Resources 17.2

By Bob Peterson


Big Brother and the National Reading Curriculum, edited by Richard L. Allington. (NCTE, 2002). 304 pp. $23.50. A timely, powerful collection of essays that exposes the ideologically driven notion of the one “scientific” approach to teaching of reading as prescribed by federal mandates and legislation. An important tool in the fight against the insane reading component of the ESEA legislation.

Critical Politics of Teachers’ Work: An Australian Perspective, by John Smyth. (Peter Lang, 2001). 300 pp. $19.95. A fascinating collection of essays that explores the impact of market- place approaches, devolution (decentralization), and external controls on teachers’ lives.

Inequality at the Starting Gate: Social Background Differences in Achievement as Children Begin School, by Valerie Lee and David Burkam. (Economic Policy Institute, 2002). 102 pp. $11.95. A concise, documented exploration of the degree to which social inequalities exist among young children as they begin formal schooling in kindergarten. A valuable tool for advocates of equality for the youngest among us. This valuable website confronts corporate media cheerleading for a possible attack against Iraq. The website is coordinated by independent journalists Jeremy Scahill and Jacqueline Soohen on the ground in Baghdad, with support from the staff members of WORT-FM in Madison, Wis. It provides print, audio and video coverage from Iraq and links to independent news sources from around the world.

The Power to Learn: Stories of Success in the Education of Asian and Other Bilingual Pupils, by Terry Wrigley. (Trentham Books, 2000). 180 pp. $25. A study of ten innercity schools in Britain in which most students are learning English as an additional language. Written in a teacher-friendly manner, the descriptions show that importance of relevant curriculum and stimulating teachers are central to raising achievement.

* Refusing Racism: White Allies and the Struggle for Civil Rights, by Cynthia Stokes Brown. (Teacher College Press, 2002). 176 pp. $18.95. Four short biographies of white people who’ve fought against racism in U.S. history: Virginia Foster Durr, J. Waties Waring, Anne McCaty Braden, and Herbert R. Kohl highlight the role of white allies. A listing of additional “white allies” with brief descriptions is useful, although inclusion of President Lyndon Baines Johnson is rather curious, considering the genocidal war he inflicted on the people of Vietnam.

Testing Is Not Teaching: What Should Count in Education?, by Donald Graves. (Heinemann, 2002). 100 pp. $15. Noted teacher of writing presents his most political book yet in a series of essays that demolishes the current testing craze. He argues that high-stakes testing and narrow standards ignore the interests of both students and teachers.

Who Owns History? Rethinking the Past in a Changing World, by Eric Foner. (Hill and Wang, 2002). 233 pp. $24. Noted historian examines the role of historical analysis and social justice in a collection of engaging essays dealing with topics ranging from Blacks and the U.S. Constitution, to South Africa, to globalization.

Children/Picture Books

Cada Niño/Every Child: A Bilingual Songbook for Kids, by Tish Hinojosa. Illustrated by Lucia Angela Perez. (Cinco Puntos Press, 2002). 56 pp. $18.05. (CD available with same title.) Hinojosa offers 11 songs with Spanish and English lyrics along with accompanying piano music. The songs touch on themes of friendship as well as Latino themes such as “Las Fronterizas,” which highlights two women who fought for the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910. Excellent resource for bilingual schools and children learning Spanish and English.

If the World Were a Village: A Book About the World’s People, by David J. Smith. Illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong. (Kids Can Press, 2002). 32 pp. $15.95. A beautifully illustrated explanation of the conditions of the world’s people based on imagining the whole world as just 100 people. Topics such as language, religion, health, education, and hunger become accessible to children. A powerful tool for the social justice-minded teachers, particularly teachers of math.

Young Adult Books/CDs

* Homebeats: Struggles for Racial Justice, by the Institute of Race Relations (2001). $50. Students can journey through time from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia to the making of modern Britain in this multimedia trip that traces the connections between slavery, colonialism, and modern-day racism. The CD fuses music, graphics, video, text, and animation on racism. While the principal focus is on Britain, the connections to the broader issues of colonialism and slavery make it relevant to students in the United States.

*Available from Teaching for Change.