A well-researched, personable advice book on helping children become the best they can be.


Get Your Child To The Top


A comprehensive, hands-on guide to raising happy, successful children.

As an investment banker, writer and mother, Jones can relate to her audience: concerned parents who want the best for their children but are so “busy trying to provide [them] with…housing, food, a school, and some love” that they “don’t really have time for conceptual debates about ultimate right choices.” Her argument is that the current educational system in America is antiquated, resulting in a decrease in test scores among not only poor children but those of the middle class as well. “Trickle up illiteracy,” she calls it. To combat this, she argues, schools need to increase their focus on technology, financial savvy and science, giving students the practical skills they need in today’s globalized, digitized world. She’s concerned about character, too, and passes along balanced, practical guidance to parents about how to inspire their children to be thoughtful citizens: “Children should be guided, not pushed. But sometimes they should be forced as they need to learn not to get their own way but rather discipline and following through on their commitments.” At times, some of the advice can feel clichéd—“Character counts,” “Be polite,” “No one owes you anything”—and stylistically, the book has a laundry-list quality to it, with large chunks offering a series of brief, mostly common-sense snippets related to having a successful life, health, faith and risk-taking. The structure may bore some readers, although many more might find the simple format helpful, particularly in the sections that discuss education, where Jones offers clear summaries of a variety of things parents might have heard but not understood, such as explanations of charter schools, magnet schools and vouchers. Moreover, while some of the life advice may feel hackneyed, it’s also a welcome retreat from some of the more extreme parenting books of late. Jones isn’t a tiger mom or a helicopter parent; she’s a strong, mostly effective advocate for raising thoughtful, well-rounded children.

A well-researched, personable advice book on helping children become the best they can be.

Pub Date: May 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615763347

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Laernn

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.


Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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