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The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America
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The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In a green town in the middle of America, a bright 18-year-old Hispanic student named Isaias Ramos sets out on the journey to college.

Isaias, who passed a prestigious national calculus test as a junior and leads the quiz bowl team, is the hope of Kingsbury High in Memphis, a school where many students have difficulty reading. But Kingsbury’s dysfunction, expensive college
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
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Nicole Means
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The Book of Isaias" is an eye-opening account of the plight of undocumented and documented immigrants in the United State. I highly recommend this book to everyone because it brings to light the truth behind immigration. So many think that immigrants are a threat to our economy and livelihood; however, Connolly's story humanizes the issue. To put bluntly, despite the fact that many people do, indeed, enter the United States illegally, they are punished for wanting a better life. Much of the ...more
Mila K
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The story of Isaias and his friends at Kingsbury High drew me in from the opening chapters. Connolly fleshes out a remarkable group of young people – strivers, rebels, overachievers and restless spirits – with great detail, humor and empathy. At the center is Isaias himself: talented, accomplished and deeply ambivalent about the prospect of going to college. I wanted to find out if he would go, of course, but I also enjoyed Connolly’s nuanced investigation into the causes of that ambivalence – ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book tells an eye-opening story and paints sensitive portraits of real high school seniors and their families. I see it as a companion book to Our Kids by Robert D. Putnum in its look at students who are becoming young adults and how their communities affect their choices, and also a bit like Evicted by Matthew Desmond in its look at a group population who may be living very differently than readers (for example, driving without a license because you are unable to legally get one). As the ...more
Greg Siskind
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was really moved by The Book of Isaias. I was a little familiar with the story because the author is a journalist here in Memphis and I had seen some of the articles about his time at Kingsbury High.

I happen to be an immigration lawyer so I can tell you that Mr. Connolly does a very competent job explaining in layman's terms the immigration issues that are an important backdrop for the story. I don't know any of the people he's writing about, by the way. But I can tell you that the challenges
Marci Lambert
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For the love of all things holy, go get this book and read it. Or I’ll lend you mine. But you really should learn about these academically gifted Hispanic kids right here in Memphis and the struggles they face to complete their educations. I made my kids acknowledge at the dinner table tonight that they are incredibly fortunate to have middle class, involved, English-speaking parents who will help them get into, and finish, college. But I don’t know what to say to them about a country that won’t ...more
Jim Potter
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an important book. Rather than see immigration as a problem, author Daniel Connolly examines the lives of people.
Connolly paints a picture of challenges that continue to exist for youth, especially in a society where income inequality, cultural and racial differences, and immigration status are huge factors in determining personal outcomes.
In the Book of Isaias the reader learns that decisions are extremely tough when economic safety nets are weak or nonexistent. When you add
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A well-written story of the immigrant experience, especially that of Dreamers caught between their great potential and inflexible college admission regulations, making it incredibly difficult for them to afford higher education. Daniel Connolly's ability to immerse himself in a Memphis high school and credibly tell the story of Isaias, his high school class mates, as well as their parents and the other adults around them, made this a great and very informative read.

In addition to fascinating
Marta Tetzeli
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America Daniel Connolly This book should be required reading for all U.S. teens as well as for anyone who works with immigrants or is interested in social policy. At about 250 pages, it is a fairly quick and personal read, yet is set in a broader context that has implications for all of us. This true story is the result of Connelly spending a year (2012-13) at a local high school observing a group of Hispanic teens during their ...more
Ron Dowling
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Author Connolly's work on this book is spectacular. I could not put the book down once I started reading it. There has been so much news about immigration and especially immigration from Mexico. Terms like DACA, Dreamer, anchor-baby are used frequently. I had a cognitive understanding of the issues and terms, HOWEVER Isaias' story connected actual faces and people to the concepts. What a powerful and compelling story. What a testament to the human condition and our collective struggle. This book ...more
Chrissy Capella
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Connolly is a talented reporter, but this book's narrative was unengaging and dry. I really had to drudge through it at times. Still, it is important people learn more about immigration issues and hear personal stories like those of these students in our dystopian Trump era.
Viewpoints Radio
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: viewpoints_radio
Hear our radio story about the immigrant narrative in modern America, featuring an interview with Daniel Connolly about Isaias Ramos at
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
such a frustrating ending
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from Goodreads hoping I would review it.
Kathrine Edwards
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great and timely book about immigration and DACA...
Joyce Margulies
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Connolly provides well-sourced insights into the lives of immigrant Hispanic families. In particular, he follows the family of a Memphis high-schooler and how he makes his decision about whether to go to College. We also are introduced to some of his friends and their families and learn about their experiences in high school and beyond. The author, a reporter, Daniel Connolly, intersperses the stories of these families with well-researched facts about immigration and educational ...more
Amy Dance
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: current-events
wow. this book follows the struggles & triumphs of several youth from Kingsbury High in Memphis who are immigrants, or children of immigrants throughout their senior year & beyond, as they decide what to do after graduation.
Book of Isaias illustrates educational, political & economical challenges that affect the students' choices.
Very enlightening and enjoyable to read about these gifted students, but overall, the book just left me feeling sad for the lack or loss of opportunity for
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This book was so good! It was really cool reading a story from Memphis could I could like get it more. Also they mentioned white station ! I learned so much and it's definitely made me more empathic to the struggles of immigration children and I hope more people can read this/ hear similar stories because it's so important
Gwin Smith
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read very interesting and thought provoking. Daniel really brought the reader into the lives of these struggling kids and families. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it.
Laura Valentine
Dec 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Less about the author, more about Isaias and the other teens. Still, important read given the political climate.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good writing about the issues facing the US and our millions of undocumented people.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What are we doing?

We have to do better for our DACA students! The Isaias in our classrooms need us to get them out of limbo so they can work towards their dreams.
Esther Dushinsky
Jul 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
When you need to insert anti Israel bias in your intro without reason or rhyme, it is clear this book has an agenda, however subtle.
Patrick Johnston
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book about a young man in his final year of highschool and the struggles of being an immigrant child facing the decision of college. Great job capturing this compelling story, Daniel!
Nancy Stancill
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Connolly's first book is a masterpiece of insightful reporting about the plight of young Hispanic immigrants and their families. Connolly uses his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee as a laboratory to explore the complications faced by Hispanic teenagers as they struggle to prepare for life. Connolly follows the appealing Isaias Ramos closely through his senior year and beyond as the youth tries to decide whether to even attempt to go to college. The author uses his journalistic talent and ...more
Alice Burruss
rated it it was amazing
Mar 19, 2019
rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2019
Crystal Davidson
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Nov 19, 2018
Natalie Hsieh
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Mar 16, 2018
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Aug 19, 2019
Kelcie Lewis
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Nov 13, 2016
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Daniel Connolly uses rigorous reporting to tell true stories about immigration, economics and globalization.

A fluent speaker of Spanish and German, he was born in Memphis, graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio and completed a postgraduate Fulbright teaching fellowship in Germany. He moved to Alabama in 2002 to work at the former Birmingham Post-Herald newspaper, where he completed a major project