Book Reviews in Transition: Introducing the New Book and Media Review Section
Book reviews are opportunities. In the 21st century, reviewing the information and ideas that educators, researchers, and theorists publish and present in a variety of print and other media allows both the reviewer and the reader to explore and contextualize new thoughts, directions, and visions within past and current practice and knowledge. As Suzanne SooHoo suggested in 2006 when the Issues in Teacher Education book review section was inaugurated, such reviews become the stimulation for dialogue, discussion, and intellectual conversation that "allow educators to maintain currency... in order to inform their teaching and scholarly work" (SooHoo, 2006, p. 77).
Some have suggested that book reviews-and reviews of all media-are becoming passé in the era of blogs, Facebook, and other social media (Hoffert, 2010). Within the professional press and our various professional communities (East, 2011; SooHoo, 2006; Wulfermeyer, Sneed, Riffe, & van Ommeren, 1989), however, reviews are recognized as an eloquent means of beginning and continuing important discussions about the ways in which we understand, articulate, debate, and make sense of current scholarship, the political climate in which we live, and the ways in which theory and practice come together to influence and impact all aspects of schools, schooling, and the preparation and continuing assessment of teachers.
For years, I have relied on book reviews -and, more recently, reviews of a variety of professional media-to help me find the wheat in the chaffand identify the works that will stand the test of time. Important works are meaningful because the authors have built on the knowledge and realities of yesterday and today to create new visions and possibilities while simultaneously articulating the "food for thought" that helps me reconsider what I thought I knew. Both the writing and reading of reviews has become a form of professional development, giving me much to consider and reconsider within the intellectual and academic contexts that influence my practice as a teacher educator.
For all of us, writing a review is a time for personal professional development as the reviewer situates the author's ideas within current practices and research paradigms (East, 2011; Hoffert, 2010; Wulfermeyer, Sneed, Riffe, & van Ommeren, 1989). Graduate students can offer reviews that enable experienced educators to reconsider their pedagogies in light of new educational insights. …