True Tales of First Grade
Discover the joys and sorrows of an excellent
inner-city elementary classroom and some inescapable conclusions.

Linda Katz’s book, Rise Up! Life and Literacy in an Urban First Grade, is a generous, thoughtful chronicle of elementary school education. Her enthusiasm for these first-graders in Room 18 of Seattle’s Hawthorne Elementary School, is infectious; and her relationship with the children, individually and as a group, is heartwarming and often humorous.

Reading this book, we follow her, a new literacy volunteer, as she learns from inner-city six- and seven-year-olds in the city’s most ethnically diverse zip code about their joys and worries, their humor and insights. The children, many of them poor, many of them new immigrants, are bright and endearing. Hawthorne Elementary, the recipient of special funding and projects due to its prior low test scores, shows the dramatic measurable progress that helps launch children into school success. The children’s confidences, essays, and poetry sparkle with humor and the unexpected viewpoints of childhood.

Along with the pleasurable company of small children, the author observes the creative teaching techniques of modern education, a startling contrast with those of her own Dick and Jane elementary school years.

Rise Up! concludes with some startling school district data and three common-sense recommendations for our public elementary schools to give all kids a fair chance. This book could not be more timely.

About the author. Linda Katz, Master’s degree graduate of the University of Michigan, enjoyed a long career in child welfare as a clinician, administrator, child advocate, and lecturer. As a writer and trainer she developed innovations to make the child placement system better serve our most vulnerable neglected and abused children, and taught these methods nationally and internationally. Along the way she has always been a poet. She is the author of many articles in professional social service journals, as well as poems in literary magazines. After retirement she found she was missing the company of small children and was lucky enough to find a place where she could be useful at Hawthorne Elementary School. She lives with her husband in Seattle.


Rise Up!
Life and Literacy in an Urban First Grade

by Linda Katz
ISBN 978-1-56474-592-7
160 pages, paperback, $14.95

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