I think the topic of education is very important and I wish the editor of this book had done a better job of monitoring the repetition and the tone ofI think the topic of education is very important and I wish the editor of this book had done a better job of monitoring the repetition and the tone of the opinions. The same studies and statistics were repeated by almost all of the contributors. Though valid and well supported, the repetition makes the book end up seeming like a rant. I found Chapter 9, by Canadian Ben Levin, to be the most thought provoking. He pointed out that the U.S. approaches education very differently than high performing countries like Finland, Singapore, and Korea. Levin noted that unlike the US who focuses on charter schools, competition, testing, alternative certification, merit pay, and firing poor teachers, other high performing countries put their energy into helping teachers and principals improve their work, build a feeling of common purpose among all partners, and create a positive environment that focuses on continuous improvement and high morale. Levin says that other countries understand that education is complex and that there is a correlation between low levels of poverty and high levels of academic success. ...more
The strength of this book is Edelman's historical summary of the U.S. government's attempts to help the poor. He begins with Roosevelt's New Deal butThe strength of this book is Edelman's historical summary of the U.S. government's attempts to help the poor. He begins with Roosevelt's New Deal but the majority of the book focuses on 1960's-1990's. I became familiar with how the welfare system was cut during the Reagan administration and how it was completely dismantled in 1996 when Clinton was in office. But even though welfare as an entitlement no longer existed, the poor received assistance from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance which was formerly called food stamps) and TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families which was formerly an entitlement program called AFCD or Aid to Families with Dependent Children). I realized that families also were also supported through CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program), EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit), and CTC (Child Tax Credit). Though there were statistics and facts to illustrate the number of people living in poverty and the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line at various times in history, I thought too much of the analysis was biased opinion. For example, when talking about education reform, he states that charter schools and Teach for America are positive steps but he doesn't cite any studies or research to support his opinion. Then the reader learns that one of his sons was a principal as a charter school and now works for the GATES foundation and another son runs STAND for Children, an advocacy force for school reform. Hmm - I detect bias here and it made me question some of the author's other conclusions. This book mostly focused on inner city poverty. I would have been interested to hear more about poverty on reservations, rural poverty, veterans issues, and poverty due to mental illness. It seems that the solutions would be different and that perhaps many of the above programs might not provide relief for these subgroups....more
Debbie, who was first known to her readers as a fiction writer, uses her polished storytelling skills even when she is writing nonfiction. This book gDebbie, who was first known to her readers as a fiction writer, uses her polished storytelling skills even when she is writing nonfiction. This book gave me a lot to think about and I had to force myself to read only one chapter at a time so I could process the ideas and have the opportunity to grow. I like how Debbie "keeps it real". She tells of struggles she has had in her marriage and in parenting. She admits that she didn't always value the "prickly people" that showed up in her life. When she changed her perspective and tried to see everyone as a child of God with valuable lessons to teach her, she began to look more closely at all the people in her life. She inspired me to stop and think about who God has put on my guest list and to consider why these people are in my life. Prior to reading this book I had read many of Macomber's fiction books, with Twenty Wishes and her Christmas stories being my favorites. I had also read one of her nonfiction works, The Perfect Word, and I would recommend it....more
A. J. and his friends are in third grade and their teacher is Mr. Granite. He has the students ride stationary bikes while they learn and he involvesA. J. and his friends are in third grade and their teacher is Mr. Granite. He has the students ride stationary bikes while they learn and he involves the whole school in a campaign to become a green school. But is Mr. Granite really human or is he an alien?
This book would be a fun way to introduce a unit on protecting the environment or to read in celebration of Earth Day....more
I would highly recommend this book to middle school readers and adults alike. It gives a complete view of the life of Einstein, warts and all. All ofI would highly recommend this book to middle school readers and adults alike. It gives a complete view of the life of Einstein, warts and all. All of his brilliant scientific accomplishments are included and placed within the context of world history. The reader comes to understand that Einstein's work was not well received at first because it contradicted Newtonian physics and also because Einstein was Jewish and anti-Semitism reigned. Einstein lacked social graces, had extramarital affairs, and wasn't always a proper parent. I liked that Krull didn't whitewash his character or delete facts that some might feel shouldn't have been included in a children's book. I think this gave her book more credibility. I ended up having great respect for Einstein's relentless curiosity and his sincere desire for science discoveries to be used for the good of humanity. It makes sense to me that he wouldn't blindly follow nationalistic notions if he thought differently. He always spoke his mind, even when it cost him jobs and threatened his safety. In his day, Einstein didn't always think American ways were best, though he did think freedom was absolutely necessary for intellectual pursuits. ...more
Gooney Bird and her second-grade class are studying the human body. With the help of Great Uncle Walter's skeleton, the class shares their knowledge wGooney Bird and her second-grade class are studying the human body. With the help of Great Uncle Walter's skeleton, the class shares their knowledge with the entire school. This book is a bit long for most second-graders to tackle by themselves but I think it would be a fun read aloud selection....more
I first read "Dewey the Library Cat", a 214 page book written for children. I liked it and was curious how it was different than the "adult" version sI first read "Dewey the Library Cat", a 214 page book written for children. I liked it and was curious how it was different than the "adult" version so I decided to also read "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World". I liked the children's version better because the story was more focused on the cat, with fewer details about Myron's personal life....more
There is so much I really liked about this book starting with how Alton got his name and how his family played in to helping him learn to love maps. IThere is so much I really liked about this book starting with how Alton got his name and how his family played in to helping him learn to love maps. I loved the creativity that Alton showed in designing his maps and I found Alton's character, even in a tight spot, refreshing. But the twist in the book, finding out that it was the teacher who sent the"blackmail" notes, ruined the book for me. I know teachers are human but I hate to believe that a teacher, even a young one, would show such a lack of judgement. It just gave me an "icky" feeling and completely took the fun out of the book for me....more
I would not recommend this book. It is about a 4th grade boy named Mason and his best friend Brody who sign up for recreational basketball at the Y. MI would not recommend this book. It is about a 4th grade boy named Mason and his best friend Brody who sign up for recreational basketball at the Y. Mason's dad ends up coaching the team, and neither he nor Mason have much knowledge of the sport. The plot is nothing new - unskilled, losing team finally wins a few games at the end of their season. I thought it was not very believable that the team becomes co-ed. I liked that the girls were taller and skilled (very believable for the age) but I found it unrealistic that there would be mixed teams at this age-level. Mixed teams tend to be found in soccer and t-ball, but only for very young children.
If the intended audience for this book is middle-grade boys, the author failed to realize that most boys who want to read about basketball, do NOT want to read about report writing and colonial crafts. They might have to tolerate this in their classroom at school, but they certainly do NOT want to read about making cornhusk dolls or cross-stitch samplers in their sports books. This book would have a targeted sports audience if it was shortened by 50 pages and more or most of the colonial unit was not discussed....more
This book is best for avid readers. The plot includes many references to a wide variety of books and authors, and Mr. Lemoncello often uses book titleThis book is best for avid readers. The plot includes many references to a wide variety of books and authors, and Mr. Lemoncello often uses book titles in his speech. I found this totally delightful and I also enjoyed the pictograms, similar to those featured in Concentration, a popular game show from my childhood. Though I was hooked by this book, I imagine kids who have not yet adopted the reading life would miss most of the fun....more