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Highest Aspirations, S01 E17: Author Helen Thorpe Discusses Her New Book - The Newcomers

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In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with award-winning journalist Helen Thorpe about her most recent book, The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom

The book follows the lives of twenty-two teenagers from around the world over the course of one school year as they land at South High School in Denver, Colorado, in a beginner-level English Language Acquisition class. Many arrive directly from refugee camps, some after having lost one or both parents; together, their class represents a microcosm of the global refugee crisis as a whole. The Newcomers tells the story of what happens during the students’ first year in America, and it follows the journeys of three families in particular—from Iraq, Burma, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—illuminating what life is like in refugee-producing parts of the world. The book was published by Scribner in 2017.

Helen also wrote Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War (published in 2014) and Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America (published in 2009).

Helen was born in London to Irish parents and currently lives in Denver, Colorado. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Texas Monthly, and 5280, Denver’s Mile High Magazine.

During the episode we reference the following resources:

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