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Our America

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  1,202 ratings  ·  255 reviews
Through two award-winning National Public Radio documentaries, and now this powerful book, LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman have made it their mission to be loud voices from one of this country's darkest places, Chicago's Ida B. Wells housing project. Set against the stunning photographs of a talented young photographer from the projects, Our America evokes the unforgiving wo ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 1st 1998 by Scribner (first published 1997)
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Griselda Iniguez
Read this in the seventh grade, just reread for an English class. I think it's one of the must-reads. It is brilliant, honest, and heart-breaking. Always gets me on a personal level because I am a Chicagoan that lives on the Southside. Nobody ever likes talking about "that" part of the city, just like everything else that makes us uncomfortable.
A very powerful book. At times, it can get too heavy-handed and narrowly focused for my own tastes, but I give it four stars for how excellent it is for teaching. One of the greatest challenges of working with ninth graders is teaching empathy, but the direct quotes and narration from the denizens of the Ida B. Wells has somewhat helped my students put themselves into another person's shoes. It is a very powerful book, and it lead me to do a lot of fascinating other research to augment my lesson ...more
This book is an incredibly written piece from the perspective of two young men whom live in a world that is routinely spoken about but rarely revealed. The power of the book transcends what had to be the authors original purpose as nearly 15 years later the themes resonate true not only in Chicago but in cities around the world.

As an educator dealing with children in this situation and sharing this book with students it is an incredible link and eye opener for them to see that others have lived
Airton Depina
I like this book a lot because it contain an different story than what Im use to. It tells a story of a "Different America" and many people relate to this story. The author gives us the idea to look at THEIR AMERICA different from AMERICAN you might everyone knows. I learned from this book that not everyone has the same realities in this country and other dont have the same opportunity to live in Country that we believe to be the first in the nation.
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Nasiar Landers
Our american by LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman is about two best friends who live in the hood. Their names are Lloyd Newman and LeAlan Jones. They do mostly everything together. What they do mostly in the book is talk to their family's about living in the hood. They try their best to get a good education and try their best to get out of the hood. and survive and try to be as successful as they can in their life.

There are a lot of things i like about this book,This book is real about real life stu
Nasiar Landers
Our America by LeAlan Jones and LLoyd Newman is an action novel about two children who lives in the getto. LeAlan and Lloyd are best friend they do everything together. They interview their family's and friends to see thier view of the "hood" they each try their best to get out of the hood.

There are many thing that i like about this book. I like how this book is real with nothing fake. I like how they are well imformative to the reader on what they deal with everyday in reality. This book has al
Apr 15, 2015 Carrie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ALL educators
Heartbreaking. There's no other word that comes to mind... just "heartbreaking."

At the school I teach at, we have students from the inner city of Chicago. I know that some of my former students have come from Cabrini Greens and other "projects" in Chicago. I don't know half of the things they have seen, but I know it's bad. This book just confirms it. HOW can we expect students to come to school and care about learning, believe that they can make something of themselves, when this is the reality
Shawnnita Gittens
In the book Our America two boys LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman interviewed people in their community of the ghetto part of Chicago ,the Ida B. Wells projects. While interviewing people in the projects you see that living in the projects is like living in a maze you can't get out. Kids mimic everything they see and kids in the projects fight because that's all that they're exposed to. LeAlan said that living in the projects is like fighting in the Vietnam war ' he makes this refrence because when ...more
Alicia Perozo
Our America

