Welcome to the Aquarium: A Year in the Lives of Children

Julie Diamond, Author, Jules Feiffer, Foreword by , foreword by Jules Feiffer. New Press $25.95 (249p) ISBN 978-1-59558-171-6

Educator Diamond has worked with the younger set for 25 years. Most recently, she taught kindergarten at New York City’s P.S. 87, the setting for this memoir and sourcebook for current or aspiring teachers and parents. In the foreword, artist and writer Feiffer reminisces about his own school days, reveals that Diamond taught one of his daughters and offers words of praise for the book, citing its rich “sense of inquiry, observation, mission and self-examination.” Indeed, Diamond’s passion for her work, affection for the kids and her dedication to their improvement is evident throughout the book. Even as she describes her experiences with her pupils, she details the times she questioned her own judgment. She is also frank about how to engage a child and when to involve his or her parents: for example, she describes a student named Henry (whose “Welcome to the Aquarium” sign inspired the book’s title), who is initially reluctant to participate in artistic projects, and decides to call in his parents to talk about her concerns. Diamond’s honesty makes for a highly informative if overlong narrative. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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