All Booked Up
By Tracy Kidder Houghton Mifflin Co., 1989 $19.95 in hardcover; 340 pages
If You're Trying to Teach Kids How to Write, You've Gotta Have This Book!
By Marjorie Frank Incentive Publications, 1979 $12.95 in paperback; 232 pages
"Kidder, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Soul of a New Machine in 1982, provides the most realistic insight into what it is really like to be 'among schoolchildren' day in and day out. This book captivates by showing the love, frustration, and caring that teachers feel and how the educational system drains them emotionally. It's a 'must' read--easy, enjoyable, and living proof that you are not alone.
"Marjorie Frank is a lifesaver. Where writing assignments can become dull and monotonous, she has created a pick-me-up book filled with innovative and fun writing activities for children of all grade levels. She gives teachers techniques and strategies to teach writing in all of the content areas, as well as motivational writing ideas to get the frustrated or, as one chapter says, 'kids who just won't,' to write. The title tells it all.'' --Amy Goldberg 4th grade Burnside Elementary School Norristown, Pa.
By Scott Turow G.K. Hall, 1988 $5.95 in paperback; 421 pages "Rusty Sabich, a chief deputy prosecutor, finds himself on the other side of the law when a female colleague is found murdered. Turow builds upon the excitement that is present in a criminal trial and gives a rather strong and surprising ending. You don't have to be a lawyer to find this book entertaining.'' --Christi Craigmile substitute teacher Orlando, Fla.
From Beirut to Jerusalem
By Thomas Friedman Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989 $19.95 in hardcover; 513 pages
Gone to Soldiers
By Marge Piercy Fawcett Crest Books, 1987 $5.95 in paperback; 770 pages
"From Beirut to Jerusalem is an incredible book by a New York Times correspondent stationed in Beirut from the late 1970's until the P.L.O. pulled out. It gave me a lot of concepts and theories that make sense of the news about the Middle East, which can be extremely confusing. I like history written by journalists because it tends to be absent of the grandiose theories of academic historians.
"Anyone who is interested in World War II, in people and relationships, or in both, as I am, would love Gone To Soldiers. It chronicles the lives of four men, five women, and one girl at home in America, in France and England, and on the front lines. Their stories are separate but come together at times. It's a remarkable history of the war from a variety of perspectives.'' --Daniel Hall high school social studies Ransom Everglades School Coconut Grove, Fla.
By Marilyn French Ballantine Books, 1988 $4.95 in paperback; 408 pages
By Judy Blume Pocket Books, 1985 $3.95 in paperback; 375 pages
"French's novel about a romantic love affair is a far cry from her famous book, The Women's Room, in that it's lighthearted and not so political. The novel is about an American woman who goes to England and falls in love with an American man, a professor at Oxford. He's conservative and she's the liberal, the 'bleeding heart.' They agree on nothing and have only one year together. It's romantic and entertaining. You can read it in one day.
"In Judy Blume's book, when the main character's marriage goes bad, she has to start all over and raise her children alone. She moves out to Colorado with her kids and ends up succeeding in the business she's chosen. I think a lot of women could identify with the starting-over theme.'' --Anna Birgalis 6th-8th grade language arts and math Union Ridge School Harwood Heights, Ill.
The Icarus Agenda
By Robert Ludlum Bantam Books, 1988 $5.95 in paperback; 678 pages
"A Congressman secretly sets out to rescue hostages from the American embassy in Oman. He tries to do so anonymously and even goes as far as dyeing his skin to look like everyone else. Ludlum takes you on an adventure as terrorists try to kill the legislator. If you like any of his books, or James Bond-type action, you'll love this one.'' --Laura Beaver 9th and 10th grade physical education Herndon High School Herndon, Va.
How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space?
By William R. Pogue Torr Books/Tom Doherty Associates, 1985 $4.95 in paperback; 160 pages
The Way Things Work
By David Macaulay Houghton Mifflin Co., 1988 $29.95 in hardcover; 400 pages
"You'll need to wire these books to your desk because they're the kind that disappear from the classroom. How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space? answers questions about space that everyone wants to know but is afraid to ask. It's a quick reference for teachers and a necessity in the classroom.
"The Way Things Work®MDBU¯ uses a fun visual approach to explain how basic machines, such as a pencil sharpener, work. It then moves to more complex machines such as a color TV. It's a prehistoric approach to modern-day machinery.'' --Rick Crosslin 4th grade Chapel Glen Elementary School Indianapolis (Crosslin is currently on sabbatical at NASA's Aeronautic Research Application Center.)
Fair and Tender Ladies
By Lee Smith Ballantine Books, 1989 $4.95 in paperback; 319 pages
Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and Achievements of America's Educational Underclass
By Mike Rose Penguin Books, 1989 $8.95 in paperback; 255 pages
"In Smith's book you see the life of a young girl, Ivy Rowe, through the letters she writes to her family and friends. I came away with an even greater love for storytelling and more proof that through the writing of letters we can heal ourselves by telling the stories we need to tell.
"Lives on the Boundary is based on Mike Rose's own childhood struggle with learning. The book tells about the teachers who helped him and talks about the concept of teaching and how important getting involved with students really is. Rose admits how hard it is to help kids step out of their problems and reaffirms the importance of what we do.'' --Marni Schwartz 6th grade English Niskayuna Middle School Schenectady, N.Y.
