HeavyReader's Reviews > Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year

Educating Esmé by Esmé Raji Codell
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's review
Nov 14, 2008

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bookshelves: life-stories
Recommended for: anyone considering teaching as a profession


I read this book in one evening. It's a quick and moving read.

I've been running into this book for a while, seeing it listed on people's GoodReads shelves and getting requests for it from other libraries through interlibrary loan. Yesterday while I was pulling books, I saw a copy just sitting on the shelf, and I decided to take it home.

The author of this book is very slick. She starts the book in such a way that it seems like it's just going to be a "can you believe these kids and the school's nutball principal?" kind of tale. Then, halfway into it she starts telling sad, crazy stories about the rough family lives these fifth graders have. One girl is half an hour late for school four days in a row because her family is living in a shelter, and she's got to get her little sister to school before she herself can take the train to school. Another kid is angry and acting out because his dad is in a wheelchair due to gun violence. On and on and on until I was crying over what little kids go through every day.

It may be a cliche to say that I laughed and I cried, but I did, that's the truth
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