With all of the static across our country and in Washington about immigration, refugees, and the place of “newcomers” in our society, there is no more relevant nor more timely book right now than this. Thorpe spent a year at South High School in Denver in a class designated for “newcomers” – children who have arrived in the United States as refugees, usually from conflict or war zones, often having had serious lapses in schooling, and with virtually no resources. Her year-long immersion in the lives of the students, their families, and the teachers and school administrators produced a rich chronicle of how children work to adapt to a new place, culture, and system. As with her two previous books about people in transition, Thorpe tells this story with insight, compassion, and urgency. A must read as the immigration debate rages on in our country.
Monique Morris’s book is a superb examination of the policies and cultural practices of our educational and criminal justice systems that continue to fail Black girls today. Focused on the cultural sexualization of black girls, Morris’s narrative is personal, powerful, and thoroughly researched. Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow) called Pushout a “powerful indictment of the cultural beliefs, policies and practices that criminalize and dehumanize Black girls in America.” Highlighting another side of persistent racial inequities, Morris’s book is an essential and important read.
The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose was a much better read then I was expecting. Kevin was a kid (only 19 when he started writing the book) when he transfered from Brown University to Liberty University, headed by Jerry Fallwell, to get an undercover look at the evangelical movement at one of the most conservative colleges in the country. It is a surprisingly balanced look at the people, beliefs, community, and teachings that take place at Liberty. And the writing is very good for one so young. I highly recommend for an enjoyable and informative read.