The New Kids

Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens

The New Kids

“A refreshing reminder of the hurdles newcomers to this country still face and how many defy the odds to overcome them,” writes The New York Times, this inspiring work of narrative journalism recounts a year in the life at the International High School at Prospect Heights.

Some walked across deserts and mountains to get here. One arrived after escaping in a suitcase. And others won’t say how they got here.

These are “the new kids”: new to America and all the routines and rituals of an American high school, from lonely first days to prom. They attend Brooklyn’s International High School at Prospect Heights, where all the students are recent immigrants learning English. Together, they come from more than forty-five countries and speak more than twenty-eight languages.

An inspiring work of narrative journalism, The New Kids chronicles a year in the lives of teenage newcomers who are at once ordinary and extraordinary in their paths to the American Dream. Hauser’s unforgettable portraits include Jessica, kicked out of her father’s home just days after arriving from China; Ngawang, who spent twenty-four hours folded up in a suitcase to escape Tibet; Mohamed, a diamond miner’s son from Sierra Leone whose past is shrouded in mystery; and Chit Su, a Burmese refugee who is the only person to speak her language in the entire school.

The students deal with enormous obstacles: traumas and wars in their native countries that haunt them, and pressures from their cultures to marry or to drop out and go to work. They aren’t just jostling for their places in the high school pecking order—they are carving out new lives for themselves in America.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439163306 | 
  • May 2012
List Price $17.00 (price may vary by retailer)
In Stock: Usually ships within 1 business day

Teaching Resources

To download a file to your computer right-click on the link and choose 'save file as'

High Resolution Images

Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit

Read an Excerpt

Join our Mailing List

Get our latest book recommendations, author news and sweepstakes right to your inbox

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The New Kids includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Brooke Hauser. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


In The New Kids, journalist Brooke Hauser takes readers inside the International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, New York, and into the lives of its students—all recent immigrants who are learning English. Among the memorable students she follows: Ngawang, who escaped Tibet by hiding inside of a small suitcase for twenty-four hours; Mohamed, a diamond miner’s son from Sierra Leone who dreams of becoming a doctor; and Yasmeen, a Muslim girl from Yemen who has her feet in two worlds. Despite their different backgrounds, all of the students are adjusting to life in a new land and forging their own paths to the American Dream.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1.   The New Kids is divided into three parts: Passages, Between Worlds, and Almost American. How do those titles reflect the narrative arc of the book and the students’ stories? What does it mean to be almost American? What does “being American” mean to you? see more


About the Author

Brooke Hauser
Karen Wise (Karen Wise Photography)