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We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success Hardcover – April 20, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up–The Three Doctors, as the subjects of this inspirational book call both themselves and their nonprofit foundation, grew up in a tough neighborhood in Newark, NJ. Draper tells an epiphanic story featuring each of the young men by turn, followed by his comments on how a single event affected him across time. Davis, for instance, remembers the hospital where he later became an emergency-medicine physician as the same one where his foot was treated after an incident when he was six. Hunt recalls first meeting Sampson and Jenkins in ninth grade. Jenkins tells of the friends' success at moving from high school to college. Draper adds dialogue and evokes the pivotal moment in each vignette as though it were a scene in one of her realistic novels. The book takes the young men through college and medical school and into their careers. While Jenkins seems relatively calm and serious from the beginning, Hunt found himself in trouble right into medical school. Davis had trouble getting an emergency-medicine internship–and then found himself back in his Newark neighborhood, right where he knew he'd be serving his hometown. The writing here, whether Draper's or the doctors', is simple and accessible and there is plenty of action for reluctant readers. More advanced readers may want to read The Pact (Riverside, 2002), the Three Doctors' joint autobiography for adults.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. "What started out as three boys skipping class turned out to be the most significant experience of our lives," says George Jenkins, who, together with Sampson Davis and Rameck Hunt, made a teenage pact to leave their impoverished New Jersey neighborhood, attend medical school, and become doctors. Author Sharon Draper helped shape chapters, written in the third person, describing each doctor's challenging childhood experiences, including a parent's drug addiction, forays into crime, and succeeding in an environment that made "failing equal to being cool." Following each story, passages written in the doctors' own words offer advice and strategies, and acknowledge the help received along the way. This information is directed straight to young people growing up in similar circumstances, but all readers will be riveted by the profoundly inspirational stories and personal, intimate voices that frankly discuss big mistakes and complicated emotions, including "survivor guilt" for choosing a different path from friends and family. Strong readers may want to follow this with the doctors' first book, for adults, entitled The Pact (2002). Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 6 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 860 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning (April 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756967147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756967147
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,674,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By betty l. dravis VINE VOICE on July 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was pleased to see such a great "non-fiction" book on the New York Times's Bestselling list. I was looking for a fiction book at the time, but bought this one instead.

This is an inspiring story of how three boys beat the odds in life, what inspired the changes in them, and how they overcame their obstacles.

It's so well-written and edited that children will have no trouble understanding the message of hope it conveys. If they could do it, anyone can do it.

I recommend it for everyone; even adults can learn from these courageous young men.
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Format: Hardcover
An inspiring account of three inner city boys who succeed in overcoming the odds, entering college, and fulfilling their dreams, "We Beat the Street" is a marvelous work. Written for kids, this book selects incidents from the lives of each of the three doctors in order to illustrate the great obstacles they had to surmount and the truth that street life won't pay off in the end. The reader follows Sampson, George, and Rameck as they journey from first grade through medical school, and watches them as they achieve their goals in triumph. "We Beat the Street" shows the tragedy of street life and the necessity of aid for these communities.

The content of "We Beat the Street" was skillfully edited and condensed for younger readers, making it graspable for that age level. The style was simple, but attractive, and the message was excellent. It forcefully imparted a warning, and encouraged higher education, especially for those who doubt their ability to achieve such educational goals. "Street" was quite simply one of the best books I have ever read on the subject, and deserves a wide audience.

Reviewed by Anna Kleiner for Flamingnet Book Reviews

[...]
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I could give this more stars, I would. I teach 7th and 8th grade Reading in a very high poverty area. Ninety percent of our students are on free lunch.
With that being said, my students don't really care to read. When I do get them to read the class novel, it is like pulling teeth.
We decided to add this book to our nonfiction class novel set. We are only on the fifth chapter, but I have never had a class so quiet and interested in a book. I have to stop my students from reading ahead. THIS IS GREAT. What is even more wonderful, is that it is a true story. I bought The Pact DVD to watch when we are done reading. I think they will like to see the doctors in real life.

Anyways- I thank those men for taking the time to remember where they came from, and to inspire young people everywhere not to let their surroundings break them.
A lot of my students connect with their stories and I think it is wonderful that they can see their own potential through this story.
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Format: Paperback
In this work three African American doctors tell the story of how they used their brains, loyalty, and few good chances to escape their tough urban neighborhood, go to college and medical school, and become doctors. The book is targeted for an adolescent audience, although there is an adult version, called "The Pact" available. At the end of each chapter, the doctors give some advice to young people who want to achieve more than those around them expect.

Quote: "Young people need positive role models and guidance in their lives. There is no underestimating a positive figure in a child's life."

I picked this book up because it is the only one recommended by more than one of my ninth graders. I enjoyed the anecdotes about the childhood and teenage years of the young men, but mostly I appreciated their frank discussion of the challenges their lives presented, the choices they needed to make, and the belief of many in their neighborhood that they would never get out. I think young people would enjoy the work even more than I did, since the authors were careful to target students.
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Format: Hardcover
A truely inspiring story, who's characters quickly gain your empathy and respect. Following the three men through there lowest and happiest moments is what makes the book so real. This is a great tool for teenagers/young adults who may need the extra push, or example to follow to drive them toward their dreams.A perfect reason for keeping Affirmative action alive.

I am a college freshman who's struggled with myself just as the three men did,looking back on the mistakes I've made in my not so long ago past I often found it hard to look ahead.After reading We Beat the Street I felt the sense of pride and motivation I'd been missing. This book can be used as a powerful tool if used correctly at the right times of need. It's not often we hear stories where three little poor black boys from one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country, become doctors. But these men minipulate you into thinking it's normal by the tone of their characters and determination.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I donate this book to http://www.booksfirstchicago.org which creates libraries in our city's most underserved schools, which are largely African American and in the worst neighborhoods. It is a powerful, inspiring and, most importantly, true story which speaks to kids living in similar circumstances. I also have persuaded our daughter's private school to buy multiple copies so children in this radically different socio-economic group have a clear sense of the struggles of so many other children in the same city.
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