978-0-8129-7861-2Being a Teen, author Jane Fonda’s comprehensive guide to adolescent issues, was recently assigned to students taking the “Our Whole Lives” class at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Susquehanna Valley (Northumberland, PA).  Fonda’s new book, which covers topics from the body and sex to friendship, family and more, was universally praised by Unitarian Universalist’s students and teachers: “Being a Teen is a wonderful guide to yourself and to others, a pocket encyclopedia, a guide to the roller coaster of puberty. Jane Fonda answers questions that would be difficult to ask….”

Students were engaged by the book, including Henry, age 15, who wrote: “I was apprehensive at first because I thought it would be generic stuff that I already knew or have heard. After the first chapter I read, however, I found that I was learning a lot, and I ended up reading the whole book.” Another student, Emma, age 14, wrote: “The teenage years are a confusing time. Being a Teen is a clear guide with really good information.” (more…)

GreenTown USAby Daniel Wallach, foreword contributor of Green Town U.S.A.: The Handbook for America’s Sustainable Future (Hatherleigh Press, July 2013) and Executive Director and Founder of Greensburg GreenTown

You may have heard of Greensburg, Kansas, the little town only 1.5 miles wide that was 95% destroyed by a tornado in 2007.   What you may not know is that Greensburg chose to transform tragedy into opportunity by deciding to rebuild “green.” Since we made this decision, we have received quite a bit of exciting recognition. President Barack Obama mentioned it in his address to a joint session of Congress on February 24, 2009 and Leonardo DiCaprio, working with the Discovery Channel, produced a documentary. We were also featured on the Weather Channel during a segment entitled “When Weather Changed History.”

But the story of Greensburg, Kansas does not begin and end there. In fact, our decision to rebuild green is, in a way, the prelude to a new chapter for every town and city in our country, especially in light of the recent and ongoing disaster in the Gulf. Individuals across America can look to Greensburg, a.k.a. “GreenTown”, as an example of how we can change the course of history and change the way we live with the environment in mind, and how young people can be instrumental in this change.

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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…)

Outcasts United by Warren St. John

For the better part of a hundred years, Clarkston, Georgia—a community of 7,100 on one square mile of land east of downtown Atlanta—was a mostly white town where little of interest happened. In the early 1990’s, the town was designated as a resettlement center for refugees from around the world, and refugees poured in from Southeast Asia, the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. In less than a decade, little Clarkston, Georgia transformed into one of the most diverse communities in the country.

Outcasts United is the story of this town, told through the lens of a soccer team of refugee boys called the Fugees, a team founded and coached by an American-educated, Jordanian born volunteer named Luma Mufleh. The team and its remarkable coach ultimately provide the rest of us with powerful lessons about how to create community in places where everyone is different. (more…)

Here is the book trailer for The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore, which is now available in paperback! The video is drawn from Moore’s recent talk to from Philadelphia-area students. Help spread the word about Wes and his inspirational story by sharing this video with a colleague today.

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

by Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

I am living proof that a support system of family, mentors and educators is critical for success and as such, have the most tremendous respect for those of you who give tirelessly of yourselves to improve the future of a child.  I would like to humbly thank all of you for being heroes to so many of your students, for inspiring them in ways you probably cannot even fathom yet, and for teaching them character and personal responsibility in addition to academics.  It is your example, your belief in them, along with the preparation you give them in the classroom that will unlock doors of opportunity. 

I am a grandchild of a retired school teacher in the Bronx public school system of over 20 years, the son-in-law of a New York City public elementary school teacher of over 20 years, and a proud advocate for schools and the kids they serve.  (more…)