Good Books by Gail Baker

Good Books by Gail Baker

Recommendations for Children and the People Who Love Them

Ages 4-10

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013)

Rosie dreamed of being an engineer. She searched and found gizmos and gadgets and built imaginative machines.  Rosie was teased for her inventions, especially her unusual combination of materials. Meeting with failure, she would hide under her bed until, one day, she was encouraged to see a failure as a new beginning, something positive. Then, nothing stopped her.

If the World Were a Village:  A Book about the World’s People by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong (Kids Can Press, 2011)

This fascinating book challenges young readers to think about what we have in common with others around the world and to reconsider the struggles facing many far-away communities. Smith’s method of fractions and percentages is meaningful to children; he provides new understanding of and a fresh connection to the Global Village as a shared home and a shared responsibility.


Ages 10-13

The Boy who Harnessed the Wind:  Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope  by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, illustrated by Anna Hymas  (Puffin Books, 2016)

This story is based on a young teenager named William, who wanted to solve troubles caused by drought and famine in his country of Malawi. Forced to leave school because he had no money for the fees, William found science books in the local library and taught himself how to build a windmill. His idea was to generate electricity so his family could pump water to farm their land.  Too poor to purchase the materials he needed, William found scraps of metal and bicycle parts in junk yards and garbage cans.  With these, he crafted a rudimentary windmill that led him to other ideas and, eventually, he improved the lives of his family and his community. William became a local hero and an inspiration to others around the world.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery (Puffin Books, 2017)

“It’s delightful when your imaginations come true, isn’t it?“  In this celebrated classic, great reading for all ages, Anne is an 11-year-old orphan.  She lands in the home of two middle-aged siblings, the Cuthberts, who had wanted a boy,  strong and sensible, to help around the farm.  Using her imagination to answer all kinds of situations, Anne wins them over. With ideas flowing from many directions, her solutions to various problems are fascinating!  Given the gender restrictions of the early 19th century, Anne’s creativity lands her in all kinds of trouble.

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.

Special Feature

Satisfaction Guaranteed
Food for Thought
Matter, Metamorphosis, and Miracles in Grade 1
The World Is My Teacher
Integrated Learning at The Toronto Heschel School
Beyond the Buzz

Our Sages Tell Us

The 21st Century Renaissance Thinker
Chaos and Order
Re-Designing Formative Education on the Eve of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Transcendental Learning


Recommendations for Children and the People Who Love Them
Good Books by Gail Baker
An Ecosystem for Successful Learning
School of Salmon


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.