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Download There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America Audiobook, by Alex Kotlowitz Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (5,775 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alex Kotlowitz Narrator: Dion Graham Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9781455197330
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This national bestseller chronicles the true story of two brothers coming of age in the Henry Horner public housing complex in Chicago. Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers are eleven and nine years old when the story begins in the summer of 1987. Living with their mother and six siblings, they struggle against grinding poverty, gun violence, gang influences, overzealous police officers, and overburdened and neglectful bureaucracies.

Immersed in their lives for two years, Kotlowitz brings us this classic rendering of growing up poor in America’s cities. There Are No Children Here was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important books of the twentieth century. It was later made into a television movie for ABC, produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Alex Kotlowitz’s story informs the heart. His meticulous portrait of the two boys in a Chicago Housing project shows how much heroism is required to survive, let alone escape.”

    New York Times

  • “Kotlowitz has achieved a triumph of empathy as well as a significant feat of reporting.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Amid the darkness and ever-present despair, Kotlowitz beautifully captures the moments of brightness and hope.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Alex Kotlowitz joins the ranks of the important few writers on the subject of urban poverty.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “The devastating story of brothers Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers, children of the Chicago ghetto, is powerfully told.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A] powerful and moving book…Unless they have hearts of stone, few readers will fail to become emotionally involved with these boys, as Kotlowitz did…Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “Narrator Dion Graham’s even pacing and understated intensity lend sensitivity and immediacy to Kotlowitz’s chronicle of his three years of observing the impoverished Rivers family as it struggles with poverty, drugs, gangs, and indifference. Graham’s transitions from straight narration to convincing dialogue are seamless and combine with the subject matter to grip the listener and make turning away impossible. Both author and narrator wisely avoid slipping into dramatics, letting events and participants speak for themselves. Although it’s more than twenty years old, this powerful account, sadly, is still current and will leave the listener wishing Kotlowitz had written a follow-up.”

    AudioFile

  • There Are No Children Here, the true story of brothers Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers, ages eleven and nine at the start, brings home the horror of trying to make it in a violence-ridden public housing project…This book humanizes the problem of inner-city pathology, makes readers care about Lafeyette and Pharoah more than they may expect to, and offers a sliver of hope buried deep within a world of chaos.”

    Amazon.com editorial review

  • “Through his extensive research and his intimate friendship with the Rivers family, Kotlowitz paints a poignant, heartbreaking picture of life in the inner-city ghetto and the overwhelming odds children must overcome to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty and crime. A must-read for everyone.”

    School Library Journal

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the Helen Bernstein Book Award
  • New York Public Library’s 150 Most Important Books of the 20th Century
  • Winner of the Carl Sandburg Award
  • Winner of the Christopher Award
  • A National Bestseller
  • A New York Times Notable Book of 1991
  • SoundCommentary.com’s The Best of the Best in 2010

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Klaudyna Z. | 2/15/2014

    " Amazing book, and since I am from Chicago, it hit very close to home. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina Gauthier | 2/3/2014

    " Parts of this were difficult because it is a true glimpse of life in the projects of Chicago. I read this in my religion class during high school. Knowing all this was going on only a few miles from our school really seemed unbelievable to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maddie | 2/1/2014

    " it was ok, but it was kinda boring "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allie | 1/29/2014

    " This book was a stark and heartbreaking glimpse into life for two boys living in the Chicago projects. The horrors these kids lived through and witnessed were unimaginable. I tried to find out what happened to these two boys since the book was written in 1984 but no information was available. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rf | 1/29/2014

    " Good eye opener "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 1/22/2014

    " Although this book was slow, it opened my eyes to the effects of poverty. It is important for people to know of the devastating events that these children, and so many others, lived through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mac | 1/20/2014

    " Non-fiction. This is a great book by a great journalist. It illustrates the profound effect that poverty has on the children of America, but tells the stroy in a very human way by following the lives of two kids growing up in the Chicago projects. A must read for anyone who works with kids or anyone who thinks that poor kids have an equal chance in our schools. How the richest country in the world can tolerate such inequity is inconceivable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Bourbonnais | 1/15/2014

