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Publisher's Summary

The inspirational account of the creation of a path-breaking inner-city middle school in Brooklyn, New York, by the magnetic young principal who rocketed to national fame via Humans of New York.

When 13-year-old Vidal Chastanet told photographer Brandon Stanton that his principal, Ms. Lopez, was the person who most influenced his life, it was the pebble that started a whirlwind for Nadia Lopez and her small, new public school in one of Brooklyn's most wretched communities. The posting on Stanton's wildly popular site, Humans of New York (HONY), went megaviral. Lopez - not long before on the verge of quitting - found herself in the national spotlight and headed for a meeting with Obama as well as the beneficiary of a million-dollar IndieGoGo campaign for the school. Here is her first-person account of what it took to get to that moment.

Mott Hall Bridges Academy isn't just a hallway inside a typically underserved public school in one of New York City's most underprivileged communities - it is a school that glows with energy and excitement. Lopez tells the kids every day that they're extraordinary and that she loves them. When trouble stirs, she asks, "Would I have been proud to see what happened in that classroom? No? Then why did it happen?" She tells her teachers, "Don't tell me our scholars can't learn, because if you can't teach them, then I'll come teach your class for a couple of weeks."

Everything was an uphill battle - to get the school launched, to recruit faculty and students, to solve a million new problems every day, from violent crime to vanishing supplies, but Lopez illustrates how leadership often means just picking the right people to support you. In middle school, one year lost with an unengaged teacher is a year that can send a kid down a terrible path. And then, of course, there is the educational system itself, how "teaching to the test" is an enormous problem, particularly in schools with kids who are already disadvantaged and underprepared.

The Bridge to Brilliance is an audiobook filled with common sense and caring that will carry her message to classrooms far from Brooklyn. As she says modestly, "There are hundreds of Ms. Lopezes around this country doing good work for kids. This honors all of them."

With an introduction read by the author.

©2016 Nadia Lopez & Rebecca Paley (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“The story of Mott Hall Bridges Academy is the story of American education. Nadia Lopez stands on the front line of the fight to educate America’s children." (Brandon Stanton, author of Humans of New York)

"Essential...the key to academic excellence begins with an open mind." (Essence)

"A valuable depiction of what it takes for principals and teachers to reach children in the most troubled communities...will give readers even more reasons to ask what we as a society are doing to support the thousands of educators who labor in obscurity, trying to help the nation's most vulnerable children." (Dale Russakoff, The New York Times Book Review)

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Phenomenal!

I absolute loved this book! The messages it gives are so meaningful for anyone in any human service, education, or really any other job position. Empathy, understanding, and listening are things that everyone should take more time to do.

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Wow.

I have not seen anyone socialize their failures and privatize their successes like this author since the bank bail outs.

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So inspiring!

Recommended for every educator and anyone who cares to provide a better world for our children!

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Truly Inspiring

Ms. Lopez did an amazing job at capturing the spirit of Brownsville in this book. She invited you into the lives of her scholars and displayed their remarkable resilience. Great read.

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A must read for any educator!

This book had me hooked from the start. As an educator in a very similar area, this book gave me much more than a story to read. As I flipped through the pages I felt like the struggles that Nadia wrote about were parallel to things happening at my school. This book gave me inspiration as well as practical ideas to solve issues I was dealing with. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to be inspired by the impossible becoming possible. The audiobook performance was amazing. The narrator was passionate and her performance really elevated the book to a whole new level for me.

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Ms. Lopez you are truly an inspiration.

Ms. Lopez you are truly an inspiration. I agree every child should have a chance to walk across a Bridge to Brilliance. This story of your tenacious and unselfish commitment to your scholars, their families and the community speaks volumes of the calling required to do this work. Read this book! Whether to advocate for all students as a teacher, administrator, or a parent, it will give you hope when you may feel that you've reached the end of your rope. This book spoke to me and gave me a renewed sense of purpose for why I became school leader. The brutal honesty expressed was refreshing. Thank you!

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Transparent, insightful, and motivating

A beautiful story about the power of keeping students first. Definitely a must read for ed leaders striving to overcome daily challenges in order to produce positive outcomes for students.

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Good Read

I agree with some of what she states and disagree with some as well. However, overall it is an inspiring book, well worth the read!

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Don't give on them!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The perseverance of this principal is needed is needed in certain areas of our country. Her desire for the students became their desire for themselves. Sometimes you don't know what you want until others show you the possibilities.

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Ms. Lopez's /Mott Hall Bridges story is incredible

I bought the hard cover book, audible book. I loved it and couldn't put it down! I underlined a lot of text in that book! I am recommending this book to everyone that will listen to me! Ms. Lopez and her staff are doing amazing things at Mott Hall Bridges! I am so glad she shared her story and perspective on education/community. I agree with you Ms. Lopez! I hope the students there and all over succeed in life! In the book there were some sad stories, but I'm glad Ms. Lopez is not giving up!

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