January 24, 2010: A Conversation with Greg Mortenson - Illiteracy and Reluctant Readers - Darma Punks (Doc)

Hour 1: 'Three Cups of Tea' and Some Conversation with Greg Mortenson - It came out of nowhere in 2006 - an unknown little book by an unknown author, all about building schools in Afghanistan. Three Cups of Tea was a publishing phenomenon. It stayed atop the New York Times bestseller list for three years. It has been published in 39 countries and has sold in the millions; it's part of the curriculum on dozens of American universities and required reading for U.S. senior military commanders.

Read more here

Hour 2: Reluctant Readers - Throwing the Book at Illiteracy - Adults who love books know that reading stimulates the imagination, builds vocabulary and improves spelling and grammar. All good things. Unless you're a kid who doesn't like reading, in which case cracking open a novel is a chore to be avoided.

Read more here

Hour 3: Holy Carp! - Forget greenhouse gases. Never mind the destruction of the tropical rainforests. Ozone hole, schmozone hole. There may be a more pressing threat to our environment these days. And it's coming from south of border.

Read more here


Elsewhere on the show - This week the world lost two wonderful Canadians, Paul Quarrington and Kate McGarrigle, and so we dedicated some time to them; We aired Frank Faulk's documentary, Darma Punks; and in his essay this week Michael presented three examples of 'how' and 'why' the terrorists have won.

Music

Song: Dear Ruth
Artist: Cedar Walton
Album: Voices Deep Within


Michael's Essay

This week, Michael presents three examples of how and why the terrorists have won.

Music

Song: Golem Nights
Artist: The Flying Bulgars
Album: Sweet Return


'Three Cups of Tea' and some conversation with Greg Mortenson

It came out of nowhere in 2006 - an unknown little book by an unknown author, all about building schools in Afghanistan. Three Cups of Tea was a publishing phenomenon. It stayed atop the New York Times bestseller list for three years. It has been published in 39 countries and has sold in the millions; it's part of the curriculum on dozens of American universities and required reading for U.S. senior military commanders.

But who was this Greg Mortenson - a diffident westerner who grew up in Africa and described himself as "just another dirtbag mountaineer." And why had he taken as his mission the building of schools for children in some of the most remote and desolate parts of Afghanistan?

With the help of a cadre of dedicated men and women, he has built more than than 130 schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan -- schools for more than 58,000 children, most of them girls, in places where education was once little more than a pipe dream.His new memoir, Stones into Schools, takes up where Three Cups of Tea left off.

In 1999, fourteen horsemen galloped through a narrow mountain pass into Pakistan from Afghanistan looking for Mortenson. They wanted his help to build another school, this one in Bozai Gumbaz - a village inside Afghanistan that is so remote and inaccessible almost no-one has ever been there. He gave them his word that he would build them a school - a promise that would take herculean efforts and ten years to keep.

Greg Mortenson is co-founder of the non-profit Central Asia Institute. Last year he received Pakistan's highest civil award, "Star of Pakistan" for his efforts to promote education and literacy in rural areas and this year he was on the short list of candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. When he's not overseas, he lives in Montana with his two children and his wife, Dr. Tara Bishop. He joined Michael in our studio in Toronto.

BONUS CONTENT: Go to our Facebook page and see a picture of Michael in studio with Grege Mortenson.

Music

Song: Dakar
Artist: Jayme Stone & Mansa Sissoko
Album: Africa to Appalachia


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Music

Song: Chinquapin Hunting
Artist: Jayme Stone & Mansa Sissoko
Album: Africa to Appalachia


An Essay from Michael Geisterfer

Of all the heartbreaking pictures to come out of Haiti over the past couple of weeks, none are more compelling than those of the Haitian children, now hundreds of themn orphaned by the earthquake.If you have , just for an instant, thought of bringing one of these children into your own home...you are not alone.

There were, of course, hundreds, maybe thousands, of Haitian orphans before the earthquake. But the world wasn't looking at them so much then. Elijah Geisterfer- now of Chelsea, Quebec- was one of them.

We heard an essay written by Elijah's father, Michael Geisterfer.

