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Extended Audio Sample Among Schoolchildren Audiobook, by Tracy Kidder Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.54 out of 53.54 out of 53.54 out of 53.54 out of 53.54 out of 5 3.54 (54 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tracy Kidder Narrator: Stephen Yankee Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2008 ISBN: 9781423359173
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Among Schoolchildren illuminates a year in the life of a fifth-grade teacher struggling to make a positive difference in the lives of her students. In Holyoke, Massachusetts, Christine Zajac toils far from the limelight. Her story, and that of her students is heart-warming and inspiring as she helps them to become full-scale human beings. We find that some are brilliant, that others are troubled, and that Ms. Zajac never gives up.

Even more novelistic and impressionistic than House, Among Schoolchildren is Kidder’s best book yet. Listeners will be drawn into the lives of feisty, funny, and tough Ms. Zajac and her equally endearing students.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Winner of the 1990 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 1990 Ambassador Book Award for American Studies
  • A 1989 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Crystal | 2/18/2014

    " I read this book in the nineties, when I was first starting out in my career as a teacher, and I was both inspired and disappointed by its depiction of the realities of public education in the US. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Ann | 2/16/2014

    " What can I say! I'm a Kidder fan! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jessica | 2/8/2014

    " So many problems with this book, I don't know where to start. Since it is really a first hand account, it doesn't academically look at the issues of race in the classroom. The writing is limited; too much looking at what Kidder thinks the narrator means. Don't recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edy | 2/5/2014

    " Buku yang bagus untuk para pendidik. Buku ini bercerita tentang suatu kelas yang dinamis karena adanya bermacam karakter siswa (seperti buku Laskar Pelangi-nya Andrea Hirata). Siswa yang bandel atau "nakal" hendaknya jangan dijauhi atau dilawan dengan kekerasan. Tapi dekatilah dengan "hati".... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 2/3/2014

    " Kidder spends a year in a fifth grade classroom in Holyoke, MA and records his experiences in this excellent, easy-to-read book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zarakoda | 2/2/2014

    " Narration of a fifth grade school room, complete with sociological, racial, and other concerns, make this book exceptional. What else to say? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 April West | 1/31/2014

    " to be honest, I haven't been able to finish this book and actually finally gave it away. I am a bit of an education-books junkie so I expected to like it. The writing was not engaging, and both the writer and the teacher seemed to focus nearly all their attention (at least in the early part of the book) on the boys in the class, which I find tiresome and infuriating. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marti | 1/31/2014

    " With a one star rating, the only reason that I finished reading this book, was that someome in our book group suugested that we read it. We had read his book, Hometown, which didn't thrill me much either. If another of his comes up as a selection, I shall just skip that month. I found it dull and boring, and rather repetitive. I have taught school. I think that the interesting parts could have made a nice article in The New Yorker. Presumably, most of us might agree that the more inteesting students are the ones with behavior problems. There are probably many people who love this book. I just am not one of them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B | 1/30/2014

    " 372.11 About inequalities in the Massachusetts education system. Tracy Kidder manages to make any subject interesting with his style of writing and including lots of insights into real people's concerns/problems. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael Harris | 1/26/2014

    " After Soul of a New Machine and Mountains Beyond Mountains, I liked this work. I feel it is a sobering account of education today and Mrs. Zajac is an exception. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 dead letter office | 1/25/2014

    " pseudo-journalistic account of a year in the life of a holyoke, MA teacher. i found it very interesting, but i read it simultaneously with volunteering in a holyoke, MA classroom. not entirely sure how it would stand up to dispassionate rereading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 1/23/2014

    " Written 20 years ago but still portrays how a teacher's work and commitment extends far beyond the school day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dee Toomey | 1/23/2014

