Chicago's Roger C. Sullivan High School has been a home to immigrant and refugee students. In 2017, during the worst global refugee crisis in history, its immigrant population numbered close to three hundred—or nearly half the school—and many were refugees new to the country. These young people came from thirty-five different countries, speaking among themselves more than thirty-eight different languages. Refugee High is a chronicle of the 2017-8 school year at Sullivan High, a time when anti-immigrant rhetoric was at its height in the White House.
... absorbing ... Refugee High may not provide the answers, but it contains important messages. Fishman suggests that we ignore our growing xenophobia at our peril, for these students are creative, resilient, adaptive and caring. Her book is also a shout-out to the lasting value of public education. Refugee High showcases a school that not only serves as a welcoming landing pad for immigrants and refugees, but also as a launching pad for talented, productive, future generations of Americans. Students can be heroes, too.
Trauma and fear darken the pages, but commitment from Sullivan’s staff provides hope in the book and the refugee students’ lives ... Fishman honors Sullivan’s work in turning around a previously failing school and caring for students, and fosters understanding for the disparate yet shared trauma of student refugee experiences.
The author adopts a 'fly on the wall' approach, sharing the voices of students ... The students shed light on the collision between their cultures and their lives in America ... Educators and general readers alike will find this vividly intimate work insightful.