From the world-award-winning writer comes the gripping, true story of a group of Alaskan Eskimo students who, despite nearly impossible odds, achieve one of the most stunning educational feats in the history of American education.
In 1982, George Guthridge brought his wife and two young daughters to Gambell, Alaska, a small village on the edge of the remote blizzard-swept St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, one of the harshest and most remote places in Alaska. Guthridge was there to teach at a Siberian-Yupik school -- a school so troubled it was under threat of closure.
For its own reasons, the school district enters the students into one of the most difficult academic competitions in the nation. The school has no computers and very few books. The students lack world knowledge and speak English as a second language. Still, George resolves to coach them to a state championship. But the students have an even greater goal of their own.
Hilarious, disturbing, densely atmospheric -- and packed with surprises at every turn -- The Kids from Nowhere is a powerful, poignant story that will make you want to cry and cheer at the same time. Similar to an Alaskan Stand and Deliver, this is an inspiring story of triumph over adversity that provides a fascinating view of a remote Alaska Native village.
From the Publisher
Praise for THE KIDS FROM NOWHERE
"This is a delightful visit to a small island in the Bering Sea without having to travel. The landscapes and seascapes are beautifully painted by an outsider, a non-Eskimo teacher, who learns to cherish and respect the culture of his students and the small village in which they live. It is a heart-wrenching story of a group of seemingly uneducable students who, with the coaching of their teacher, not only learn to love learning, but end up champions in a national competition."
--Jean Auel, author of Clan of the Cave Bear
"Straightforwardly, The Kids from Nowhere is a heart-lifting epic about the educational triumph of a group of Yupik Eskimo students from tiny, isolated St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. But the story unfolds on several levels at once and is equally revealing about the stunning dedication of their gifted teacher and guide, George Guthridge."
--Barry Lopez, award-winning author of Arctic Dreams
"The Kids from Nowhere is proof that people everywhere can accomplish amazing feats when given educational tools and instruction that fit their way of life and thinking. George Guthridge's poignant book is about hope rekindled in the icy north, and how a teacher learned to move from `teaching' students to `reaching' them. Read this book and discover how young people truly can learn commitment to a cause that, they come to realize, is much, much bigger than they ever initially imagined."
--Greg Mortenson, builder of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan and coauthor of New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations One School at a Time
"No kids are more neglected than the kids of our Native Nations. This book is a welcome remedy to that lack of attention. It's inspiring as well as being well-written, the kind of tale that every teacher and every coach should respond to. I can't recommend it highly enough."
--Joseph Bruchac, Abenaki writer and storyteller, author of Jim Thorpe: Original All-American
"Beautifully written, The Kids from Nowhere is a victorious account of one teacher's journey with his Eskimo students from the edge of nowhere to the brink of endless promise."
--Janet Berliner, coauthor of Artifact
"Struggle is not unusual in the Arctic, but the struggle for intellectual accomplishment and personal integrity takes a new twist in this compelling and engaging narrative. . . .Guthridge's writing is immaculate and heartfelt as he skillfully explores village life, educational practice, and the desire to succeed."
--James Ruppert Ph.D., coeditor of Our Voices: Native Stories of Alaska and the Yukon
"We often talk about problems facing education. Guthridge offers solid solutions."
--Profs. John Creed and Susan Andrews, editors of Authentic Alaska: Voices of its Native Authors
"What a remarkable accomplishment!"
--Grace Corrigan (mother of Christa McAuliffe)