Rise Up!: Life and Literacy in an Urban First Grade is an account of an ethnically and racially diverse classroom of funny, endearing, and often poignant six-year-olds in a Seattle inner-city elementary school. The author, their volunteer literary coach, describes the classroom, their heroic teacher, a number of clever teaching modules, and the evolution of this school toward excellence. The children's confidences, essays, and poetry sparkle with humor, and the unexpected viewpoints of childhood. Eight captivating students are profiled and featured for us in line drawing illustrations. In the final chapters some startling school district data is introduced as well as three common-sense recommendations to give all kids a fair chance in school. Having learned so much about the realities of public elementary education in her five years in the classroom, the author wanted to share the good news of what is possible with others who might otherwise view this as a grim subject.
Linda Katz 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 children, the abused and the poor, and taught these methods nationally and internationally. She is the author of many articles in professional social service journals. 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 the local elementary school. She lives with her husband in Seattle.