Helping to make children smile again/ Para que los niños sonrían

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By Lucía Rubio and Isabel Camps, Old Caxtonians

En 2003, The NGO Pour un Sourire d’Enfant started the “Summer Camp” project, a school continuity programme in which we had the opportunity to volunteer. The July and August camps came about when they realized that many of the children, after the summer, did not return to their respective classes because they were forced to work during the summer and did not have the opportunity to return because at home the idea was not welcomed.

Therefore, the Summer Camp is focused on ensuring that children continue in their different centres, but above all that they can have time to enjoy, play, disconnect, eat… in short, enjoy just being children.

A normal day in one of the PSE Camps (there are about 20 throughout Cambodia, each with a minimum of 1,000 children daily) starts with showers and breakfast, continues with different games, break, lunchtime, having a siesta (many of them must work at night so their rest during the day is necessary), and ends with more games and snacks as many will not get the chance to eat again until the next day they return to the Camp.

At the end of each week, those children who have come to the Camp for at least three days are given a kilo of rice. In this way, we try to compensate the parents for that money or food they would have got if they had continued to force their children to work instead of going to the Camp.  We must bear in mind that most families live on what their children bring home after work.  This is the real tragedy.

During the Summer Camp, 300 volunteers from Spain, France, UK, USA, Germany and so on have the opportunity to see at first hand one of the most endearing and humane of experiences, living with these children, getting them to smile, to be happy, to gain self-confidence and to become aware that as adults, they can go as far as anyone else.

It’s a Summer that none of us will ever forget!

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Para que los niños sonrían 

Por Lucía Rubio e Isabel Camps, exalumnas de Caxton College

En 2003, la ONG Pour un Sourire d/Enfant inició el proyecto “Summer Camp”, un programa de continuidad escolar  en el que tuvimos la oportunidad de colaborar como voluntarias. Los campamentos de Julio y Agosto surgieron cuando se percataron de que muchos de los niños, tras el verano, no volvían a sus respectivas clases puesto que eran forzados a trabajar durante el verano y no tenían la oportunidad de regresar porque en casa la idea no era bienvenida.

Por tanto, el Summer Camp está enfocado a la continuidad de los niños en los diferentes centros, pero sobre todo a que disfruten, jueguen, desconecten, se alimenten… en definitiva, que disfruten como lo que son, niños.

Un día normal en uno de los Camps de PSE (hay alrededor de 20 por todo Camboya, cada uno con un mínimo de 1.000 niños diarios) empieza con las duchas y desayunos, continúa con los diferentes juegos, almuerzan, comen, hacen la siesta (muchos de ellos deben trabajar por las noches por lo que su descanso durante el día es necesario), y finaliza con más juegos y merienda ya que muchos no tienen la oportunidad de comer hasta el día siguiente que vuelven al Camp.

Al final de cada semana, aquellos niños que han acudido durante al menos tres días al Camp se les entrega un kilo de arroz. De esta manera, se intenta compensar a los padres por ese  dinero o alimento que obtendrían si continuasen obligando a sus hijos a trabajar en lugar de ir al Camp. Hay que tener en cuenta que la mayoría de las familias viven de lo que los hijos traen a casa después de trabajar. Una verdadera tragedia.

Durante el Summer Camp unos 300 voluntarios de España, Francia, Reino Unido, EEUU, Alemania… tenemos la oportunidad de vivir una de las experiencias más entrañables y humanas conviviendo con estos niños, consiguiendo que sonrían, que sean felices, que ganen en autoestima y que sepan que pueden llegar como personas tan lejos como cualquier otra.

¡Un verano que jamás olvidaremos!

 

Pupil Book of the Month / Recomendación lectora mensual de nuestros alumnos

By María A., Year 8 student at Caxton College

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“The Fault in our Stars” – John Green

This book is all about Hazel Grace, a sixteen year old victim of thyroid cancer with mets in her lungs. She is described as a depressed and downhearted girl which spends at home most of her adolescence watching ‘America’s Next Top Model’. However, in reality, she is a very intellectual girl whose passion is re-reading the same novel over and over again, which changed the way she reacted to incidents in her life: ‘An Imperial Affliction’ (AIA). After being forced to attend Support Group classes, she luckily meets an amazing guy named Augustus Waters, who had suffered from osteosarcoma in his leg. As soon as their eyes meet, they immediately connect with each other. As a result of her recommending that he read her favourite book, they both start to have in common their passion for ‘AIA’. They continuously discuss the book, expressing their inner emotions and, thankfully, they keep in touch with each other for a long period of time.

