Among School Children

Among School Children

4.1 12
by Tracy Kidder
     
 

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Mrs. Zajac is feisty, funny, and tough. She likes to call herself an "old-lady schoolteacher." (She is thirty-four.) Around Kelly School, she is famous for her discipline: "She is mean, bro," says one of her students. But children love her. And so will the reader of this extraordinarily moving book by the author of House and The

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Overview

Mrs. Zajac is feisty, funny, and tough. She likes to call herself an "old-lady schoolteacher." (She is thirty-four.) Around Kelly School, she is famous for her discipline: "She is mean, bro," says one of her students. But children love her. And so will the reader of this extraordinarily moving book by the author of House and The Soul of a New Machine.

Mrs. Zajac spends her working life "among schoolchildren." To some it might seem a small world, a world of spelling and recess and endless papers to correct. But we soon realize that Mrs. Zajac's classroom is big enough to house much of human nature. Her little room contains a distillate of some of the worst social problems of our time. Some of the children's young lives seem already stunted by physical and emotional deprivation. And some are full of precarious promise.

As we come to know these children, we long for their salvation — and we come to understand, as if for the first time, the difference that a good teacher can make in a child's life, and in our society.

Among Schoolchildren provides the most realistic account of American education ever written — on every page we encounter the precisely rendered truth for which Tracy Kidder is famous. But this is more than a book about education. It is about one woman's indomitability, about the joy of acting out of conscience and love. At bottom, its subject is nothing less than the struggle between good and evil.

In Among Schoolchildren Tracy Kidder has written his most emotionally powerful, most memorable work.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Christine Zajac teaches fifth grade in a racially mixed school in a poor district of Holyoke, Mass. About half of her students are Hispanic; many come from broken homes. Through Kidder's calmly detailed re-creation of Zajac's daily round, we come to know her students' fears and inmost strivings; we also share this teacher's frustrations, loneliness and the rush of satisfaction that comes with helping students learn. It's a tough job: in one social studies class, half the pupils can't name the country they live in. Kidder ( House ; The Soul of a New Machine ) writes with sensitivity of Zajac's Irish-Catholic roots, of the need for educational reform and of the Holyoke Puerto Ricans' struggles for equality and success. We see Kelly School as a compelling microcosm of what is wrong--and right--with our educational system. Author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Many readers have come to expect that anything authored by Kidder ( House, LJ 8/85; Soul of a New Machine, LJ 8/81) will be of high merit. This latest nonfiction work is no exception. It tells in detail the story of a young teacher's daily life and work in the Kelly School, a part of the Holyoke, Massachusetts school system. From September to June, Chris Zajac, a caring, dedicated teacher struggles with the nearly superhuman task of teaching inner-city children, many from impoverished and broken homes. Her pupils are often ill-fed, victims of severe neglect, or worse. Readers will become engrossed in her daily battle to teach these youngsters. (Over half stay up until 12:30 a.m. to watch TV). She agonizes over her pupils, one Clarence in particular. Kidder allows the reader to savor the small daily victories and taste the angst of failure. A warm, honest, refreshingly positive look inside a classroom. Essential for most libraries.-- Annette V. Janes, Hamilton P.L., Mass.
Booknews
Another good Kidder book. This dealing with the day-to-day activity of teaching (and maintaining a climate in which learning is feasible). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547524061
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/06/1989
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
340
Sales rank:
263,115
File size:
0 MB

Meet the Author

Tracy Kidder, whose most recent book is Home Town, is also the author of Among Schoolchildren and Old Friends. He has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He lives in Massachusetts and Maine.

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