Check out these valuable resources, reviewed by Rethinking Schools editors and Teaching for Change colleagues.


Not With Our Kids You Don’t: Ten Strategies to Save Our Schools
By Juanita Doyon (Heinemann, 2003). 129 pp. $14.95.

A spicy, no-nonsense guide to organizing for school change from a parent activist from the state of Washington. Many concrete ideas for strategy and tactics. Great reprints of the lapel buttons from various anti-testing struggles around the country.

Reclaiming Childhood: Letting Children Be Children in Our Achievement-Oriented Society
By William Crain (Times Books, 2003). 271 pp. $25 (hardback).

A popularly written critique of how the obsession with standards and testing is stunting the growth of thousands of the youngest members of our society. A useful tool in the fight to preserve and expand child-centered early childhood programs.


Walking the Choctaw Road: Stories from Red People Memory
By Tim Tingle (Cinco Puntos Press, 2003). 144 pp. $16.95 (hardback).

Choctaw storyteller T im Tingle has put 11 of his best stories to writing. The gentle, poetic stories range from how the United States treated the Choctaws on the Trail of Tears to memories of his own childhood. A great read-aloud for upper- elementary students; an excellent short story anthology for older students.

Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture, and Values through Storytelling
By Joseph Bruchac (Fulcrum, 2003). 192 pp. $16.95.
An engaging collection of stories and reflections by one of America’s best storytellers. Topics range from trickster tales to history. Many stories are worth sharing with students, others are excellent for teacher background, especially if one is teaching about Native-American issues.

Especially Heroes
By Virginia Kroll, illustrated by Tim Ladwig (Eerdmans Books, 2003). 30 pp. $16 (hardback).

Set in the 1960s, beautiful illustrations and clear prose describe some childhood memories of a young white girl as she ponders her (Christian) religious school lessons on heroes and martyrs. She realizes that ideals must be lived out, as she watches her father grab a baseball bat to defend an African-American neighbor against white racists who want to keep the neighborhood white.


Alabanza: New and Selected Poems 1982-2002
By Martín Espada (W. W. Norton, 2003). 245 pp. $24.95 (hardback).
Espada’s poetry should be studied in every classroom along with other great poets like Langston Hughes and Pablo Neruda. Many of the poems in this volume can be used with students, including “My Name is Espada,” “Heart of Hunger,” “Sheep Haiku,” and “Coca-Cola and Coco Frío.” Appropriate for upper elementary through adult.

The Way a Door Closes
By Hope Anita Smith, illustrated by Shane W. Evans (Henry Holt & Co., 2003). 52 pp. $18.95 (hardback).
A moving story from the perspective of a 13-year-old African-American boy told through 34 poems. The real-life poems about family pain and hope center around a father who leaves and finally returns. Teachers can use the book in its entirety or the individual poems.


*Asian Americans: The Movement and the Moment
Edited by Steve Louie and Glenn K. Omatsu (UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press, 2001). 350 pp. $20.
Documents the rich, little-known history of Asian-American social activism during the years 1965-2001. This book examines the period not only through personal accounts and historical analysis, but through the visual record — utilizing historical pictorial materials developed at UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center on Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Vietnamese Americans.

Latina and Latino Voices in Literature: Lives and Works
( Expanded and updated )
By Frances Ann Day (Greenwood, 2003). 353 pp. $55 (hardback).

A comprehensive collection of information on 35 Latina and Latino writers including people such as Alma Flor Ada, Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Luis Rodriguez, and Gary Soto. The entry for each author includes address, brief biography, complete listing of all books written, and an extensive annotated bibliography of the author’s major books. This should be in every school library and teachers should refer to it regularly.

More Math Games and Activities from Around the World
By Claudia Zaslavsky (Chicago Review Press, 2003). 176 pp. $14.95.

A compilation of 70 games, puzzles and projects from Africa, South America, and Asia that help students become interested in and learn math while giving them a greater appreciation for the role of math in many countries around the world.

Learning to Trust: Transforming Difficult Elementary Classrooms Through Developmental Discipline
By Marilyn Watson (Jossey-Bass, 2003). 318 pp. $29 (hardback).