The main reason I love this book, is not only because of the entertaining plot, but also because of the way the characters react to their daily incidents. They might only seem to be simple teenagers; however, they have the intellectual capacity of more intelligent and understanding people. They have suffered from situations in which they have been close to death a number of times, which have made them even stronger and contributed to help them admire the world from a different and more original view. In my opinion this novel is essential to read and to therefore understand how cancer victims feel, by putting ourselves in their shoes.

Link to the book on Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fault-Our-Stars-John-Green/dp/0141345659

Recomendación lectora mensual de nuestros alumnos

Por María A., alumna de Year 8 en Caxton College

“Bajo la misma estrella” – John Green

Este libro es sobre Hazel Grace, una víctima de cáncer de tiroides de dieciséis años con metástasis en sus pulmones. Ella se describe como una chica deprimida y desanimada que pasa en casa la mayor parte de su adolescencia viendo ‘America’s Next Top Model’. Sin embargo, en realidad, es una chica intelectual cuya pasión es volver a leer la misma novela (“Una aflicción imperial”) una y otra vez, hecho que cambió la forma en que reaccionó ante sus acontecimientos vitales. Después de ser obligada a asistir a clases de terapia de grupo, tiene la suerte de conocer a un tipo increíble llamado Augustus Waters, que había sufrido de osteosarcoma en la pierna. En cuanto sus miradas se cruzan, inmediatamente conectan entre sí. Augustus lee el libro favorito de Hazel y ambos empiezan a compartir su pasión por “Una aflicción imperial”. Ellos discuten continuamente aspectos del libro expresando sus emociones internas.

La principal razón por la que me encanta este libro, no es sólo por la trama entretenida, sino también por la forma en que los personajes reaccionan a las incidentes del día a día. Pueden parecer adolescentes sencillos, sin embargo, son personas inteligentes y comprensivas. Han sufrido situaciones en las que han estado cerca de la muerte varias veces, lo que les ha hecho aún más fuertes y ha contribuido a ayudarles a admirar el mundo desde una perspectiva diferente y más original. En mi opinión, es imprescindible leer esta novela y, por tanto, entender cómo se sienten las víctimas de cáncer, poniéndonos en su lugar.

Link al libro en Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fault-Our-Stars-John-Green/dp/0141345659

La Royal Academy of Dance entra en la escuela de Ballet de Caxton College / The Royal Academy of Dance comes to the Caxton College Ballet School

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La diferencia se deja notar en los matices. Con esta singular visión Caxton College invierte permanentemente en una innovación educativa que cuida los detalles para que sus alumnos crezcan personal y profesionalmente.

Este modelo educativo integral está generando talento no solo en las aulas sino también alrededor de ellas. Esas áreas que están viendo incrementadas cualitativamente su eficiencia tienen que ver con la proyección de sus extraescolares y su recién estrenado club deportivo destinado, entre otros propósitos, a explorar el mundo de la competición y a potenciar los valores deportivos en los alumnos.

De este modo, las clases de ballet acaban de ampliar su orientación académica puesto que van a seguir el método de enseñanza de la Royal Academy of Dance de Londres impartido por el prestigioso Centro de Danza Mari Cruz Alcalá. Gracias a este acuerdo los alumnos de Caxton College podrán preparar sus exámenes para obtener los diplomas y certificados de reconocimiento internacional que otorga la Royal.

