After graduating from Yale, Sarah Sentilles joined Teach for America. But nothing in her limited life experience could have prepared her for what she learned when she started teaching in a run down elementary school in Compton, California. Beautifully written, charged with love and indignation, Taught by America is a powerful tribute to the young lives Sentilles witnessed. Through moving portraits of inspiring children, she relates a heartbreaking journey, as she learns about a troubled school system, the true meaning of poverty in America, and the strength children exhibit when they’re struggling just to survive.
“This is a poignant, touching memoir from a natural-born teacher. The education of Sarah Sentilles is something we can all learn from.”
— Geoffrey Canada
author, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun
President of Harlem Children's Zone, Inc.
“Sentilles gives a stirring description of working in one of our poorest school systems. Through her experiences, we get a glimpse of schools that are failing our children, of the real extent of poverty in the richest country in the world, and of how even in seemingly crushing circumstances, children can find small victories. [A] profoundly moving book.”
— Library Journal, starred review
“Taught by America captures the way one relentless woman confronts her own privilege, suggests the impact Teach for America has on schools struggling with the effects of poverty, and finally, most poignantly, illustrates how Sentilles’s students reveal her own search for justice as a kind of faith.”
— Michael Johnston
author, In the Deep Heart's Core
“Hauntingly eloquent, this memoir raises chilling questions about race, social privilege, failing schools and the loss of innocence. Sentilles’s reflections on her students, their families and the education they (don’t) receive stays with you long after her story ends. This is a wakeup call that we as a nation cannot afford to ignore.”
— Janie Victoria Ward
author, The Skin We're In