Friday, September 4, 2009
Educating Esmè: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year
By: Esmè Raji Codell
A nationally renowned advocate for literacy and literature-based instruction, ESMÉ RAJI CODELL is today “one of the nation's most sought-after voices for empowering teachers" (People Magazine) and a “Superstar of Education” (Scholastic Instructor). She is the recipient of a prestigious Patterson Pageturner Award for spreading the excitement of books in an effective and original way and has been a keynote speaker for the International Reading Association, The Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, and the American Library Association, and a featured speaker at the National Museum for Women in the Arts. Esme has been interviewed on CBS This Morning, CNN, CSPAN's Book Talk, and NPR. The author of "How to Get Your Child to Love Reading" as well as numerous award-winning books for children, Esmé lives with her husband and son in Chicago, where she spent many years as an educator in Chicago public schools and now runs the popular children's literature web site PlanetEsme, and the unique literary salon, The PlanetEsme Bookroom.
Being an education major I was excited to get the chance to review the expanded 10-year-anniversary edition of Educating Esmè. The first edition is considered “the gold standard” by The New York Times and a “pop culture phenomenon” by Publishers Weekly. It even won first place for national education reporting from the Education Writers Association. Even without the expanded information, the story is a great one that I didn’t want to quit reading. I wouldn’t say that the diary is a how-to for teachers, but more of a “this can happen when you teach” story. Esmè is such a creative, fun teacher! The school she was at was not supportive, but I believe the children made it what it was for her. I know that many people believe that teaching is an easy job, but they have no idea what it’s really like. Esmè’s story shows that teaching is a 24-hour a day job. Teachers spend their own time and money, away from school, preparing for class. The Chicago Tribune describes it perfectly, “Honest and spirited… Codell is no ordinary teacher.”
This expanded edition includes a “Hit the Ground Running” section with 25 tips for teachers and teachers-to-be. These tips are not just general, one-sentence tips either. They are very helpful and in-depth. It also includes an awesome shopping list for a first-year teacher’s classroom. I definitely want to include a time machine in my classroom; depending on what grade I teach (I’m an Interdisciplinary Social Studies major). The book’s foreword is by Katherine Paterson, the author of Bridge to Terabitha! The afterword is written by Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook. At $12.95, this book is well worth it, I promise! It’s a must-read for students, teachers, and parents!
To see more about Esmè and her work with children and literacy go to Planet Esme.
You can buy it on Amazon
and Barnes and Noble.