An affecting account of a year working with Amerasian children in Saigon, by the former WNBC (New York) critic and Today Show regular. Throughout, Kelly reminds us of how good she's had it: a picture-book childhood in Nebraska, a high-profile career, and plenty of money. ``I loved every minute of it,'' she says frequently. But by the late 1980's it had all begun to ring hollow, and in 1988 she visited Vietnam to break with her success and to find a self not quite so high-powered. She resolved to return as an English teacher for children of Vietnamese mothers and American fathers, who number an astounding 30,000. She was met with cold resistance by Vietnamese functionaries, but finally taught courses at the Amerasian Transit Center, and, following that, in restaurants and parks. What might have seemed do-gooderish or at least ill-advised turned out well: The children were hungry, in poor health, and often ostracized, so they sought Kelly out. Her portraits of them here are deft and touching. There's Raymond, a black Amerasian who speaks flawless Midwestern since he was raised on American bases; and there's Kim, 18 and beautiful, who had one letter from her father, but never another. Kelly may or may not be a fine teacher, but she fed every hungry child she met and upon her return to New York lobbied ardently to bring them to America. She presently sponsors several Vietnamese children herself. Often giddy, but beneath the gloss there's an excellent reporter who offers an unassuming, detailed look at today's Vietnam, and at the persecution by neglect of the children we left behind. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: July 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-75090-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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Moving and motivating—a must-read for practicing professionals and would-be musicians.



Inspirational lessons from the life of one tough teacher.

Today’s parents who lament their children stressing over tests may be horrified by the themes of tough love and tenacity offered by this biographical tribute to the late Jerry Kupchynsky, “Mr. K,” a gifted high school strings teacher from East Brunswick, N.J., whose exacting methods helped spawn the careers of generations of musicians and educators. Journalist Lipman and Kupchynsky, a violinist and Mr. K’s daughter, met as children when Mr. K joined his daughter’s exceptional talents on violin with Lipman’s on viola to form half of a string quartet that would also include Kupchynsky’s younger sister, whose disappearance decades later reunited the authors. The bond forged through the intensity of creating music is but one of the storylines running through this engrossing account of Mr. K’s life. Born in 1928 in the Ukraine, Mr. K endured a litany of wartime atrocities before immigrating to the United States as a refugee in 1946. But prior to fleeing to the U.S., it was the sound of a German soldier playing the violin that sparked his love for classical music. Surviving these early hardships helped instill in Mr. K an appreciation of adversity as a motivator, an unflagging belief in the value of hard work and a willingness to fight for the underdog. With a booming Ukrainian accent and “trim” mustache, Mr. K’s battle-ax demeanor and perfectionist drive struck both fear and a ferocious desire to succeed in the hearts of his pupils. One of his more unforgiving approaches involved singling out a section’s weakest player—“Who eez deaf in first violins?”—and forcing the guilty party to play alone with a stronger player until the weak one improved. While tactics like these may not have earned his students’ immediate devotion, they never forgot him and often found they could achieve more than they ever dreamed.

Moving and motivating—a must-read for practicing professionals and would-be musicians.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2466-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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