Required Reading

“Teaching as Principled Practice: Managing Complexity for Social Justice” Linda R. Kroll, Ruth Cossey, David M. Donahue, Tomas Galguera, Vicki Kubler LaBoskey, Anna Ershler Richert, and Philip Tucher.


A great treatise on why we teach, and how we should teach.  





“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race” by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

A guide to understanding, from a psychological perspective, the formation of our racial identities: both Black and White.  The main weakness of this book is that it focuses mostly on the Black/White binary in the U.S. and deals in much less detail on racial identity formation of other races and ethnicities.  Tatum acknowledges this limitation wisely.  Although it is not totally comprehensive, I think it is a useful text for people of any race, especially for understanding race-based issues in the U.S.



“True Believer” by Virgina Euwer Wolff


Truly one of the best pieces of fiction I’ve read in years.  I was blown away.  I was committed 200% from page 1.  An excerpt:

My name is LaVaughn and I am 15.


When a little kid draws a picture

it is all a big face

and some arms stuck on.

That’s their life.


Well, then:

You get older

and you are a whole mess of things,

new thoughts, sorry feelings,

big plans, enormous doubts,

going along hoping and getting disappointed,

over and over again,

no wonder I don’t recognize

my little crayon picture.

It appears to be me

and it is 

and it is not.


Next is “Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom” by bell hooks

I can’t believe that it took me till the age of 28 to read bell hooks.  I’ve known about her for a long time, but it wasn’t until I bought this book that I understood how much Paolo Friere (a hero of my own since NYU) influenced her life and thought.  It’s an absolutely beautifully written book.






Finally, another book that has been on my list for quite a while.  The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Art that carries political and educational meaning as part of its inherent beauty was my first true love.  That is what Satrapi has achieved her.  Persepolis is a beautiful portrayal of one woman’s survival and fight for freedom in the modern world set against the backdrop of the Islamist Revolution in Iran.  Can’t wait to see the movie.  But first read the book!

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