Jonathan Kozol has spent most of his life working with and writing about urban-dwelling children stricken by poverty and funneled through dismally inadequate schools. Each time I read one of his books, I marvel at his compassionate storytelling that invites me to share the triumphs and struggles faced by the children he profiles, and to understand the factors that contributed to their situations. He has just published a brand new book, Fire in the Ashes, and I snatched it up and devoured it in just a few days.
In this book, Kozol shares what has happened to some of the children he met years ago. Some stories are incredibly sad, but others are full of hope and triumph: for every young adult that succumbs to drugs and crime, Kozol introduces us to others who claw their way out. And while I mourned for the children who didn't succeed, reading about the ones who have risen above their difficult circumstances to find peace and joy gave me the happy tingles. Fire in the Ashes can easily be read as a stand-alone title, but I also highly recommend his earlier titles--particularly Ordinary Resurrections, which will introduce you to the adorably spunky, outspoken child, Pineapple, who's featured as a young adult in Fire in the Ashes, too.
~Queen of Books