Music

Song: Margarita
Artist: Maza Meze
Album: Hypnotika


Reluctant Readers - Throwing the Book at Illiteracy

Adults who love books know that reading stimulates the imagination, builds vocabulary and improves spelling and grammar. All good things. Unless you're a kid who doesn't like reading, in which case cracking open a novel is a chore to be avoided.

Reluctant readers, as they're known, often end up getting to high school while reading at a Grade Three level. Now teachers and librarians are discovering new ways of peaking the interest of kids who'd rather play video games or listen to their ipods. They're not giving kids "worthy books"- the classics, for instance- they're stocking library and classroom shelves with a new kind of novel written and presented to appeal to book-shy kids. It's a strategy that's working. And one that has a Made-in-Canada stamp on it.

In 2002, Orca Books, an independent publisher in Victoria, British Columbia, released the first in a series that targets these children. Orca Soundings took off and now - with 125 titles in the series - these books are in schools all over Canada, the US and around the world.

Andrew Wooldridge is the publisher at Orca Books, which last year celebrated its twenty fifth anniversary. He publishes and edits the Orca Soundings series which targets teen readers who are reading below grade level. He's commissioned well-known Canadian writers to produce books for this series which has sold almost a million copies. He's the father of three young boys, which keeps him aware - daily - of the importance of reading at all stages of life. He was in our Victoria studio for the show.

Eric Walters is one of these writers. He began writing in 1993 to entice his grade 5 students to become more interested in reading and writing. Each day he read from the story he was writing - which was set in their school, in their community and with some of the students as characters. At the end of the year one of the students suggested that he try to have the story published and it became his first book, Stand Your Ground. Since then he's published over 61 novels, ten of which are geared to Reluctant Readers. His books have won over seventy awards, and have been translated into many languages. Eric stopped teaching in 2003 to write full time and speak in schools across the country.

Brenda Halliday was the Librarian at the Canadian Children's Book Centre for five years. She's been a teacher-librarian for many years - first in Winnipeg and most recently at Upper Canada College here in Toronto. For the past two summers she has taught a graduate course in the Faculty of Information at U of T on building library collections, with a focus on children's and young adult literature. She is currently President of IBBY Canada - the Canadian section of the International Board on Books for Young People, a network which seeks to promote international understanding through children's literature and to encourage the publication of quality children's books, especially in developing countries.

They were in conversation with Michael Enright in our Toronto studio.

Music

Song: By and By
Artist: The Sojourners
Album: The Sojourners


Paul Quarrington Obit

If - as I think most of us would agree - the identity of a country finds its strongest voice in the imagination of its creative artists, then Canada is much the poorer this week for the loss of two people who exemplifed that spirit, Paul Quarrington and Kate McGarrigle.

Novelist, playwright, screenwriter, musician Paul Quarrington died last Thursday. He was 56. After he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer last year, he devoted much of his energy to his music. He released his first solo CD and a third one with his band PorkBelly Futures. He also finished a memoir. But Paul Quarrington was best known for his novels which were infused with equal parts humour and humanity.

Whale Music, loosely based on the life of rock and roll icon Brian Wilson, won the Governor General's Award in 1989, and was called by one American magazine "the best rock and roll novel ever written".

He turned his love of hockey into what would become a classic Canadian novel. King Leary won the Stephen Leacock Award for humour in 1987. And almost twenty years later the book was back on top as the winner of the CBC Canada Reads competition.

We also aired an excerpt of Paul Quarrington's King Leary, produced by CBC's Between the Covers and read by Michael Hogan.

Correction: In this week's obit for Paul Quarrington, Michael mentioned that Paul died at age 53. This is incorrect, Paul was 56 when he passed away last week.

Kate McGarrigle Obit

Early last week, the singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle also lost her battle with cancer. She was 63.

With her sister Anna, Kate McGarrigle became icons of Canadian folk and roots music, though unassuming ones. The McGarrigle Sisters didn't seek international superstar status, preferring to stay closer to home and their families. This endeared them to their fans who were were devoted and passionate.

After Kate McGarrigle died on Monday, we aired an email from folk singer Bob Bossin. He currenlty lives on Gabriola Island.

