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

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


By (author) Paul Tough

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  • Format: Paperback | 310 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 203mm x 20mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 10 September 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Boston
  • ISBN 10: 0547247966
  • ISBN 13: 9780547247960
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 101,817

Product description

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 also 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.

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Review quote

"When it comes to an introduction about poverty and parenting in urban America, you could hardly do better than [WHATEVER IT TAKES] ."---New York Times Book Review "This is a serious book about a pressing issue, but Tough manages to make it an easy read with a cast of sympathetic characters ... We don't know how this story will end. In the meantime, there are lessons to be learned from the Harlem Children's Zone-----about the power of an idea, the role culture plays in student achievement, accountability, the indomitable human spirit. This book should be on every policymaker's reading list."---Washington Post Book World "A remarkable book ... a story more gripping and inspiring than you'd imagine social policy could possibly be."---GQ magazine "This unflinching book will motivate us all to take action and make our schools places of possibility and hope"---Essence magazine "This is an engrossing look at a visionary man and a bold experiment that has caught the eye of a wide range of politicians, including presidential candidate Barack Obama, who has promised to replicate the program throughout the U.S. if elected." --- Booklist (starred review) "Smoothly narrated, affecting and heartening, this book gives readers a solid look at the problems facing poor communities and their reformers, as well as good cause to be optimistic about the future."--Publishers Weekly "Outstanding literary nonfiction, distinguished by in-depth reporting, compelling writing and deep thinking."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "I wish every city had a Geoffrey Canada. As Paul Tough shows so vividly in "Whatever It Takes," Canada is a man of integrity and heart who knows what it takes to ensure that every child has a fair shot in life. His vision of a renewed Harlem community, and his accomplishments toward achieving it, attest to the power we all have to overcome poverty and hopelessness in America."--President Bill Clinton "At once a warm and immaculately reported piece ofl