Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman: A Life by Justin Kaplan
On this day in 1819 one of the most influential American poets was born—Walt Whitman. Often referred to as the father of free verse, Whitman published 6 books of poetry before his death in 1892—the most famous of which being Leaves of Grass in 1855. Kenneth C. Davis, author of the Don’t Know Much About series, has written a “Don’t Know Much About Walt Whitman” post on his blog today, sharing little known facts about the poet.

On our list, HarperCollins is proud to have Essential Whitman, a collection of his works curated by Galway Kinnell, featuring 18 of the poet’s works.

If you’d like an even more conclusive look into the life, work, and legacy of Walt Whitman, you should read Justin Kaplan’s National Book Award-winning Walt Whitman: A Life. Here, Kaplan presents a moving, penetrating, sharply focused portrait of America’s greatest poet—his genius, his passions, his androgynous sensibility—an exuberant life entwined with the turbulent history of mid-19th century America.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Helping Students Achieve their Potential: Dr. Deborah Kenny's BORN TO RISE

BORN TO RISE by Deborah Kenny
Dr. Deborah Kenny's Born to Rise: A Story of Children and Teachers Reaching Their Highest Potential describes the development and planning of the Harlem Village Academies, the network of charter schools which she founded. Dr. Kenny believed that it was essential to build a school environment where students take ownership of their learning and grow to become intellectually sophisticated, wholesome in character, and fiercely independent thinkers.

By observing public and private schools—both successful, and not—and speaking with other school leaders, Dr. Kenny believed that the principles behind progressive education should be the model for Harlem Village Academies. Born to Rise is a practical manifesto, explaining in great detail how Dr. Kenny’s vision came to be, and how the Harlem Village Academies is preparing a generation of students to be successful members of society who make a difference.

However, I feel that Dr. Kenny can characterize her mission better than anyone else. I invite you to read an excerpt from Born to Rise (pg. 82), describing the Harlem Village Academies’ vision:

We are persuaded that the marks of a successful student are precise thought, the ability to speak rationally and write clearly, summoning evidence to support one’s arguments, and accede graciously, when appropriate, to stronger opinions. The mastery of these habits of scholarship simultaneously requires and fosters the intellectual capacity and moral virtues necessary for students to become active and thoughtful democratic citizens.
Born to Rise has also received incredibly high praise:

“Deborah Kenny’s inspiring story holds powerful lessons for parents, teachers, administrators, and elected officials across the country.”

— Mayor Michael Bloomberg

“Our country needs more schools like Harlem Village Academies.”

— Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

For a limited time, I’d like to offer you a complimentary copy* of Born to Rise (ISBN: 9780062106209, $25.99) to examine for possible course adoption. If you’d like a copy, please fill out our promotion response form.

*First 200 educators to respond will receive a copy. Offer is valid in the U.S. only. This offer is non-transferable. Limit of one book per person. This offer expires June 8, 2012.

What Should Every Harvard Freshmen Read?

BEING WRONG by Kathryn SchulzWhen asked in a New York Times interview, "Is there any book you wish all incoming freshmen at Harvard would read?," Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard, said, "Kathryn Schulz's Being Wrong advocates doubt as a skill and praises error as the foundation of wisdom. Her book would reinforce my encouragement of Harvard's accomplished and successful freshmen to embrace risk and even failure."

What book do you think every college freshmen should read?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

High School Summer Reading 2012-2013

High schools have started to post their summer reading lists. Many high schools require their students to read at least one book over the summer. Others ask students to choose several from a long list of titles. Others require a specific book for different grades. Some encourage their students to visit their school and public libraries. Others hold book fairs, sell through their own bookstore, fill orders through a bookstore, or suggest that their students buy their summer reading from an online retailer.This year, we spotted a few schools that are sending their students to a store at Amazon dedicated to their school’s summer reading.

A growing trend is high schools that require all their students to participate in a One Book/One School program. For instance, this summer, the 1400 students attending West Chester East High School (Pennsylvania) will read The Art of Racing in the Rain. Parents and others in the community are encouraged to the read the book as well.

