Refugee High: Coming of Age in America (Paperback)

Refugee High: Coming of Age in America By Elly Fishman Cover Image

Refugee High: Coming of Age in America (Paperback)

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A year in the life of a Chicago high school with one of the nation's highest proportions of refugees, told with "strong novel-like pacing" (Milwaukee Magazine)


"A stunning and heart-wrenching work of nonfiction."
--Chicago Reader

Winner of the Studs and Ida Terkel Award
For a century, Chicago's Roger C. Sullivan High School has been a home to immigrant and refugee students. In 2017, during the worst global refugee crisis in history, its immigrant population numbered close to three hundred--or nearly half the school--and many were refugees new to the country. These young people came from thirty-five different countries, speaking more than thirty-eight different languages.


Called "a feat of immersive reporting" (National Book Review), and "a powerful portrait of resilience in the face of long odds" (Publishers Weekly), Refugee High, by award-winning journalist Elly Fishman, offers a riveting chronicle of the 2017-8 school year at Sullivan High, a time when anti-immigrant rhetoric was at its height in the White House. Even as we follow teachers and administrators grappling with the everyday challenges facing many urban schools, we witness the complicated circumstances and unique needs of refugee and immigrant children: Alejandro may be deported just days before he is scheduled to graduate; Shahina narrowly escapes an arranged marriage; and Belenge encounters gang turf wars he doesn't understand.


Heartbreaking and inspiring in equal measure, Refugee High raises vital questions about the priorities and values of a public school and offers an eye-opening and captivating window into the present-day American immigration and education systems.

Elly Fishman's work as a journalist and author chronicles stories of struggle and resilience inside American cities. Her reporting has earned her numerous awards, including several Peter Lisagor awards, city and regional magazine association awards, and the Pattis Family Foundation award. Her first book, Refugee High: Coming of Age in America (The New Press), follows the students and faculty at Chicago's Roger C. Sullivan High School. The book won the prestigious Studs and Ida Terkel Prize for a first book in the public interest. Fishman lives in Milwaukee with her husband and their daughter. She is a Chicago native and graduate of the University of Chicago.
Product Details ISBN: 9781620978320
ISBN-10: 1620978326
Publisher: New Press
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English