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Publisher's Summary

In this dazzling debut, Carla Shalaby, a former elementary school teacher, explores the everyday lives of four young "troublemakers", challenging the ways we identify and understand so-called problem children. Time and again, we make seemingly endless efforts to moderate, punish, and even medicate our children, when we should instead be concerned with transforming the very nature of our institutions, systems, and structures, large and small. Through delicately crafted portraits of these memorable children - Zora, Lucas, Sean, and Marcus - Troublemakers allows us to see school through the eyes of those who know firsthand what it means to be labeled a problem.
From Zora's proud individuality to Marcus's open willfulness, from Sean's struggle with authority to Lucas's tenacious imagination, comes profound insight - for educators and parents alike - into how schools engender, exclude, and then try to erase trouble, right along with the young people accused of making it. And although the harsh disciplining of adolescent behavior has been called out as part of a school-to-prison pipeline, the children we meet in this book demonstrate how a child's path to excessive punishment and exclusion in fact begins at a much younger age.
Shalaby's empathetic, discerning, and elegant prose gives us a deeply textured look at what noncompliance signals about the environments we require students to adapt to in our schools. Both urgent and timely, this paradigm-shifting book challenges our typical expectations for young children and with principled affection reveals how these demands - despite good intentions - work to undermine the pursuit of a free and just society.
©2017 Carla Shalaby (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By C. Ramirez-Rodriguez on 11-06-17

read it! so inspiring and super real!

it was great! loved it, cried for the kids and felt the frustrating aspects of school with them

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5 out of 5 stars
By Patois on 07-28-17

Insightfully brilliant

In Troublemaker you are given an insight into what is possible if you believe in the power of ideas and would like to know what it would be like if we put trust in the notion that children can learn in a variety of different ways. It reveals the struggle in education being a one size fits all solution for the education crisis. The real crisis is not advocating for love and thinking that there is only one strict, authoritarian style of education. It is the children that are labeled troublemakers, those that dare think outside of the box or who do not fit into current societal ideal norms that deserve to be given the freedom to learn in a way that best suits them. This is for teachers that want to find a better way to deal with those students that challenge you. I highly recommend this book for all teachers, parents, administrators and policy makers. This is a glimpse of hope towards fixing our overburdened, high pressured, high expectation education system. I eagerly await the author's follow up book. Thank you for writing this timely book.

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