Beacon Press: Making Americans
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Making Americans

Stories of Historic Struggles, New Ideas, and Inspiration in Immigrant Education

Author: Jessica Lander

A landmark work that weaves captivating stories about the past, present, and personal into an inspiring vision for how America can educate immigrant students

Setting out from her classroom, Jessica Lander takes the reader on a powerful and urgent journey to understand what it takes for immigrant students to become Americans. A compelling read for everyone who cares about America’s future, Making Americans brims with innovative ideas for educators and policy makers across the country.

Lander brings to life the history of America’s efforts to educate immigrants through rich stories, including these:
-The Nebraska teacher arrested for teaching an eleven-year-old boy in German who took his case to the Supreme Court
-The California families who overturned school segregation for Mexican American children
-The Texas families who risked deportation to establish the right for undocumented children to attend public schools

She visits innovative classrooms across the country that work with immigrant-origin students, such as these:
-A school in Georgia for refugee girls who have been kept from school by violence, poverty, and natural disaster
-Five schools in Aurora, Colorado, that came together to collaborate with community groups, businesses, a hospital, and families to support newcomer children.
-A North Carolina school district of more than 100 schools who rethought how they teach their immigrant-origin students

She shares inspiring stories of how seven of her own immigrant students created new homes in America, including the following:
-The boy who escaped Baghdad and found a home in his school’s ROTC program
-The daughter of Cambodian genocide survivors who dreamed of becoming a computer scientist
-The orphaned boy who escaped violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and created a new community here

Making Americans is an exploration of immigrant education across the country told through key historical moments, current experiments to improve immigrant education, and profiles of immigrant students. Making Americans is a remarkable book that will reshape how we all think about nurturing one of America’s greatest assets: the newcomers who enrich this country with their energy, talents, and drive.

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"Lander deftly portrays varying journeys of newcomer students as they enter US schools and society. Providing well-researched historical perspective along with hopeful current models of promising practice, Making Americans will no doubt become a mainstay for all who care to best serve our newest Americans!"
—Carola Suárez-Orozco, director, Immigration Initiative at Harvard Graduate School of Education

"Making Americans provides just the sort of context too often missing from discussions of immigrant education. But what with its many terrific stories about students and teachers, it is more than informative: fascinating and inspiring; it is also a great read."
—Gish Jen, author of Thank You, Mr. Nixon

"At a time when more than one in four students in American schools are immigrants or children of immigrants, how schools help ‘make Americans’ should be a front-and-center topic for the nation. Jessica Lander's compelling book interweaves vivid stories of the past, the present, and the personal—narratives of historic legal decisions, profiles of innovative schools around the country today, and inspiring portraits of her own students in Lowell, Massachusetts. At times moving, instructive, sobering, and encouraging, Making Americans will captivate and enlighten all readers. And it will also equip teachers, voters, and policymakers to work together to overcome prejudice and help newcomers build on their talents to strengthen America while pursuing their own dreams."
—Martha Minow, former dean of Harvard Law School and author of When Should Law Forgive?

"Our nation’s magic is its ability to turn immigrants into Americans. Jessica Lander has written a brilliant and poignant book about how schools can help do this. With her background as a classroom teacher working with young people from around the world, she weaves together history, analysis, and deeply personal stories. This is an important book, and also a beautiful one. Everyone who cares about the future of America should read it."
—Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

"Weaving together inspiring personal stories, powerful case studies, and a fascinating history of immigrant education in America, Jessica Lander shines a new, hopeful light on a perennial question: How does a young immigrant become an American?"
—Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed

"Making Americans is a beautifully written account of the history and practice of immigrant education in America. With masterful interweaving of legal history, classroom case examples, and powerful student stories, what emerges is a compelling and timely work that informs as much as it inspires."
—Sarah Ladipo Manyika, author of Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun

"Jessica Lander's immigrant origin students—from a kaleidoscope of countries and cultures—come alive in these pages, until we feel we know them. She weaves their stories together with those of previous waves of immigrants who fled war, persecution, and poverty, including her own family. Her message is simple and powerful: New Americans make themselves with help from those of us who are already here. That making starts in school, as should our help. A compelling read."
—Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America


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Making Americans

ISBN: 978-080700665-8
Publication Date: 10/4/2022
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $26.95
Format: Cloth
Not Yet Published
Will Ship On: October 2022
(Backorder policy)