Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back-to-School Books

It’s a new school year. To get you started on the right foot, the Library has assembled a great selection of books on a variety of subjects: homeschooling, study skills, college admissions, learning disabilities, tutoring, academic pressure, lifetime learning, college savings accounts, and more. The back-to-school display is on the second floor, so come in and browse. And don’t forget another great resource you can access from home. The Indiana State Library’s Testing and Education Resource Center (TERC) offers free, online practice SAT, ACT, AP, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, and MCAT exams, as well as other academic and career tools. (Look for the INSPIRE link on the Library’s homepage.)

And, talking about education, I'd like to recommend two books. Brooke Hauser's The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens escorts you through the metal detectors, down the corridors, and into the classrooms of the International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, where students from 45 different countries, speaking more than 28 different languages, converge in a melting pot of adolescent dreams and anguish. You’ll meet the compassionate teachers and the students they care about: gutsy Jessica Tan, a recent arrival from China, rejected by her father at the behest of his second wife, charismatic Mohamed from Sierra Leone who burns and sells illegal DVDs in return for food and lodging, and beautiful, mature Yasmeen, an orphan who adopts her younger siblings.

Closer to home, but no less inspiring, Searching for Hope: Life at a Failing School in the Heart of America is Indianapolis Star reporter, Matthew Tully’s expanded account of daily life at Manual High School, one of Indianapolis’s most beleaguered public schools.  According to Gerardo M. González, Dean, School of Education, Indiana University Bloomington, "Every reform-minded educator, parent, and politician should read this book. It will change the way they think about what's really needed to help every student in a struggling school achieve his or her full potential."

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