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Genius of Common Sense: The Story of Jane Jacobs and The Death and Life of Great American Cities

A New York Times Notable Book 2009 A Smithsonian Notable Book 2009

A Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book 2009

David R. Godine recently published Genius of Common Sense: The Story of Jane Jacobs and The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the first book to introduce young people to the influential author and activist Jane Jacobs. Her now-classic 1961 book convinced people to value their cities, called for an end to the wrecking ball of “urban renewal,” and ultimately changed the world. In words and pictures, Genius of Common Sense follows the obstreperous young Jane from her childhood in Scranton, Pennsylvania, through her groundbreaking work, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and her involvement in battles to save the very neighborhoods she wrote about.

Jane Jacobs’s lifelong principle of trusting her own observations more than conventional wisdom will inspire young readers to contemplate their surroundings, think for themselves, and participate in their communities. Readers of all ages will learn something new and enjoy this tale, abundantly illustrated with the authors’ drawings and photographs as well as many vintage photographs never before published.

Book Tour 2009
• Boston Public Library, May 13, with speakers Mel King and Bill Walczak
• Municipal Art Society, New York City, June 16, with speakers Roberta Gratz and Nicholas O’Han and photos by Robert Otter
• Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA, June 25
• Longfellows Books, Portland, ME, September 10
• Urbanspace Gallery/Swipe Books, 401 Richmond St. West, Toronto, Ontario, October 22, with speakers Ontario's Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne and Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughan

To honor the life and work of Jane Jacobs, on the first weekend in May, people across America and around the world organize and participate in free neighborhood walking tours that allow citizens to rediscover their city and one another. To learn about this growing tradition or to find a walk near you, visit Jane's Walk USA. You can read this author's account of one such Jane's Walk here.

To read what reviewers are saying about Genius of Common Sense and to see complete illustrations,
click on thumbnail sketches to the left.

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