    " I was a little skeptical about starting this book, as it is a non-fiction and those can sometimes be kinda "dry" reading. But this book reads like a fiction. The author spend 9 months in a 5th grade classroom observing and researching so that the "story" would be accurate and portray the realities of America's public school system. Although this book was written in the 80's I have a feeling not much has changed in our school systems. Fist, whenever a bill comes before congress to improve our schooling system, it is shot down. Second, any changes that have been made are made at local school levels. Are some schools better then others...you bet. But in general, we really need to do some educational revamping in our country to remain competitive in our world. (IMHO) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edy | 1/20/2014

    " Buku yang bagus untuk para pendidik. Buku ini bercerita tentang suatu kelas yang dinamis karena adanya bermacam karakter siswa (seperti buku Laskar Pelangi-nya Andrea Hirata). Siswa yang bandel atau "nakal" hendaknya jangan dijauhi atau dilawan dengan kekerasan. Tapi dekatilah dengan "hati".... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 1/8/2014

    " if you've ever considered being a school teacher so you can have summers off, read this book. You'll think twice...and you might just change careers. ;-) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Hunter | 12/31/2013

    " I used to teach in Holyoke, and before I did I read this book. The detail that he includes about the district, the Kelly School, and the neighborhood is very intense; compared to what Holyoke is like now, 25 years later, I'm surprised both by how much and how little has changed. I find the hardest part of this book to get into is Kidder's voice; he never involves himself in any of the stories he tells, even though he is in the room watching them happen. Having taught before, I can't imagine that a room full of schoolchildren would not notice the presence of an author in the classroom with them for the entire school year. It didn't necessarily teach me how to be a better teacher, but it did show me that I wasn't the only one experiencing the feelings and challenges I was encountering. This book would also open up a lot of discussions about race, gender, and class, and while those issues are not addressed as well as I would like within the book itself, if assigned to a class I could see how students would be encouraged to remark and discuss those issues. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 12/30/2013

    " This book shows how much drama is hiding almost anywhere you care to look -- in this case, in an elementary school classroom. It would be hard for anyone not to learn something from this fairly unvarnished account, hard for anyone not to feel for the students who face so many challenges -- and for the teacher as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 12/27/2013

    " Read this many years ago and found it delightful. Great for those who teach, believe in teaching and who value education. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie Harwood | 12/22/2013

    " Every teacher should read this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 12/11/2013

    " if you've ever considered being a school teacher so you can have summers off, read this book. You'll think twice...and you might just change careers. ;-) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 11/29/2013

    " I read this as part of my teaching coursework. I was ready to really enjoy the book, and it was okay, but not great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael Harris | 11/27/2013

    " After Soul of a New Machine and Mountains Beyond Mountains, I liked this work. I feel it is a sobering account of education today and Mrs. Zajac is an exception. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 11/24/2013

    " Great look at the American public school system. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Crystal | 11/17/2013

    " I read this book in the nineties, when I was first starting out in my career as a teacher, and I was both inspired and disappointed by its depiction of the realities of public education in the US. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alyssa | 11/11/2013

    " This book is written from the observer perspective of the life inside an elementary teacher's classroom. It is real with depth and insights seen only from the outside in. As a teacher, it made me relieved to read something not critical for education! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joanne | 11/1/2013

    " Like reading a documentary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mirele Davis | 10/25/2013

    " Terrific inside scoop on classroom teaching in a lower-class neighborhood. Informative, draws you in. Perfect for aspiring teachers--especially high school girls in grades 11 and 12. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Modisettwilson | 9/25/2013

    " Observation of a 'regular' teacher over the period of a year. Interesting to read an earlier book by Kidder which isn't quite as well written as his later ones. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Care | 5/31/2013

    " Bought at WFL for $2 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hulananni | 5/26/2013

    " I'm reading things that I've had on bookshelves for years....this is one of them. Interesting but sad picture of education in some parts of the U.S. As a nation we should be able to do better. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jessica | 5/21/2013

    " So many problems with this book, I don't know where to start. Since it is really a first hand account, it doesn't academically look at the issues of race in the classroom. The writing is limited; too much looking at what Kidder thinks the narrator means. Don't recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie | 5/14/2013

