Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sep 10, 2009 - Social Science - 304 pages
42 Reviews
What would it take?

That was the question that Geoffrey Canada found himself asking. What would it take to change the lives of poor children—not one by one, through heroic interventions and occasional miracles, but in big numbers, and in a way that could be replicated nationwide? The question led him to create the Harlem Children’s Zone, a ninety-seven-block laboratory in central Harlem where he is testing new and sometimes controversial ideas about poverty in America. His conclusion: if you want poor kids to be able to compete with their middle-class peers, you need to change everything in their lives—their schools, their neighborhoods, even the child-rearing practices of their parents.

Whatever It Takes is a tour de force of reporting, an inspired portrait not only of Geoffrey Canada but of the parents and children in Harlem who are struggling to better their lives, often against great odds. Carefully researched and deeply affecting, this is a dispatch from inside the most daring and potentially transformative social experiment of our time.   This e-book includes a sample chapter of HOW CHILDREN SUCCEED.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MichelleCH - LibraryThing

Ironically Paul Tough was a little tough on the parents he portrays in the Harlem Children's Zone and in my opinion, helps to promote stereotypes around dress, household composition and styles of ... Read full review

Review: Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America

User Review  - Mathew White - Goodreads

As an educator, I really enjoyed learning some of the details of the Harlem Children Zone project, Promise Academy, and insights from other programs, such as where administrators focus their resources ... Read full review

Selected pages


2 Unequal Childhoods
3 Baby College
4 Contamination
5 Battle Mode
6 Bad Apples
7 Last Chance
8 The Conveyor Belt
9 Escape Velocity
10 Graduation
11 What Would It Take
Back Matter

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About the author (2009)

PAUL TOUGH is an editor at the New York Times Magazine and one of America’s foremost writers on poverty, education, and the achievement gap. His reporting on Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone originally appeared as a Times Magazine cover story. He lives with his wife in New York City.

Bibliographic information