8
What am I reading?
Samantha Earley is the dean of the School of Arts
and Letters and an associate professor of English.
The Inheritance Cycle
by
Christopher Paolini 
Because I like to keep up with the
books my children are interested
in, I picked up the four-volume
Inheritance Cycle
A typical hero-
quest sort of fantasy series, this set
of four volumes follows the story
of an orphan boy named Eragon, who is raised
by an uncle on a mountain farm. Eragon finds a
dragon’s egg while he is out hunting one day, and
the dragon inside picks him and hatches.  The rest
of the story is a series of adventures that Eragon
and Sapphira (the dragon) have as they both come
of age. Those who like any of those elements listed
above, or who just want to keep up with their 5th,
6
th, and 7th graders, would like this set of books!
Creating Innovators: The Making of
Young People Who Will Change the
World
by Tony Wagner
This book is of interest to me to
help me be better in both my role
as a parent as well as in my role
as an educator.  The book is based
on Tony Wagner’s interviews with
some of the most innovative people in the world,
many of whom work for companies like Google
and Apple. Wagner breaks the book into various
chapters, focusing on how innovators are typically
raised and also what types of innovators there
are, for example STEM (science, technology,
engineering, mathematics) innovators and social
innovators. 
Hoop Roots
by John Edgar Wideman
Hoop Roots
is part memoir, part
creative non-fiction, and part
fiction, which is intriguing in and
of itself.  The most compelling part
of this book for me, however, was
Wideman’s stark look at what it has
meant for him to grow older.  He
frames his discussion of late middle age in terms
of basketball, particularly pick-up playground
basketball that he played from the time he was a
child growing up in inner-city Pittsburgh up to the
time in his life when he finally admitted that his
body would no longer do what his mind and his
spirit wanted it to do—when he was in his mid-to-
late fifties.  I re-read this book every two or three
years, and each time I read it, different parts speak
to me anew. 
Professor’s “Three Kids in a Car” takes
a ride on iTunes and SiriusXM
Education professor Neil Brewer
has spent his career taking kids
on educational journeys. He is
an author, a poet, a singer, and
with his latest endeavor – an
animated musician.
A song from Brewer’s latest
album,
Neil Brewer and Friends
are Back in School
,
was recently
turned into an animated 3D
cartoon by the animators at
Nightmill Studios in Denver, Colo. The song “Three Kids in a
Car” went to No. 1 on SiriusXM radio.
But reaching No. 1 wasn’t all the Brewer’s song accomplished.
Brewer partnered with the Harvard University Stem Cell
Institute to benefit children in yet another way. All proceeds
from the sale of “Three Kids in a Car” and the other songs from
his album go the HSCI to help end muscular dystrophy.
Here’s an excerpt from “Three Kids in a Car.”
Three kids in a car on a Monday morn,
each one wishin’ that the others weren’t born,
and they can’t say nothin’ ‘cause they’ve all been scorned –
cause their mother’s done had enough.
And the sister sittin’ in the front seat
(
who at this point of the song, you need to know is about three
months away from gettin’ her driver’s license)  
she’s thinkin’ to herself:
I can’t believe that I’m still ridin’ with them –
I hope that we’re not seen by some of my friends –
and if by chance, I fail the driver’s exam
then, I am running
away.”
For the full experience, please visit YouTube to view the
cartoon (search for BOTS – 3 Kids in a Car) or purchase the
song on iTunes by searching for Neil Brewer . All proceeds from
music sales are donated to The Harvard University Stem Cell
Institute.
About the Author
Neil Brewer spent the first 20 years
of his teaching career in 5th and
6
th grade classrooms, and is now in
his 12th year of undergraduate and
graduate instruction in the School of
Education at IU Southeast. Brewer
enjoys writing poetry and music, and
has taken the poetry of
The 8 O’Clock
Bell
to the stages of schools, theaters
and special events for many years –
always accompanied by music from the
album,
Neil Brewer and Friends are
Back in School.
listen to this