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Whatever It Takes : Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
A page-turning dispatch from inside the most daring and
potentially transformative social experiment of our time
Geoffrey Canada is a driven, brilliant crusader for children whose
bold approach to inner-city poverty has been called by Barack
Obama "an all-hands-on-deck anti-poverty effort that is literally saving
a generation of children." Canada's radical new idea: if you really want
to change the lives of poor children, you have to change everything --
their schools, their families, their neighborhoods -- all at once.
Paul Tough gained exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to Geoffrey
Canada as the Harlem Children's Zone grew to become a $58-million-a-
year organization, encompassing 97 city blocks and reaching more
than 7,000 children. In Tough's inspired portrait, sure to be as deeply
influential as Tracy Kidder's of Paul Farmer, Canada shares center stage
with the parents and children of Harlem as they hopefully, anxiously
enter a "conveyor belt" of integrated programs, from Baby College to
Harlem Gems to Promise Academy.
There's Victor Boria, nineteen, who enters Baby College on the
verge of breaking up with his pregnant teenage girlfriend -- and then,
nine weeks later, proposes to her onstage in front of a jubilant crowd.
And there's Wilma Jure, waiting and praying that her four-year-old
niece, whose mother is homeless, will win a spot in Canada's new
kindergarten class. Finally,Tough vividly describes Canada's passion
for change and how it is playing out in real time -- as educators and
policymakers from across the country keenly watch. WhateverIt Takes
is a tour de force of suspenseful and brilliantly informed reporting.
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
August 11, 2008
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