Garn Press Interview Collection: Nonfiction – Russ Walsh, Esther Sokolov Fine, Curt Dudley-Marling, Ken Goodman

Garn books . . . “What actionable knowledge do we need to change the future now?”  

In these Garn Press interviews readers have an opportunity to meet the authors and learn more about them. Each is a teacher and writer of conscience driven by grand questions of social and Earth justice that must be addressed.

At Garn we continually ask: “What are the risks?” and “How can we address them?” As the Earth’s temperature spirals toward an increase of more than 2 degree centigrade the risks have become existential. If our children are to be protected from the catastrophic consequences of political and corporate self-interests a fundamental change must take place in the ways humans learn to live on the planet. Teachers know this. Their activism is central to the rapid swerve that must take place in public education to address the fundamental questions about human learning and how children are taught to sustain human societies and the planet.  

The authors featured in this post reject the political and corporate appropriation of public schools for commercial and military purposes. Russ Walsh, Esther Fine, Curt Dudley Marling, and Ken Goodman offer direction to take back control of public education. Their books are signposts. Each book takes on some aspect of the massive swerve that teachers and parents are championing to make schools more humane, and to provide academic and social learning environments that are more focused on creative problem-posing/solving projects and activities, rather than the present programming designed to make them into compliant workers and consumers.


Russ Walsh A Parent's Guide to Public Education Garn PressGarn Press Interviews: Russ Walsh, Author of A Parent’s Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century

Read interview with Russ Walsh

Russ Walsh has had a forty-five year career in public education as a teacher, literacy specialist, curriculum supervisor and college instructor.  After beginning his career as a secondary history teacher, Russ switched gears and earned a degree in literacy and then worked for much of his career in the literacy field, including stints as an elementary reading specialist, a Reading Recovery teacher and a literacy supervisor. He has taught at every level of education from kindergarten through graduate school. His major academic interests have been in reading fluency, content literacy, instructional practice and parental involvement in education. Russ blogs on public education, literacy instruction and teaching practice at Russ on Reading. Russ Walsh’s book, A Parent’s Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century: Navigating Education Reform to Get the Best Education for My Child, is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Reviews of A Parent’s Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century

“Russ Walsh is a knowledgeable, insightful critic of the dogmatic school reformers who are driving American education back toward the 19th century instead of ahead into the 21st. His analyses are on par with those of Diane Ravitch, David Berliner, Yong Zhao … “- Dr. Don Ambrose, Editor, the Roeper Review

Russ Walsh’s Parent’s Guide is a must read for any parent who is trying to make the best educational decision for their children. It is a clear, thoughtful response that will give parents wisdom, confidence and ease. Walsh is not only a professional, life-long educator, he is a beautiful writer whose style is thoughtful, clear and easy to read. A Parent’s Guide is the best guide for anyone who cares about public schools.” – Carol Corbett Burris, Executive Director of the Network for Public Education.


Esther Sokolov Fine Raising PeacemakersGarn Press Interviews: Esther Sokolov Fine, Author of Raising Peacemakers

Read interview with Esther Sokolov Fine

Esther Sokolov Fine is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, in Toronto, Canada, where she has taught since 1991. Before coming to York, she was an elementary teacher with the Toronto Board of Education. There, she taught in downtown public housing communities and alternative programs, including four years at the Downtown Alternative School (DAS). The book Children as Peacemakers (1995), which she co-authored with teachers Ann Lacey and Joan Baer, presents a history of the Downtown Alternative School and tells about the early years of peacemaking. Esther Sokolov Fine’s book, Raising Peacemakers, is available for purchase on AmazonBarnes and NobleApple iBooksKobo Ebooks.

Reviews of Raising Peacemakers

Raising Peacemakers shows that an authentic approach to managing child-to-child conflicts, learned in kindergarten, stayed with young children as they grew into adolescence and adulthood. It demonstrates by contrary example the profound error of standardized programs-in-a-box for “conflict resolution” and, by implication, much else in education.” – Carole Edelsky

“Esther Fine’s stories let readers learn how “doing peace” made and sustained lasting, positive changes in students’ lives.” – Patrick Willard Shannon


1080x580-curt-dudly-marling-garn-pressGarn Press Interviews: Curt Dudley-Marling, Author of Preparing the Nation’s Teachers to Teach Reading: A Manifesto in Defense of Teacher Educators Like Me

Read interview with Curt Dudley-Marling

Over the course of his academic career, Curt Dudley-Marling taught courses in language and literacy including early reading and writing methods courses for prospective teachers. He has published over 100 articles and book chapters and 14 books, much of this work focusing on language and literacy, Disability Studies, and classroom talk. Overall, his scholarship stands as a critique of deficit perspectives that implicate the families, culture, and language of students living in poverty in their high levels of school failure. His most recent research examines the effect of evidence-based discussion in elementary classrooms, particularly for students who are presumed to be at risk for educational failure. Curt Dudley-Marling’s book, Preparing the Nation’s Teachers to Teach Reading: A Manifesto in Defense of “Teacher Educators Like Me”, is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Reviews of Preparing the Nation’s Teachers to Teach Reading

“This manifesto comes not a moment too soon. Curt Dudley-Marling offers a spirited defense of teacher educators rooted in the reasons they choose to teach. Those in the trenches will greatly appreciate the fresh ammunition he provides.” – Anthony Cody, author of The Educator and Oligarch

“… A robust defense of an educational approach that is shockingly out of fashion in the policy world: a meaning-centered education that is irreducible to standardized test scores.” – Peter Smagorinsky, University of Georgia


1080x580-ken-goodman-bpostGarn Press Interviews: Ken Goodman, Author of What’s Whole In Whole Language In The 21st Century

Read Interview with Ken Goodman

In 1986, Ken Goodman published a small book with the simple title: What’s Whole in Whole Language? Garn Press has now published a new edition of What’s Whole that includes the never before published 1992-3 interviews with renowned 20th century researchers in the field of reading, as well as renowned scholars of today who have a lot to say about the education reform movement that has had a negative impact on the teaching of reading in US public schools. Denny Taylor at Garn Press interviewed Ken Goodman during the production and publication of the book. What’s Whole in Whole Language in the 21st Century? is available on AmazonBarnes and NobleKobo, and Apple.

Reviews of What’s Whole in Whole Language in the 21st Century?

“I think the essence of his work is the ethical and the moral dimensions.” – Jerome Harste

“My admiration is for his political acumen. Education does not just take place in classrooms. It is a political situation.” – Frank Smith

“In the American phrase that I’ve learned to love, ‘we need to wise up’. This book helps us do just that.”- Michael Rosen

“I have found that with Ken it is about making learning to read barrier free.” – Brian Cambourne

“His main contribution is freedom for teachers.” – Jeanne Chall


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