Ken Robinson, Ph.D. – Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education

Sir_Ken_Robinson_at_The_Creative_Company_ConferenceKen-Robinson-Creative-schools-coverBack in 2006 Sir Ken Robinson gave a TED talk on creative education. As of this morning, the you tube video of that talk had been viewed over 32 million times by more than 300 million people. It is the most viewed TED talk in history. There’s a reason for that. In it and in his new book Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education Robinson goes back to the origins of the public school system and explains why the current model behaves how it does and what we need to do to change it.

His TED talk and subsequent interviews and now the book (Published April 22) gives insights into the problems with the design of the current educational systems that are instantly obvious once we’ve been exposed to them, yet we’ve never questioned them. One of the most strikig revelations was that there were no systems of public education around the world before the 19th century. they were all created in the ideals of the Enlightenment to meet the needs of industrialism. Robinson cites the grouping of cohorts by age, rather than skills or ability level, “as if we were going by date of manufacture,” and moving students in and out by ringing bells has a certain factory feel to it.

Standardization is the wrong way to go, he writes. We should be going in the direction of individualization, but there are powerful economic forces pushing us in the direction of standardization and testing. “ The testing and educational support industry is booming,” Robinson writes. “In 2013 it had combined revenues in the US alone of $16.5 billion. By comparison the entire US domestic cinema box office gross in 2013 was a little less than $11 billion and the National Football League is currently a $9 billion businesses.”

Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., is one of the world’s most influential educators. For twelve years, he was professor of education at the University of Warwick, and is now professor emeritus. Listed by Fast Company as “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” and ranked among the Thinkers50 of the world’s top business thought leaders, he advises governments, corporations, and leading cultural insitiutions. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2003, but lives in Los Angeles, which he described as “only a short plane ride from America.”

The book is full of fascinating insights and is a powerful call to change a system that is not working. To listen to our interview, click on the grey podcast bar below

Stasia Ward Kehoe: The Sound of Letting Go

The Sound of Letting GoCoverStasia Ward KehoeStasia Ward Kehoe is one of the dozen YA authors scheduled to visit Klindt’s Booksellers in The Dalles as part of their annual YA event. This year, it will be held May 30, 2015 , starting at 11 a.m.

The following description from School Library Journal does an excellent job of summarizing her most recent and powerful book.

Daisy Meehan is the kind of daughter who makes her parents proud. She is studious, a musical prodigy, and sacrifices her social life to help out with her brother, Steven, who has a severe form of autism. But when Daisy’s parents decide to institutionalize her increasingly violent brother, she revolts. She quits band and starts dating the local bad boy. Kehoe’s verse novel is a raw look at conflicting emotions and the healing power of music. Readers will be immersed in Daisy’s battle between relief and guilt as she comes to terms with the fact that her brother will be separated from his family. She feels trapped in the quiet, careful household created to appease Steven, and her tension is alleviated at the idea of living without her brother. Daisy must then confront her own guilt over her feelings. Kehoe explores the power of music as it heals not only Daisy’s pains but calms her brother’s violent outbursts. This realistic portrayal of a family nearly torn apart by crisis will interest fans of romance, music, and drama.

I’ll add that the blank verse form added an extra dimension to my reading and understanding. It became even more of a cooperative effort between reader and writer to construct a universe, and this one is particularly insightful. To hear our interview with Stasia Ward Kehoe, click on the grey podcast bar below.

Jojo Moyes – One Plus One

One Plus One cover by Jo Jo MoyesJojo-moyes pix copyright photo by-charlotte-murphyBelow is the publisher’s description of this book:

Suppose your life sucks—a lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. If you’re Jess Thomas, you do what you always do—make it work.

Jess and her family (including their giant, smelly dog Norman) begin their doomed-from-the-start adventure stranded on the side of the road next to a dilapidated Rolls Royce—sans license, sans insurance—having just been pulled over by the police for a missing headlight. And the unexpected knight in shining armor who rescues them? Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home Jess happens to clean. With big problems of his own, Ed, in perhaps his first ever unselfish act, offers to drive Jess and her dysfunctional brood to the Maths Olympiad and a prize that could turn everything around for Jess’s family.

This unlikely cast of characters is easy to fall for: Nicky, Jess’s stepson, wears mascara, doesn’t fit in at school, but is fiercely protective of Tanzie, Jess’s precocious math prodigy daughter; Jess and Ed are the kind of opposites you love to watch attract; and pungent Norman, the immovable mascot of the back seat, is the best guard dog you’ll ever find drooling on your shoulder.

About the Author
is the New York Times bestselling author of One Plus One, The Girl You Left Behind, Me Before You, and The Last Letter from Your Lover.  She is also the author of the e-only novella Honeymoon in Paris as well as Silver Bay and The Ship of Brides, recently out in paperback. Moyes also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines. She lives with her husband and their three children on a farm in Essex, England.

Jojo Moyes photo copyright by Charlotte Murphy

I found this book both laugh-out-loud funny and incredibly moving. To listen to the interview, click on the grey podcast bar below

Donna Henderson – The Eddy Fence

Donna Henderson PoetThe Eddy Fence PoemsTo celebrate National Poetry Month, Klindt’s Booksellers in The Dalles is hosting two great events featuring poet Donna Henderson.

On April 4, From 1:30pm – 4pm, Donna will teach a Writing Workshop. Writers will generate, share and discuss new material. Donna will provide useful prompts to get the creativity flowing. Space is limited. Call or stop by the bookstore to register. $30 registration fee and treats are provided.

