These affectionate letters to Francesca, a first grade teacher at an inner-city school in Boston, are rich with the happiness of teaching children, the curiosity and jubilant excitement children bring into the classroom at an early age, and their ability to overcome their insecurities when they are in the hands of an adoring and hard-working teacher.
Through the framing device of actual letters to a first-year grade school teacher at a New England inner-city school, Kozol (Death at an Early Age) explores themes familiar to readers of his previous works. He shares his passions about the education of children, including his opinion that vouchers will benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor, deep concerns about the privatization of public education, and ongoing disdain for the dishonesty he discerns lying behind the rhetoric about equality in education. His points are well documented in an extensive notes section that includes sufficient references to his own earlier writings to provide a retrospective view of this progressive educator's life work over the past four decades. In one quite lovely chapter focusing on the value of interpersonal relationships between and among students and teachers, he pays tribute to the late Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhoodfame) by describing vignettes from their shared classroom visits and subsequent correspondence over the last ten years of Rogers's life. Kozol has made important contributions to progressive education in his own life. A fine update of his ideas and insights; recommended for public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ4/15/07.]