Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gift Idea for the Teachers in Your Life

Usually in the spring/summer months we see an uptick in our sales of Broadway Books Gift Certificates (which never expire, by the way, and can be purchased in the store or online), as many of our thoughtful and generous customers buy end-of-the-year gifts for their children's schoolteachers. And really, who wouldn't want to get a gift certificate for a wonderful book-browsing-and-shopping experience??

This year we have a recommendation for a terrific little book into which you can slide those gift certificates that you pass along to the educators in your life: What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, by Taylor Mali.

My sister, who teaches at a middle school in Walla Walla, turned me on to Mr. Mali several years ago. He is a poet and former teacher who is a huge advocate for teachers and for the nobility of teaching. Through his New Teacher Project, he has a goal of creating 1,000 new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance.” Mali is formerly the president of Poetry Slam, Inc., the non-profit organization that oversees all poetry slams in North America, and is the author of two books of poetry and four spoken word CDs. In 2001 he received a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant to develop Teacher! Teacher!  --  a one-man show about poetry, teaching, and math which won the jury prize for best solo performance at the 2001Comedy Arts Festival.

In his new book, Mali pays tribute to the joys of teaching -- with a sharp, funny perceptive looks at life in the classroom -- and explains why teachers are so vital to our society. The poem that made him famous, "What Teachers Make," is a passionate and unforgettable response to an arrogant young lawyer at a New Year's Eve party who insulted Mali and the entire teaching profession. The poem, which leads off this book, went viral in its various YouTube iterations. I've pasted one version below -- I dare you to watch it and not get goosebumps; I do every time.

This sweet little book is delightfully packaged and, at only $19.95, will make a wonderful vessel for your thoughtful gift certificates. It will be welcomed and treasured by every teacher and everybody who has ever loved or learned from one.

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