Paul Tough chronicles Geoffrey Canada’s efforts to transform a community by transforming its children.  Whatever It Takes records the birth of the Harlem Children’s Zone and Promise Academy–both endeavoring to educate kids that have the odds stacked against them as a result of poverty and lack of parental involvement.

A few interesting quotes . . .

“Each era of state-sponsored generosity toward the poor in American history has been followed by an era in which government aid was judged to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

“There are more poor white Americans than poor black Americans . . . But it is also true that the official poverty rate among blacks, at more than 24%, is three times higher than the poverty rate among whites, which is about 8%.”

“Early interventions can make a big difference in the lives of poor children.  The final critical fact . . . is that the skills a child learns early on make it easier for him to master more complex skills as he grows up.”

“The best and simplest way to prepare children for a successful life is for their parents to give them everything they need at home, in their earliest years.”

For those of us committed to loving children at risk, Whatever It Takes is a compelling and hopeful read!