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Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World Hardcover – August 25, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
In his follow-up to Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, elementary school teacher Esquith focuses on financially disadvantaged but scholastically ambitious fifth-graders from Hobart Elementary School, located in the middle of a critically poor Los Angeles neighborhood. Directed primarily at parents, educators and administrators, this volume offers anecdotes and suggestions for inspiring and encouraging each child to live up to his or her tremendous promise. Framed by the story of a Dodgers baseball game to which he brings a small group of students, Esquith notes the values of his students in contrast to many of the adult ticket-holders: punctuality, focus, confidence, selflessness, humility, and others. He then probes the meaning of each value, like the way being on time reflects a belief in control over one's destiny, as well as a sense of responsibility. Celebrating his young students' everyday accomplishments, Esquith outlines the struggles and stakes that face them all, while making teaching (and learning) look easy.
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About the Author
Rafe Esquith has taught at Hobart Elementary School for twenty-two years. He is the only teacher in history to receive the National Medal of Arts. He has also been made a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth. His many other honors include the American Teacher Award, Parents magazine’s As You Grow Award, Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life Award, and the Compassion in Action Award from the Dalai Lama. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Barbara Tong. Read CBS's news story on Rafe Esquith.
Top customer reviews
I couldn't seem to find the missing ingredient to the recipe for producing not only life long learners, but virtuous citizens. I found it here in this book. I have highlighted more sentences, and taken more notes than I have in years.
It isn't a quick checklist of things to do to produce great kids, but more like exposing them to different games, movies, books, toys, experiences and helping them gain character traits to "carry in their backpacks."
I was able to see some of my own shortcomings through reading this book. I will be taking the opportunity to experience and integrate these ideas into my life, so I may model better behavior to those around me.
I highly recommend this book to educators of all types, voters, school boards and administrators, and all those who want to be a positive influence in this ever changing world in which we live.
I just finished the book yesterday, and it was amazing. He teaches kids time management. (Is this taught anywhere else? It should be.) He teaches them life skills such as getting and staying organized. He gives them a love of learning, so that they do extra reading not just because it's assigned, but because the reading itself brings intrinsic rewards. And most importantly, he teaches them values such as generosity, honesty, and humility. The kids learn these traits and keep them for a lifetime.
(Although I am a Rockies fan, I didn't even mind that the book was set at a Dodgers game. Little humor there. Please don't write to me; I am a huge admirer of Joe Torre.)
The lessons Mr. Esquith imparts can work for all ages. We can all turn off the television and read more; we can all toss the video games and play a board game; we can all be more generous, honest, and loving, not just when someone is watching. I bought four copies of this book, and plan to buy more. I highly recommend it.
This particular title I had resisted more than his others because of the focus on parenting. Don't make that mistake, though, if you're a fellow teacher. Esquith's is an important voice, one that is not often enough considered in the current controversies regarding teaching. He is a testament to the concept that all good teachers try to teach their children--that one person can make a difference. He lives it, though, by literally devoting his life to his classroom. It's not a model most of us are willing or able to follow in an absolute fashion, but that doesn't make it any less inspiring or relevant. Filled with advice and anecdotes on teaching and parenting, this, like all of Esquith's books, is an important read.