by Jordan Shapiro ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 31, 2018
With the rise of the internet and smartphones, humans entered an era of extreme connectivity via invisible threads around...
Why screen time might not be so detrimental to your child’s health.With the rise of the internet and smartphones, humans entered an era of extreme connectivity via invisible threads around the globe. Children born during this time know no other life and readily accept and adapt to the latest changes in software and technology. Shapiro (Intellectual Heritage/Temple Univ.; Freeplay: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss, 2013, etc.) believes the connections children make over the internet are similar to those previously made on the playground or in the sandbox. Children are learning similar social and relationship skills in digital space, just as they once did face to face. The author claims the amount of time he spends playing video games with his sons is akin to the days when dads played ball with their children; in both cases, they are bonding on the child’s level. Playing video games with other children around the world enhances a child’s sense of self and their place in it while building social interactions in the safe environment of the child’s own home. Shapiro argues that parents and educators should let go of their own fears about technology and embrace and endorse it, letting children develop their skills via these tools. He believes that in this new paradigm, adults must let go of their memories of their own childhoods and let their children create memories using the technology at hand. The author’s arguments are persuasive and bolstered by research. Yet his theories may be difficult to swallow for those still inclined to believe that active outdoor play with real children in real time and space is a more productive way to learn acceptable social behaviors and develop relationships than sitting alone in front of a computer screen.
Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2018
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Little, Brown Spark
Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018
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by Thomas Sowell ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 4, 1993
American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.
Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992
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by Helen Fremont ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 11, 2020
A vivid sequel that strains credulity.
Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.
At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.A vivid sequel that strains credulity.
Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019
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