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On the Pursuit of Knowledge

I just wrapped up a weeklong visit in the Green Mountain State, where I spent a few days on campus at The University of Vermont. The Honors College selected The New Kids as its Summer Read for incoming freshmen, and as such I was invited to deliver a public lecture on the theme that the students will be considering all year: The Pursuit of Knowledge. I have to say, I really enjoyed writing the speech, which is titled "Learning America: Connecting Cultures in a Brave New World." READ MORE

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The New Kids, Diversity and Inclusion

Recently, The New Kids was the subject of a community-wide read at the Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, an all-girls school located in the heart of historic Georgetown. The event was hosted by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. One of the organizers was kind enough to share with me her recap of the event. "The girls specifically wanted to talk about immigration and the ethics surrounding the issue. They keyed in on your characters and their lives to highlight just how complicated life is for the American immigrant, and just how different these teens' realities are from our own girls—who feel priviledged and sheltered," she writes. "Our girls also felt free to relate their own immigrant or inclusion story—some of which were real surprises to the group—and empathized with key characters." You can read her full letter here. READ MORE

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Commencement address

This time last year, I was asked to give the commencement speech at the seniors' graduation at the International High School at Prospect Heights. It was such an honor to be included in the ceremony, and worth every minute of jittery nerves. Here is the commencement speech . . . READ MORE

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An interview with EdWeek

I almost didn't read Brooke Hauser's new book, The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens, which was published last fall to critical success. It has actually spent the last six months under my computer monitor, raising the screen to eye level along with a number of other books (placed there by someone else!). I can't tell you how glad I am that my editor pointed out the odd placement of the book before finally suggesting that I consider interviewing Hauser. I recently spent two evenings inhaling The New Kids, and I highly recommend that you run right out and pick up a copy yourself to read. The paperback edition just came out, making it even easier to do so. READ MORE

A “New Kids” curriculum

The following reading comprehension and writing prompts are courtesy of Megan Andersen, an inspired ESL teacher of juniors and seniors at Rangeview High School in Aurora, Colorado. READ MORE

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