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The New Kids: Big Dreams, Brave Journeys-Immigrant Teens Coming of Age in the U.S.A.

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  398 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Inspired by the author's widely acclaimed New York Times article, The New Kids is immersion reporting at its most compelling. Brooke Hauser takes us deep inside a unique New York City high school over the course of a year as she follows diverse newcomers whose lives are at once ordinary and extraordinary, international headlines brought to life. No native English-speaking ...more
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Published September 20th 2011 by Dreamscape Media
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Just a few pages into this book, I was completely hooked. The stories are fascinating and prove once again, à la Anne Fadiman or Tracy Kidder, that nonfiction can be just as riveting as fiction. The reader is constantly going back and forth between reliving moments of his/her own high school experiences -- flirting, trying desperately to fit in, walking through noisy hallways and using bathrooms covered in graffiti -- and being amazed at what these kids have lived through. Hauser doesn't just sc ...more
All though this book introduces many immigrants from many different backgrounds, there were three that were clearly the focus:

1. Jessica--A Chinese student with a boarding school background and English language courses in her native country--Her father replaced her and her mother with a new family in the US. When she came to New York, her father's new wife kicked her out so now she lives on her own in a small room her father rents for her in the apartment of a family friend.

2. Yasmeen--A studen
The author of this book followed a number of students and teachers through a year at International High School in Brooklyn. International is a unique school in that all the students enrolled there are recent emigrants with limited to no English language skills. I went into it expecting to read something slightly different. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the cover on it being used to promote purchase of the book indicated that it was along the same lines as the book "There are ...more
Absolutely a fantastic non-fiction book. I rarely read non-fiction but
Brooke Hauser writes a non-fiction book that brought tears to my eyes
and pride for a profession that is so often belittled and certainly
one that is underpaid. The teachers in this book are caring people who
do everything in their power to help their students succeed. Although
I have never met these teachers personally, I have met many teachers just like
them throughout my 34 year teaching career. I have also met students who
Oct 03, 2012 Shan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shan by: Meghann
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a vivid portrait of an unusual high school, whose students have to deal with arranged marriages, unconventional living situations, and the fear of deportation along with the usual teenage concerns of what to wear, where you'll go to college, and whether you'll be asked to prom. The stories of Mohamed and Yasmeen are particularly compelling, and Hauser has a gift for showing the many facets of the people she’s writing about. Even the most minor players don’t feel one-dimensional. Highly r ...more
From the back cover:

'Some walked across deserts and mountains to get here. One arrived after escaping in a suitcase. And others won't say how they got here.
These are "the new kids": new to America and all the routines and rituals of an American high school, from lonely first days to prom. They attend Brooklyn's International High School at Prospect Heights, where all the students are recent immigrants learning English. Together, they come from more than forty-five countries and speak more than t
Shaeley Santiago
Wow! This book is my job on steroids. I work with ELLs, but not at a school full of them like the International High School at Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY. The writer follows several teens at the school and tells us their stories, going back to their home countries and telling about their journeys to the U.S. The diversity in New York means there are some in-cred-ible (as in unbelievable) stories of how the students even got to New York, like Ngawang's story of leaving Nepal for India hidden for ...more
I'm about halfway through the book right now and I find myself torn - I love the concept and the student stories are incredible. However, the writing does not display the students or the school in the most compelling fashion. It's as if the book is written somewhere between journalism (not surprising considering the author's background) and fiction and it fails to engage me. I find the author to be too biased and she takes too many liberties with her subjects; how can she know what they were thi ...more
Jenni Frencham
I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would. I did enjoy the stories of the different students as they came to the States, and their transition into an American high school. I would have enjoyed this more if it had been told from the perspective of one of the teachers or had been given more continuity. Also, I don't really think this is a book that teens would enjoy. The other award-winning book about immigrants would likely appeal more to teens, as the stories are considerably shorter ...more
Lisa Biskup
I really loved this book. It brought back memories of when I taught immigrant students in California as a bilingual elementary school teacher, many years ago. I loved working with my students. They came from places like Mexico, Guatemala, Russia, Laos, Cambodia and China, and they all had such amazing stories.

