Tag Archives: Poverty

Resilient Nora

29 Nov

Sometimes it takes a while to get to know – and like – a character. I liked Nora right away. She is the eponymous protagonist of Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz.

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Publisher’s Summary: After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery, which is the largest shantytown of its kind in the Philippines today.

When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone.

With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places.

This engaging novel will give readers a glimpse into what life is like for impoverished children and how resilient they are. Before reading the book, I hadn’t heard about the people who live in Manilla’s cemeteries. This book opened a whole new understanding of poverty I hadn’t had before. Even though the story has a happy ending, it is a realistic ending. I won’t spoil it and tell you exactly what happens. I will tell you that, at the end, Nora is happy and still living in the cemetery.

Another great book to give as a holiday gift for a young reader in your life.

Stephen Krashen on the Common Core

26 Jan

WOW! Stephen Krashen really doesn’t like the Common Core. His article in the ALA’s Knowledge Quest, and published in his Friday blogpost The Common Core: A Disaster for Libraries, A Disaster for Language Arts, a Disaster for American Education blasts the whole idea. Here are his main points:

1. There has never been a need for the common core, and there is no evidence it will do students any good.

2. The real problem in education is poverty (Food insecurity, Lack of health care, Lack of access to books)

3. We need to protect children from the effects of poverty.

4. We can improve school funding and address the effects of poverty by reducing  testing.

5. The nature of the language arts standards (especially Reading: Foundational Skills, Writing, and Language) make it hard for teachers to do anything but direct instruction.

Those of us working in education are adapting to the new demands of the Common Core, whether we like it or not. It seems to be a done deal. I’m glad to know there are people beyond the reach of a school district, asking questions and making demands. Just to let you know, Stephen Krashen and Alfie Kohn are two of my pedagogical heroes. That alone tells you a lot about me. Krashen  has a lot of other posts about the Common Core, among other things. You can read them at

http://skrashen.blogspot.com/.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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