The Newcomers
From an award-winning, “meticulously observant” (The New Yorker) writer comes a powerful and moving account of how refugee teenagers at a Denver public high school learn English and become Americans.The Newcomers follows the lives of twenty-two immigrant teenagers throughout the course of the 2015-2016 school year as they land at South High School in Denver, Colorado, in an English Language Acquisition class created specifically for them. Speaking no English, unfamiliar with American culture, their stories are poignant and remarkable as they face the enormous challenge of adapting. These newcomers, from fourteen to nineteen years old, come from nations convulsed by drought or famine or war. Many come directly from refugee camps, after experiencing dire forms of cataclysm. Some arrive alone, having left or lost every other member of their original family.At the center of The Newcomers is Mr. Williams, the dedicated and endlessly resourceful teacher of South’s very beginner English Language Acquisition class. If Mr. Williams does his job right, the newcomers will leave his class at the end of the school year with basic English skills and new confidence, their foundation for becoming Americans and finding a place in their new home.With the US at a political crossroads around questions of immigration, multiculturalism, and America’s role on the global stage, Helen Thorpe presents a fresh and nuanced perspective. The Newcomers is a transformative take on these timely, important issues.

The Newcomers Details

TitleThe Newcomers
Author
ReleaseNov 14th, 2017
PublisherScribner
ISBN-139781501159091
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Education, Adult, Biography

