A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

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

Community Action Book Club


by Paul Tough, 336 pages, published September 10, 2009

**NEW** Questions for Readers to Explore
Scroll down for review, author interview and more

Discussion Forum

Readers are encouraged to Add Comments to describe how the book relates to your work, your thoughts on issues brought out by the author, your overall impressions of the book, etc. - see Guidelines for Comments.

Questions to Explore
  • What would you include as Geoffrey Canada’s most important leadership characteristics?
  • What similarities does HCZ have with your agency?
  • What makes HCZ unique?
  • Describe anything you learned from this book that could help make your agency stronger.
  • What impresses you the most about HCZ?

Please LET US KNOW if you have any suggested titles for future selections.

From GoodReads.com

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.

Author Interviews

Geoffrey Canada: "Whatever It Takes" To Teach Kids (NPR, 36 min 11 sec)

Whatever It Takes (Brooklyn Book Festival, 54 min, 47 sec)

Geoffrey Canada interviewed by Julian Bond (Institute for Public History, University of Virginia, Explorations in Black Leadership Series (1 hr 38 min 48 sec)

And More

Harlem Children’s ZoneHCZ Results

Promise Neighborhoods: Recommendations for a National Children's Anti-Poverty Program Inspired by the Harlem Children's Zone - PolicyLink & Harlem Children's Zone and A Results Focus for the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative - Harlem Children's Zone, PolicyLink, and The Center for the Study of Social Policy

Promise Neighborhoods - U.S. Department of Education

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