By Dick Francis Fawcett Crest Books, 1986 $4.50 in paperback; 341 pages
"I like to read Francis mysteries for entertainment, and I think this is his best one. It's about this single man who leads a boring life; all he does is work at a bank. The book starts with him waking up and realizing that he has been kidnapped and is on a yacht. He has no idea why he's been kidnapped or who his captors are. He realizes that no one is looking for him because no one would miss him. Even his colleagues assume he has taken a vacation. Part of the book is about his captivity and his eventual escape, and part of it takes place after his escape as he tries to find out who kidnapped him and why.'' --Sue Traver 11th grade English Trinity High School Euless, Tex.
Life and Death in Shanghai
By Nien Cheng Penguin Books, 1986 $8.95 in paperback; 543 pages
By Edith Wharton Harper & Row, Publishers Inc., 1980 $4.95 in paperback; 291 pages
"Life and Death in Shanghai is an autobiography that is so unbelievable and gripping it reads like a novel. It's especially interesting in light of the massacre in China last summer. Cheng was imprisoned there in the late 60's and 70's. Some parts are shocking. A good bit of it is political, but most is personal--how politics affect her life.
"Summer is a good, lighthearted read. It is a coming-of-age novel about a woman who has a sexual affair and the role that love plays in it.'' --Laura Snyder 9th-11th grade English Phillips Exeter Academy Exeter, N.H.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
By Annie Dillard Harper & Row, Publishers Inc., 1988 $7.95 in paperback; 271 pages
"I've never read anything like this book of essays. Dillard is incredibly introspective. The essays seem like recollections off the top of her head, yet each sentence is so important; she conveys the sense that she appreciates every little moment. Her essays seem like journal entries. Many are about simple childhood incidents--about nature and seasons and growing up next to Tinker Creek--which in retrospect hold much meaning. Reading it is almost a form of meditation. Her writing is stunning.'' --Brenton Hinrichs 7th and 8th grade French; 8th grade social studies Friends Academy North Dartmouth, Mass.
The Joy Luck Club
By Amy Tan Ivy Books, 1990 $5.95 in paperback; 352 pages
"I highly recommend this book. It's about two generations of Chinese women who have immigrated to the United States. The mothers are all friends (hence the 'joy luck club'). The daughters each have their own way of rebelling against the Chinese culture that their mothers are trying to uphold. The main plot is about a daughter trying to resolve the cultural conflict she feels within herself after her mother dies. It's very well written, and it reads fast.'' --Suzy Nieting K-1st grade Cabrillo School Pacifica, Calif.
By Robin Cook The Putnam Berkley Group Inc., 1989 $18.95 in hardcover; 400 pages
"This fast-read mystery is about Dr. Jeffrey Rhodes, an anesthesiologist whose patient dies during a routine delivery. Rhodes is subsequently charged with malpractice and jumps bail. He starts to investigate deaths of the same nature in other city hospitals. Assisting in his investigation is the widow of a doctor who committed suicide after a patient he had died the same way.
"Rhodes and the widow fall in love while trying to clear his name. Harmful Intent is a book you can get involved in immediately. It contains no smut. And, unlike Cook's other novels, it's free of technical jargon.'' --Kathy Wilsher high school special education Langley High School Pittsburgh
A Morbid Taste for Bones
By Ellis Peters Fawcett Crest Books, 1985 $2.95 in paperback; 224 pages
Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape
By Barry Lopez Bantam Books, 1989 $9.95 in softcover trade edition; 464 pages
"A Morbid Taste for Bones is the first in a series by Peters featuring murder and detection that takes place in 12th century England. In this book, Brother Cadfael, who is both a detective and a monk, goes to Wales to bring back the relics of a saint and becomes involved in violence. It's well done historically and is light reading without being too passive.
"Lopez's book is a history of the exploration of the Arctic environment. It's interesting the way he approaches the Arctic from a sociological and anthropological perspective.'' --Daniel Brickley 11th grade Western Civilization Littleton High School Littleton, Colo.
Guiding the Gifted Child
By James Webb, Elizabeth Meckstroth, and Stephanie Tolan Ohio Psychology Publishing Co., 1982 $12.95 in paperback; 266 pages
An Educator's Guide to Micro Computers and Learning
By P.J. Favaro Prentice-Hall Inc., 1986 $24.60 in paperback; 224 pages
"In Guiding the Gifted Child, the behavioral characteristics of gifted children are discussed through the eyes of parents and teachers. The book helps you understand how bright children learn and how their emotional needs are different. The authors share their experiences and offer practical solutions for problems relating to gifted children.
"The computer book is the best source for teachers who have little or no experience in computers but wish to integrate them into their classroom. The author, without using a lot of technical jargon, describes how teachers can adapt their teaching style to encompass the computer and aid all types of learners.'' --Marlene Marx 1st grade Our Lady of Good Counsel School Vienna, Va.
Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Her Life and Work
By Louise DeSalvo Ballantine Books, 1990 $10.95 in paperback; 374 pages
Shakespeare Our Contemporary
By Jan Kott W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 1974 $9.95 in paperback; 400 pages
"DeSalvo has done a fascinating study of the late Victorian-era family and of Virginia Woolf as an incest survivor. It has long been thought that Woolf had a mental illness that drove her to suicide. But this book shows that it easily could have been the emotional stress she went through. The author interprets many of Woolf's novels and essays in this new light.
"Teachers who feel staging is just as important as reading will appreciate Kott's book. It's provocative and relevant. Whatever your ideas are about the major Shakespeare plays, this book will shake them up.'' --Mary Winslow Poole 10th-12th grade English Washington International School Washington, D.C.
--Sharon K. Williams and Lisa Wolcott