The Newcomers Review

  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    In “The Newcomers,” Helen Thorpe continues the remarkable and compassionate in-depth reporting present in her two previous books, “Just Like Us” and “Soldier Girls.” “The Newcomers” follows a group of teenage refugees at a Denver high school as they learn English, adapt to American culture, and build entirely new lives for themselves. These refugees are fleeing famine, persecution, war, and other horrific situations. Thorpe attends class with them for an entire school year and is drawn into thei In “The Newcomers,” Helen Thorpe continues the remarkable and compassionate in-depth reporting present in her two previous books, “Just Like Us” and “Soldier Girls.” “The Newcomers” follows a group of teenage refugees at a Denver high school as they learn English, adapt to American culture, and build entirely new lives for themselves. These refugees are fleeing famine, persecution, war, and other horrific situations. Thorpe attends class with them for an entire school year and is drawn into their lives where she becomes both a friend and an advocate. As absorbing as well-plotted fiction while also being extremely enlightening about the timely subject of immigration, “The Newcomers” is a book I highly recommended to ALL readers. (Bonus points should be awarded to public policy makers and TV talking heads who take time to read this book.)Thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Amber Garabrandt
    January 1, 1970
    Summary:In Denver Colorado there is a special group of classes, ELA classes, given to the kids of new refugees.   Teens from all over the world, newly resettled into America from across the globe, come together to learn English, and get caught up in school- some of which have been out for some time.  Thorpe joined the class for a year, getting to know the teachers and students while also researching what each of these families went through before coming to America, and what they dealt with after Summary:In Denver Colorado there is a special group of classes, ELA classes, given to the kids of new refugees.   Teens from all over the world, newly resettled into America from across the globe, come together to learn English, and get caught up in school- some of which have been out for some time.  Thorpe joined the class for a year, getting to know the teachers and students while also researching what each of these families went through before coming to America, and what they dealt with after.  This book takes place in 2015, around the time that Trump started his campaigning in earnest.  While families from Vietnam, Somalia, the DRC, El Salvador and many other areas were trying to acclimate to a very different life and learning how to move through a new society, racism is beginning to run rampant.  Students are worried- both the refugees and regular students.  It brings to light what each family went through, and how hard they work to become self reliant.It also begs the question- what are we going to do?  Are we, as a country going to accept refugees- truly accept these people and work to help them?  Or do we close our boarders and our hearts?  Can we even make such a decision without knowing what they are going through- not just what they had to go through in their lives, but the trouble they have once here- learning English, getting jobs, racism and misunderstandings?My thoughts:I loved this book, but it broke me.  These are teens- children really- who have had their lives threatened.  Some had to hide from soldiers- or witnessed car bombs in their own neighborhood.  Some were born in refugee camps- one family went through the process of trying to get accepted for ten years.  We are talking about a 22 step vetting process in some instances.  So many of us, myself included, feel like we are knowledgeable about these issues- but I knew nothing about what these families went through- and very little about what help is available to refugees when they get here.  While the families stories were painful, and hard to handle; I found myself taking my time and pushing through.  I loved this book.  For me, this is a definite five star.  The adult content scale is hard to be objective about here.  There is so much violence, so much pain, talk of (the threat of ) rape and death…. I would not feel comfortable giving this book to a teen.  Also, you have to think about the fact that in 2015, many of the refugees written about were teens- would I be ready for Juliet to read about someone her own age going through all this?  I don’t think I could, unless there was a lot of discussion time afterward.  I have to give this one an eight.  I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Scribner Publishing for the price of an honest review.  Many thanks- I loved it so much that I preordered a hard-copy from Amazon and will receive it Tuesday.The book comes out 11-14-17…. I cannot stress the importance of this book at this time, when refugees are so numerous, and their acceptance into new countries so uncertain.
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  • Virginia Mcgarvey
    January 1, 1970
    Helen Thorpe provides an account of twenty-two teenagers from different countries and background that come together at on school, South High School in Denver, Colorado. She describes their experiences in a beginner level English Language Acquisition class during the 2016-2017 school year. Many of these newcomers are from desolate and third world countries and many orphaned. It also describes how the school and one teacher in particular, Mr. Williams teaches and interacts with this very diverse g Helen Thorpe provides an account of twenty-two teenagers from different countries and background that come together at on school, South High School in Denver, Colorado. She describes their experiences in a beginner level English Language Acquisition class during the 2016-2017 school year. Many of these newcomers are from desolate and third world countries and many orphaned. It also describes how the school and one teacher in particular, Mr. Williams teaches and interacts with this very diverse group.Thorpe has written a very insightful and relevant account of these teens that have been relocated to the United States. Different cultures come together and new understanding is developed on the part of the students and educators. The writing is very good and the stories are engaging yet poignant. This is a book that definitely leaves a lasting impression and requires conversation and discussion.
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  • Ginae B.
    January 1, 1970
    Back a long time ago, when I was in middle school, then, high school, I always wondered what it would be like to transfer to a school in another country. I can only surmise that it must have felt incredibly lonely on a level which most of cannot fathom. This book is too much. It has far too much information and far too much substance to take in, even in small bites. For the sensate, there is only too much second-hand pain that one can handle.I am not stating that the author, the high school inst Back a long time ago, when I was in middle school, then, high school, I always wondered what it would be like to transfer to a school in another country. I can only surmise that it must have felt incredibly lonely on a level which most of cannot fathom. This book is too much. It has far too much information and far too much substance to take in, even in small bites. For the sensate, there is only too much second-hand pain that one can handle.I am not stating that the author, the high school instructor, Mr. Williams, nor anyone else involved with this program do not care. I do not mean that, in any manner. I am only stating my own feelings. It's a lot.
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  • Natasha
    January 1, 1970
    After reading Nujeen Mustafa's arduous journey from Syria to German to escape the horrors of war, I was indeed intrigued to read more about refugees. The Newcomers followed the lives of the Class of 142 in South High School which consisted of not only young refugees from the Middle East but also immigrants from far-flung countries such as Congo, Mozambique, Eritrea and Cambodia. Most of these kids knew so little to none basic English and it is a challenge for Mr. Williams their class teacher to After reading Nujeen Mustafa's arduous journey from Syria to German to escape the horrors of war, I was indeed intrigued to read more about refugees. The Newcomers followed the lives of the Class of 142 in South High School which consisted of not only young refugees from the Middle East but also immigrants from far-flung countries such as Congo, Mozambique, Eritrea and Cambodia. Most of these kids knew so little to none basic English and it is a challenge for Mr. Williams their class teacher to teach them. I can only imagined and be amazed with his patience and resilience each day.The writer also took the time to get to know each student in Class 142 by visiting their homes. It is interesting to actually know how these refugees/immigrants are coping in their new situation. Some families are better at adapting than others. And although the cover showed a girl in hijab, the beautiful sisters from Iraq (Jakleen and Mariam) in Class 142 are actually half-Christians.I love the different personalities of the various students of Class 142 and this book really shed a light on the plight of these people that we knew nothing about.
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  • Cherity
    January 1, 1970
    The book tells stories of teenage immigrants and refugees from very different backgrounds and how they are turning into American teenagers through studying in a Denver high school. The events in the book coincide with Trump's presidential campaign and election win, so the book shows us the atmosphere of both hope for a new life and fear of the future under Trump which is quite terrifying.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning! Helen Thorpe followed a group of young refugees through a year at South High School in Denver as they learned English and adapted to American culture. The tenacity of these teens and their families as well as the dedication of the teachers, interpreters, resettlement employees, and volunteers is inspiring and humbling.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    4.5
  • Susie Kozoh
    January 1, 1970
    Janet Welch's choice for January book club....based on true stories from immigrants at South High School, Denver, CO.
  • Shirley Freeman
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this! Helen Thorpe 'embedded' herself in an English Language Learner class in a suburban Denver high school. I wish every US citizen would read this beautiful account of a community, a school, incredible principals and teachers and the most resilient young people one would be privileged to know. To be published in November 2017.
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  • R
    January 1, 1970
    The Newcomers by Helen Thrope takes us into the lives and experiances of young refugees in a high school classroom dedtiticated to teaching them basic english. the students in room 142 are struggling to learn english and adust to their new enviornment. These students come from many countries across the globe such as Iran and the DRC. They speak languages ranging from Spanish to Arabic. We are given a glimpse into their struggles to fit in as well as the trauma they faced in their past. Helen Thr The Newcomers by Helen Thrope takes us into the lives and experiances of young refugees in a high school classroom dedtiticated to teaching them basic english. the students in room 142 are struggling to learn english and adust to their new enviornment. These students come from many countries across the globe such as Iran and the DRC. They speak languages ranging from Spanish to Arabic. We are given a glimpse into their struggles to fit in as well as the trauma they faced in their past. Helen Thrope has done a wonderful job of telling these students stories and showing us their struggles. This is a good book for today especially considering the climate towards refugees.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    recommended by Malcolm Gladwell.Eddie Williams is an unsung hero. I spent a year inside his classroom, watching him teach English to kids who had just arrived in the US. He had 22 students who spoke 14 languages, and used 5 alphabets. Eddie was inspired by his mom, once an ELA student herself. #TheNewcomers 1/
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