Global Classroom Teacher Book Club

2017-2018 Book Club

Coming soon!

2016-2017 Book Club

We take for granted that water is the foundation of life: our world doesn’t stand a chance without it. Access to clean, safe water for drinking, sanitation, and agriculture is scarce in so many places around the world—and this fact has consequences that impact us all. Our book club explores the geographical, economic, social, and political dimensions of the worldwide water crisis, and challenges teachers to take on one of the most pressing issues of our time with their young students.

Explore Global Classroom’s Reading Resources for the anthology book Written in Water

Participants will read chapters from the anthology Written in Water: Messages of Hope for Earth’s Most Precious Resource, and educators will incorporate portions of the book into their classroom teaching. Written in Water comprises of a collection of essays authored by heroes and leaders in the field of water solutions and innovations—a broad range of people from varied disciplines who have contributed to bringing awareness to and conserving Earth’s freshwater supply. This book is interdisciplinary and chapters are appropriate for Middle and High School students especially.

Participants in the book club attend 2 discussion sessions, each focused on different chapters from the book. Discussion sessions are 1.5 hours. Educators will also be asked to create classroom curriculum using the text, and to demonstrate how the book will be used in future teaching. Upon completion of 2 discussion sessions and submission of curriculum, eligible educators will earn 10 OSPI clock hours.

Session One:

Tuesday, March 28th from 6:00PM-7:30PM at The Seattle Times Building (1120 John St, Seattle, WA 98109)

  • Our first session will introduce the book, and focus specifically on ‘A World That Works,’ a chapter by Bill McKibben.
  • Bill McKibben, author, educator, environmentalist, and co-founder of, has prepared a video introduction. In it, Bill will introduce his background and interests in concerns around water and climate change, and his work in India, where the chapter is set.
  • We will also be joined by Marla Smith-Nilson, Founder and Executive of Water1st International. Marla will lead a conversation around Water1st’s groundbreaking work in facilitating clean water access in India and Bangladesh.

Session Two:
TBD, in consultation with book club participants

Global Classroom’s second annual book club is held in partnership with The Seattle Times Newspapers in Education and The Center for Global Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies


book cover_CityofThorns

MacMillan Publishers

2015-2016 Book Club

Global Classroom invites K-12 educators to join us for a winter book club examining the

complexities of life in Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya; a timely topic as the number of refugees around the world has reached an all-time high since World War 2. Together we will read the new book from Ben Rawlence and Macmillan Publishers entitled City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp.

On January 13, 2016 teachers in our book club had the opportunity to meet with City of Thorn‘s author Ben Rawlence for a conversation mediated by former Ambassador to the DRC Roger Meece. Ben offered insight into his experience as a researcher in Dadaab–the largest refugee camp in the world, and the location of his book–as well as provided ideas for ways to incorporate themes from the book in the classroom.

Thank you to The Seattle Times for hosting this event, and to Ben Rawlence and Ambassador Meece for a fascinating discussion about very urgent issues in the Horn of Africa.  

Educators were offered a City of Thorns Reading Resource Guide to accompany their reading, and are required to submit a City of Thorns Book Club Assignment by Sunday, February 28th


Follow up discussions with take place March 1 and March 3 at the following locations

Tuesday, March 1st 
4:30-6:30 PM 
81 Vine St., #500 
Seattle, WA 98121 

Thursday, March 3rd 
317 Thomson Hall
The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195


Various reviews describe City of Thorns:

“City of Thorns is a powerful and timely reminder of how unresolved conflicts, from Somalia to Syria, have contributed to the unprecedented global refugee crisis. Ben Rawlence’s intimate, vivid portrait of the forgotten refugees in Dadaab is a much needed effort to close the humanity gap between the West and the rest. A must read”—Kim Ghattas, author of The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power

“At a time when West governments are obsessing over migrant flows, City of Thorns offers unique insights into what prompts people to abandon their ancestral homes in the first place and the dreams that send them questing for a better life. Researching this book can’t have been easy. Ben Rawlence is to be congratulated not just for his accessible writing style, but for his modesty, pluck and determination.” —Michela Wrong, author of In the Footseps of Mr. Kurtz and Borderlines

“Compassionate and powerful, this book gets to the heart of the tragedy of Somalia, and the struggles that face those displaced by war and want in eastern Africa. To better understand the current crisis of migration in our modern world, start here.”—David Anderson, professor of African History

Sponsored by the Center for Global Studies at the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. The January 13 Meet the Author event was hosted by The Seattle Times. 
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