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  • Published: 19 October 2021
  • ISBN: 9781635420807
  • Imprint: Other Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $39.99

Forever Free

A True Story of Hope in the Fight for Child Literacy



A memoir and a call to action, this intimate look at America’s long-standing struggle to adequately educate vulnerable children offers valuable insights for effecting change in families, communities, and nationwide.

At the root of every important problem we face, from mass incarceration to income inequality, is an education system influenced by our nation’s fraught history. Just as past generations fought to ensure that all Americans could enjoy the right to fully participate in our democracy, so must we rally tirelessly to advance an educational agenda that promotes equity and inclusion. With the gap between white academic achievement and that of students of color widening, now is the time to turn our attention to the basics, and few would argue with the fact that the single most essential aspect of a good education is literacy. Beyond reading and writing, literacy encompasses a whole host of skills that allow us to develop our potential and succeed in society, including critical thinking, self-discipline, curiosity, leadership, and motivation. Helping all our nation’s young people, especially those who live in low-income communities, improve their literacy skills should be a top priority.

Numerous programs are operating around the country to address the issue of underperformance in light of the shortcomings of our public school system. In Forever Free, Tracy Swinton Bailey charts the journey of one such program, her nonprofit Freedom Readers. From a childhood shaped by books to a career promoting the love of reading, she describes the hurdles and rewards of academia, teaching, mobilizing, and fundraising. Bailey outlines clearly and persuasively how Freedom Readers’ one-to-one tutoring model has worked in the rural South, and how it can work across the US. This book will inspire and empower readers, and should be placed in the hands of educators and organizers at every level.

  • Published: 19 October 2021
  • ISBN: 9781635420807
  • Imprint: Other Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $39.99

Praise for Forever Free

Forever Free is an inspirational book that dives into the deep inequities in literacy instruction, while also leaving readers with great hope for what powerful literacy instruction looks like and can be if we build on and believe in the inherent strengths of our children. In highlighting the power of the collective, Swinton Bailey reminds us that deep change cannot be accomplished alone, but through collaborative effort.” —Carolyn H. Strom, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Literacy, New York University “Tracy Swinton Bailey lifts her voice and unwraps her struggles as she shares her story of connecting children of poverty with the freedom born from learning to read. With references to Frederick Douglass throughout the book, the author embodies the echo of his words, ‘Knowledge unfits a child to be a slave,’ in her determination to offer and expand the Freedom Reader model. In her words, she seeks to reshape the winds of change, and she does just that in her reinventing of Freedom Readers to respond to today’s evolving challenges.” —Jacqueline Grennon Brooks, Professor Emerita at Hofstra University and coauthor of Schools Reimagined: Unifying the Science of Learning with the Art of Teaching “Tracy Swinton Bailey has written a powerful story of her work building a literacy tutoring program that shows how the personal and political are interwoven in school reform. By connecting the threads between literacy and abolition, schools and churches, students and mentors, individuals and community, Bailey invites us to reflect on how the work of literacy is inexorably tied to our shared humanity.” —Justin Reich, Mitsui Career Development Professor of Digital Media, MIT

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