Good Books by Gail Baker

Recommendations for Children and the People Who Love Them

We all hope our children grow up to live in caring compassionate communities.  Their part is first to accept themselves for who they are and learn to be a supportive friend.

2 Good Books for Children

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall (Greenwillow Books, 2015)

If you are red, you are not blue. This wonderful story can be read on many levels; it speaks about staying true to yourself, no matter what obstacles come your way. Sometimes, even the wishes of well-meaning people must be respectfully declined.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio  (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012)

At long last, Auggie Pullman, is medically able to attend school; he is starting in grade 5. He has interests are typical of his age and was born with a significant facial difference. Told from the viewpoints of the people in Auggie’s life, story is emotional and engaging; we wonder how we relate to those who are different.  A valuable story for all ages. Palacio calls it “a meditation on kindness.”

2 Good Books for people who love them

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams (Simon and Schuster, 2016)

This biography of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court is curated through her writings and speeches. Engaged in the pursuit of social justice since girl-hood, Ginsburg shares her views on gender equality, being Jewish, and how it is to be a judge, even now in her 80s as she continues to make her mark.

They Called Me Number One:  Secrets and Survival at an Indian Reservation School by Bev Sellars (Talonbooks, 2012)

In her autobiography, which includes the story of her mother and grandmother, Chief Bev Sellars exposes cultural genocide in British Columbia and the psychological and physical abuse that transpired in its residential schools.  She lays bare the damage done and its continuing impact on the First Nations of Canada. The history is an unforgettable read.

Gail is one of the co-founders of the Toronto Heschel School and was the Head of School from 2001 to 2014. In 2003 she co-founded the Lola Stein Institute and in the past has served as the Director of the institute and the Learning Community Director. Gail has a MEd in Curriculum Development from OISE at the University of Toronto, and a certificate in special education and dramatic arts from the Ministry of Education.

Gail has extensive professional experience in various educational settings. She is currently co-directing the Intergenerational Classroom, a program where students from the Toronto Heschel School and elders from the Terraces at Baycrest learn together. She was the head of the Principal’s Association of Toronto’s Board of Jewish Education from 2009-2011.

Gail has written extensively about education. She is currently a columnist for think magazine, reviewing “Good Books”. Her previous column was Teaching Teaching. Gail co-authored a book with Otto Baruch Rand entitled, “Ancient Civilizations”, which integrates Jewish history with world history. In 2011 she co-authored with Judith Leitner and Pam Medjuck Stein an article published in the Lookstein Center’s Jewish Educational Leadership journal entitled, “Transformative Jewish Education through the Arts”.

Gail has been a presenter in various settings in Toronto and in North American conferences. She continues to be involved in the Lola Stein Institute and THINK magazine.


The Lola Stein Institute (LSI) is a centre of inventive educational thinking and addresses the challenge to re-frame schooling for the exigencies of our times.