Next book



An enthusiastic and engaging—but somewhat narrow—argument in favor of teaching beloved books.

An instructor and avid reader shares lessons from years spent introducing children to classic literature.

In this education book, Pathan (Raman and Sunny: Middle School Blues, 2015, etc.) combines three previously published works into a single volume. The first presents arguments in favor of encouraging young people to read the canon of Western literature; the second offers strategies Pathan has used to develop enthusiasm for the classics among her students; and the third details the author’s experiences teaching and learning about books. Pathan’s own love of literature is evident from the first animated pages (“Classics therefore are like bound movie scripts for our brain production house”). The rationale for teaching the classics is a familiar one—improving writing skills, providing moral lessons, understanding the human condition—but also emphasizes the opportunities for fostering a love of reading among even the youngest pupils. Pathan’s strategies for turning students into fans of the classics are wide-ranging and constitute the most useful elements of the work, addressing ways of encouraging reluctant readers and students whose interests lie in other subjects while advocating the cross-generational sharing of books. The memoir elements are often charming, like Pathan’s account of how Frankenstein helped her “cope with” science when her teachers did not, her gratitude to Oscar Wilde for giving her a broader understanding of sexuality, and the letters of appreciation she writes to former students. While the volume’s focus is on classic literature, Pathan avoids demonizing more contemporary books and discusses her admiration of those works as well. The account overreaches at times (as in the suggestion that “tribal culture” is something students can learn about from Robinson Crusoe ) and never addresses the lack of diversity inherent in a canon drawn almost entirely from European and American novelists writing in the 19th and early 20th centuries. By eliding entirely the debate over which works should be considered classics, the book avoids a crucial question teachers must wrestle with, thus limiting the effectiveness of an otherwise comprehensive and appealing discussion of literary education.

An enthusiastic and engaging—but somewhat narrow—argument in favor of teaching beloved books.

Pub Date: March 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-8-19-329060-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: Fiza Pathan Publishing OPC Private Limited

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2017

Next book


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Next book



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

Close Quickview