In this powerful and culminating work about a group of inner-city children he has known for many years, Jonathan Kozol returns to the scene of his prize-winning books "Rachel and Her Children" and "Amazing Grace," and to the children he has vividly portrayed, to share with us their fascinating journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood.Read more...
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In this powerful and culminating work about a group of inner-city children he has known for many years, Jonathan Kozol returns to the scene of his prize-winning books "Rachel and Her Children" and "Amazing Grace," and to the children he has vividly portrayed, to share with us their fascinating journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood.
For nearly fifty years Jonathan has pricked the conscience of his readers by laying bare the savage inequalities inflicted upon children for no reason but the accident of being born to poverty within a wealthy nation. A winner of the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and countless other honors, he has persistently crossed the lines of class and race, first as a teacher, then as the author of tender and heart-breaking books about the children he has called "the outcasts of our nation's ingenuity." But Jonathan is not a distant and detached reporter. His own life has been radically transformed by the children who have trusted and befriended him.
Never has this intimate acquaintance with his subjects been more apparent, or more stirring, than in "Fire in the Ashes," as Jonathan tells the stories of young men and women who have come of age in one of the most destitute communities of the United States. Some of them never do recover from the battering they undergo in their early years, but many more battle back with fierce and, often, jubilant determination to overcome the formidable obstacles they face. As we watch these glorious children grow into the fullness of a healthy and contributive maturity, they ignite a flame of hope, not only for themselves, but for our society.
The urgent issues that confront our urban schools - a devastating race-gap, a pathological regime of obsessive testing and drilling students for exams instead of giving them the rich curriculum that excites a love of learning - are interwoven through these stories. Why certain children rise above it all, graduate from high school and do well in college, while others are defeated by the time they enter adolescence, lies at the essence of this work.
Jonathan Kozol is the author of "Death at an Early Age," "Savage Inequalities," and other books on children and their education. He has been called "today's most eloquent spokesman for America's disenfranchised." But he believes young people speak most eloquently for themselves; and in this book, so full of the vitality and spontaneity of youth, we hear their testimony.
Voices of les misérables
If you don’t count your blessings every day, you will after listening to Jonathan Kozol’s Fire in the Ashes, read by Keythe Farley; and if you’re not affected by these true stories from the sordid, shameful inner city, better check for a pulse. For many decades and in many books, Kozol has given a voice to the voiceless: children who grow up in punishing poverty and their parents. He’s not an observer, but part of the fabric of their lives. Here, he tells the stories of young men and women who spent their very early years in the notorious Hotel Martinique, a hellish, filthy, drug-infested homeless shelter right across from Macy’s on New York’s Herald Square, and were later moved to the poorest section of the Bronx. They’re grown now—the ones who survived—some terminally damaged, while some, with the aid of a few truly good people, including Kozol and a determined parent, found their way out, and found the spark that lights the fire. Listen—there’s much to be learned.
MURDER IN THE MONASTERY
The Beautiful Mystery, Louise Penny’s latest, brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his close comrade Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir to Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, a remote monastery deep in the Quebec wilderness, to investigate the murder of the choirmaster. Long hidden from the world, these cloistered monks have lived in quiet self-sufficiency, praising God in simple, glorious Gregorian chant for centuries. But now a recording made to raise much-needed money has become a global sensation—and one of the monks has become a murderer. Gamache and Beauvoir find deep discord beneath the harmonious surface of the abbey and, in its devout solemnity, find themselves face to face with their own doubts, demons and insecurities. This is much more than a whodunit; Penny renders her characters with real depth and puts them in an unusually intriguing setting and situation. And Ralph Cosham’s excellent, empathetic narration enhances it all.
TOP PICK IN AUDIO
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an epistolary novel, without epistles—at least, not the conventional kind. Instead, author Maria Semple weaves together emails, school report cards, police reports, FBI files, an emergency room bill, a psychiatrist’s notes, a fundraising letter and more. The only narrative is offered by 15-year-old Bee, one of the most charming teenagers I’ve met in ages. And Bee is not the only charmer. Bernadette—who, as you know from the title, does a disappearing act—is a fabulous creation: an architect who only built one house, won a MacArthur “genius” grant, then gave it all up in a grand snit; an agoraphobic, Seattle-hating Seattleite who can quip with the best; and Bee’s mother, who cherishes her brilliant daughter. The other characters are drawn with the same wit, the subplots unleashed with an accurate, antic take on our world. Kathleen Wilhoite’s reading, lit by a range of voices, accents, cadences and emotions, is a true treat.