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. 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 their story is Mr. Williams, their dedicated and endlessly resourceful teacher of English Language Acquisition. 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. Ultimately, "The Newcomers reads more like an anthropologist's notebook than a work of reportage: Helen Thorpe not only observes, she chips in her two cents and participates. Like her, we're moved and agitated by this story of refugee teenagers...Donald Trump's gross slander of refugees and immigrants is countered on every page by the evidence of these students' lives and characters" (Los Angeles Review of Books).
About the Author
Helen Thorpe's journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Texas Monthly, and Slate. Her radio stories have aired on This American Life and Sound-print. She is the author of Soldier Girls and Just Like Us. Her work has won the Colorado Book Award twice and the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. She lives in Denver, Colorado.