    " Nonfiction/Education: Tracy Kidder goes through an entire year in Mrs. Zajacs fifth grade classroom. Generally kind of a boring read, doesn't give much insite into teaching which was what I was looking for. Not one of Tracy Kidder's best "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 5/2/2013

    " Kind of depressing how little things have changed in education however it's also an inspiring read and somewhat hopeful at the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 11/9/2012

    " Read this many years ago and found it delightful. Great for those who teach, believe in teaching and who value education. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pattie | 9/24/2012

    " Kidder has explored old age, Third World medicine, the beginnings of the computer industry, and in this, he brings readers into the day-to-day world of the challenges of teaching in an underfunded public school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kara | 9/23/2012

    " I read this book about two years ago. It was lovely, heartbreaking, uplifting, angering, small and big. I love Tracy Kidder. What a great writer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 9/11/2012

    " Excellent book for all those interested in public education - a must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Quinn | 8/1/2012

    " Of the Tracy Kidder books I've read (House, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Strength in What Remains, Hometown) I found this to be his best written and most interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 7/3/2012

    " From a family of literally dozens of teachers, so I'm a sucker for a good book about 'em. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trisha | 5/29/2012

    " good look into the life of a teacher. They can do so much good if they're up to the task. Such important work. Not enough of them are suited to it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laura | 4/25/2012

    " I really like Tracy Kidder but this wasn't one of his best. I love the concept of his topic but it didn't draw me in nearly like I expected it to. It's an okay read but didn't love it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colleen | 4/16/2012

    " Really well written. Slightly dated, just because it's from the eighties, but I always enjoy reading about teachers and their classrooms. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirstin | 9/13/2011

    " Another textbook. Are you guys noticing any trends here? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katy | 6/14/2011

    " I vaguely recall reading this before I started teaching, to see what it might be like. Now I sort of feel like the book is not a lot like what it is like at all. Huh. I am not as pleased with this Tracy Kidder as I was with Mountains Beyond Mountains. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandra | 5/17/2011

    " This is a very interesting book about what it means to be a teacher. Still relevant, a perfect book if you are interested in education. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 4/3/2011

    " Written 20 years ago but still portrays how a teacher's work and commitment extends far beyond the school day. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trisha | 3/10/2011

    " good look into the life of a teacher. They can do so much good if they're up to the task. Such important work. Not enough of them are suited to it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 2/12/2011

    " Of the Tracy Kidder books I've read (House, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Strength in What Remains, Hometown) I found this to be his best written and most interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hannah | 12/18/2010

    " told from an third-person-with-no-explanation narrative rarely found in nonfiction that left me constantly wondering about the hows and whens of Kidder's research.

    Interesting, nonetheless, but oh boy it dragged in the middle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 12/3/2010

    " Gave me a good appreciation of teachers in immigrant neighborhoods, but not quite up to his book on Haiti - Mountains beyond Mountains. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Miriam | 7/29/2010

    " I chose to stop reading this book. It wasn't what I had hoped for at all. It was a sort of interesting personal story but there was no larger context that I was really hoping for. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zarakoda | 7/18/2010

    " Narration of a fifth grade school room, complete with sociological, racial, and other concerns, make this book exceptional. What else to say? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lydia | 7/16/2010

    " Is it a novel? Or is it a true history of one Chris Zajak, who teaches in the Flats of Holyoke, MA? In order to write this, Tracy Kidder, himself, must have once taught public elementary school... or his wife did.

    Astonishingly good so far. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 4/23/2010

    " From a family of literally dozens of teachers, so I'm a sucker for a good book about 'em. "

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About the Author
Author Tracy Kidder

Tracy Kidder has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Award, among other literary prizes. He is the author of The Soul of a New Machine, House, Among Schoolchildren, Old Friends, Home Town, and others.