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Reviewed by Jose Cornelio for Readers' Favorite
Beginner's Mind: From Shipyard to Harvard Yard - Embracing Endless Possibilities by M.B. McLatchey will revolutionize the way readers look at the education of the young. In this book, the author demonstrates how the so-called experts limit the endless possibilities that open the burgeoning mind of a beginner. The book features many stories, told from the perspective of the young and growing pupil. It is questioning, asking questions like why it should be subjected to a regime when it is expansive and adventurous and why it should trust the whims of others when it feels the throb of its own intuition. Each story, told in an utterly descriptive and captivating voice, gets a response from Miss D, who signs her messages with “Your Loving Teacher and Pupil.” She is the one who, instead of accompanying the kids back to class, allows them to find their way, saying, “You know your way back.”
Beginner's Mind is a book that every teacher and parent should read, one that offers a completely new approach, not only to education but to child upbringing. As I read this book, I could imagine the numerous instances I have stifled the growth of my own son with my outdated theories about growing up. The anxiety and questioning mind of the child is portrayed vividly in this writing: “My brothers have already established a steady stride ahead of me. I charter my course to school, fixing my eyes on their backs. There is no way I could know yet what it will mean to trust my own instincts or to cut my own path.” There is a dialogue that exists between the growing mind and the teacher, and that is established between the nameless characters of this book and Miss D. This memoir is rippling with wisdom and creative genius, picking realistic examples to reinforce lessons that everyone should learn. It is one of the best things anyone can read about growing up and learning, and it offers incredible tools to those who care for children, showing them the way to help children build confidence and grow within the limits of their own strengths. It is as engaging and inspiring as it is entertaining.