Mari Cruz Alcalá será la responsable, junto con su equipo técnico, de la formación de estos alumnos para que cuando se examinen por los cualificados profesores de la institución británica obtengan uno altos resultados. Esta decana bailarina, con más de cuarenta años dedicada a la danza y dirigiendo cuatro centros de baile que ofrecen la misma titulación y enseñanza reglada que el Conservatorio de Valencia, pone de manifiesto la apuesta que Caxton College está llevando a cabo con esta extraescolar. “Este colegio tiene que apuntar a la excelencia en todas las líneas formativas a las que se enfrenta”, asegura Ana Belén Álvaro, directora deportiva que está gestionando este tipo de optimizaciones en el área extracurricular.

“Nuestra forma de entender la danza es muy limpia ya que se preocupa por la salud corporal del bailarín. Los niños son frágiles y moldeables por lo que si no hacemos un trabajo adecuado su cuerpo puede sufrir y tener daños considerables que le impidan avanzar en esta práctica”, confirma Mari Cruz Alcalá, un alma inconformista y luchadora que vive de manera incondicional para el baile. “La danza implica una gran formación para los niños ya que desarrollan su condición física, su coordinación espacial, sus conocimientos musicales y su inteligencia en general”, explica con ilusión Mari Cruz Alcalá.

Con esta iniciativa de primera división el colegio británico de Puçol continúa en su cometido de proporcionar a sus alumnos una vida deportiva y artística dinámica, a la vez que competitiva y rigurosa, donde se trabajan valores individuales y colectivos.

“The Royal Academy of Dance comes to the Caxton College Ballet School”

The difference is in the details.  With this unique vision of the kind of avant-garde education we wish to offer, Caxton College is constantly investing in innovations that will enable our students to grow, both personally and professionally.  
This all-round educational model is encouraging talent, not only in the classrooms, but also outside of them.  Those areas that have seen their efficiency increased qualitatively have much to do with the development of the extracurricular activities and newly inaugurated Sports Club, and are aimed, among other things, at exploring the world of competition and enhancing the true values of sportsmanship. 

Following this same vision, our the ballet classes have just broadened their academic direction as they will now be following the teaching methods of the Royal Academy of Dance in London, taught by the prestigious Mari Cruz Alcalá Dance Centre. Thanks to this agreement, Caxton College students can prepare their exams to obtain the diplomas and internationally recognised certificates awarded by the Royal Ballet.

Mari Cruz Alcalá will be responsible, along with her technical team, for training these students so as to obtain the best possible results when they take their examinations with the qualified teachers from this British institution. This dean of Ballet, who has been dedicated to dance for over 40 years and is the director of four dance centres offering the same qualification and regulated education as the Conservatory of Valencia, shows Caxton College’s strong commitment to this extracurricular activity. “This school has to aim for excellence in all the training programmes that it proposes,” says Ana Belén Álvaro, Sports Coordinator, who is responsible or optimising all of our extracurricular activities.  

“Our way of understanding dance is very pure, as we are primarily concerned with the physical health of the dancer. Children are fragile and malleable, so if we do not do our job right, their bodies can suffer and even sustain injuries that would prevent them from continuing with this activity,”confirms Mari Cruz Alcalá, a nonconformist spirit and a fighter who lives unconditionally for dance. “Dance is a great training for children, as they develop their physical condition, their spatial coordination, their musical knowledge and their intelligence in general”, explains Mari Cruz Alcalá enthusiastically.

With this first class initiative, this British School located in Puçol continues in its mission to provide all of its students with a dynamic sporting and artistic curriculum, as well as aiming to be competitive and meticulous, and where children also work on learning solid personal and collective values. 

The Spanish Adventure / La aventura de aprender español

By María Clement, ELE and Spanish teacher in Primary at Caxton College

To have a second language is to possess a second soul

Charlemagne´s words are definitely inspiring and sum up the idea of what the ELE department in Primary aims for our students.

One of the responsibilities of the ELE department in Primary at Caxton College is to ease children’s integration in their new lives. Our purpose is to take care of each of our students in order to help them not only to speak a new language but also to be able to express their needs, to make new friends and to appreciate a new culture with different foods, traditions and timetables… and eventually become part of it.

Learning a language can also mean learning a new way of life, especially when you are living in the country where the language is spoken.

In our lessons we try to give explanations or comparisons between the traditions of the students´ countries and the Spanish way of life so that there is a better understanding between the students and their class peers.

