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Reviews Written by
Phil Shapiro "educator/technology access activist" RSS Feed (Takoma Park, Maryland)

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Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
by Randall Munroe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.72
127 used & new from $6.66

5.0 out of 5 stars I found this book to be immensely engaging and fun to read., February 29, 2016
Length:: 3:25 Mins

I found this book to be immensely engaging and fun to read. The word choice of the explanations is full of happy surprises. It's hard not to giggle reading this stuff. If you have a makerspace in your town, buy a copy of this book to leave on the social table (lounge area) of the makerspace. If you don't have a makerspace in your town, you can 3D print one.


The Son With Two Moms
The Son With Two Moms
by Anthony Hynes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.93
2 used & new from $12.93

5.0 out of 5 stars This book knocked me over. A compassionately told story with dozens of different dimensions., February 14, 2016
This review is from: The Son With Two Moms (Paperback)
Length:: 6:37 Mins

This book knocked me over. A compassionately told story with dozens of different dimensions. The author invites you to stand beside him at different moments in his life -- and you become the richer for doing so.

America still produces great authors. Tony Hynes is one of them.


The Official ScratchJr Book: Help Your Kids Learn to Code
The Official ScratchJr Book: Help Your Kids Learn to Code
by Marina Umaschi Bers
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.01
79 used & new from $9.37

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-done guidebook, January 31, 2016
Length:: 3:52 Mins

This is a well-done guidebook to help parents, siblings, teachers, friends and other family members get up to speed quickly with ScratchJr. As someone who already knows and loves Scratch, I was intrigued to see how the essence of Scratch is retained, while providing a simple interface and fewer options. ScratchJr is by no means limited, though. There's tons of avenues for creative expression and coding still available with ScratchJr.


Who Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age
Who Owns the Learning?: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age
by Alan C. November
Edition: Perfect Paperback
Price: $17.46
74 used & new from $9.00

5.0 out of 5 stars This book opened my eyes and mind, January 19, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Length:: 12:21 Mins

This book opened my eyes and mind. With the same vivacious spirit he brings to his TEDx talks, Alan November shows us how and why there is a better way to educate students. When students learn through meaningful, authentic activities their motivation for learning rises dramatically. In that situation, they can far exceed anyone's expectations -- including their own. This book should be read by all teachers, principals, superintendents -- and most of all -- legislators.


The Queen of Katwe: One Girl's Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion
The Queen of Katwe: One Girl's Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion
by Tim Crothers
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.09
67 used & new from $2.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book made me think a lot and it left me feeling hopeful, November 2, 2015
Length:: 3:52 Mins

This book made me think a lot and it left me feeling hopeful about the possibilities of a better future for this world. In his storytelling, the author, Tim Crothers, transports you into the Katwe slum of Kampala, Uganda. In this harsh world, the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against the residents of the slum. And then a youth chess club is born in the mind of Robert Katende and through his teaching skill and determination, hope blooms for several youth -- including the overwhelmingly talented young woman, Phiona Mutesi. Read the book to learn more about her remarkable story. I sure hope a separate book is written about Robert Katende, the chess teacher and community organizer. His story is a vital one to be told and heard.


The Little Free Library Book (Books in Action)
The Little Free Library Book (Books in Action)
by Margret Aldrich
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.57
64 used & new from $11.86

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As fun and hopeful to read as The Whole Earth Catalog, September 17, 2015
Length:: 4:32 Mins

The book is a delight to read. It tells the origin story of the Little Free Libraries and then goes on to tell many engaging tales of how Little Free Libraries are effervescing hope in communities near and far. This book is clearly a labor of love by the author and the publisher. The last time I read a book that was so engaging and filled with hope is when I read the Whole Earth Catalog, back in the early 1970's. Your school or public library may want to buy multiple copies of the book to avoid readers queued up to read the book.

If you want to create a small miracle in this world, buy a copy of this book and slip it into a Little Free Library in your own town.
Someone's life is going to light up when they stumble upon it. Drop off a copy at your favorite barber shop, too. Then stop by the next day, pretending as if you need a haircut to witness people's reactions to the book. Act nonchalant. Very nonchalant. Leave the barber shop with a barely-contained knowing smile.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2015 5:41 PM PDT


The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance
The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance
by Jim Whitehurst
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.53
102 used & new from $9.35

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical business strategy book, August 29, 2015
Length:: 3:37 Mins

This is not your typical business strategy book. Rather, the book describes how a complete change in organizational culture -- flattening the organization's hierarchy -- can make companies and organizations more competitive, while at the same time increasing the dignity and purpose of employees. The author explains his ideas and point of view from stories gathered from his work at Red Hat, the large and very succcesful Linux company.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2015 9:05 AM PDT


Constitution Cafe: Jefferson's Brew for a True Revolution
Constitution Cafe: Jefferson's Brew for a True Revolution
by Christopher Phillips
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.08
73 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging and entertaining read, February 23, 2014
Length:: 3:39 Mins

This book is an engaging and entertaining read. It made me rethink anew the way I rethink anew things. And then I rethank everything that I rethunk until I was literally out of metaphorical breath. The book kicked some of my lazy cortex dendrites back to life, chastising them in the friendliest way: "Common you lazy dendrites. Get off your butt and start dendriting, won't cha?" By the time my brain reached chapter 2, all the pistons were pumping, the gears were turning and it was like: "Choo! Choo!" Christopher Phillips done good.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2014 8:46 PM PDT


The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers
The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers
by Mark Hatch
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.61
94 used & new from $7.07

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read that takes you inside TechShop and also the maker movement., November 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Length:: 3:37 Mins

A fun read that takes you inside TechShop and also the maker movement. The writing style makes you feel as if you're right there in the same room as the author. I've never visited a TechShop yet, but they're springing up all around the country and I relish visiting one sometime soon. Reading this book stimulated the creativity gears in my head. All of a sudden, a lot more seems possible.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2013 9:04 AM PST


The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
by Josh Hanagarne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.24
112 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and poignant. Provides lots of food for thought., November 18, 2013
Length:: 2:41 Mins

I love this book. It's both entertaining and poignant. Lots of human interest library stories are woven into this autobiography. This author is not only a treasure at the public library where he works, he's a treasure in the parking lot outside of that library, too. There's a very good chance his closest friends like this book, although he might have had to talk them into it.


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