Helen Thorpe is the author of The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom.
Her previous books are Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America, and Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War.
The Newcomers has received great praise from other authors:
"In this time of great anxiety, this splendid, humane, beautifully crafted book is a reminder of America's proud, historic role as a beacon of hope to the world. And it is a terrific story."
--Doris Kearns Goodwin
"Helen Thorpe didn't miss a detail during the year she spent watching 22 young refugees how to speak English (difficult) and how to be American (even more difficult). No one with a pulse could feel to be moved by this beautifully reported book."
"I loved this book. It brims with teenage life, with a sense of America being reborn, of new Americans being made. Cultures converge in a high school classroom were teenagers - with all the energy, earnestness, and embarrassment we expect, but also with trauma - learn English with the help of a teacher who appreciates all the ways it's not easy. The Newcomers teaches us about parts of the world we can barely imagine, and it also takes us into their new American homes. Helen Thorpe, herself the child of immigrants, is a terrific writer and a steadfast character witness to these people so many of us fear."
"Few books could be more vital, in this particular moment or in any moment, than this book. Helen Thorpe writes expensively about one school, one classroom, one teacher, one groups of students - student who hail from the most severe places in the world and come together at South High. Confused, trouble, bright, magnificent: they converge, ostensibly to learn English, learning so much more than a language - learning about us and about themselves, all the bad and all the good. You need to meet these young people. Once you do, everything you read or hear or say will be illuminated and changed."
"Helen Thorpe has taken policy and turned it into literature."
Previously, Helen Thorpe has written magazine stories for the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Texas Monthly, Westword, and 5280. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
Author Photograph by Marea Evans.