We emphasize the fact that for most of our students, coming to Spain has been a big change to get used to, therefore we want them to feel comfortable and not see Spanish as yet another subject to study but as something they can learn but also enjoy.

Our methodology is based on a communicative approach; language is a means of communication and a tool for us to interact with each other, for this reason, our main aim is to create communicative contexts in the classroom so that our learners have the opportunity to speak in our target language which is Spanish.

Of course, apart from this, we need to teach vocabulary and grammar but we try to make the learning meaningful for the children: we teach them vocabulary that has got to do with their daily life and their interests, such as school for example.

Regarding grammar, we need to bear in mind that our eldest students are only 10-11 years old, so we try to teach grammar inductively; this means we show the children how to express ideas in different ways and by doing the class activities they find out “rules”/ “patterns” between words, just like a Spanish child would learn them, through use.

We also highlight the importance of reading since we know it is one of the best ways to learn vocabulary in any language.  We encourage them to read passages in Spanish and teachers read to them to model intonation and pronunciation.

Our ultimate goal is for the children to enjoy learning Spanish and experience positive feelings towards the new language which we hope, which we hope will eventually become an important part of them, a second soul.

“La aventura de aprender español”

Por María Clement, profesora de Español en Caxton College

Tener un segunda idioma es poseer una segunda alma

Las palabras de Carlomagno son sin duda inspiradoras y resumen la idea de lo que el departamento de ELE de Primaria de Caxton College pretende para sus alumnos.

Una de las responsabilidades del departamento es facilitar la adaptación de los estudiantes a sus nuevas vidas. Cuidar de cada uno de ellos y ayudarles no sólo a hablar un nuevo idioma, sino también a ser capaces de expresar sus necesidades, hacer nuevos amigos y apreciar una nueva cultura con diferentes alimentos, tradiciones y horarios para, finalmente, llegar a ser ellos mismos parte de ella.

Aprender un idioma también puede significar aprender un nuevo modo de vida, sobre todo cuando vives en el país donde se habla ese idioma. En nuestras clases intentamos dar explicaciones y hacer comparaciones entre las tradiciones de los países de origen de los alumnos y España. Con esto conseguimos mejorar la comprensión entre todos los compañeros de clase.

También hacemos hincapié en el hecho de que para la mayoría de nuestros estudiantes venir a España ha sido un gran cambio al que se han tenido que adaptar, y por lo tanto, queremos que se sientan cómodos y que no vean el idioma español como otra asignatura más, sino como algo que también se puede disfrutar.

Nuestra metodología está basada en un enfoque comunicativo. El lenguaje es un medio de comunicación y una herramienta con la que podemos interactuar, por lo que nuestro principal objetivo es crear contextos de comunicación en el aula para que nuestros alumnos tengan la oportunidad de hablar en nuestro idioma de destino, en este caso español.

Por supuesto, también enseñamos vocabulario y gramática, pero tratando de hacer el aprendizaje significativo para los niños. Por ejemplo les mostramos vocabulario que tiene algo que ver con su vida cotidiana y sus intereses, como el colegio.

Respecto a la gramática, necesitamos tener en cuenta que nuestros alumnos más mayores tienen sólo 10 o 11 años, por lo que tratamos de enseñar de forma inductiva. Esto significa que mostramos a los niños cómo expresar sus ideas de diferentes maneras. Haciendo las actividades de clase, los alumnos descubren las “normas” lingüísticas, del mismo modo que las aprendería un niño español, a través de su uso.

También destacamos la importancia de la lectura, ya que sabemos que es una de las mejores maneras de aprender vocabulario en cualquier idioma. Les animamos a leer textos en español y los profesores les leen para modelar la entonación y la pronunciación.

Nuestro objetivo final es que los niños disfruten aprendiendo español y experimenten sentimientos positivos hacia el nuevo idioma, que esperamos que se convierta en una parte importante de ellos, una segunda alma.