The author does a nice job of relating the stories of these high school students in NY, all of whom have come from foreign countries, in various ways, often dangerous and heart-wrenchingly
Jessica Ha
As a reader, I was very intrigued by this novel because as an immigrant, I could relate with all the hardships and troubles they had to endure. I really admired the author’s writing style because she incorporated foreign languages into the dialogue to make the situation more real. This book was very eye-opening because I had thought I had a difficult time adjusting and fitting into the new environment when I moved from South Korea, however, I found out how much worse the transition can be. Not o ...more
Brian Eshleman
This is an amazing inside story of life and I high school composed of some of America's newest immigrants. They often gets inside the concerns and relationships of these terns without being condescending or rendering them as victims worthy of the reader's pity.

The author maintains the perfect voice throughout for covering the events of adolescent immigrants. She can be jocular and sarcastic. She can base her analogies on mundane events and objects, and yet, just as these events set up serious pa
Jessica Lam
For anyone who isn't great at reading non-fiction, this is the one for you. Personally, parts of the narrative that were too internal or sensory that made me skeptical of the author, but I can't deny that the stories of these kids and the administrators and teachers who do their best are moving. It's one of those books that make you simultaneously realize how good you have it and also motivate you to do some good in the world in return. Their journeys are incredible and you'll get sucked in for ...more
Meh. The backstories of the students are definitely compelling, but as a whole, this book is not. I was hoping to see more specific detail about HOW the school teaches such a unique student body, and I was really hoping to understand more about the academic outcomes for these students. I found it odd that there are a few samples of student writing given (and a section where teachers are bemoaning the very poor writing) yet several of the students are accepted to schools like Drexel and Syracuse, ...more
The New Kids was chosen as one of the Alex Award books this year (adult books that have teen appeal), and so it came to my attention as I was putting together a bibliography. Imagine a high school with teachers and students from all over the world, who have come together to learn English and all about American culture. Many of these teens are undocumented (i.e. “illegally” living in the States), and some have come from truly horrible circumstances back in their own countries (wars, refugee camps ...more
I found this on a reading list, thinking Lexie may enjoy it. There were a number of shocking stories (e.g. boy escapes his country by spending 24 hours folded up in a suitcase). Overall, I think I did develop a better appreciation for the challenges facing non-english speaking immigrant teens. But the book's structure and writing style was difficult for me. The author regularly mentioned specific people. This person said this. This person thought that. There were so many names that I couldn't re ...more
In the book, The New Kids by Brooke Hauser, immigrants from all over the world try to get into Prospect Heights, a high school for immigrant families who are trying to look for good schools so their children can have a better life. The author encounters students that spoke over 28 languages, other than English, and where from 45 nations. Hauser decides to focus on a few out of the many students at Prospect Heights: Chit Su, from Burma, Jessica from China, Ngawand, from Tibet, Mohamed from Sierra ...more
The things people go through can sometimes amaze and horrify me. In this book about kids at an International High School in New York (for immigrant teens who need to learn English and need some cultural guidance) the stories are almost brutal: crossing the Himalayas on foot in the middle of winter, spending years in a refugee camp, being held at gunpoint by police, entering the United States on a temporary travel visa but overstaying the visa because going back home is unimaginable, etc. We get ...more
Jenny Brown
Very readable and appealing. It gives a some insight into the lives of immigrant teens in New York. It is written in a style so much like a novel that at times I had to wonder to what extent the author had nudged her story to fit a narrative form, and in the act of doing that, perhaps wandered a bit from the real truth.