The book that i was sight to was an incredible book to read. This book our america was an awesome book to read because is about two young boys that became best friends. Their name are LeAlan and Lloyd they are best friend since the second they of school. LeAlan and Lloyd always went to each others home and always hang out. LeAlan had two sister and a brother also he has his grandmother name June Marie Jones. His mother was ill and his father was an alcoholic. Now his sister take car
Fantastic! Such an intimate portrait of life in the ghetto and how people survive the war zone. Amazing and inspiring stories!
Kevin Lee
Our America is the story of LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman two inner-city Chicago teenagers who eloquently distilled their lives on the Mean Streets. When a local NPR broadcaster conducts a search for "two young, intelligent African Americans to be on the radio" LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman talk their way into the offices of radio producer David Isay and as a result both young men are hired as reporters.Our America evokes the unforgiving world of these two amazing young men, and their struggle t ...more
Leonardo Perez
This book is about two African American kids who live in the ghetto of Chicago , they see things they are not suppose to see as kid and do things there are in gangs doing drugs ect And later on in life become successful.think any age 14 + should read this book because it does have racism, murders , drug references and more I think any gender should read this book and people who are interested in books that take place in the projects ,and mythical should read this the callenge on reading this boo ...more
Christopher Brennan
A powerful book. So many of the thoughts LeAlan and Lloyd expressed I've witnessed or thought about working in a ghetto community. I chose to eschew the euphemistic here of describing it as "economically depressed" because in so many ways the neighborhood I work in is no different than the neighborhood the authors describe. Crime. Murder. Rape. Gangs. Drugs. No jobs. Collapsing buildings. How can anyone expect a kid to care about math when they walk out their front door to see carnage? I have no ...more
Genre: Nonfiction/Autobiography
Lexile: 750, grade level 8
Age Level: Middle School
Unique feature: Transcribed interviews
Characters: LeAlan, Lloyd, their families, people who live in the Ida B's
Setting: Chicago, Ida B Wells projects
POV: From LeAlan and Lloyd

Our America will give students a glimpse into the lives of LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman, two boys growing up in the Ida B. Wells housing projects. Our America started out as two radio documentaries, Ghetto Life 101 and Remorse: The 14 Stories
Right now since I am reading the book in the class it has been a good book. I like the story so far because it is funny and the kids like to mess around. I liked this book after i had finished reading it.It taught us about how be you know or love will ever help you out whenever you are in trouble. One more thing we met LeAlan in curie highschool which was intresting and fun about what he had told us about. To the people who haven't read this book yet i hope you like it. It teaches you about how ...more
Jan 09, 2011 Carla rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Teens
Recommended to Carla by: Teacher
This book is amazing to read for you are put into two perspectives of young African American boys by the names of LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman. This is a new journey that not many individuals have seen or gone through in their life's. These two young boys are given tape recorders so that they can record every day life for them in their town in Chicago. At the time they lived in the Chicago Ida. B Wells housing projects which were notorious for being dangerous. The life style around them is most ...more
This book is about how 1993 change alot. THis book is mostly about gangest and gang. LeAlan and Lloyd interview alot of people,and some of them are their family.Eric death,everything had changed alot. Both of them interview and try to find out alot of evidence that coudl help people remember eric death. Lealan interview everyone,they said that in the city more war,gang fight,gun,and the most importance part is tht people have no job. They are getting disapointed to them. If you like gang and if ...more
Nov 26, 2008 Sergio rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kids
Recommended to Sergio by: teacher
This book about our america is a cool book to read. it has about three or two parts to the story. it is about a boy named lyod and a boy named lealan who interview everyone they know. and one day therir is a death of eric morse and they are interviweing people who were there at the seen of the crime. and then as the stor ygoes by they are realizing things they dint realize before. it will show you a bunch of htings that you didnt know before. but at first you will be like this book is boring lik ...more
This book is about to boys who lived in the ida b. wells and they talked about how living in the projects how has effected them in their lives everyday they describe everything the projects can do to you and what it has been doing to them everyday since living in the projects and what can the projects do to people who live there for a while like drugs get involved,mureders and all types of bad things.

