Sunday, January 8, 2017

To Sir, With Love

The first book I read for he 2017 Reading Challenge was To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite. This book fits into the category - "A book written before you were born." I cheated a little because it was actually published the year I was born: 1959.

The reason I wanted to read this book is because I remember loving the movie, starring Sidney Poitier, when I was a teen. The movie came out in 1967, and the title song, sung by LuLu, became a Billboard No. 1 hit.

This book is a true account of E. R. Braithwaite's experience as a black teacher in an all white school on London's east side after World War II. Even though he was Oxford educated and a Royal Air Force pilot in the war, because he was black, he could not find a job.

He resorted to teaching because an opportunity presented itself in a school full of undisciplined kids. After trying several other methods to reach the students, he began treating them like the adults that they were, including a requirement to call him "Sir." Eventually, he gained their respect and opened up many opportunities for learning in their lives.

I now want to see the movie again, and I have requested it from the library. E. R. Braithwaite died in 2016 at the age of 104. I highly recommend reading the book and then seeing the movie.

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