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Herbert R. Kohl

Author of 36 Children

50+ Works 1,321 Members 15 Reviews

About the Author

Herbert Kohl has written more than forty books. He was founder and first director of the Teachers & Writers Collaborative and established the PEN West Center and the Institute for Social Justice and Education at the University of San Francisco

Works by Herbert R. Kohl

36 Children (1967) 203 copies
Growing Minds (1984) 60 copies
Reading, how to (1973) 51 copies
The Age of Complexity (1965) 45 copies
On Teaching (1977) 32 copies
Book of Puzzlements (1981) 21 copies
Half the house (1974) 12 copies
On Becoming a Teacher (1986) 1 copy
Sports stories (1973) 1 copy

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Common Knowledge



For me, this was the right book at the right time.
Mark_Feltskog | 3 other reviews | Dec 23, 2023 |
A study of the education system in the USA (and the school system in general), and how it fails poor people, written in the 1960s. Fascinating observation on how unstructured, artistic and philosophically-driven learning can benefit children. Made stronger by the inclusion of stories and work by the children that Kohl taught (including the chillingly brilliant short story 'The Condemned Building' by Alvin). As a teacher Kohl seems to care about his students. Occasionally dated in language; some meandering sections and bland language spoil passages, but this is still a very relevant book.… (more)
1 vote
ephemeral_future | 3 other reviews | Aug 20, 2020 |
suggestions for freeing students within the system
ritaer | Feb 27, 2020 |
This is a collection of essays by an intelligent person with a severely constrained way of thinking. This is probably just the right sort of mind, for a person who has worked in the way he has. Each essay is on a fairly different topic and can be treated separately:

* Should we burn Babar? Questioning power in children's literature
A well-written, plausible essay which argues its way to incorrect conclusions from a bunch of false premises. One absurd premise is that a book for children must be charming, because children often are. Children often are charming to adults, but they are not charming to each other. When I was a child, I had no concept of "charming", and the books that I read were not charming to me. That a child's book must be viewed as charming by adults is due to adult self-deception. I read a review of "The Story of Babar" in which the reviewer describes the reaction of his daughter to the appearance of the hunter: she starts yelling to Babar to watch out. This child evidently does not experience the book as charming; she sees a terrible danger and calamity approaching; she is a far better reader of this book than any self-deluding adult.

* The Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Boycott Revisited
This is an essay about the way the boycott is misrepresented in children's books. These alter the story from one of careful planning and arduous effort over a considerable period by a well organized group of activists supported by a strong community to a spontaneous and easy effort sparked by the actions of one tired old lady. It's no way to inspire activists of the future. The real story is much more compelling and inspiring, and at the same time it's a blueprint for activism that, history shows us, can work. This essay was excellent, and I also learned more about the bus boycott than I had ever known before.
… (more)
themulhern | 1 other review | Jun 8, 2019 |


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