Big, bright life lessons in a pocket-sized package.

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WHAT TEACHERS MAKE

IN PRAISE OF THE GREATEST JOB IN THE WORLD

A longtime educational advocate and public speaker praises the noble art of teaching.

Incensed by a flippant remark from a young attorney at a party, teacher and poetry scholar Mali channeled his anger into a poem on the virtuosity of teachers. He posted it on his website, and the verse has been circulating ever since. The author has become a renowned public speaker in recent years with podcasts, a blog and a flashy website. He also undertook an unprecedented journey from standardized classroom instruction to launch his ambitious “New Teacher Project,” an initiative seeking to direct 1,000 people into becoming teachers. In channeling their ability to “see a child’s potential objectively, untainted by family history and parental expectations,” Mali believes teachers energize their students to excel beyond what’s routinely called for; starting this reinforcement process at a young age is imperative, he writes. Obviously passionate about his career as an educator, the author extols the importance of routine calls to parents when children shine. He also encourages a “question authority” mindset in his students while personally remaining humble and progressive with electronic grade books. Through anecdotes, poetry and classroom examples, Mali proves himself a dedicated, caring teacher within what he considers a hobbled American education system. The author’s slim, appealing book delivers a powerfully positive message, but it’s also a valentine to teachers everywhere, as well as a healthy dose of reality to parents who may misguidedly consider their child’s teachers as little more than educational stepping stones.

Big, bright life lessons in a pocket-sized package.

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-15854-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

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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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

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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