A brief, often delightful remembrance that blooms into a warm tale of frontier life.

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TOPPING OUT

A memoir of a teacher in Idaho’s Hells Canyon area in the early 20th century.

Harris, who died in 1979, was an educator-turned-journalist who first published this recollection in 1971. This second edition, edited and republished by Marilyn Allen, the author’s niece, is a welcome reprise. It investigates Harris’ long-standing attachment to a place that offered, in her words, “a rough life with no refinements.” She first arrived in Buck Creek, Idaho, in 1916 for an eight-month stint teaching children. Things were tense from the start, as the 16-year-old author had lied about her age to get a job in the rough-and-tumble frontier. She diligently documents her time at her first outpost, describing a hot-and-cold affair with a local boy with the same wit that she uses to recount her riding a seemingly sick mule into a nearby town. Things became less quaint, however, when she accepted a four-month post teaching at a camp on forest-reserve land. Her new position required her to care for seven kids from Monday to Friday, because the terrain was too harsh for them to regularly travel to and from the school building. She and the children camped out in tents, and their neighbor was a strange, cranky old man with no apparent affection for anything but sugar. In this section, the memoir provides eye-opening insights into the American education system before World War I; the schoolchildren, who belonged to nomadic ranching families, only had four months per year for schooling and hadn’t yet learned to read. Harris, ever the teacher, is always ready to provide readers with historic, economic, and geographic context for the events that she recalls, and these explanations can, at times, be somewhat dry. The dire conditions, however, are the perfect host for Harris’ frank humor, most notably in her account of the final weeks of school, when multiple difficulties befell the young schoolmarm. Joseph’s illustrations of a young Harris frolicking in nature and caring for children only strengthen its charms.

A brief, often delightful remembrance that blooms into a warm tale of frontier life.

Pub Date: April 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5043-9565-6

Page Count: 264

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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