NONFIC: The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom, by Helen Thorpe

August: NonFiction Pick

I loved this book.  It describes a year in a classroom in South High school in Denver, Colorado, which is an entry level language classroom for refugee children.  New students keep arriving as the year progresses, until there are something like 16 different languages represented, including several from Ethiopia you’ve probably never heard of.  These are students who may know multiple languages, but none of them English. Having just arrived in the U.S., with traumatic histories, they face enormous adjustments. The author employed interpreters for each of the students, paid home visits, and got to know the students as best she could.  She even traveled to Africa and visited one of the refugee camps two of the students had come from. This is a book full of insights, of gifted teaching, of surprising new growth, and hope for the future. While Trump was campaigning against terrorists entering the country, this book gets close to the real story.  You can’t help but share the author’s love and respect for these children.


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