Carly Thompson's Reviews > Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America

Whatever It Takes by Paul Tough
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's review
Nov 30, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010, contemporary-issues, social-science
Read from November 26 to 29, 2010

This was a great book about the connections between poverty and learning. Most of the book is spent profiling Geoffrey Canada and his Harlem Children's Zone as the organization establishes a charter school beginning with grades 1 and 6. Canada's mission is not to save just a few children from the poverty and hopelessness of the ghetto but to lift up an entire generation of children, to give them the cognitive skills needed to succeed in the 21st Century. Tough looks critically at Canada's program, which is based on early intervention (starting with Baby College, where parents to be and new parents are taught about the importance of educational activities from infancy as well as the negative effects of physical punishment) and then intensive support throughout the child's educational career. This was truly an engrossing look at attempts to end urban poverty. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in education or poverty. Unlike other books, this offers a hopeful solution without a partisan slant.

Three phrases to describe this book: optimistic, journalistic, problem based narrative.

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