Jane Dallas: “La lectura abre el corazón a los niños” /Jane Dallas: “Reading Opens Childrens’ hearts and Minds”

Entrevista a Jane Dallas, consultora  y formadora educativa / Interview with Jane Dallas, Education consultant & trainer.
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Esta experta británica en estrategias educativas lleva impartiendo sesiones formativas a profesores de todo el mundo durante más de una década y tras cuarenta años de experiencia docente. En estos días visita Valencia para compartir nuevas líneas pedagógicas con los maestros de Primaria de Caxton College.

En un momento en el que la revolución tecnológica asalta los modelos educativos tradicionales e intenta establecer nuevas visiones en las aulas, esta consultora británica, miembro del comité de especialistas que desarrollaron entre el año 2001 y 2010 el programa nacional de estrategias educativas para mejorar la enseñanza en los colegios de Primaria en Reino Unido, acude a Valencia con un programa de formación basado en el fomento de la lectura. “Esta metodología es tan elemental como transgresora”, apunta Dallas. “Me interesa organizar talleres donde los profesores adquieran nuevas fórmulas para enseñar a través de la experiencia. Y no hay mayor experiencia que la lectura. Con la lectura se mejora la escritura, el vocabulario, el habla y la capacidad de escuchar del alumno”, explica Dallas al finalizar un taller de esta naturaleza en Caxton College, donde acude anualmente para enriquecer, con innovadoras prácticas educativas, el currículum de este colegio británico de Puçol.

De este modo las nuevas tecnologías son una herramienta idónea que facilita el acceso a la información y permite nuevos usos en el día a día de las aulas “pero para nada pueden sustituir a la experiencia de trabajar en clase, de manera colaborativa en grupos reducidos de alumnos, con un libro y tener una lectura abierta y profunda del texto. De ese modo nace una forma de aprendizaje creativa con la que los estudiantes amplían su conocimiento y comienzan a pensar de manera independiente y crítica”.

Este proyecto educativo, tan básico como revolucionario, lo comparte con Carol Satterthwaite, quien desde la plataforma Pie Corbett disfruta de este amor por la literatura que desean trasladar a los más pequeños, sabedoras de que esta afición desarrolla destrezas ineludibles para su futuro. Desde esa tribuna educativa ambas pedagogas proponen a los estudiantes de entre 3 y 11 años la lectura imprescindible de, como mínimo, seis libros anuales. A partir de ahí pueden ampliar el rango cuanto deseen.

“Es fácil proponer este tipo de proyectos a profesores de colegios que se quieren mover, que quieren avanzar, que huyen de lo convencional o de las modas pasajeras”, comenta Dallas, quien no conoce demasiado el sistema educativo español pero que encuentra grandes ventajas en el modelo británico “ya que va más allá de lo que es la enseñanza tradicional porque intenta formar a alumnos independientes, responsables y motivados por el aprendizaje. Este sistema se fija mucho en el aprendizaje junto a la naturaleza, al aire libre”, continúa Dallas, “que comparte similitudes con la siempre bien valorada enseñanza finlandesa”.

El optimismo de Jane Dallas desaparece cuando reflexiona sobre la importancia y el reconocimiento que la sociedad, en general, tiene con los profesores. “Lamentablemente no se les tiene el respeto que merecen. En mi opinión ser profesor es el trabajo más importante del mundo y si se les diera la importancia que merecen el mundo iría mejor porque habría más educación”, concluye Dallas, quien con un tono sosegado y una mirada generosa prosigue su trabajo con una visión humanista en una época en la que la tecnología le resta protagonismo.

Jane Dallas: “Reading Opens Childrens’ hearts and Minds”

The British expert in educational strategies has been travelling the world, holding training sessions for teachers for more than a decade, after forty years experience in the field.  She has been visiting Valencia for the last few days to share new educational projects with the Caxton College Primary teachers.

At a time when Information Technology is revolutionising traditional educational programmes and leading to the establishment of a new version of the classroom, this British consultant, a member of the Committee of Specialists who developed the National Educational Strategies Programme between 2001 and 2010, to improve teaching in Primary schools throughout the UK, has come to Valencia with a training programme based on promoting reading.  

“This methodology is as elementary as it is ground-breaking,” affirms Dallas. “I am interested in organising workshops where the teachers can learn new formulas for teaching through experience.  And there is no better experience than reading.  With reading comes an improvement in writing, vocabulary, speaking and the student’s ability to listen,” she explains, after finishing a workshop of this type in Caxton College, where she returns every year to enrich, with her innovative educational practices, the curriculum of this British school in Puzol.

