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February 18, 2004 5 min read
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Character Education

Character Matters: How to Help Our Children Develop Good Judgment, Integrity, and Other Essential Virtues
by Thomas Lickona (Touchstone Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020; 310 pp., $14 paperback).
A psychologist and educator known for his work on character-building curricula provides more than 100 practical strategies parents and educators can use to help children develop strong personal character. Irresponsible and destructive behavior, he says, can be traced to a lack of proper grounding in what he considers the 10 essential qualities of good character: wisdom, justice, fortitude, self-control, love, a positive attitude, hard work, integrity, gratitude, and humility.

Lesson One: The ABCs of Life: The Skills We All Need but Were Never Taught
by Jon Oliver and Michael Ryan (A Fireside Book, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020; 320 pp., $14 paperback).
Based on the groundbreaking national school program Lesson One, this step-by-step guide points educators, parents, and community leaders to new and effective ways to help children develop the basic life skills of self-control, self-confidence, responsibility, problem-solving, and cooperation that are necessary for learning and success.

Children With Differences

Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn’t Fit In—When to Worry and When Not to Worry
by Perri Klass, M.D., and Eileen Costello, M.D. (Ballantine Books, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; 288 pp., $23.95 hardback).
Two pediatricians define and explain the diagnoses often applied to what they call “quirky” children. These include Asperger’s syndrome, nonverbal learning disability, sensory integration dysfunction, obsessive-compulsive behavior, autistic spectrum disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder. They also discuss therapy options, coping strategies, and available medications. Notably, the two believe that the “ideal” way to help these exceptional children is to “understand and embrace the qualities that make them exceptionally interesting and lovable.”

Teaching the Restless: One School’s Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed
by Chris Mercogliano (Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108; 253 pp., $25 hardback).
A longtime teacher at the Albany Free School, in Albany, N.Y., who is now its co-director enters the ongoing debate about medicating hyperactive children. He describes how he and other faculty members at the school have successfully taught such children for nearly 30 years without drugs or labeling. “My goal is to present an alternative vision,” writes the author, “and to demonstrate that it is absolutely unnecessary to alter children’s biochemistry in order for them to control themselves and become successful learners.”


Joyful Learning: No One Ever Wants to Go to Recess!
by Gail Small (ScarecrowEducation, 4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706; 256 pp., $34.95 paperback).
A classroom veteran of 33 years inspires teachers to enjoy their work with students, and describes innovative teaching methods aimed at developing positive learning environments in which children, parents, and teachers are encouraged to collaborate, share, discover, and thrive.

On the Side of the Child: Summerhill Revisited
by William Ayers (Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027; 149 pp., $18.95 paperback).
This book is part of the publisher’s series “Between Teacher & Text,” which, in the words of its editor, Herbert Kohl, “is an attempt to connect present educators with their predecessors through imaginary dialogs and personal narratives.” In this volume, the social- justice activist and school reformer William Ayers “speaks” to A.S. Neill, the founder of the experimental Summerhill School in Suffolk, England, a school guided by the principles of love and freedom. The book includes selections from Neill’s original text, Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, which Ayers identifies as critical to understanding A.S. Neill’s philosophy.

Teaching, Learning, and Loving: Reclaiming Passion in Educational Practice
ed. by Daniel Liston and Jim Garrison (RoutledgeFalmer, 29 W. 35th St., New York, NY 10001; 224 pp., $24.95 paperback).
Contributors explore the emotional aspects of daily educational practice that, they argue, are often overlooked by theorists and educational researchers. The emotional investments of teaching and the hazards they present to teachers and students also are examined.

Politics and Education

Political Spectacle and the Fate of American Schools
by Mary Lee Smith (RoutledgeFalmer, 29 W. 35th St., New York, NY 10001; 320 pp., $24.95 paperback).
A critical analysis of the partisan politics that influence educational policies, as well as these policies’ political effects. The author, a professor at Arizona State University and the director of the Center for Southwest Educational Policy Studies, in Phoenix, argues that school reforms such as high-stakes testing, school choice, and desegregation are inherently political.

The Politics of Knowledge: Public Schools in the Nation’s Capital
by Anna Kinsman (Peter Lang, 275 7th Ave., 28th Floor, New York, NY 10001; 192 pp., $29.95 paperback).
A Washington high school teacher of 16 years critiques the policies and procedures of the District of Columbia public school system.

Sex and Sexuality

Beyond Diversity Day: A Q&A on Gay and Lesbian Issues in Schools
by Arthur Lipkin (Rowman & Littlefield, 4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706; 272 pp., $75 hardback, $24.95 paperback).
Billed as a handbook for teachers, counselors, administrators, policymakers, parents, and students who want to understand and affirm sexuality differences; promote and protect the well-being of all students; and reduce bigotry, self-hatred, and violence. The author, an associate editor of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education and a former instructor at Harvard University’s graduate school of education, provides, in a question-and-answer format, advice on how to nurture positive relationships among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youths, their families, and the schools; welcome these families in the school community; support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender educators; and incorporate related curricula across disciplines.

Sexual Exploitation in Schools: How to Spot It and Stop It
by Robert J. Shoop (Corwin Press, 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320; 160 pp., $65.95 hardback, $25.95 paperback).
Written by a risk- management expert, this book teaches educators and parents to recognize the warning signs of sexual exploitation in schools. It provides information on actions that can be taken to prevent such abuse, as well as ways to promptly and appropriately respond to exploitation and abuse if it does occur.

—A.E. Conrad


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