Monday, March 5, 2012

The New Kids

The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens by Brooke Hauser is a great non-fiction read - a look at a high school in New York where its entire population is made up of immigrants.

My elementary school now boasts 27% of its students are English Language Learners. While that is a far cry from the school featured in this book, I could see some of my students in the ones Hauser featured. Although many of my students have lived in the United States for a while, each year we enroll some that are new to America, without any English at all.

The New Kids is a look at students from various walks of life - all who end up at the same high school. They have come to America for various reasons, yet all have a few things in common: they are looking for a way to make a better life, and they are all struggling to do this.

Jessica, one of the students, finally reunites with her father, only to find he has a new wife (her mother is still waiting to come to America) and two young children. Her father chooses his new family over his daughter, so she rents a room of her own elsewhere and manages to work to support herself while going to school. Another girl, a Muslim, marries in an arranged marriage, hoping her husband allows her to finish school. Mohamed, from Sierra Leone, has arrived in New York mysteriously after coming to America to spend just a short time in this country through a church sponsored program. These are just a few of the stories Hauser captures in the pages of this amazing look at immigrant education in America.

The New Kids is not a dry, boring look at immigrant education, but reads like a story sharing the personal accounts of students and teachers to show how a system like this works.

1 comment:

Katie DeKoster said...

The New Kids sounds like really compelling nonfiction! The setting sounds pretty similar to the HS my husband worked at in Baltimore. I was just in awe of how those kids had to conquer new countries and new languages, when conquering high school can be plenty hard enough already. The few stories you shared from the book literally made my jaw drop! PS: I love the cover too.