There Are No Children Here

  • by Alex Kotlowitz
  • Narrated by Dion Graham
  • 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This New York Public Library selection, as one of the 150 most important books of the 20th century, is a true-life portrait of growing up in the Chicago projects.
This national best-seller chronicles the true story of two brothers coming of age in the Henry Horner public housing complex in Chicago. Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers are 11 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.

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What the Critics Say

“A triumph of empathy as well as a significant feat of reporting.” (Los Angeles Times)
“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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

My life was changed by reading this book.

If you could sum up There Are No Children Here in three words, what would they be?

Shocking, angering, hopeful


What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

Dion did an excellent job for the most part... a little slow at times. There were only a few times when his annunciation knocked me out of my listening dream.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Every moment! This was a roller coaster ride of a book.


Any additional comments?

This book is so powerful, so well researched, so intimate while paying attention to the broader picture... I told my husband that if I wrote something this meaningful and essential to understanding life in America and race relations today, I would die a happy woman. Bravo a million times over.

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- SarahG

Six stars

Don't know why I had not read this before. This book went on to become a nonfiction classic, often assigned in sociology classes. Written in the 1980s, it is -- sadly -- all still true. Not an easy reality. Told thru the eyes of children. Complicated. Unbiased. There is no better narrator than Dion Graham, who was especially able in bringing this story home.

Recommended for the same people who appreciate Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. You might also like Gangleader for a Day.


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- Caro

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-30-2010
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.