One prediction I made about the book was that lealan and lloyd waz gone find a way to get out o
Javontae Elem
This book is about Lealman Jones and Lloyd Newman and how they have made it their mission to be loud voices from one of this country's darkest places, Chicago's Ida B. Wells housing project. They tell u about there life's and show u around there neighborhood. They also tell u about the thing's they have say with there own eye's in the Ida B. Wells housing project. They tell their own stories and others, including that of the death of Eric Morse, a five-year-old who was dropped to his death from ...more
Oct 21, 2011 Bianca added it
This book was about two boys name LeAlan and Lloyd and how their lives were in the projects on the southside of chicago. The projects they lived in were "Ida B. Wells". Ida B. Wells was no joke. You had to be tough or at least acted tough because in these projects if you didnt. You would be picked on or even killed. LeAlan and Lloyd interviewed their families and others about how they felt about living in the projects. But, they also asked personal things about their lives and how could they ch ...more
Matt W
This book is based on two young African American boys who live in the Ida B.Wells housing project in Chicago. They are asked by a reporter to go undercover to show people how the life really is with so much poverity and disease. It's even harder to believe because when they did this they had recorders and notepads, so this is exactly what was said and went on.

I like the book because I feel it does a excellent job of having a inside veiw on something the majority of us will never see. It makes
Stephanie Hawkins
Jan 14, 2008 Stephanie Hawkins rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone; educators especially
Recommended to Stephanie by: college professor
Shelves: nonfiction
This was such an insightful view of life in the "ghetto" through the eyes of two teenagers (with the help of an NPR journalist). David Isay has these two thirteen-year-old boys, LeAlan and Lloyd, document their lives in the South Side of Chicago tenements. A few years later, two boys (ten and eleven years old) push a five-year-old out of a fourteen-story building and kill him. David Isay goes back to LeAlan and Lloyd and asks them for some more help. The goal is to try and understand how somethi ...more
The book that I read was Our America by LeAlam Jones and Lloyd Newman with David Isay. The genre of this book is non-fiction. The book is told through the view of LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman, and is about the life and death on the south side of Chicago around the 1970’s. LeAlan and Lloyd tell all their stories about when growing up in the south side. There are two parts of this book: Ghetto Life 101 and Remorse. Ghetto Life 101 talks about how they lived and how they survived in the ghetto. Re ...more
LeAlan and Lloyd were two boys growing up in the Ida B. Wells projects located on the south side of Chicago. Through this book and tape recorded interviews, we get a glimpse of their everyday life and the community where they live. This book is very moving for it gives people who are ignorant of what a hard life is an opportunity to witness it through this autobiography/ biography. We might walk past a person on the street or sit next to them on a bus ride, or even speak to them on the phone and ...more
I really didn't expect that much when I started reading this book. After all, it's a rather slim volume at only about 200 pages. And it covers pretty much the same ground as Alex Kotlowitz's There Are No Children Here, which is already an outstanding, in depth, personal accounting of life in the south side of Chicago in the "projects". It's just two grade school kids for authors, after all. This could only be a "kids" abridged version of the other book, right? Oh, but it was so much more. First ...more
This is a book that is told in several different formats, but mostly through interviews conducted by two young African American boys living in a housing project. It centers on the now defunct Ida B. Wells housing project on Chicago’s South Side and was taking place as a tragedy occurred there. They cover issues such as poverty, gang related violence, alcoholism, violence, etc. It offers a unique perspective of what is heard in the news so much, however it is being told by people who are not livi ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Debbie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers who like to keep it real
LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman grew up in the Ida B. Wells housing projects in Chicago. They interviewed friends and family in their neighborhood as part of two documentaries for NPR. The book is a mix of interviews and personal reflections that gives a gritty look into an urban war zone. Several times, the boys refer to themselves as war survivors--and they are not exaggerating.

A large portion of the book is devoted to coverage of the murder of five year old, Eric Morse, who was dropped from a
I re-read this book for the New Millennium Studies class I'm teaching this semester. Jones and Newman, two boys who grew up in the projects of South Chicago, write about their lives and experiences there. The book transcribes two radio shows they did: Ghetto Life 101 and Remorse: the 14 Stories of Eric Morse, about a boy in their community who was dropped out a 14th floor window by two other boys. The book is powerful and direct, with a sense of hope and honesty weaving in among the desperate po ...more
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Ghetto Life 101 And Remorse

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