Lorenzo Walker Tech HS & Institute of Tech

Monday, December 18, 2006

Off the Shelf 0607-4

Who am I Without Him?
By Sharon G. Flake
© 2004

Ten short stories about teenage girls and their relationships is the focal point of this book – though not all are from the girls’ point of view. In fact, one of my favorites is titled, A Letter to My Daughter, in which an absentee father realizes his 15-year old daughter is growing up and adds his 2 cents worth of advice on relationships. He says,

I’m gonna tell you about how to separate the plums from the prunes. ‘Cause it ain’t just that girls don’t pick the right guy. Shoot. They can’t even recognize the wrong ones when they come along.

Dealing with identity, self-confidence, parenting, sexuality, and emotions are all part of these short stories. Flake confronts their stories with reality, good nature, and sensitivity. Her writing flows easily and offers opportunities for reflection.

* 2006 Florida Teen Read book
My recommendation: 4½ out of 5 stars

Submitted by M. Coleman, Media Specialist

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Off the Shelf 0607-3

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World

By Daniel H. Pink
© 2005

Non-fiction, professional, and outcome-oriented, this book is likely not interesting to the high school student audience – but its content will impact them! Teachers, parents and adult students will take note of Pink’s predicted changes for the future. The introduction sets the stage:

We are moving from an economy and society built on the logical, linear, computerlike capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathetic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age.

Pink’s style of writing is informational, yet conversational. He familiarizes the reader with the left-brain/right-brain concepts and posits his ideas about the need for balance of the two in the Conceptual Age. Focusing on the “high touch” aspects of the right-brain, he outlines six essential senses needed to survive and succeed:

  • Design – in addition to the left-brained notion of function, it is important to consider creative and eye-appealing design,

  • Story – weaving a convincing story will be the counterpart to today’s persuasive arguments of information and data,

  • Symphony – Pink describes symphony as synthesis and “big picture” – balanced with analysis and specialization,

  • Empathy – although logic is important, the ability to understand, build and nurture relationships will be key,

  • Play – balanced with seriousness is the need to laugh, play and have fun,

  • Meaning – living our lives with purposes other than material goods!

As an educator, I found Pink’s ideas to be thought-provoking and his suggested activities realistic. Many can be inspirational for approaching instructional lessons in the classroom and in the hands-on laboratories. Although emphasizing “high touch,” the characteristics impact our ‘technical’ world, as well.

My recommendation: 5 out of 5 stars

Submitted by M. Coleman, Media Specialist

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