overhaul public education and a scathing indictment of today’s most popular ideas for restructuring schools, such as privatization, standardized testing, punitive accountability, and charter schools. Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, insists that decisions about schools should be left in the hands of teachers, rather than bureaucrats and politicians.

 


 

Educating Esmé

By Esmé Raji Codell

 

Affectionate, unconventional, imaginative, fearless, Esmé was only 24 years old when she got her first job teaching fifth grade in an inner city school. Determined that her kids were going to learn, she let nothing -- not dim-witted principals, abusive parents, gang members, or her own insecurities -- stop her.

 


 

Cross-X

By Joe Miller

 

This extraordinary account of Kansas City Central High School's debate team is perfectly summed up by its subtitle: "The Amazing True Story of How the Most Unlikely Team from the Most Unlikely of Places Overcame Staggering Obstacles at Home and at School to Challenge the Debate Community on Race, Power, and Education."

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."