This is the time of year when Thomas C. Foster’s How to Read Literature Like a Professor—a favorite of AP English teachers—makes its annual run up the bestseller list. In addition to the usual classics (Our Town, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, The Great Gatsby, Black Boy, Brave New World, The Bell Jar, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Native Son, On Writing Well, The Awakening, Rebecca, To Kill a Mockingbird, Agatha Christie) many contemporary titles show up on these lists: The Bean Trees, Alive, The Alchemist, The Glass Castle, Crazy for the Storm, First They Killed My Father, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Matched, The Pact, The Hunger Games, Pirate Latitudes, The Life of Pi, My Sister's Keeper, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Freakonomics, The Things They Carried, and Everything Is Illuminated. C.S. Lewis continues to be required at private religious schools. It’s wonderful to see Little Princes by Conor Grennan on so many of these lists.

The major trend appears to be away from the more challenging and often classic books to more contemporary and popular titles.

We’re the academic marketing department so we can’t get enough of this stuff, and we hope you’ll enjoy looking at these lists and find them as helpful and interesting as we do:


We’re always updating our catalogs—and our new High School Summer Reading catalog is now available!


What will your students read this summer?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Now In Paperback. STATE OF WONDER: A NOVEL by Ann Patchett

State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett is now in paperback: a tale of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazonian jungle—it is both a gripping adventure and a profound look at the difficult choices made in the name of discovery and love.

Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina's assignment is easy:  not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend's death, the state of her company's future, and her own past.

Once found, Dr. Swenson, now in her seventies, is as ruthless and uncompromising as she ever was back in the days of Grand Rounds at Johns Hopkins. With a combination of science and subterfuge, she dominates her research team and the natives she is studying with the force of an imperial ruler. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina, who finds she may still be unable to live up to her teacher's expectations.

In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss.

Praise for State of Wonder:

“An engaging, consummately told tale.”—New York Times

“Emotionally lucid. . . . Patchett is at her lyrical best when she catalogues the jungle.”— The New Yorker

“Is there nothing the prodigiously talented Ann Patchett can’t do?. . . . Patchett’s last knockout pages proceed full-speed ahead, with more twists and turns and treachery than the Amazon River. Nothing is as it seems, and the ending is as shocking as it’s satisfying. . . . [State of Wonder is] extraordinary.”—Boston Globe

“The Amazon setting is something Patchett does rather marvelously. . . . The book is serious, but also so pleasurable that you hope it won't end.”—NPR

“Her best novel. . . . These pages have a pulsing, seductive rhythm. . . . The wonder of State of Wonder is that Patchett poses essential philosophical and bioethical arguments in a story that still speeds along like a literary thriller, reaching a tremendous, deeply emotional crescendo. Bella scrittura.”—Time magazine

Monday, May 14, 2012

And That's The Way He Was: CRONKITE by Douglas Brinkley

For decades, Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) was known as “the most trusted man in America.” Millions across the nation welcomed him into their homes each evening, first as a reporter from the frontlines of World War II, then later, in the emerging medium of television, where he hosted numerous documentary programs and anchored the CBS Evening News until his retirement in 1981. Yet this very public figure, undoubtedly the 20th-century’s most revered journalist, was a remarkably private man; few know the full story of his life. Based on access to Cronkite’s private papers as well as interviews with his family and friends, in CronkiteDouglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University, shines the spotlight on this American icon that will be of interest to students of journalism and mass media, as well as aficionados of masterful biography.

