The Beautiful Tree: Book summary and reviews of The Beautiful Tree by James Tooley

The Beautiful Tree

A Personal Journey Into How the World's Poorest People Are Educating Themselves

By James Tooley

The Beautiful Tree
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009,
    268 pages.

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Book Summary

Everyone from Bono to the United Nations is looking for a miracle to bring schooling within reach of the poorest children on Earth. James Tooley found one hiding in plain sight. While researching private schools in India for the World Bank, and worried he was doing little to help the poor, Tooley wandered into the slums of Hyderabad's Old City. Shocked to find it overflowing with tiny, parent-funded schools filled with energized students, he set out to discover if schools like these could help achieve universal education.

Named after Mahatma Gandhi's phrase for the schools of pre-colonial India, The Beautiful Tree recounts Tooley's journey from the largest shanty town in Africa to the hinterlands of Gansu, China. It introduces readers to the families and teachers who taught him that the poor are not waiting for educational handouts. They are building their own schools and educating themselves.

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Media Reviews

"The author's engaging style transforms what could have been a dry if startling research report into a moving account of how poor parents struggle against great odds to provide a rich educational experience to their children." - Publishers Weekly

"Reminiscent of Greg Mortensen's Three Cups of Tea, this work is recommended primarily for academic and larger public libraries." - Library Journal

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