Reviews by Becky H

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The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education
by Maya Frost
Use this information judiciously (10/29/2009)
This is a great book for a parent of middle and high schools students to read. The author's daughters did a fast track to their first jobs that you may (or may not) want to emulate! There is lots of good information in this book, but you need to balance her ideas against your own children's needs, desires and maturity level. Not all students want to, or should, barrel through high school and college in two or three years.

Her take on the pluses of living in a foreign country as a local are spot on! But don't believe her negative view of the International Baccalaureate program and immersion schooling. There are good and bad programs in both entities. She doesn't mention Waldorf Education with its global perspective and emphasis on the arts (But it IS expensive). She gives the Peace Corps only a brief mention. Both offer another way to get a global viewpoint, broad practical experience and several languages.

Disclaimer -- my daughter attended a Waldorf school through 8th grade, did the IB program through high school, spent a summer in Spain, attended a small liberal arts college where she was able to plan her own curriculum (magna cum laude), did an intensive language program at St. Petersburg University (Russia) on her own and spent the last 2 1/2 years in Kazakhstan with the Peace Corps and speaks three languages plus English. It STILL took her 6 months to land a job this year!
Baking Cakes in Kigali
by Gaile Parkin
Don't miss this one! (6/9/2009)
Angel, a Tanzanian living in Rwanda after the genocide, bakes cakes for celebrations. The book seems at first to be a gentle tale but slowly reveals the darker, yet uplifting, side of everyday life. Frequently funny, Baking Cakes is filled with wisdom, unforgettable characters and situations and, throughout, an indomitable spirit. Written with empathy and clarity and an obvious love of Africa and African culture,. this one will stay with you a long time. A book to read and re-read and then pass on.
A Girl Made of Dust
by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi
The last 1/4 makes slogging through the first 3/4 worthwhile (5/13/2009)
I was excited to start this book, but after the first 50 pages I had lost interest. The heroine/narrator was simply too young to tell or comprehend the story. Half way through the characters were still puzzles as was the situation they found themselves in. The most intriguing character was Amal, who doesn't speak.

That said, the last 70 pages WERE interesting and compelling -- finally something happened. If you are interested in the Israeli-Lebenon War and willing to wade through the first 150 pages of this adult (perhaps young adult) novel the descriptions and often times lyrical writing make it worthwhile.

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