Mission to Teach, winner of 2014 Indie Book Awards for Biography and Education, is the inspirational story of a courageous teacher who took on American science education reform against deeply-established practices, suffering along the way several tragedies that only spurred her on to astonishing achievements in her all-too-short lifetime.
Spanning four continents, Mission to Teach covers the life and work of NYU Professor Jhumki Basu, who developed ground-breaking techniques that were rooted in her own teaching experiences in embattled inner-city schools.
Incredibly, Jhumki realized her achievements while she battled breast cancer with grace for seven years before it engulfed her at age 31 - but could not stop her legacy.
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About the Author
The same year, with the support of Jhumki's well-wishers and her extensive archives, Dipak began his daughter's biography, drawing upon his writing experience in historical fiction: A Flight of Green Parrots, published in 2004, and its sequel, The Tide of Silver, to be released in 2014.
A former high-tech executive at Cisco Systems, Dipak has spent much of his life employing technology in humanitarian missions worldwide, having set up successful nonprofits, Anudip and NetHope.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It’s appropriate that a biography of an innovator would not be the traditional sort of biography. Because the author is the father of the book’s central focus, its tone is more intimate and its coverage of her life has more depth than it might have had if someone who didn’t know her as well had written it. It also doesn’t follow the story of the life of Sreyashi Jhumki Basu chronologically. Some readers may find this confusing, but I decided early in my reading of this book that Dipak Basu must have reasons for presenting his daughter to us in the way that he did. By the time I finished it, I understood that the life of a unique individual like Jhumki could only be portrayed in a unique way. When I received my copy of this book for review, I wondered how the life of a woman who died so young could be so long. I discovered that Jhumki packed a great many accomplishments into her brief life. It was also a very well documented life. Jhumki wrote long letters and kept a journal. She also published a number of articles dealing with her approach to science education. Dipak Basu and those who assisted him with this biography undoubtedly had to sift through a mountain of material. As a member of Dr. Susan Love’s Army of Women which was founded to assist in breast cancer research, I was very interested in reading about Jhumki’s cancer treatment. Perhaps someday advances in instrumentation will allow physicians to identify cases of metastatic cancer sooner, so that tragedies like Jhumki’s don’t recur in future generations. Cancer interrupted Jhumki’s lifework, but this book shows that Jhumki’s method for getting low income minority youth interested in science is effective. She emphasized that science can be fun. Yet mastery of any scientific field requires discipline. Are students who’ve been attracted to science by cool projects that are relevant to their lives going to be able to sustain that enthusiasm over the long haul so that they can pursue a scientific profession? It will be interesting to find out how many of these students do have successful careers as scientists. As an educator, Jhumki’s legacy is measured by the lives she has impacted. Readers will be inspired by this book, but it also provides food for thought. I recommend it to people who are drawn to new ideas and want to explore them through the matrix of Jhumki’s original mind.
This book is written by Dipak Basu, the father of Jhumki who loved her and wanted to keep her legacy alive. She was an outstanding teacher and who excelled greatly despite her battle with cancer that took her life at the young age of thirty-one. Prepare yourself to be inspired by this biography of Jhumki, a teacher who believed you have to get real close to your students as you teach them, by understanding their background and culture. This was her preferred method of getting the interaction she wanted from her students. Jhumki understood that his was what you had to do to be at their level of learning and comprehending. This book covers the life and work of New York University Professor Jhumki Basu who developed ground-breaking techniques based on her teaching experience in with low income, minority group students. Most teachers would not face this teaching due to the difficulty of getting to understand your students. Let alone doing this while fighting cancer. She's an amazingly strong woman that deserves to have a book telling her story to keep it alive. Jhumki reached out to all different students including homeless, and disadvantaged because every student mattered to her. She always tried getting on their level to better help them and understand each students learning style. This is an amazing biography for an amazing person. It's even more heartwarming knowing that this book was written by Jhumki's father, who must have been very proud for all that his daughter achieved in the short time she was here with us. This book is worth 5/5 and nothing less.