At 5:30pm Donna will give a reading from her book, The Eddy Fence. Discussion, book signing and refreshments to follow.’

The Eddy Fence 

Donna Henderson’s new collection traces the contours of the ”eddy fence” where love and loss meet. In poems that confront a mother’s illness, a forest’s destruction, and the struggles to seed new life, she discovers a difficult beauty and passage to healing. Here we encounter a restless intelligence in dialogue with itself, seeking to enter the world more entirely through deeper and deeper seeing.

Donna Henderson

Donna Henderson is the author of two previous chapbook collections of poems, of which the first, Transparent Woman, was a finalist for the 1997 Oregon Book Award in Poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared widely in journals, anthologies and other venues, and have received numerous recognitions, including two Pushcart Prize nominations. Raised in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Donna received a B.A. in Education from the University of Massachusetts, and holds both an M.S.W. from Portland State University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. She is a practicing psychotherapist and lives with her husband, Rich Sutliff, in Maupin.

Donna Henderson’s The Eddy Fence was named an Oregon Book Award 2010 finalist!

To listen to our interview with Donna Henderson, click on the grey podcast bar below:

Fancy Nancy 10th Anniversary and Nancy Clancy, Star of Stage and Screen

Composite Fancy Nancy 10th anniversary and star of stage and screen Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss-Glasser vertThe mega-bestselling picture book phenomenon, Fancy Nancy, is known to millions of little girls for her dazzling wardrobe, her impressive vocabulary and her fondness for anything French.  This year, the FANCYNANCY series is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with the publication of two books, FANCY NANCY 10thAnniversary Edition and NANCY CLANCY, STAR OF STAGE AND SCREEN, a 10th Anniversary RV tour, and the launch of the new Fancy Nancy website,
In the special 10th Anniversary edition of FANCY NANCY, fans will enjoy a free downloadable song from the hit Fancy Nancy Musical as well as the lyrics to the song in the back of the book.
In NANCY CLANCY, STAR OF STAGE AND SCREEN, the fifth chapter book in the NANCY CLANCY series, its Nancy Clancy’s time to shine as she takes center stage in the school play! There’s no way Nancy will get stuck in the chorus again this year-she’ been practicing guitar for months and her audition was superb. So when Nancy gets a callback, she’s overwhelmed with joy! But after Nancy’s performance during the play is captured on a video that gets posted on YouTube, it seems her stardom has gone viral. Will Nancy’s humiliation get the best of her or will she find a way to embrace her newfound fame?
To listen to the interview with Jane O’Conner and Roben Preiss Glasser, click on the grey podcast bar below.

Dr. Margot E. Brown – Kickstart Your Relationship Now! Move On or Move Out!

Dr Margot E Brown 400This is the official description of the book from the publishers:

As a Licensed Marriage family Therapist, Dr. Margot E. Brown has helped thousands of couples save their relationships, but over the past two decades, she has seen a pattern of what couples routinely argue over – communication skills, money, sex, and affairs. Her new book hopes to resolve the underlying issue at the core of most couples’ dissatisfaction and address the concerns of the moment, not the past. In her book, Kickstart Your Relationship Now! Move On or Move Out! Dr. Brown outlines a key tool for couples to follow. It’s called the 72-Hour Rule.

You should only discuss (not argue) things that happened over the last 72 hours,” says Dr. Brown. “There’s no benefit to debating about the past from months or years ago. Couples must distance themselves from the past and focus on the now. Further, if you are upset about something, but decide it really isn’t worth bringing up in conversation to state your worries within the first 72 hours, the rule says to let it go. You cannot stew it you chose not to talk about it, so you have to let it float away. If it’s a topic you cannot let go, then bring it up within 72 hours of the event, talk about it openly, and then move on.”

Dr. Brown, who holds a Doctorate in Psychology, encourages partners to communicate more often, better, and to set parameters such as the 72-hour rule. Her easy-to-use book provides step-by-step exercises and charts to help couples improve their relationship.

The information above is just a hint at the depth and power of the book. We had a fascinating conversation, and to hear the interview, just click on the grey podcast bar below.

Author Philip Margolin at The Dalles Public Library Saturday, March 7 at 1 p.m.

New York Times bestselling Author, Philip Margolin is coming to The Dalles Saturday, March 7 at The Dalles Public Library at 1 p.m.

Woman With a GunPhillip MargolinHere’s some background on him from Wikipedia:

Margolin was born in New York City in 1944. After receiving a B.A. in Government in 1965, from American University in Washington, D.C.,  he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia until 1967.  He graduated from the New York University School of Law in 1970, and has worked for 25 years as a criminal defense attorney, an occupation of choice inspired by the Perry Mason books.He started to work in 1970 at the Oregon Court of Appeals.

He published his first story, a short story titled “The Girl in the Yellow Bikini”, in 1974, and became a full-time writer in 1996.

His second novel, “The Last Innocent Man” was adopted for an HBO movie starring Ed Harris. His third book, “Gone But Not Forgotten”  was translated into more than 20 languages, sold over 1.5 million copies, and was made into a TV mini-series in 2004 by Warner Bros. starring Brooke Shields and Scott Glenn.

His 19th novel, “Woman With a Gun” is the focus of his visit to The Dalles.

We interviewed him from his office in Portland Thursday, and he told us he was just putting the finishing touches on his 20th novel.

You can hear that interview by clicking on the grey podcast bar below.

Margolin’s website is here.