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on January 16, 2017
Almost EVERY PAGE is written on!!!
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on August 9, 2013
America's schools need reform. Shocker! This book did a lot to discuss the symptoms but not the causes or solutions.
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on February 12, 2017
I have to give Alex five stars.
This book is well written which makes it such a good read.

Mr. Kotlowitz did his research the old fashion way.

There is no other way Alex could have gathered the information he had to write this book without boots on ground as well as door to door interviews.

Example there is one page where the book reads about a random car passing by with its radio playing a song by Keith Sweat.

Fall of 87 through fall of 88, Mr. Sweat ruled the radio airwaves in Chicago.

I believe Mr. Kotlowtiz was standing right in the heart of that community interviewing and taking notes when that car passed by playing that song during that time.

I prefer the real and this book is as real as it gets.
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on July 29, 2013
very slow and boring, didn't draw me into their lives. selected for book club, wouldn't recommend it to others. ok
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on August 18, 2017
In the book “ No Children Here” by Alex Kotlowitz, explains a life that here in Parker we have not experienced. In Parker we are very privileged and there is not much prostitution going on if any. The way the book was written explains the lives that they were living in, for example LaShawn had a severe drug addiction that was supported through prostitution. The way that they are living creates a theme that seems sad and dark and makes me think to myself, “ I really am very fortunate for the things that I have”. The author went through a lot in order to write this book. The book in my opinion is very well written, and gets to the point very clearly. Therefore, while reading the book you are able to create an image in your head that not only makes the book create a spark in your head but also make the book feel as if it is coming to life. In Chicago the lifestyle may be way different than how it is in most places. However, it brings a sense of reality in which you know what is occurring in our world today.
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on May 1, 2016
Journalist Alex Kotlowitz first met Lafeyette, 12 years old, and Pharoah Rivers, 9 years old, during the Summer of 1985, he followed the Rivers family for roughly five years in order to learn more about their experience living in another version of America; a part of America where you aren’t safe in your home and people don’t care to help your family. In There Are No Children Here, Kotlowitz details incidents he witnessed, as well as retellings of events from the perspectives of many people he interviewed, including police officers of Chicago, friends and family of the Rivers’, probation officers, teachers, the Chicago Housing Authority, and many more people that put together the social environment of the Rivers’ family. The printed, finished result of his stay with the Rivers is an informative and eye-opening ethnography about the lives of a family who live in the midst of gang violence, racism, drug dealing, and poverty. While reading this book, the reader must remember that the people, places, and events are an account of the real life trials and tribulations for the Rivers family. The title of the book comes from a quote said by Lajoe, mother of eight children including Pharoah and Lafeyette’s, who says “There are no children here. They’ve seen too much to be children.” And it’s true, Lafeyette and Pharoah know too much to be seen as innocent children.
Lafeytte and Pharoah are African American boys growing up in public housing complex, Henry Horner. In this complex, there are 699 vacant apartments because the Chicago Housing Authority ignores the needs of their tenants and fear for their lives when entering the property. The property is dominated by drug cartels. The boys learned to take cover from bullets before learning to write, and are at high risk for becoming involved in drugs and gang violence. These are boys who choose not to play outside because they don’t believe it’s safe out there. These boys don’t have a role model. Pharoah is a boy who wishes on a rainbow that his family will find a way out of the projects. Lafeyette is a boy who grows cold after his friend is shot to death by police. These are not the worries of white, middle class, American children; this is another America.
It is impossible to not grow attached to the Rivers family while reading this book, while immersing yourself in the lives of this family. There Are No Children Here provides a glimpse into the lives of those struggling with poverty and life in a rundown section of the city, their battles, their accomplishments, and how they get by each day. The book has a lot of information about the area and social work movements, such as the implementation of The Boys and Girls Club and the reconstruction of Juvenile Courts in Chicago, which is crucial to understanding the options, or lack thereof, of the families in the area.
There Are No Children Here is a must-read for anyone working with families, in an area stricken with poverty, or predominantly dictated by minority races. The struggles of the people in this area are not parallel to the struggles and values of the average American, and this book really does give the reader an insight into the other America.
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on September 8, 2015
This novel was both eye-opening and gut-wrenching. I found myself rooting for these sweet boys in hopes that they would make it out of their tenebrous situation. By the end of the novel, I felt defeated (as I'm sure these children felt most of their lives). Mr. Kotlowitz brings to life a very harsh reality, namely the cycle of poverty in the lower income families in the United States. There comes a point at which their dismal living conditions, poor education, and lack of income, become perpetual, facilitated by both internal and external factors. Sadly, at some point, most of these children give up their dreams because of the unremitting horrors of their daily life, turn to drug dealing, and often end up addicted, themselves. The author did a fine job of immersing the reader into this sad existence, one that is so foreign to a significant percentage of the United States population. I felt Lafayette and Pharoah's despair as they lived each day in fear for their own lives, and felt myself sliding with them, down the slippery slope of hopelessness.

So, although this is certainly not an uplifting novel, it is a meaningful one, and one that served as a catalyst for change back in the 1980's. Bravo, Mr. Kotlowitz!
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on January 13, 2000
Mr. Kotlowitz has brought to the eyes of this very sheltered and unsuspecting reader the real truths and horrors of the projects. Through the personal experiences of two brothers, both children, Kotlowitz portrays a vivid picture depicting the "slums of America". From personal observations it's easy to see that this book stirs both good and bad emotions in whoever reads it. Should I feel sorry for the young mother, LaJoe, who has eight children, as well as grandchildren, as well as friends of boyfriends of the children living in her three room apartment all surviving on welfare, or should I condemn her for the not so smart decisions she made? It's easy to point fingers when I don't have the evidence, but after reading this book, I've had to reevaluate my thoughts about the projects and whose fault it is that people live there and get lost in the downfall of their civilization. In conclusion, I suggest this book to everyone, in hopes that their eyes are opened as much as mine were.
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on April 27, 2000
There are No Children Here is an excellent depiction of life in the inner city projects. This book is about two boys growing up among the drugs, gangs, and violence of a Chicago Housing Project. The boys must grow up fast and learn how to deal with daily shootings, friends dying, drugs, as well as watching friends and family succeed only to fail because life will not let them become more then just a poor, black person living in the Projects. This story gives an accurate description as to the daily life in a housing project. The reader gets to understand what it is like to watch friends die, put a child in prison, watch the father disappoint his children when he comes around, as well how the government reacts towards the citizens in poverty. By focusing on the children the author captures the heart of the reader. It would be hard to live a life like this as an adult, but a child cannot stay a child in these conditions.
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VINE VOICEon October 25, 2009
This is the story of two brothers growing up in an inner-city public housing projects. I couldn't put it down. Pharoah and Lafayette (9 & 11) have had their childhoods cut short by the many terrible things they've witnessed in their mostly black neighborhood. One of the most disturbing parts is the description of what has been sitting in the basement of their apartment building; hundreds of appliances never distributed to needy families, completely rusted and gone to waste amid years-old garbage and the rotting bodies of dead animals. At one point in the story, Lafayette says, "If I grow up, I'd like to be a bus driver." Not when, IF. This book is a must-read for anyone who is naive enough to think that everyone in America is given an equal chance at success and happiness. It was eye opening.
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