Brinkley traces Cronkite’s story from his roots in Missouri and Texas, through the Great Depression during which he began his career, to World War II, where he gained notice reporting with Allied troops from North Africa, D-Day, and the Battle of the Bulge. In 1950, Edward R. Murrow recruited him to work for CBS as both a reporter and later anchor of the evening news. Cronkite was also witness to—and the nation’s voice for—many of the most profound moments in modern American history, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy (see video below), the NASA space missions of Apollo 11 and 13, the Watergate break-in scandal, the Vietnam War, and the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Praise for Cronkite:

“Douglas Brinkley’s absorbing and well-researched book recaptures the high solstice of American television journalism and the man who most exemplified that moment. It also illuminates, behind the scenes, a Walter Cronkite that millions of Americans thought they knew, but, as Brinkley’s book now shows us, didn’t.”—Michael Beschloss

“Walter Cronkite exemplified the glorious age of trusted journalism, and rightfully so. He was a sensible and decent man. In this deeply researched and brilliantly analytic biography, Douglas Brinkley captures his essence. He treats Cronkite as not just an icon, but as a real human with passions, loves, and occasional enmities. It’s a fascinating and valuable tale.”—Walter Isaacson

“This sweeping narrative of Walter Cronkite’s life is irresistibly told, beautifully written, and deeply researched. It is hard to imagine a better match for ‘the most trusted man in America’ than Douglas Brinkley, who has produced one trustworthy biography after another, each one commanding widespread respect and admiration. And this is one of the very best.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin

Lynda and Area Madaras' "What's Happening to My Body" Series: Comforting Guides in a Time of Change

Our contest has ended, thank you for entering! Be sure to check back for more giveaways!

When Newmarket Press joined the HarperCollins team, they brought along with them an impressive list of titles. One series which we in academic marketing were very excited about is the “What’s Happening to My Body?” list by Lynda Madaras. With over 25 years of experience teaching puberty and health education, Lynda Madaras’ 12 titles have been priceless resources for countless scores of health teachers, parents, and children.

To mark these new books joining as an addition to the HarperCollins list, we are going to give away a starter pack of several key titles from Lynda Madaras and her daughter Area. Fill out the form below to be entered to win! The pack will include:
To enter to win this pack of titles, fill out the form below. Valid for U.S. residents only. Forms must be submitted by Tuesday, May 15. Winner will be randomly selected. You will be contacted only if you are the winner.


Also, stay tuned! We'll soon be releasing our "Health and Sex Eduation" digital catalog, featuring the Madaras books and more!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Ones Who Ushered In An Era. VICTORY: THE TRIUMPHANT GAY REVOLUTION by Linda Hirshman


Victory:  The Triumphant Gay Revolution is the story of how a band of extraordinary individuals brought on a sea change that, in just more than forty years, has transformed American cultural and political life. Drawing on archival material and in-depth interviews with nearly 200 movers and shakers of the gay rights movement, author Linda Hirshman, who has taught Philosophy and Women’s Studies at Brandeis University with a specialization in the study of social movements, persuasively chronicles a revolution that was—and continues to be—a battle of citizens struggling to define themselves and take their rightful place in society. Hirshman illustrates how the fight for gay rights has revamped the American landscape for all citizens—regardless of sexuality—blurring rigid gender lines, altering the shared culture, and broadening the definition of what a family is.
Praise for Victory:
“Linda Hirshman's Victory is the chronicle that the brilliant, unremitting gay movement deserves. Deeply informed with human detail, political theory, and legal analysis alike, it moves fluidly out of the closet to the precincts--Washington, the Pentagon, the courts, the laboratories--where the world has been changed, changed utterly. A genuine, sparkling tour de force.”—Todd Gitlin, author of Occupy Nation
“Linda Hirshman is at her fiery best as she weaves her controversial argument about how the gay rights movement succeeded where others stalled. A compulsively readable mix of philosophy, social history and journalism, Hirshman provides an invaluable understanding of the people across the years who have worked so passionately to increase liberty and justice in our union.”—Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don't Cry
“An astonishing work that seamlessly weaves together multiple stories into one authoritative volume. Highly recommended for political scientists, civil rights activists, and students of LGBT history.”—Mark Manivong, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (Library Journal, starred review)


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bowling Green State University's Common Read: Tori Murden McClure's A PEARL IN THE STORM

Bowling Green State University's class of 2016 will start their college adventure this summer by reading Tori Murden McClure's captivating and inspirational memoir A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean.

