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

September 11, 2016 - Comment

This is the moving and powerful account of two  remarkable boys struggling to survive in Chicago’s  Henry Horner Homes, a public housing complex  disfigured by crime and neglect.There Are No Children Here, the true story of brothers Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers, ages 11 and 9 at the start, brings home the horror of trying to make it in

This is the moving and powerful account of two  remarkable boys struggling to survive in Chicago’s  Henry Horner Homes, a public housing complex  disfigured by crime and neglect.There Are No Children Here, the true story of brothers Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers, ages 11 and 9 at the start, brings home the horror of trying to make it in a violence-ridden public housing project. The boys live in a gang-plagued war zone on Chicago’s West Side, literally learning how to dodge bullets the way kids in the suburbs learn to chase baseballs. “If I grow up, I’d like to be a bus driver,” says Lafeyette at one point. That’s if, not when–spoken with the complete innocence of a child. The book’s title comes from a comment made by the brothers’ mother as she and author Alex Kotlowitz contemplate the challenges of living in such a hostile environment: “There are no children here,” she says. “They’ve seen too much to be children.” This book humanizes the problem of inner-city pathology, makes readers care about Lafeyette and Pharoah more than they may expect to, and offers a sliver of hope buried deep within a world of chaos.

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