Book Talk

February 14, 2011 | CUNY Matters

Lessons for Parents . . .

organizingforeducationaljusticeOne of the most original, successful and influential parent-led campaigns to strengthen local schools in America has been the Community Collaborative to Improve District 9 (CC9), a consortium of six neighborhood-based New York City groups. In Organizing for Educational Justice: The Campaign for Public School Reform in the South Bronx (University of Minnesota Press), Michael B. Fabricant, a professor in the Hunter College School of Social Work, tells the story of CC9 from its origins in 1995 as a small group of concerned parents to the citywide application of its reform agenda — concentrating on targeted investment in development of teacher capacity — 10 years later. The book has been hailed as an in-depth account of community-based school reform that offers a powerful model for parents searching for ways to change public education.

50years. . . And for Unions

The United Federation of Teachers commissioned Neill S. Rosenfeld, a writer at the University’s Office of Communications and Marketing and the UFT’s former internal communications director, to detail its rise over the past 50 years from a gaggle of 100 fractious educational groups into what arguably is the city’s most powerful labor union. The richly illustrated book was offered free to union members and the UFT intends to post it at www.uft.org during 2011.

ItalianFolkFolklore, Italian Style

Reviewers have praised Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives (Fordham University Press), a collection of essays edited by Joseph Sciorra, as an “admirably varied, and classroom-friendly collection of essays on Italian-American folklore and vernacular culture,” gliding past “weary stereotypes and worn-out explanations to provide a fresh look and a fresh understanding of Italian lived experience in the United States.” Sciorra is associate director for academic and cultural programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College.

pointohappyPointing the Way

CUNY publications designer Miriam Smith and her daughter Afton Fraser, who has a young son on the autism spectrum, wrote Point to Happy to help turn reading into a joyful, shared experience for him and children like him who communicate best via pictures. As an adult reads from the book, a child can point to scenes depicting moods, activities, everyday objects and daily rituals like bedtime. Photos in the book, due out in March from Workman Publishing, are the work of Fraser’s sister, Margo Smithwick. Speech pathologist Toni Giannone, who teaches articulatory phonetics and the anatomy of speech and hearing at Lehman College, was consulting editor.