Every day since 1981, Rafe Esquith has faced an L.A. public schoolroom full of kids who nearly all live in poverty and speak a first language other than English. By the time fifth grade's over for the day, Esquiths students have studied algebra and music, timeless literature, and economic and ethical principles, working harder than most other kids by voluntarily spending more hours in the classroom. They go on to attend schools like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. Esquith once told National Public Radio, "Until the playing field is level, I have to keep working."
The educators popular books come with a warning: Inspiring kids takes everything you've got. His new work, Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World, helps the adults in children's lives build pockets of thought-provoking integrity.
Esquith brings his message to the Valley with a rare out-of-school appearance and book signing at Tempes Changing Hands Bookstore. . The event's free, and attendance is likely to be huge; purchasing the book gets you preferred seating and signing-line position.
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Thu., Aug. 27, 7 p.m., 2009