Music

Song: Talk to me of Mendocino
Artist: Kate and Anna McGarrigle
Album:
The McGarrigle Hour

Music

Song: Dance of the Chicken Snails
Artist: Denis Dufresne and His Acoustic Eels
Album:
Denis Dufresne



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Music

Song: Jaws Theme
Artist: John Williams
Album: Jaws Soundtrack


Holy Carp!

Forget greenhouse gases. Never mind the destruction of the tropical rainforests. Ozone hole, schmozone hole. There may be a more pressing threat to our environment these days. And it's coming from south of border.

Asian carp were first introduced to North America in the 1970s. The fish are very adaptive and very hungry - they can eat up to forty percent of their bodyweight every day. And catfish farmers in the American Deep South thought they were the perfect environmentally-friendly way to keep plankton and bacteria out of their fisheries. It worked. The catfish farmers were satisfied. But the carp were not content to stay down on the farm. Flooding in the Mississippi helped the carp escape their confines and get farther upriver. And by the turn of this century, tens of thousands of Asian Carp made their way to the Missouri, Ohio and Illinois Rivers. Now there's a serious concern that the invasive and voracious carp will make it into the Great Lakes system.

Last week, several US states and the province of Ontario asked the US Supreme Court to wade into the issue. They wanted the judges to order the closure of a waterway in Chicago which the fish could might one day ? travel through to get to Lake Michigan. And that, in theory anyway, could jeopardize the $7 billion dollar Great Lakes fishing industry. On Tuesday, the court decided not to order the shut down. But that didn't end the controversy. So President Barack Obama has proposed an "Asian Carp Summit" to talk about the situation with some of the worried governors of the Great Lakes states.

Joel Brammeier, President of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, which is North America's oldest independent Great Lakes citizens' organizations. He was in conversation with Michael Enright from a studio in Chicago.

Duane Chapman is also tracking the movement and behaviour of the Asian carp. He works at what he calls "Carp Central" - a research station in Columbia, Missouri. Mr. Chapman is a research fish biologist with the US Geological Survey. He is also the President of the Introduced Fish Section of the American Fisheries Society. He joined Michael in a studio at the University of Missouri in Columbia.


BONUS CONTENT: CLICK HERE to check out the added features we compiled for you for our piece on Asian Carp.


Music


Song: Water Music, Suite N 2 in D Mayor, Alla Hornpipe
Artist: Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Album: Handel: Water Music; Suite from "Il Pastor Fido"

Mail Pack

Many of you wrote in response to my comments about the increasing rotundity of Canadians, and the lack of activity in our lives that is making us a "nation of softies".

Also last Sunday we aired the first installment of our new media column called, Media Philes, to look at how the media are covering some of the more complex stories of our day. Last week we talked about climate change.

You can write to us about anything you hear on the program. Our email address is thesundayedition@cbc.ca. You can also write us a letter at The Sunday Edition, Box 500, Terminal A, Toronto Ontario M5W 1E6.


Music

Song: Old Mother Hubbard
Artist: Ori Dagan
Album: S'cat Got My Tongue



Dharma Punk - Documentary

By the time Noah Levine was ten years old he had quite a list of accomplishments under his belt: he'd been kicked of out of school, nearly burnt down his neighbourhood. He was smoking dope and drinking.

By the time he was seventeen he was spending most of his time in jail or doing something that would get him there. He seemed firmly committed to living out the credo of his punk rock heroes The Sex Pistols: "Die young and leave a nice looking corpse."

Not the kind of son to make a dad proud--- especially when your dad is Stephen Levine, a renowned Buddhist meditation teacher and authour.

Well, it took some time, but today, at the age of thirty-eight, Noah Levine is also a renowned Buddhist meditation teacher and authour. And he's the founder of a movement of former punk rockers who are still going "against the stream", but with a whole new attitude.

Noah Levine was in Toronto recently to spread the word with through a foundation called New Leaf Yoga. One of his stops was at Trails, an organization for inner city kids in tough circumstances. Eighteen of them - just starting grade nine - gathered to to hear the tattooed punk rocker talk about the path to inner peace. Dharma Punk was produced by Frank Faulk.

Music

Song: God Save the Queen
Artist: The Sex Pistols
Album:
Never Mind the Bollocks

Music

Song: John's Blues
Artist: Cedar Walton
Album:
Seasoned Wood

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