I have devoted many years to writing about schools, but much of the time I am really writing about poverty. Paul Tough has devoted several years to writing about poverty, but much of the time he is really writing about schools.
This is apparent in his insightful book “Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America.” You don’t see the words “schools” or “education” in the title, but be assured this is one of the best books ever written about how poverty influences learning, and vice versa.
As usual, I am late reviewing the book because I took my time reading it. I got a copy in September, when it came out. Books like this I like to absorb slowly and carefully. I keep them in a small room in my house where I know I will be alone, at least for short periods of time. It makes for great concentration, even if my reviews always miss their deadlines.
I have institutionalized this personal failing by creating the Better Late Than Never Book Club, of which Tough’s book is the latest featured selection. The club — which sells no books and offers no discounts, sorry — celebrates volumes I consider so important that I review them even if they are months, and in some cases years, past their publication dates.