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the book

The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America

by Daniel Connolly

In a green town in the middle of America, a bright 18-year-old Hispanic student named Isaias Ramos sets out on the journey to college.Isaias, who passed a prestigious national calculus test as a junior and leads the quiz bowl team, is the hope of Kingsbury...

In a green town in the middle of America, a bright 18-year-old Hispanic student named Isaias Ramos sets out on the journey to college.

Isaias, who passed a prestigious national calculus test as a junior and leads the quiz bowl team, is the hope of Kingsbury High in Memphis, a school where many students have difficulty reading. But Kingsbury’s dysfunction, expensive college fees, and forms printed in a language that’s foreign to his parents are all obstacles in the way of getting him to a university.

Isaias also doubts the value of college and says he might go to work in his family’s painting business after high school, despite his academic potential. Is Isaias making a rational choice? Or does he simply hope to avoid pain by deferring dreams that may not come to fruition? This is what journalist Daniel Connolly attempts to uncover in The Book of Isaias as he follows Isaias, peers into a tumultuous final year of high school, and, eventually, shows how adults intervene in the hopes of changing Isaias’ life.

Mexican immigration has brought the proportion of Hispanics in the nation’s youth population to roughly one in four. Every day, children of immigrants make decisions about their lives that will shape our society and economy for generations. This engaging, poignant book captures an American microcosm and illustrates broader challenges for our collective future.

Suggested by Mr. Pena-Vargas (Teacher)

Hardcover - 272 pages - $26.99
ISBN: 1250083060 (ISBN13: 9781250083067)
Published Oct 4, 2016 by St. Martin's Press

requested by

Mr. Pena-Vargas (Teacher)

at Contreras Learning Center-Los Angeles School Of Global Studies, Los Angeles, CA

Here since Dec 12, 2017

Open requests - 1 Books received - 4

Canek is a native of Los Angeles California and was educated in LAUSD schools. He is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Independent Studies with a major in Latin American Studies and Education. During his undergraduate studies, Canek traveled to Chiapas to study Tzotzil and assist in research at autonomous indigenous clinics. He later edited the book The Speed of Dreams , Selected Writings 2001-2007.

He spent two years as a youth organizer establishing a sweat equity program for youth on probation to earn community service hours by painting murals with community involvement.

Later, he received a masters and teaching credential from the UCLA Teacher Education Program. Canek served for two years on the Authentic Collaborative Education (ACE) committee for YouthBuild Charter School of California where he contributed to a manual to guide instruction for a network of alternative high schools throughout Southern California.

After teaching social studies for six years in charter schools throughout Los Angeles, he is happy to return to the Echo Park neighborhood to teach Political Studies at the Los Angeles School of Global Studies. He also likes biking, hiking and running with the Students Run LA team as they train for the LA Marathon.

the class

I teach a 12th grade Political Studies class that combines English with Economics and Government. For our first unit, we study the value of college by reviewing...

I teach a 12th grade Political Studies class that combines English with Economics and Government. For our first unit, we study the value of college by reviewing economic concepts such as tradeoffs, cost benefit analysis, human capital, labor shortages and surpluses, and debt. We also read both fiction and non-fiction narratives related to the economics of higher education. For our second unit, we study the economic causes and effects of immigration and in our third unit, we read the novel Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison.

Many of our seniors are first or second generation immigrants. These kinds of unique book options contribute to the cultural and social relevance of the curriculum that helps students develop motivation and investment in their education.

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