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Archive for : reading

Repair Inspiration: New Harper Lee Novel on the Way

Literary fans, file this one under pure excitement. Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, will be releasing a sequel – 55 years after the first book was published. Published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird is known as one of the great books of the civil rights era. Her “new” book, Go Set a Watchman, which she actually wrote prior to Mockingbird, will come out in July. (Not surprisingly, it is currently the number 1 best-selling book on Amazon, despite being several months from publication.)

We’re inspired by Lee’s book for two reasons. Firstly, it will be exciting to read new words from the 88 year old author after years of silence. And secondly, while race inequalities continue to be one of our country’s greatest challenges, perhaps Lee’s new book can serve as a rallying call.

Find out more about Go Set a Watchman in the paragraphs below, and read the full story over at The New York Times.

Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Is to Publish a Second Novel
By: Alexandra Alter

For more than half a century, “To Kill a Mockingbird” has stood apart as a singular American literary masterpiece, a perennial best seller that has provoked countless classroom discussions about racial and social injustice. It brought instant and overwhelming fame to its enigmatic author, Harper Lee, who soon retreated from the spotlight to her native Monroeville, Ala. She never published another book, leaving her millions of fans yearning for more.

Now, at age 88, Ms. Lee has revealed that she wrote another novel after all — a sequel of sorts to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” featuring an aging Atticus Finch and his grown daughter, Scout.

On Tuesday, Ms. Lee’s publisher announced its plans to release that novel, recently rediscovered, which Ms. Lee completed in the mid-1950s, before she wrote “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The 304-page book, “Go Set a Watchman,” takes place 20 years later in the same fictional town, Maycomb, Ala., and unfolds as Jean Louise Finch, or Scout, the feisty child heroine of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” returns to visit her father. The novel, which is scheduled for release this July, tackles the racial tensions brewing in the South in the 1950s and delves into the complex relationship between father and daughter.

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Crowdsourced Summer Reading List!

Ahhh, summer. There’s no better time to head to your favorite bookstore or download a bunch of virtual tomes to Kindle and get reading!

Each summer, Repair the World puts out a hot weather reading list of our fave social change titles. This year, we’ve done the same, suggesting classic and hot-off-the-presses reads that are sure to inspire. But we also want to hear from YOU! Help us create the best-ever crowdsourced summer reading list by letting us know what world-changing books you’re bringing with you to the beach. Share your recs in the comments below or by tweeting @repairtheworld #SummerReading.

Maya Angelou
Beloved feminist poet and writer, Maya Angelou, passed away this year. Celebrate her life and work by reading (or rereading!) her classic 1969 autobiography, which explores subjects including racism, identity, and being a woman.

Dan Barber
One of America’s most respected chefs and food activists shares his thoughts on how the local food movement has failed to achieve its goals – and how it can do better. Barber’s food writing is as lively and passionate as it is informative, and this just-released book is among his best.

Elizabeth Warren
Read the newly-released autobiography of the Massachusetts senator – from her childhood in small-town Oklahoma to her current status as one of the country’s most passionate, rabble-rousing defenders of the middle class.

Jeffrey Sachs
Delve into some thrilling (really!) money talk, as economist Jeffery D. Sachs shares his knowledge and vision for creating a “safer, more prosperous future” for the world.

Malala Yousafzai
If you haven’t already, now is the time to pick up a copy of the courageous young Pakistani woman and human rights activist who refused to be silenced in her fight for education.

So, what are YOU reading this summer? Tweet us at @repairtheworld #SummerReading.

Back to School Spotlight: 826 National

August is “Back to School” month at Repair the World. Check back all month long for posts about inspiring education organizations, amazing educators, and ways to get your education on – whether you’re a student or not!

You know that thing when you read or hear about someone doing some great, world-changing work somewhere in the world, and their story is so profound and so elegantly simple that the mere knowledge of its existence alters your life for the better?

That’s pretty much exactly how we feel about 826 National.

Over the last decade, 826 has changed the lives of students in cities all over the country. They do this is two ways: first, they create super kid-friendly spaces – pirate shops (which sell, you guessed it, pirate gear), superhero stores, and robot supply shops, which make kids and adults happy just by entering them. And secondly, right behind those shops they offer innovative tutoring, writing and publishing resources for students to help them improve their writing skills and get excited about writing.

Founded in 2002 by the acclaimed novelist and education advocate, Dave Eggers, 826 now has chapters in eight cities across the country. With the help of volunteers, the 826 centers provide drop-in tutoring, field trips, writing workshops and more. They also focus on publishing original works by students, from essays to full-length books. They have touched the lives of thousands of students, and also the volunteers who tutor them.

Find out more about 826’s awesome work at the video below, and learn how to become an 826 volunteer.

Get Your Book On: Inspiring Summer Reads

There are exactly 39 days of summer left this year. That means, it’s time to finally brush off those dusty book covers or Kindles and dig into the summer reading list you’ve been putting off since Memorial Day. Aside from finishing up the Hunger Games series (for the second time) and catching up on the classics, now is also the perfect time to read up on volunteering, service role models, finding inspiration and changing the world.

