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on July 25, 2012
I am thoroughly in awe of Trudy's ability to retell a story. Her usage of vocabulary was superb, she often straddled the line between superfluous and pedestrian without once tripping into either column. You may be asking the question: "Why does this matter?" Trudy does not change the words spoken by her students. She writes their words as spoken, often clearly as painful to hear as they are adorable. The children she taught were part of the infamous Robert Taylor homes. In the event that you were unaware as to the significance of this, let me kindly remind you of its significance. Chicago has often been labeled as the most segregated city in the country. Its South side even to this day remains a dangerous place to live. The people in this setting are quietly struggling and surviving. She tells of students who overcame the odds, but she also tells us of those that did not. It is a very difficult thing to bear witness to such unspeakably barbaric events, criminally negligent parents as well as inept bureaucracy, while also writing in such a warm way. I am proud to recommend this book, as a teacher in similar settings I can attest to its all too stunning accuracy-not having enough supplies, bull from the admin, and the non-working family phone numbers. Read as soon as possible you will not be leave disappointed.
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on July 6, 2013
In Honky in the Ghetto, teacher Trudy Van Slooten takes the reader into a sub-culture of which few readers are aware, let alone will ever experience for themselves. Trudy takes us from her first day as a minority-quota-hire third grade teacher of eight-year-olds-going-on-twenty in terms of their exposure to life's rawest, toughest living enviroment, through twenty years of teaching in an environment only a few miles from the well-to-do suburb in which she had been raised, but light years away from the suburbs in terms of cultural/environmental/social privilege.

Van Slooten introduces us to a variety of pupils who, while reflecting the raw and violent practices/values of the only culture they've known, yet reflect a childlike - and oh so human - zest for life with modest aspirations for something a little better to come along to soften and bring momentary reprieve from life's daily doses of drabness, violence, and fear - even if something so inconsequential as a cafeteria baked butter cookie or something so achingly anticipated as a personal gift from the teacher at Christmas.

Never does Van Slooten cite the humorous and oft-times raw antics and quips of her pupils in order to demean them for such expression, but to expose the emotions and persepctives below-the-surface. Trudy only laughs at herself as she stumbles her way out of the self-imposed confinements and stereotypes of her "honky" perspective into the humbling realization at the end of the term in hearing one of her pupils express shock to hear her tell him that she indeed was "white." All along he had thought of her as being no different than himself, save for her lighter skin and hair!

These are the reflections of a teacher who embraces, respects, and identifies with her young pupils, who in outward circumstances alone are unlike herself and the world in which she once live but - because of what she experienced and learned from her "ghetto" students - a world to which she will never return.
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on April 7, 2013
As a teacher, I related to Trudy's stories with both compassion and empathy for the students and the overall situation of the community that surrounded the Robert Taylor Homes. Her writing style is visually moving. I can picture the scenes in Trudy's class room as her words unfold on the pages of each chapter. Even though the Robert Taylor Homes are now gone, many of the children who survived living in them thive through the gut-splitting, gut-wrenching, real-life stories of Trudy Van Slooten in Honky in the Ghetto. She teaches all of us a little lesson in loving kids no matter what!
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on March 27, 2012
This was the first book I've read on an electronic device. (I downloaded the kindle app onto my tablet - I don't own a kindle.) I had thought that was the reason I read the book in less than three days. It was not. This book grabbed a hold of me in chapter one when I was introduced to a human ecosystem so far removed from my comfortable surburban life that I struggle to find the words to describe the emotion felt learning of the conditions these urban children lived in. The stories within are gut-wrenching and unbelievably hysterical, they seem to be written for a movie. But what kept me up reading well past my bed time was so much more than that - the author's writing style is unique. It's the way she fully describes each character and familial situations, paints the scene with incredible details, and describes each story with wit, humor, lack of judgment and self-deprecation that folds you in and doesn't let you put the book down until you've finished.

My husband hadn't read a book in years until I practically forced him to read this once I had finished. He read it on his phone in less than 24 hours, doubled-over laughing the whole time.

My only complaint was that it wasn't longer.
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on October 18, 2011
After reading Ms. Van Slootens 'book'...I must give it a 5-star rating! I couldn't put it down once I started reading!! The phonetics are especially good. I am married to a black man, and we laughed until we almost cried at some of the situations. The childrens names, were especially funny to us.
Ms. Van Slooten writes in a "visual" feel as if you are right there, experiencing the very things she writes about. Descriptions were awesome. Would recommend it all family and friends
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on May 23, 2012
The author skillfully drops you into another world--the down and dirty Chicago Projects--told mostly through the conversations she has with the children in her third-grade classroom. Well worth reading!
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on July 8, 2012
This book will take you into the world of teachers in public housing districts in Chicago. I knew conditions were bad, but could not have imagined what it was like for teachers and their students. This book was so well written. A new teacher Trudy Van Slooten stories are a must read. Teachers in a poor district like described in this book, are real teachers. They are there for the students, not for any gain for them selves. This book is a favorite of mine. I would like to give it as a gift.
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on July 12, 2012
Trudy Van S's Tales from an Inner-City Classroom are authentic! This writer has an excellent eye and ear for details that capture the scenes and the kinds of learning that she and the students in her classroom must cope with, alongside the traditional 3Rs. Through her skill with words, this writer gives readers humor, wit, and important insights.
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on November 21, 2011
I really enjoyed reading this book about teaching school in the Chicago projects in the 70's. I couldn't help compare my privilaged entitled education during the same time period to the struggles of these very real people who are described in the book.
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on August 19, 2012
This book is a lie about Hardigan school, the people & the area in general. I grew up in Robert Taylor & had a child go to hardigan school & it was nothing like the this lady desribe it. She named my mother Alyce Roberts who never worked at Hardigan, she worked at St. Elizabeth Grammar form her late forties until she retired at the age of 84. I know this author personally & don't understand how she write this garbage.
My name is Harry Roberts & I hate to see someone try to trash a neighborhood in the name a true story
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