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Award-Winning Filmmaker Debuts Race to Nowhere

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Feb 14 – Feb 20, 2011 Edition Award-Winning Filmmaker Debuts Race to Nowhere

New York, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/February 15, 2011–Vicki Abeles, award-winning filmmaker of the nationally acclaimed documentary, Race to Nowhere, will deliver a seminal book on education and America’s children, which will explore how the nation got to this crisis point where the appearance of achievement is more highly valued than true learning, and how the effects of a culture of excellence have placed our children’s health and well-being at risk. Ms. Abeles, a mother of three and national advocate for educational reform, reveals why the current system isn’t working and how the fundamental philosophical underpinnings of our education system have gone awry.

Why have we lost our way and become so focused on “teaching to the test?” What costs, both physical and mental, are our children paying today—and what costs will we pay as a society tomorrow? And what can we do to ensure not just that our children are instilled with a love for learning but that they become passionate, well-informed, critical thinkers? These are just a few of the important issues Ms. Abeles will raise in the book, which will be written with freelance writer and former publisher/editor Laureen Rowland. Amy Einhorn, Vice President and Publisher of Amy Einhorn Books/ G. P. Putnam’s Sons, acquired World English hardcover, paperback, audio and electronic rights at auction to Race to Nowhere from David Gernert at The Gernert Company.

Ms. Abeles’ film, Race to Nowhere, has already become a cultural touchstone that has altered the conversation about education globally. Her book will urge us as a nation to reevaluate our priorities and create better ways to achieve excellence and a more satisfying and inspiring learning experience. Ms. Abeles’ first-person interviews with hundreds of students, teachers, and parents as well as some of the country’s top educators, researchers, physicians, and psychologists will be at the heart of the Race to Nowhere book, which will offer solutions that can help redefine how we measure success for this generation and the next. It will encourage schools, educators and parents to reexamine the education process and look at how to best inspire and rekindle the joy of learning. Ultimately, it will serve as a call to action that can shift our cultural mindset by offering a new vision and a road map for far-reaching educational change.

Ms. Einhorn commented, “As the mother of three children, Race to Nowhere is a book about which I feel passionate. Vicki Abeles has ignited a national conversation about the educational path our children are taking. By really listening to our children, and then consulting with experts, she has made hundreds of thousands of concerned people across the country question if our current system is resulting in true learning. Is it really resulting in giving our children the opportunities we hope?

“Talk to any parent and what you will hear is concern – concern that our children are more stressed and overextended than ever before. It is front page national news that our children are more depressed, and they are being prescribed more drugs than ever before. In what promises to be an important book, Vicki Abeles will provide readers with the facts and data they want, and with real solutions that they can start using immediately. I am extremely proud to welcome Vicki to the Amy Einhorn Books fold.”

Ms. Abeles said, “I am thrilled to be working with the extraordinary team at Amy Einhorn Books, and honored to be given the opportunity to write a book that will allow me to more deeply explore many of the issues, voices, and solutions the film so vividly brought to light. After seeing the film, audiences of parents, teachers, and students ask, ‘Where’s the book?’ They are demanding change. My hope is for this book to serve as a manifesto for the systemic change we desperately need in our culture and in our schools. When parents are armed with the facts and with solutions that really work, they will be empowered to make changes in their own families, schools, and communities, restoring the health and well-being of their children and ensuring our future as a nation.”

A publication date for the Amy Einhorn Books/ Putnam hardcover edition of Race to Nowhere has yet to be determined. Berkley Books will publish the title in paperback a year after it is released in hardcover.

Vicki Abeles, an ex-Wall Street lawyer and mother of three, became a filmmaker in 2007 to tackle critical social, political and educational issues that she felt were often ignored. She produced her first feature documentary, Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture, which hit a nerve with its vivid portrayal of today’s education system, featuring educators and experts, focusing on the students who struggle to navigate the harried, pressure-cooker culture that is today’s America. Since its premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival in the fall of 2009, over 300,000 people have seen the film at screenings across the country and overseas.

In distributing the Race to Nowhere film, Ms. Abeles developed a cutting-edge hybrid model, showing the film in schools, churches and local community venues as well as in commercial theaters. At the same time, Ms. Abeles launched a grassroots campaign to build a national consensus around the need to move away from the current quantity driven, test-centric, one-size fits-all approach in order to transform education, redefine success and achievement for young people and safeguard their health and well-being.

Ms. Abeles’ other credits include Associate Producer on the recently completed documentary, Miss Representation, and parent facilitator on Edutopia, part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. She lives in the San Francisco area with her husband and three children, and is working on several other films on issues affecting children, women and families.

Race to Nowhere is Ms. Abeles’ first book.

A freelance writer and editor specializing in nonfiction, Laureen Rowland was previously the publisher of Hudson Street Press, a Penguin Group (USA) imprint that she founded in 2003, as well as a literary agent and an editor at both HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Rowland, now a mother, is committed to facilitating purposeful, broad-based change in our educational system for the health and well-being of her three young children, and that of generations to come. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children’s trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group (www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.