Cover image for Seven days of possibilities : one teacher, 24 kids, and the music that changed their lives forever
Title:
Seven days of possibilities : one teacher, 24 kids, and the music that changed their lives forever
Author:
Hartocollis, Anemona.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Public Affairs, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
314 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
Seven days of possibilities offers an inside look at the politics, history, and complex personal relationships that govern one typical New York City public school. But more importantly, it is the story of how one person can make a difference against those odds, rising above corruption, indifferences and regimentation with hope, music, and love.
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9781586481964
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
MT4.B7574 P3 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Johanna Grussner arrived in New York City starry-eyed. She was a young Finnish jazz singer looking for the big time. But it was hard to find steady gigs. Propelled by pluck, determination, and a smidgen of desperation, she obtained a job teaching music at P.S. 86, a public school in the Bronx. At first, it was just to pay the bills. But over the course of several years, Johanna formed an intense, transformative connection with her students. She helped turn them from tough, angry, street-smart city kids into a disciplined, technically proficient, soaringly beautiful gospel chorus.

Johanna came to identify so strongly with her students that she eventually took them to her hometown in rural Finland, to meet her family and friends, to perform in a gospel concert, and to show them what an alternate childhood--one of tiny schools, quiet classrooms, fresh air, wholesome meals, and endless music--could be like.

Seven Days of Possibilities offers an inside look at the politics, history, and complex personal relationships that govern one typical New York City public school. But more importantly, it is the story of how one person can make a difference against those odds, rising above corruption, indifference and regimentation with hope, music, and love.


Author Notes

Anemona Hartocollis is a reporter and columnist for the New York Times, where she covered education for five years. She lives with her husband and three children in West Harlem. This is her first book.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

At first glance-and especially because of the book's glib subtitle-it might seem Hartocollis is mining familiar territory. But this vividly detailed story from the New York Times education reporter isn't just another Hollywood-ready story of a teacher who brings music to inner-city kids. Hartocollis recounts the childhood and education of Johanna Grussner, a Finnish jazz singer who muscles her way through the bureaucracy of New York City's public school system to form a gospel choir at an underprivileged Bronx school. As a result, the heroes of this book-including a custodian who livens up the school grounds with tiger lilies from his own backyard-aren't just admirable, but real. And unlike most teacher-as-motivator success stories, this tale doesn't end with an inspiring concert uniting the community. This performance is just the beginning, the springboard for Grussner's dream of shepherding the eager students to her idyllic hometown in rural Finland. Even the somewhat reluctant and aloof school principal comes around in the end. His toast to the formerly unruly pupils during their Finnish adventure sums up the book's mood: "We all had the trip of a lifetime. This trip, although it's to her home, was never about Johanna. It was about her choir." What unfolds next is truly the stuff of Disney movies, but in Hartocollis's capable and careful hands it becomes a parable for social change. The author writes objectively and doesn't sentimentalize her account, resulting in a credible and challenging work. B&w photo insert not seen by PW. Agent, Liza Dawson. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Johanna Grussner moved from her native Finland to New York to become a jazz singer. Needing a steady income, she took a position as music teacher at P.S. 86 in the Bronx. New York Times reporter Hartocollis details Grussner's transformation from teaching merely to meet her rent to being a caring and effective role model for her students. Meanwhile, her students were transformed from tough, angry city kids into a disciplined and outstanding gospel choir. When Grussner moved heaven and earth to take "her" kids to Finland to perform, she shared with them a new world of fresh air, refreshing quiet, small schools, and music everywhere. An outstanding story of triumph over bureaucratic indifference (Hartocollis effectively details the pitfalls of an overextended school system), this book will appeal to anyone interested in teaching. Highly recommended for academic, public, and even high school libraries.-Mark Bay, Cumberland Coll. Lib., Williamsburg, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Prologuep. xi
Part 1 The Kingsbridge Heights School, P.S. 86 The Bronx, New York
1 Looking for Paradisep. 3
2 The Accidental Teacherp. 11
3 Location, Location, Locationp. 29
4 "Call Me Miss Johanna"p. 37
5 Dear Fingerprintsp. 46
6 "Happy Birthday"p. 57
7 "Ignore Them"p. 65
8 The Dead-End Kidp. 74
9 "Vem Kan Segla"p. 87
10 A Boy from the Neighborhoodp. 94
11 The Sublimated Love Affairp. 106
12 A Fifth Avenue Addressp. 123
13 "Please Trust Us"p. 137
14 On the Roadp. 150
Part 2 Aland, Finland
15 Homecomingp. 157
16 The Law of Jantep. 166
17 A Society of Womenp. 180
18 Bronx Bombersp. 192
19 Johanna's Secretp. 203
20 Paradisep. 209
21 Edible Flowersp. 212
22 A Scarlet Letterp. 224
23 "All the Small Things"p. 245
24 "The Trip of a Lifetime"p. 257
25 A Transient Personp. 274
Epilogue: A Letter from Mr. Goodfellowp. 289
Postscriptp. 301
Acknowledgmentsp. 309