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The Bookshelf: July 7, 2016

In this week's Bookshelf, our content partner Kirkus Reviews highlights Substitute.

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Trib+Edu is joining with respected books authority Kirkus Reviews to bring you select reviews of books of note in the field of education. For more book reviews and recommendations, visit

SUBSTITUTE: Going to School with a Thousand Kids

by Nicholson Baker

An award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, Baker (Traveling Sprinkler, 2013, etc.) subbed mostly in the public schools of Lasswell, Maine, near his home over the course of 28 days scattered between March and June 2014. Reading this day-by-day record — the author substitute taught for classes ranging from first grade to special-education high school math — readers will be struck by how arduous it is simply to fill such long days for the young students. His book is literally a record of those 28 days, with verbatim conversations (we assume — did he record them? Or re-create them from notes?) that make for an amusing, spontaneous-feeling narrative, from which readers derive a sense of what it was truly like in the classrooms teeming with rowdy, diverse students. 

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