Customer Reviews for

The Kids from Nowhere: The Story Behind the Arctic Educational Miracle

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2007

    A Story of Triumph as Told by a Gifted Novelist

    There are times when stories about successes in educational advancement are told in a manner that feels more like inspirational magazine material than a book: the achievements of underprivileged young people overcoming potentially insurmountable odds are related in a touching way but hardly register as great writing - content over style. In the matter of 'THE KIDS FROM NOWHERE: The Story Behind the Arctic Educational Miracle' the author is George Guthridge who not only is a fine educator but he is also a superb novelist. It is this added bonus of a beautifully written novel that just happens to contain a true story that makes this book so fine. Guthridge writes with utter clarity, presents his amazing facts, and yet relates this 'miracle' in a manner that makes every page a literary delight. In 1982 teachers George and Mary Guthridge and their two young daughters accepted a teaching assignment out of financial desperation - a school in Gambell, Alaska on an isolated St. Lawrence Island between Alaska and Siberia, a school approaching collapse, peopled with Yupik 'Eskimos' known for their defiance of authority and apparent lack of ambition - a job that would pay well despite the formidable prospects. With wise insight and elegantly fluid style, Guthridge relates his time in Gambell, his family's assimilation into a new culture, and his approach to education that turned a 'trapped' class of young students into scholars by involving these inherently very bright students in a process called 'Future Problem Solving Program'. Guthridge takes the reader to this strange place with his ability to create atmosphere and to define his cast of characters in a way that the True Story aspect of the book is merely one part of a most satisfying novel. He carefully describes the young students' lives and initial responses to regarding classroom education as secondary to walrus/whale/seal hunting, finding stories about each that are at once comical and tender and tragic. The fact that he struggled with the educational system of Alaska and the paucity of supplies such as books and computers and yet overcame all odds, both administrative and personal, to slowly develop the students into the brilliant scholars who would win national championships in the Future Problem Solving Program is indeed a miracle, a testament to the courage and humanity of the man who writes this memoir. 'We married Western culture's syllogistic, abstract, linear thinking to the holistic, nonlinear, realistic reasoning of indigenous culture. The result is a communicator who addresses the world in a new way.' THE KIDS FORM NOWHERE is not only a book that will appeal to educators (and should be required reading for burned out teachers!), it is simply a very fine novel about life and humanity and courage and triumph of the human spirit. Highly recommended reading. Grady Harp

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2009

    A Disappointment

    I found this book a severe disappointment. I found it incredibly unenjoyable. It was loaded with useless swearing and rudeness. The story is amazing, but could have been told much better. It tells of a small island school in Alaska. The Eskimo students are highly intelligent, but are ignored by other teachers. Their inner creativity comes out through their new teacher and by a writing competition/program called Future Problem Solvers (FPS). Against all odds they suceed at it through hard work. The story, though, was disheartening in the kids unwillingness to learn and the other teachers' lack of respect. As I said before, it was laoded with all the most revolting swear words. As an FPSer myself, it showed an old system of FPS, most of it not in use today. It did show a rich Eskimo culture, but I very well could have learned it somewhere else. Overall, I do NOT recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2010

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