June 2013


Let the Great World Spin HCNew York Times writer Joel Lovell has written a thoughtful piece on Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin (Random House), which won the National Book Award, and a new novel, TransAtlantic (Random House, June 2013).  Titled “Colum McCann’s Radical Empathy,” the profile is set in the recent aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy as McCann travels to the afflicted school to speak to the high school students upon a teacher’s request.   It delves into the value of Let the Great World Spin (which was added to the Newtown high school curriculum) as a transcendent history that can ease the pains of tragedy, “a book that,” Newtown teacher Lee Keylock says, “might help their students begin to make sense of their terrible shock and grief.”  From there, the article moves into McCann’s own life, crossing briefly into McCann’s childhood in Ireland, to his desire as a writer to work in “the blurred spaces between fiction and nonfiction.”  Granting insight into McCann’s humor, gravity, and ambition, the piece permits a glimpse into the life of the man who writes, while “‘in the cupboard,'” about the magnitude of the world.

Click here to read the full New York Times article.

Click here for more information about Colum McCann.

Click here for information about the author’s speaking engagements.

Davisby Sampson Davis, author of Living and Dying in Brick City: An ER Doctor Returns Home (Spiegel & Grau, February 2013)

It was my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Speights, who made education fun, exciting, and, most importantly, helped me to feel that I was one of the smartest kids in her class. Maybe she inspired all the kids to feel the same way, but nonetheless it was her grace, witty remarks, and dynamic teaching style that managed to penetrate my young impressionable mind and divert me from the stark reality of poverty, crime, and drug infestation in my hometown of Newark, New Jersey, where the high school graduation rate falls well below fifty percent. Just like my mother, Mrs. Speights often echoed, “Education will save your life”—and it certainly did. To Mrs. Speights and all educators, I humbly thank you for being heroes to so many students, including a kid who once didn’t believe he could become a board certified emergency medicine doctor, a philanthropist, and an author.

My latest book, Living and Dying in Brick City: An ER Doctor Returns Home is my way of giving back to the many educators who helped me escape the thought that education wasn’t for me and the belief that I wasn’t good enough.  You have both championed and inspired me—and I thank you. (more…)

The_SparkWhen our son Jacob was two years old he was evaluated as moderately to severely autistic. At the time, this diagnosis meant there was no hope that he would ever read, tie his shoes or even be able to reach out to us as parents and hug us again. We sought out every avenue we could find to help our little boy. We surrounded ourselves with doctors and specialists, all of which were fiercely fighting to bring Jacob back into our world. A barrage of therapists came to our home and trained their focus on his lowest skills. Their protocol included things like teaching him to put a ball in a cup, a skill that sadly one of the younger children from the tiny daycare I was running could easily do. By the time Jacob was two and a half, he had the standard course of therapy. It consisted of 40-plus hours of early intervention followed by speech, developmental, physical and occupational therapies. (more…)

Funded by the Random House Foundation, Inc., the Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy recognize the nation’s most dynamic and resourceful teachers who use their creativity to inspire and successfully instill a love of reading in their students.

Open to full and part-time teachers in public schools across the U.S., the awards consist of a $10,000 first place grant, $5,000 second place grant and a $2,500 third place grant award payable to each teacher’s respective school. In addition, book donations are made to the winners and runners-up.

The deadline for applications is September 16th, 2013. Click here for more information, including the complete award guidelines and application.

The awards will be presented at the 2013 NCTE Convention during the “Mentoring Matters” breakfast on Friday, November 22nd by actor Tony Danza, author of I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had.