Heading Out: The Start of Some Splendid Careers

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What do Russell Baker, Sammy Sosa and Nelson Mandela have in common? Fame, of course, but more importantly, they were once kids. And when they were young they formed the beginnings of who they would be and what they would do when they grew up. This brilliant selection of excerpts from some of the most intriguing autobiographies offers a glimpse into meaningful moments in the lives of some very special kids who would grow up to be some very amazing adults. This collection, edited by the esteemed Gloria Kamen, is ...

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Overview

What do Russell Baker, Sammy Sosa and Nelson Mandela have in common? Fame, of course, but more importantly, they were once kids. And when they were young they formed the beginnings of who they would be and what they would do when they grew up. This brilliant selection of excerpts from some of the most intriguing autobiographies offers a glimpse into meaningful moments in the lives of some very special kids who would grow up to be some very amazing adults. This collection, edited by the esteemed Gloria Kamen, is truly a book for all ages.

Excerpts from the writings of famous and successful artists, athletes, writers, political activists, and scientists reveal the defining moment that led each to make a career decision.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An informative duo gives kids the skinny on the life paths of adults who have met with success. Julia Alvarez, Ken Burns, Nelson Mandela, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and 20 others share their stories in Heading Out: The Start of Some Splendid Careers, ed. by Gloria Kamen. Divided into five sections (Writers; The Arts; Science; Medicine & Invention; Business and Politics; and Sports) and preceded by a brief introduction, each entry illuminates the trajectory of an author's path. Most are excerpted from autobiographies; a few are original to this edition.
VOYA
Students pondering their futures and wondering how to arrive on a career path will enjoy reading this collection about how various notables landed where they are today. Each of the twenty-four autobiographical essays is introduced with a short summary of the person's life and accomplishments. Biographies are grouped into five broad categories-Writers; the Arts; Science, Medicine, and Invention; Business and Politics; and Sports. Some subjects share moments in their lives that shifted their thinking and defined who they would become. Others knew from a very early age what their career paths would be. Particularly outstanding essays are written by Russell Baker and Ben Carson. Baker, known for his fine essays in The New York Times, writes an exceptional account of his first work to achieve any acclaim, The Art of Eating Spaghetti, written for eleventh-grade English. Ben Carson, pediatric neurosurgeon, confesses to being labeled "class dummy" by fifth grade. Because of his poor grades, his mother took away his television privileges and insisted that he read at least two books per week from the public library. He discovered that he liked learning about things and bounced from the bottom to the top of his class in a year and a half. By then, he had decided he was smart and began to truly excel. His credo is that self-image is everything. This book is a joy to read, and students lucky enough to discover it will probably consume it in one sitting. Biblio. VOYA Codes: 5Q 3P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Bloomsbury, 236p,
— Leslie Carter
From The Critics
Editor Kamen aims to answer how career decisions are made via twenty-four individuals categorized as writers in the arts, science, medicine and invention, business and politics, and sports. She selects people who exemplify persistence, self-confidence, and talent, and explains the path they took that led them to success, hoping that readers learn "how others coped and succeeded should send its own message to readers." Ken Burns, Pauline Fisk, Dean Kamen (whose name and selection stirs questions), and Katherine Paterson, write pieces for the book. Others have excerpts from their writings chosen by the editor. Short introductions preceded the words of each person. Why the editor made the choices she did among the many available is not explained, and hence, tends to limit the book's usefulness. Reading to a class, though, and discussing each person on the basis of the book's purpose serves a readership. Some pieces (Sydney Poitier, Nelson Mendela, Vernon E. Jordan, Boris Yelsin, Dan Rather, Lance Armstrong) excel, and will tease the reader/ listener to explore more. 2003, Bloomsbury Children's Books, 200 pp.,
— Len DeAngelis
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Twenty-four "splendid careers" are highlighted in five sections: "Writers"; "The Arts"; "Science, Medicine, and Invention"; "Business and Politics"; and "Sports." A one-page introduction by Kamen precedes each of the autobiographical excerpts or original essays that explain how the subjects made their choices and achieved their goals. Teens may have heard of Dan Rather, Sammy Sosa, Lance Armstrong, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee; and Boris Yeltsin, Nelson Mandela, and Isaac Asimov may evoke vague recognition, but many of the names will be unfamiliar, such as Ben Carson, Claire Bloom, and Richard Feynman. Still, each person included has a meaningful story to tell, from Rather's talk of handouts to help get through his freshman year of college to Ken Burns's tale of living near poverty as he pursued his passionate desire to produce documentary films. With its tremendous portraits of perseverance, this volume is a powerful motivational tool.-Joanne K. Cecere, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582347875
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 1/4/2003
  • Edition description: FIRST
  • Pages: 200
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Gloria Kamen has illustrated over forty books for children and adults, including five of Judith Martin's Miss Manners series, The White House Children, Paddle Said the Swan and Second Hand Cat. Several of her books have been Junior Library Guild selections. She was a theater caricaturist for the Washington Post and was also worked for Washington Educational Television.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2005

    This book should be in every school library!

    This book is beautifully crafted with a brief introduction by the editor of each biographee followed by a personal segment in the biographees' own words describing how they found their lifetime career. The people selected are from all walks of life and, in some cases, there are 'moments of inspiration' while in other cases, it is rather an accumulaton of small moments whereby they find they can do nothing else. This is a wonderful gift for students, but it is also a great read for people of any age. Highly Recommended!

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