Ron Clark begins The Excellent 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Childrenby recalling his most terrifying teacher, a science teacher of singular intensity. She came to school every day, even when back problems forced her to be carted into the classroom on a stretcher. She expected the same devotion from her pupils. Every school has these so-called "tough" teachers, and Clark contends they are the ones who make a difference. He should know he was named the Disney Teacher of the Year in 2001, and his first book, The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child (2003), became a best-selling phenomenon.

For his new book, Clark traveled to schools in virtually every state, observing teachers and generating a "wish list" of 11 qualities such as appreciation and creativity that parents and educators alike should possess in order to help children flourish. For example, he advises school administrators that one of their most important tasks is to shower teachers with much-deserved appreciation. Pay teachers what they're worth, support them, ask for their feedback.

Clark's chatty, anecdotal writing and common-sense advice yields a book that will help parents, teachers and administrators alike in their quest to boost student achievement.

Amy Scribner writes from Olympia, Washington.

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