In collaboration with elementary teacher Laura Ecken, the author describes an approach to discipline that helps build a “caring community of serious learners.” The book is filled with rich, believable descriptions of real-life classroom situations, which inspire, instruct, and entertain the reader. If you read one book on discipline during your teaching career, this should be the one.

Win-Win Games for All Ages: Cooperative Activities for Building Social Skills
By Josette and Ba Luvmour (New Society Publishers, 2002). 124 pp. $11.95.

A collection of more than 60 activities designed to help encourage risk taking and build trust and communication among participants. Clear explanations with age designations make it a handy guide for teachers and group facilitators.


Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests
By Derrick Jensen and George Draffan (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2003). 192 pp. $15.

An accessible overview of the role of forests in our planet’s ecology. With three-fourths of the world’s original forests gone, and the pace of eliminating what remains accelerating, this book is essential reading for teachers concerned with globalization. The rich and well-documented descriptions of this problem are particularly useful for math, science, and social studies teachers.

Free Trade . . . Free Rein for Transnational Corporations
By José Victor Aguilar and Miguel Cavada Diez (EPICA, 2003). 85 pp. $9.95.

Originally written by community educators in El Salvador, this English translation does a great job explaining in simple terms issues of trade, inequality, and the need to build a movement for global justice. Appealing graphics, useful from upper elementary through adult.


Going to School – Ir a la Escuela
This documentary examines the gains that the Los Angeles Unified School District has made in complying with civil rights laws on inclusion for special-education students. It highlights the story of three Latino special education students in Los Angeles, both at home and as they participate in classroom activities. Parents speak about the difficulty of finding schools that would accept and not segregate students from their peers. And students talk about making friends and learning how to get along in regular classrooms. It includes a touching story of a girl who survived a grenade attack by the El Salvadoran military during that country’s civil war. A useful resource for teachers, administrators, counselors, or students. Directed and produced by Richard Cohen. 2001. 64 minutes. (Available in English or with narration and subtitles in Spanish.) VHS $49 for K-12 teachers and libraries, $99 for colleges, sliding scale for parents of children with disabilities. Available at

*Bowling for Columbine
An alternately humorous and horrifying film about the United States. Why do 11,000 people die in America each year at the hands of gun violence? How have we become both the masters and victims of such enormous amounts of violence? From a look at the Columbine High School security camera tapes to the home of Oscar-winning NRA President Charlton Heston, from a young man who makes homemade napalm with The Anarchist’s Cookbook to the murder of a six-year-old girl by another six-year-old, “Bowling for Colum-bine” is a journey through America, and through our past, hoping to discover why our pursuit of happiness is so riddled with violence. Written, directed, and produced by Michael Moore. 2002 2 hrs. VHS $49, DVD $27. A teaching guide is included with the DVD and is also available at

*Rabbit-Proof Fence
A powerful true story of hope and survival. At a time when it was Australian government policy to train aboriginal children as domestic workers and integrate them into white society, young Molly Craig leads her little sister and cousin in a daring escape from their internment camp. Molly and the girls — part of what would become known as Australia’s “Stolen Generations” — must then elude the authorities on a dangerous 1,500 mile adventure along the rabbit-proof fence that bisects the continent and will lead them home. This film can be used to introduce the history of the forced removal of Native-American children from their homes in the United States. The DVD also features a documentary on the making of the film, as well as commentary on the social and historical context. Directed by Phillip Noyce. VHS, 2002. $15

Most of us probably have better things to do on a Friday night than to sit in front of a television. However, arguably the best hour of TV every week occurs Fridays between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. on PBS: “NOW with Bill Moyers.” Each episode features probing interviews with poets, activists, philosophers, novelists, filmmakers, and scholars. Moyers is especially alert to issues of war and peace, global inequality, and the environ-mental crisis, so regular documentary segments highlight key aspects of these concerns. For example, an August 29 episode covered the trend to export white collar jobs to places like India (where Indians are trained to sound like they were raised in Indiana and are paid a fraction of their U.S. counterparts). Also in this segment of NOW, Moyers interviewed ecologist David Suzuki who previewed his forthcoming PBS series, The Sacred Balance . Suzuki brilliantly and passionately critiques the pace of environmental ruin. Parts of most Moyers’ episodes could be used with high school and possibly middle school students. The NOW website is

* Resources available through Teaching For Change: