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There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America | [Alex Kotlowitz]

There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America

This national best-seller chronicles the true story of two brothers coming of age in the Henry Horner public housing complex in Chicago. Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers are 11 and nine years old when the story begins in the summer of 1987. Living with their mother and six siblings, they struggle against grinding poverty, gun violence, gang influences, overzealous police officers, and overburdened and neglectful bureaucracies. Immersed in their lives for two years, Kotlowitz brings us this classic rendering of growing up poor in America’s cities.
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Publisher's Summary

This New York Public Library selection, as one of the 150 most important books of the 20th century, is a true-life portrait of growing up in the Chicago projects.

This national best-seller chronicles the true story of two brothers coming of age in the Henry Horner public housing complex in Chicago. Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers are 11 and nine years old when the story begins in the summer of 1987. Living with their mother and six siblings, they struggle against grinding poverty, gun violence, gang influences, overzealous police officers, and overburdened and neglectful bureaucracies. Immersed in their lives for two years, Kotlowitz brings us this classic rendering of growing up poor in America’s cities.

©1991 Alex Kotlowitz (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“A triumph of empathy as well as a significant feat of reporting.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Alex Kotlowitz’s story informs the heart. His meticulous portrait of the two boys in a Chicago Housing project shows how much heroism is required to survive, let alone escape.” (New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (341 )
5 star
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4.4 (283 )
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Story
4.4 (283 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    SarahG Chicago, IL, United States 08-27-12
    SarahG Chicago, IL, United States 08-27-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My life was changed by reading this book."
    If you could sum up There Are No Children Here in three words, what would they be?

    Shocking, angering, hopeful


    What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

    Dion did an excellent job for the most part... a little slow at times. There were only a few times when his annunciation knocked me out of my listening dream.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Every moment! This was a roller coaster ride of a book.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is so powerful, so well researched, so intimate while paying attention to the broader picture... I told my husband that if I wrote something this meaningful and essential to understanding life in America and race relations today, I would die a happy woman. Bravo a million times over.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caro 05-24-13
    Caro 05-24-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Six stars"

    Don't know why I had not read this before. This book went on to become a nonfiction classic, often assigned in sociology classes. Written in the 1980s, it is -- sadly -- all still true. Not an easy reality. Told thru the eyes of children. Complicated. Unbiased. There is no better narrator than Dion Graham, who was especially able in bringing this story home.

    Recommended for the same people who appreciate Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. You might also like Gangleader for a Day.


    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dempsey Paraparaumu, New Zealand 02-13-12
    Dempsey Paraparaumu, New Zealand 02-13-12

    47 year old woman

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    "Sad disturbing tale of life in the projects."
    Would you consider the audio edition of There Are No Children Here to be better than the print version?

    It 's hard to say. I would imagine they would be much the same.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Pretty desperate and sad. Like watching a train wreck. disturbing.


    Any additional comments?

    The language is embarrassingly flowery. So many clichés and trite descriptions. Yet despite this the story is fantastic. So glad I perservered despite the terrible writing style. This true story of a family growing up in the projects: It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. How can the brothers survive? and if they do survive will they ever get out of that place? Or are they doomed to be like everyone else?
    How could this happen in America and who's responsible?

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    52 weeks, 52 books 05-30-15
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    "From the 1980s"

    A moving and believable.story. I can't imagine living with so many people in an apartment or trying to live on what I could make playing cards. I do wish there were a story that examined conditions today with such thoroughness.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 03-12-15
    David 03-12-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Great Narration!"

    Narrator brought the story to life for me. l have to imagine it was better than actually reading it myself.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mc192 United States 01-30-12
    mc192 United States 01-30-12
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    "Heart wrenching!"
    Where does There Are No Children Here rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Excellent book, realistic account, one of my top picks!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lafeyette


    What does Dion Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He has one of those classic voices that just brings the story alive!


    If you could give There Are No Children Here a new subtitle, what would it be?

    A realistic account of childhood or a lack of; in a ghetto of Chicago


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very realistic account of a problem many weren't aware of and everyone should read this at least once! We all here about gang activities, but this book brings that to life and gives an up close perspective.

    13 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenda TN 06-13-15
    Glenda TN 06-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Reality in the Projects"
    Where does There Are No Children Here rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book is high on the list of non-fiction. It is a though provoking piece on public programs in this country and the bureaucracy that is one of the main reasons for its failure.


    What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

    Dion's reading of this book appeals to me because you are getting the story without the emotion that could cloud the facts.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The book elicited feelings of hopelessness.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vulindlela Stellenbosch, South Africa 06-07-15
    Vulindlela Stellenbosch, South Africa 06-07-15 Member Since 2013

    Loving Audible!!!! I am a printmaker, educator and artist... and Audible helps me do and be at the same time!

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    "An astounding and revealing real life story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I seldom come across a tale this affecting and powerful. Again I listened to this via Audible.com and I was not at any moment disappointed. Dion Graham is a seasoned and expressive narrator. The story is one that cuts straight to the heart of Chicago's innercity housing problems through the eyes of two young boys Lafayette and Pharoah. Kotlowitz somehow manages to strip away the distance one might feel in a typical journo-based human interest piece and replaces that with something incredibly experiential. I am certainly going to look for more of his writing after this.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Pharoah was my favourite character. I think that his undying sense of love over senseless violence and injustice at first comes across as naiive but really when you look at it, he asks some very obvious and potent questions. I know that his life has been hard upto now... mi only hope he has maintained that spirit as a young man.


    What does Dion Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Graham's voice is superb. I cannot fault his insights as a narrator. he cerhtainly brought the book to life for me and Icould not, could not stop listening to him!


    If you could give There Are No Children Here a new subtitle, what would it be?

    I dont think the subtitle needs changing


    Any additional comments?

    Read this book!!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 05-13-15
    Jennifer 05-13-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great Listen!"

    When I recognized the voice of the narrator and realized that it was the same person that narrates First 48, I was sold! The story is very interesting and I was able to find updates on the boys. Also, the author reports on an episode of This American Life on NPR titled "Harper High School" (parts I and II) where he briefly discusses the book and gives an update about Dawn. It can be found on the This American Life website under episodes from 2013 and is the reason I chose this book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys texts of this nature.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet RALEIGH, NC, United States 04-30-15
    Janet RALEIGH, NC, United States 04-30-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great heart wrenching read

    "

    Good read a little lengthy, bot worth it. It should be on the read list.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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