Gift Chalkboard Champions and Chalkboard Heroes this season!

When contemplating just the right holiday present to buy for your friends and family, consider gifting copies of Chalkboard Champions and Chalkboard Heroes. Each volume is packed with inspirational stories about remarkable educators in American history, and the historical implications of their pioneering work. These books make great gifts for individuals in the teaching profession and those aspiring to become teachers some day. They are also appealing to history buffs and social scientists.

Among the captivating stories in Chalkboard Champions is the story of Charlotte Forten Grimke, an African American born into freedom who volunteered to teach emancipated slaves as the Civil War raged around her. Read the eyewitness account of the Wounded Knee massacre through the eyes of teacher Elaine Goodale Eastman, and educator Mary Tsukamoto, imprisoned in a WWII Japanese internment camp. Read about Mississippi Freedom Summer teacher Sandra Adickes who, together with her students, defied Jim Crow laws to integrate the Hattiesburg Public Library. Marvel at the pioneering work of Anne Sullivan Macy, the teacher of Helen Keller, the efforts of teacher Clara Comstock to find homes for thousands of Orphan Train riders, and the dedication of Jaime Escalante, the East LA educator who proved to that inner city Latino youths could successfully meet the demands of a rigorous curriculum.

In Chalkboard Heroes, read about dedicated educators who were heroes both inside and outside of the classroom, including WWI veteran Henry Alvin Cameron and Civil War veteran Francis Wayland Parker. Learn about teachers who were social reformers such as Dolores Huerta, Civil Rights activist Robert Parris Moses, suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt, and Native American rights advocate Zitkala-Sa, all of whom put themselves at risk to fight for improved conditions for disenfranchised citizens. Discover brave pioneers who took great risks to blaze a trail for others to follow such as Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space; Willa Brown Chappell, the aviatrix who taught Tuskegee airmen to fly; Etta Schureman Jones, the Alaskan teacher who was interned in a POW camp in Japan during WWII; and Olive Mann Isbell, who established the first English school in California while the Mexican american War raged around her.

All these remarkable stories and more can be shared with someone you know this season.

Teacher and Suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt

CCCattMany times throughout history, talented teachers earn national recognition for achievements outside of the classroom. Such is certainly the case for Carrie Chapman Catt, a schoolteacher from Iowa who labored tirelessly to earn the vote for women.

She was born Carrie Clinton Lane in Ripon, Wisconsin, to parents Lucius and Maria Louisa Lane. Carrie was raised in Charles City, Iowa, where her family had moved when she was seven.

After high school, Carrie graduated from Iowa State Agricultural College, having worked her way through school as a teacher in the summer months. Her father, a subsistence farmer, contributed only $25 a year to her education, partly because he didn’t have a lot of financial resources, but mostly because he didn’t believe in advanced education for girls. But the young woman was determined to get a college degree. After her graduation, she continued to teach, earning a stellar reputation as an educator. In time, she was promoted to the position of  superintendent of schools.

Carrie could have remained in that comfortable job until retirement, but she was determined to improve the lives of the women of her day. The right to vote for women became her life’s passion. The intrepid teacher became one of the leading forces for the Suffragist movement, which lobbied state by state, and eventually descended upon Washington, DC, to pressure Congress into passing a constitutional amendment that would grant women the right to vote. Once that goal was accomplished, Carrie spent the rest of her life advocating for peace and human rights.

You can read about the life of this remarkable educator in my recently published book, Chalkboard Heroes: Twelve Courageous Teachers and Their Deeds of Valor, now available on amazon.