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."

July 28: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin eloped on this day in 1814.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).