It was like reading a story by Tracy Kidder as Told to Maeve Binchy. It had that kind of sunny "everything will turn out all right in the end for everyone" feel that Binchy's lat
The International School in Prospect Heights, NY is designed specifically for students who have recently immigrated to the US. They come from everywhere--Sierra Leone, Haiti, Ecuador, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Burma,China--some of them have been in the US for a few months, others literally escaped with their lives from refugee camps in war-ravaged countries and arrived in NYC a few days ago. Some are documented, some are not and live in fear that they will be deported. This book opened my ...more
This book vividly demonstrates that immigrant teens face a number of challenges when they arrive in the US, but also that they are still affected by the same issues that American teens deal with every day. Some of the teens highlighted in this book have stories that would shock you: years in refugee camps, harassment by child soldiers, dangerous border crossings, and loss of family members. Many arrive with little formal education or knowledge of the English language, but have a strong desire to ...more
As an educator, it is hard not to get flummoxed by the inequalities one sees or at the apathy most teachers cloak themselves in when the slow pace of change has worn them down. Then a book like this comes along and reminds me that there are SO MANY WAYS to overcome adversity, that there is so much left to be hopeful for, to appreciate what I DO have. If I do start feeling like the above, I either go out and remind myself again why I'm an educator or I get out of education. Students are the focus ...more
I liked that this book was filled with the true stories of many immigrant teens who each attend an international high school in NYC. Many of the stories were fascinating. The author was very descriptive in many aspects (overly descriptive - maybe???? - because I kept drifting off whenever she would start a new chapter and I could practically skip the beginnings of each to get to the stories that were so compelling of the students) I was a little bothered at how the teachers were portrayed. They ...more
This book made me appreciate the education I have been blessed with, and it made me appreciate that I am a citizen of the U.S. I was amazed at the immigrant students' stories and by what some of them went through to get here so they could have their crack at the American dream. It makes me even more excited about my goal of obtaining a TESOL certificate and working with students in culturally diverse situations. I also have more empathy for immigrants even if they are not in our country legally. ...more
No matter what I say, no words can encompass how much of an impact this book has made on me. It was so heartwarming, heartbreaking and inspiring to read the stories of these immigrant teens. Hauser does a great job of interweaving and outlining the stories of the students and the educators and other adults in their lives who helped mold them into the people they became. This was a journey I never wanted to end. At the end of the book, I was left feeling like I wanted more. I wanted to know how m ...more
A little Tracy Kidder, a little Frank McCourt. Brooke Hauser follows immigrant teens through a year at the International High School at Prospect Heights as they learn how to speak English and how to eat pizza in the cafeteria. (Hint: not with a spork.) Their tales are heart-wrenching (the Tibetan boy who crossed the border in a suitcase) and inspiring (the Chinese girl whose step-mother kicked her out of the family home the day she arrived in New York but who graduated with honors and a place at ...more
Students from 45 countries attend he International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn. Brooke Hauser follows students from 5 of these countries in her book. They are from Sierra Leone, Yemen, Tibet, China and Burma. It is a well-balanced book, describing students from diverse cultures adjusting their lives as they pursue the American Dream. The hardships these young people have endured to arrive in the US and the difficulties they encounter once they are here are heart rending. A human ...more
The book New Kids provides the reader with a look at the struggles recent high school age immigrants face growing up in America. The book centers around a public high school in Brooklyn for immigrant teens. It is a story about poor to middle class teens who often lack necessary parental support and guidance. Brooke Hauser, the author, focuses on the high school providing glimpses of the teachers and students. The reader is left with wanting more, more about both the teachers and what struggles t ...more
Brandi Rae
This book follows a group of students who attend a high school in New York that is specifically desgined to help students who either themselves or their parents (or both) are not United States citizens.

Many of the students in the book were brought here at a young age and have worked hard to try to overcome language and cultural barries as they attempt to thrive and have a chance at a better life. Others in the book were examples of how easy it is for the children of undocumented people to just
As a high school ESL teacher, none of the information in Hauser's book was new. That being said, I identified with so many of the stories and felt the author did a great job of really fleshing out what high school is like for so many students. The teachers have great passion but get frustrated, worry about the future, and sometimes don't always get it right - a realistic description that I appreciated. The students themselves are multifaceted characters, having been through struggles yet also ob ...more
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