The following collection of books was pulled directly from Repair the World’s bookshelves and given enthusiastic thumbs up from the staff here. There are a lot of inspiring words and ideas just waiting below.

Hearts on Fire
Hummingbird, 2011
This book by Jill Iscol and Peter Cookson shares the powerful stories of twelve different visionaries who managed to ignite their “idealism into action” and changed the world for the better in the process. If a dozen inspiring stories of true-life heroism and community action aren’t enough to convince you to pick up a copy of this book, the foreword by former President and current do-gooder extraordinaire, Bill Clinton, seals the deal that it’s an absolute must-read.

Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference
Granville Circle Press, 2012
Have you ever wished that you could use the power of your words and story to move people to make a difference in the world? Written by John Capecci and Tim Cage, two experts in the world of communications, this straightforward, easy-to-use book will teach even the shyest public speaker to share their story with compelling confidence. Words have the power to change the world – as long as you learn to use them wisely.

The Impossible Will Take a Little While
Basic Books, 2004
Your favorite global do-gooders from Nelson Mandela to Tony Kushner and Maya Angelou come together in this awesome anthology of “hope in a time of fear.” The book’s 50 essays range from past to present day and from stories of mass social movements to small-but-meaningful moments of individual and community inspiration. Warning: this book’s positive outlook is addictive. We dare you to read it and not feel more hopeful about the state of the world.

Writing to Change the World
Riverhead Books, 2006
Social-change journalism veteran and author of the New York Times best-selling book, Reviving Opehila: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, Mary Pipher’s book teachers readers how to influence the world for good with their poetry and prose. Pipher believes that writers can serve as the “rescue team” for our “tired, overcrowded planet,” and be a source of inspiration, education, and change. Want to use your writing to change the world for good? Read on…

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Vintage, 2010
Pulitzer Prize winning authors, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn take readers on a journey through Africa and Asia to meet women on the brink: sold into sex slavery, dying in childbirth, and treated as second class citizens, or worse, in their communities. The authors share these stories of suffering and show how we can help to transform the lives of these women and girls by supporting and empowering their economic progress. Read on and get ready to be inspired.

The Fair Trade Revolution
Pluto Press, 2011
The Fair Trade revolution has grown tremendously over the last two decades – moving from the fringe to the mainstream. This book, edited by fair trade expert John Bowes, explores this tremendous growth with personal stories and real-world examples. It is sure to inspire you to think deeply before buying that next cup of coffee or that new cotton t-shirt.

What’s your favorite “must-read” do-gooder book? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting @repairtheworld.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! Join in on Read Across America Day

Dr. Seuss, the beloved children’s book author and poet, would have turned 108 today. But his works, from Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in The Hat to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, are timeless classics.

This year, the National Endowment for the Arts is celebrating Read Across America Day – their annual day dedicated to spreading awareness and appreciation about the pleasures of reading – with a tribute to Dr. Seuss’ book, The Lorax which, we’re excited to say, just also happens to be coming out as a movie today! (Check out the trailer here.) Pretty Seuss-sational, right?

The mission for Read Across America Day is simple – help inspire the love of reading in others, especially young children. You can do that in many different ways: by running a book drive or creating and hosting a reading event at your school, to taking the lifelong reading oath, or simply by reading to a child.

Find out more about how you can get involved with Read Across America Day here, then check out the video below, which features the stars of The Lorax Movie:

Let us know how you’re celebrating Read Across America Day by tweeting us at @RepairtheWorld!

Repair Interview: Tatiana Grossman of Spread the Words

When Tatiana Grossman, a book-obsessed high schooler in California, found out that thousands of young children across Africa don’t have ready access to books, and that 35 million kids in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have access to education, she decided to do something about it.

Tatiana’s inspiration led to Spread the Words, a project she started to help improve early childhood literacy in Africa by creating physical libraries, by encouraging kids to write their own books, and by developing digital teaching materials for classrooms. Pretty cool stuff for someone who simultaneously has to deal with homework, extracurricular activities and college applications!

Tatiana took some time out of her busy schedule to tell Repair the World about how Spread the Words works, the super-lightweight digital educational projector she’s developing, and her lifelong commitment to tzedakah and tikkun olam.
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Celebrate National Youth Literacy Day

One of my favorite activities in elementary school was D.E.A.R – aka “Drop Everything and Read.” The basic premiss was to block out 20 minutes during the school day for kids to read whatever they wanted. It truly didn’t matter what book you chose (I usually read something from The Babysitters Club series) – the focus was reading for the reckless love of reading. (As a side note, Jewish tradition actually has a similar concept, Torah Lishmah which literally means to study Torah just for the sake of study.)

Today, August 26, is National Youth Literacy Day – an entire day devoted to promoting the love of reading and writing. In celebration, you can make a donation to the amazing organization 826 National, which runs volunteer-led writing and literacy centers in cities across the country (and was founded by author-extraordinaire, Dave Eggers). The organization touches the lives of 22,000 students every year.

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