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Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America

Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
Author: Paul Tough
ISBN 13: 9780618569892
ISBN 10: 618569898
Edition: First Printing
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: 2008-08-12
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304
List Price: $26.00

What would it take?

That was the question that Geoffrey Canada found himself asking. What would it take to change the lives of poor children—not one by one, through heroic interventions and occasional miracles, but in big numbers, and in a way that could be replicated nationwide? The question led him to create the Harlem Children’s Zone, a ninety-seven-block laboratory in central Harlem where he is testing new and sometimes controversial ideas about poverty in America. His conclusion: if you want poor kids to be able to compete with their middle-class peers, you need to change everything in their lives—their schools, their neighborhoods, even the child-rearing practices of their parents.

Whatever It Takes is a tour de force of reporting, an inspired portrait not only of Geoffrey Canada but of the parents and children in Harlem who are struggling to better their lives, often against great odds. Carefully researched and deeply affecting, this is a dispatch from inside the most daring and potentially transformative social experiment of our time.

The New York Times - Linda Perlstein

…when it comes to an introduction to the debate about poverty and parenting in urban America, you could hardly do better than Tough's book. The children of the uneducated and impoverished too often bear a gloomy inheritance, their futures set in stone from an early age. Within Canada's 97 blocks, Tough finds a different kind of legacy—one shaped by parents who have learned to pay attention to their children's developmental needs. With a support network unlike anything else in America, the children of Harlem can envision a future so many others expect as a matter of course.