    " I really like what the author does in investigating the lives of underprivileged families in Chicago area projects. He achieves much of what he set out to do in portraying the sad, terrifying, and unjust day to day lives of two little boys and their mother in a ghetto in walking distance from downtown and the city's elite. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Luizka | 1/15/2014

    " We tend to ignore the challenges of children living in poverty in the so-called developed world. This is a frank portrait of the effects. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 12/26/2013

    " Man, this book totally shook me up. As a journalist, I aspire to create something this real and powerful. It took all my will power to not put the book down at various points and google the name of the two boys featured in the book, to see if they made it out. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachael | 12/1/2013

    " I read this book in undergrad and really enjoyed it. Well as much as one can enjoy a book when poverty, drugs and gangs are being discussed. It really is a great read though! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shelby | 10/31/2013

    " I did not relate to this book at all. Perhaps if my situation had anything in common with them it would have been better, but I had to force myself to read this for my AP English class. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 afra | 7/30/2013

    " Horrifying and beautiful. A glimpse at poverty, violence, and hopelessness in the inner city, and the devastating effects of all these factors on children and families. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Malena | 7/18/2013

    " I love this book because it is the real stories of 2 boys growing up in the projects in Chicago. They carry around recorders and talk about their daily lives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry | 4/19/2013

    " love everything I've read by him! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Abby | 3/25/2013

    " this is still better than watership down "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cara | 8/24/2012

    " Very eye-opening for a sheltered country girl. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth Yost | 3/24/2012

    " an important book concerning 'our' America that addresses issues worth discussing. This is the kind of journalism that raises awareness and incites change. I think Kotlowitz did a nice job. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emily Rose | 2/21/2012

    " UGHHHHH!!! So depressing. But very powerful. Although it really seemed like the wheels were turning, the vehicle was going nowhere. It was stuck in a muddy ditch. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yotamhod24 | 11/11/2011

    " exceptionally moving "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brooke | 10/29/2011

    " Just couldn't get into it but maybe I'll try again in the future "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joy | 8/12/2011

    " This was a excellent read that left me so emotionally drained I doubt I can read it again. I actually cried so hard, a friend thought something was wrong. What a cruel world we live in that our children can be robbed of their innocence and childhood. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denice | 7/19/2011

    " Interesting look at a world quite separate from mine. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Whitney | 4/26/2011

    " Would definitely recommend it to Hyde Park-ers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denali | 4/11/2011

    " This is a tremendous example of the power of long form journalism. Kotlowitz approaches his subjects with respect and affection and never loses sight of his characters to prove a larger social point. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 3/3/2011

    " I loved this book. I might even say it is my favorite. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Justin | 2/16/2011

    " A good story to shed light on the plight of urban life in the low income areas. But boring in narrative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Will | 2/8/2011

    " One of the most amazing non-fictions books I have ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry | 1/5/2011

    " love everything I've read by him! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hope | 1/2/2011

    " Wow...intense non-fiction but not near as intense as it must be to live in such violence, not just read about it. Good read to learn the true stories behind poverty & violence. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina.lowell | 11/29/2010

    " Completely compelling but average writing - I think I only held this critique because I read it just after reading the spirit catches you and it is a tall order to stand up to the excellent storytelling of Anne Fadiman. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Noah | 11/18/2010

    " This is one of those books that is supposed to be moving and insightful, but no matter how hard I tried to squeeze out some fresh understanding of the American inner city, the whole thing just didn't work for me. Not recommended. "

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About the Author
Author Alex Kotlowitz

Alex Kotlowitz’s honors include the George Foster Peabody Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the George Polk Award. A former staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, his work has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, and the New Yorker, as well as on public radio’s This American Life and on PBS’s Frontline. He is also the author of Never a City So Real and The Other Side of the River.

About the Narrator

Dion Graham, from HBO’s The Wire, also narrates The First 48 on A&E. Winner of dozens of Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, he has performed on Broadway, off Broadway, internationally, in films, and in several hit television series. His performances have been praised as thoughtful and compelling, vivid and full of life.