cover image Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-Up, Muddled-Up, Shook-Up World

Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-Up, Muddled-Up, Shook-Up World

Rafe Esquith, Author Viking Books $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-670-02108-6

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.