Fire in the Ashes

Fire in the Ashes

Twenty-five Years Among the Poorest Children in America

Book - 2012
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Kozol returns to the scene of his prize-winning books Rachel and her children and Amazing Grace, and to the children he's portrayed there, to share their journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood.
Publisher: New York : Crown, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400052462
Characteristics: x, 354 p. ; 25 cm


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ksoles Nov 17, 2012

"Fire in the Ashes" tells the stories of the later lives of poor children who grew up in New York. Author Jonathan Kozol has worked with children in inner-city schools for 50 years and here provides an engaging, illuminating, often moving look at several black and Latino children who once lived in Manhattan’s infamous Martinique Hotel. Upon the closing of that crowded and filthy shelter in the late 1980s, these families relocated to the Bronx neighbourhood of Mott Haven.

As these children grew into young adults, Kozol kept in touch with them and their families through visits, emails and phone calls. In a series of intimate portraits, he highlights the horrific challenges the children faced and describes how many managed to achieve successful lives, both by graduating from college and securing jobs, and above all, by becoming kind and loving human beings.

Certainly, not every story ends happily but Kozol has ultimately written a cleareyed, compassionate and hopeful book. It features Leonardo, recruited by a New England boarding school, where he emerged as a leader; the introspective Jeremy, who got through college and took a job at a Mott Haven church; and the buoyant Pineapple, whose Guatemalan parents provided emotional security at home. “I’m going to give a good life to my children,” says 24-year-old Lisette, after her troubled brother’s suicide. “I have to do it. I’m the one who made it through.”


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