New Technologies are an ideal tool to help with this task, as they give ease of access to information and can be used in many different ways on a daily basis in the classroom, “but they absolutely cannot substitute the experience of working in class, cooperating together in small groups of students, with a book, enjoying an open and in-depth reading of the text.  Thus a new way of creative learning is born, with which students expand their knowledge and start to think independently and critically”.

This educational project, as basic as it is revolutionary, is shared with Carol Satterthwaite, who uses the Pie Corbett platform to transmit this love for literature to the youngest students, in the knowledge that this pastime can develop incredibly valuable skills for the future. From this educational platform, both teachers propose that students of between 3 and 11 years of age must read at least 6 books per year.  From there, they can broaden the range as desired.

“It’s easy to propose this type of projects to school teachers who want to move on, who want to advance, who run from all that is conventional or out of date”, says Dallas, who does not know the Spanish educational system very well but finds many advantages in the British model “as it goes beyond the traditional because it aims to form independent students, who are also responsible and motivated to learn.  This system is very much linked to learning close to nature, in the open air,” she continues, “and shares some similarities with the always highly acclaimed Finnish educational system.”

Jane Dallas’s optimism disappears when she reflects on the importance and recognition that society in general gives to teachers.  “Unfortunately, they do not receive the respect that they deserve.  In my opinion, being a teacher is the most important job in the world, and if it were given the importance it deserves, it would work much better because there would be more education everywhere,” concludes Dallas, who with her calm tone and kind expression, continues to go about her work with a humanistic vision in a time when technology increasingly takes centre stage.

Staff Book of the Month (October)

By Mr Howe, English Teacher at Caxton College 

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Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice – Matthew Syed

A non-fiction book for Years 10-13. Anyone interested in sport, psychology or science would enjoy this book.

What’s the secret to being a successful athlete? Are they born with God-given talent? Or have they developed their skills over time? Can anyone become an elite athlete? Why are so many top long distance runners from Kenya? Why are so many successful sprinters from Jamaica? Why did 12 elite UK table tennis players come from one street in Reading?

This book uses examples from sport to answer some of these questions. It breaks down a lot of myths we have about talent and what makes people successful. As a sports fan I found the book interesting, but it also changed my attitude towards teaching. It made me realised that students can achieve greatness in any subject if they engage in regular and effective practice.

Link to the book on amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bounce-Myth-Talent-Power-Practice/dp/0007350546

Pupil Book of the Month / Recomendación lectora mensual de nuestros alumnos

By Inés P., Year 10 student at Caxton College

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“I am Malala” – Malala Yousafzai

This is the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel peace prize winner ever. She has inspired thousands of men and women to fight peacefully against terrorism and to fight for education. She shares her inspiring story in this amazing autobiography.

Malala lived in Pakistan with her two brothers and her mum and her dad who owned the girls’ school that Malala attended. She had a normal life, she went to school and really enjoyed it. Her major preoccupations were having top grades in her class until one day the Taliban invaded their city. They took control of the city and imposed really strict rules:  women could not leave the house alone, girls older than 11 couldn’t go to school, neither they could speak with someone who wasn’t from their family. As Malala loved school, she and her friends still went to school and whenever they asked them how old were they, they would always respond eleven. As she and her family suffered a lot her dad gave her the opportunity of writing a blog for the BBC, describing how horrible their conditions were. She became quite famous as many people read it. She even went to England to give speeches to students. Until one day she was on the school bus heading to school and some terrorists stopped the bus. They were looking for her. The terrorists recognized her and shot her in the head.

This book is really inspiring and makes you appreciate what you have and how important education is. I really recommend this book to everyone, particularly to students, to see what incredible things people do just to go to school. Also the book is easy to read as it doesn’t have lots of difficult vocabulary. It’s not really big and it doesn’t take much time to read, but Malala’s story might just change the way you think.

Link to biographical information

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2014/yousafzai-bio.html

Link to the book on amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/031628663X