There Are No Children Here

The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.4 out of 5 stars (1,098 ratings)

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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.

Critic Reviews

“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 listeners say about There Are No Children Here

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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!!!!

9 people found this helpful

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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.


28 people found this helpful

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Tough but necessary read

I read this book based on its reviews and accolades. I'm glad that I did and would encourage everyone to do the same.....especially those like me who live in white suburbia. Move always heard about the projects but feel I have a much clearer, better understanding of the daily life and death battles that so many live with each day. It's horrific and heartbreaking and I'm grateful to have been enlightened.

7 people found this helpful

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Incredible story magnificently performed!

Well crafted and performed. Makes me feel very thankful for the life I have. Gives me a heightened awareness of what it feels like to live on the other side of the tracks.

6 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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Must-read for Chicagoans!

I experienced so many feelings listening to this book, and I learned so much about the failings of public housing and law enforcement. Do you like The Wire? Read this now.

4 people found this helpful

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Riveting

I loved it and loved them. I wish we new were Lafayette and Farrow are now. This was a reminder that there is still in 2015 a lot of work to do.

4 people found this helpful

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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?

17 people found this helpful

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Terrific book

Lately, I have been reading books along the lines of this one, complex and wonderful and painful books about living black and/or poor (usually both) in America. This book stands above many, as it is written and read extraordinarly well.
The boys and their large family, their friends, their hopes and fears, describe what it was like 25 years ago living in the Chicago projects. It is not so different now, as evidenced by more recent works.
I wish that there were an update on the boys and their lives, what has changed and what has remained the same. but this book on its own provides a complex look at life - the decisions that are made whether by necessity or by poor judgment - that would and should be required reading.
Warning: Conservatives might say that it is too liberal and lenient, excusing poor choices; hard-line liberals may say that there is no personal responsibility required by these economically depressed people.
If both hardliners are unhappy - and the complexity of this book would indicate that this might be the case - then the author has done his job well.
Great book!

7 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable

I really think I would have lost interest in the book had it not been for the narrator. His voice kept me focused. I am so grateful that the author is continuing to help these boys and their friends!! Awesome!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Renad
  • 06-30-20

Great insight into the African American experience

The narration captures the voices of tbe characters so well. Beautifully written and read. This book offers an insight into the African American experience of living in the projects and everything that comes with it.