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Literally Unbelievable: Stories from an East Oakland Classroom Paperback – September 14, 2016
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About the Author
Bronwyn Harris is from Petaluma, CA, and lives in the East Bay. She earned her BS in psychology from UC Davis and her teaching credential from CSU Sacramento. From 2000 to 2007, Harris was a classroom teacher in Oakland. Later, as the Director of Education for Harbor House Ministries, she was again able to impact under-resourced children, as well as to employ some former students, now teens. Harris currently works as a writer, editor, and tutor.
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Generally, I have an incredibly difficult time reading nonfiction. It's just not something that has ever appealed to me and I find the writing style of most authors in this area to be dry. In this case, though, Bronwyn Harris presents a reality that is often overlooked in a manner that is both easy to read and incredibly effective. I could see some of these things playing out almost as if I'd been in the room to witness them. Having worked for several years in a school in a similar area to the one Ms. Harris taught in probably makes it far easier for me to believe and understand the realities she presents throughout this book. That might not be the case for every read and I imagine there will be a great many people who pick this book up and are shocked to the point that they flat out don't believe these very true stories. The are true, though, and stories like them are all too true in other parts of the country. As a society, so many people work very hard to help underprivileged children in other countries. That's great, of course, but it's entirely too easy to overlook the great need of so very many of the children right here in our country.
As a parent and a former educator, I am both appalled and utterly moved by what these children endured on a daily basis. I am infuriated by the way that our education system has and continues to fail to meet the needs of students in so many ways. I am also touched and impressed by the effort that those teachers, the few and far between who stick it out with the children others overlook, and really give them the things that others can't or won't. This book prompted so many heavily emotional reactions from me that I really can't begin to explain them all. I'm begging you, though, even if you hate nonfiction, even if you are sure that racism is dead and gone and that equality operates across the board in our country, please read this. Yes, you might be offended. Yes, you might be angry. Good! Get angry! Be offended by the reality that our world doesn't look the same from every set of eyes. Then get up and help do something about it.