This story is not a memoir about great successes—of which Ms. McClure has many. Instead, the bulk of her inspiring story focuses on her first failed attempt to row across the Atlantic Ocean alone. After being rescued from the middle of the worst hurricane season in the North Atlantic, McClure must deal with the self-imposed disgrace tied to her failed attempt. She is forced to embrace her own vulnerability.


To get a sense for what the conditions were like on her first attempt, I invite you to view the emotional video below:



After meeting Muhammad Ali—and being told that she does not want to be known as the woman who “almost” rowed across the Atlantic Ocean—she decides to shake off the weight of failure and attempt her great feat again. With her characteristic wry sense of humor, she explores her interaction with failure—and how she responded and ultimately overcame it.

The common reading committee at Bowling Green State University perhaps puts this book into context best, noting that "A Pearl in the Storm is not only about McClure's trips across the Atlantic but also about her path to knowing herself—and about the kinds of battles that all humans deal with during their lifetimes."
If you haven't had a chance to read A Pearl in the Storm yet, now's your chance; dive in with the book's "Browse Inside!"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Another Common Reading Pick for Conor Grennan and LITTLE PRINCES

LITTLE PRINCES by Conor Grennan
We were delighted to learn that the entire incoming class of 2016 at San Jose State University will be reading, discussing, and engaging with Conor Grennan's Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal! Last year, students at St. Bonaventure University were empowered by Conor's story—and thrilled by his campus visit. This year, San Jose State University joins other institutions such as Central College, Michigan Technical University, Wingate University, and Otterbein College in choosing Little Princes.

Little Princes is the story of Conor Grennan’s epic battle to save the lost children of war-torn Nepal and how he found himself in the process. Grennan’s heartfelt narrative describes how a three-month volunteering experience changed his life forever. After coming to the shocking realization that most of the parents of the children at the Little Princes Orphanage were still alive, Grennan became determined to reunite the would-be orphans with parents who thought them long dead. At times an inspirational memoir, adventure tale, and love story, Little Princes is a real-life example of how great a difference one person can make in the world.

Have you and your students had a chance to read this powerful story yet? If not, get started now!



Thursday, May 3, 2012

RADIOACTIVE by Lauren Redniss: University of Wisconsin, Madison's 2012-2013 Common Read!

RADIOACTIVE by Lauren Redniss
The University of Wisconsin, Madison has announced its pick for the 2012 Common Reading Program: Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. This highly visual book depicts the Curies’ discovery of radioactive power.

The name Marie Curie is enshrined in every schoolchild’s mind as one of the earliest and most inspirational female pioneers in the history of science. Yet the rich, vivid, and romantic story of Marya Salome Sklodwska—the young Polish national who discovered radioactivity—has been lost to time, until now.


Lauren Redniss, a newly named Guggenheim Fellow, walks students through the story of Curie’s own life, which was marked by both extraordinary scientific discovery and dramatic personal trauma; from her romantic partnership with Pierre, through his tragic decline from radium poisoning and death in a traffic accident, to the scandalous affair with another fellow scientist that almost cost her a second Nobel Prize. Drawing on her original archival research in Europe and the United States, and a host of new interviews with Curie family members and scientists who carry on the Curie tradition, Redniss has created a fascinating and deeply moving book—as well as a unique work of art.

Redniss uses stellar writing and captivating art to encapsulate the complexity of the intersections between science, history, and biography. The images throughout the book were developed using a technique called "Cyanotype." It's a smart and beautiful choice that will get students and faculty reading and talking! The best way to get a feel for this innovative work is to see it; we invite you to preview Radioactive by visiting our “browse inside.”

Praise for Radioactive:
Radioactive is quite unlike any book I have ever read—part history, part love story, part art work and all parts sheer imaginative genius.”
   — Malcolm Gladwell

“Absolutely dazzling. Lauren Redniss has created a book that is both vibrant history and a work of art. Like radium itself, Radioactive glows with energy.”
   — Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Listen to Kenneth C. Davis on "The Takeaway"

Kenneth C. Davis, author of Don't Know Much About History, Anniversary Edition, has begun to do a series of segments for the nationally syndicated public radio show The Takeaway on the historical framework of  presidential elections. You can listen to Davis's first radio spot here.