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Reading List by Title
Amazing Grace by Amazing Grace is Jonathan Kozol's classic book on life and death in the South Bronx--the poorest urban neighborhood of the United States. He brings us into overcrowded schools, dysfunctional hospitals, and rat-infested homes where families have been ravaged by depression and anxiety, drug-related violence, and the spread of AIDS. But he also introduces us to devoted and unselfish teachers, dedicated ministers, and--at the heart and center of the book--courageous and delightful children. The children we come to meet through the friendships they have formed with Jonathan defy the stereotypes of urban youth too frequently presented by the media. Tender, generous, and often religiously devout, they speak with eloquence and honesty about the poverty and racial isolation that have wounded but not hardened them. Amidst all of the despair, it is the very young whose luminous capacity for love and transcendent sense of faith in human decency give reason for hope.
Publication Date: 2012-06-26
Babyface by When Jeanne McDermott's second child, Nathaniel, was born with Apert syndrome-a condition that results in a towering skull, a sunken face, and fingers webbed so tightly that hands look like mittens-she was completely unprepared for it. In this extraordinary memoir, McDermott calls on her dual roles as science journalist and mother to share her family's traumatic yet enriching experience. Though McDermott and her family had to endure Nathaniel's harrowing surgeries and the stares and comments of strangers and well-meaning friends, they were also transformed by the boy's amazing strength and exuberant personality. With grace, courage, and humor, McDermott shows readers how a child with a rare syndrome can illuminate "a whole new way of seeing, not simply him and others, but ourselves." "As richly peopled as a novel . . . Jeanne McDermott has taken her education in grief and its transcendence and given it, with tenderness and even wit, to her readers." (Rosellen Brown)
Publication Date: 2001-12-31
The Broken Cord by The controversial national bestseller that received unprecedented media attention, sparked the nation's interest in the plight of children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and touched a nerve in all of us. Winner of the 1989 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Publication Date: 1992-01-30
Is There No Place on Earth for Me? by This renowned journalist's classic Pulitzer Prize winning investigation of schizophrenia--now reissued with a new postscript--follows a flamboyant and fiercely intelligent young woman as she struggles in the throes of mental illness. "Sylvia Frumkin" was born in 1948 and began showing signs of schizophrenia in her teens. She spent the next seventeen years in and out of mental institutions. In 1978, reporter Susan Sheehan took an interest in her and, for more than two years, became immersed in her life: talking with her, listening to her monologues, sitting in on consultations with doctors--even, for a period, sleeping in the bed next to her in a psychiatric center. With Sheehan, we become witness to Sylvia's plight: her psychotic episodes, the medical struggle to control her symptoms, and the overburdened hospitals that, more often than not, she was obliged to call home. The resulting book, first published in 1982, was hailed as an extraordinary achievement: harrowing, humanizing, moving, and bitingly funny. Now, some two decades later, Is There No Place on Earth for Me? continues to set the standard for accounts of mental illness.
Publication Date: 2014-01-14
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by In his most extraordinary book, “one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century” (The New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents. If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine’s ultimate responsibility: “the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject.”
Publication Date: 1998-04-02
The Reason I Jump by "One of the most remarkable books I've ever read. It's truly moving, eye-opening, incredibly vivid."--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR * The Wall Street Journal *nbsp;Bloomberg Businessweek *nbsp;Bookish FINALIST FOR THE BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE FIRST BOOK AWARD * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER You've never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within. nbsp; Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: "Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?" "Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?" "Why don't you make eye contact when you're talking?" and "What's the reason you jump?" (Naoki's answer: "When I'm jumping, it's as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.") With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights--into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory--are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again. nbsp; In his introduction, bestselling novelist David Mitchell writes that Naoki's words allowed him to feel, for the first time, as if his own autistic child was explaining what was happening in his mind. "It is no exaggeration to say that The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship." This translation was a labor of love by David and his wife, KA Yoshida, so they'd be able to share that feeling with friends, the wider autism community, and beyond. Naoki's book, in its beauty, truthfulness, and simplicity, is a gift to be shared. Praise for The Reason I Jump nbsp; "A rare road map into the world of severe autism . . . [Higashida's] insights . . . unquestionably give those of us whose children have autism just a little more patience, allowing us to recognize the beauty in 'odd' behaviors where perhaps we saw none."--People (3-1/2 stars) "Small but profound . . . [Higashida's] startling, moving insights offer a rare look inside the autistic mind."--Parade "This is an intimate book, one that brings readers right into an autistic mind--what it's like without boundaries of time, why cues and prompts are necessary, and why it's so impossible to hold someone else's hand. Of course, there's a wide range of behavior here; that's why 'on the spectrum' has become such a popular phrase. But by listening to this voice, we can understand its echoes."--Chicago Tribune (Editor's Choice) "Amazing times a million."--Whoopi Goldberg, People "The Reason I Jump is a Rosetta stone. . . . This book takes about ninety minutes to read, and it will stretch your vision of what it is to be human."--Andrew Solomon, The Times (London)
Publication Date: 2013-08-27