Sunday, May 15, 2022

From The Bookshelves: Learning America by Luma Mufleh


Luma Mufleh is the author of Learning America: One Woman's Fight for Educational Justice for Refugee Children. Kevin introduced you to Luma two years ago, writing about the her Fugees Academy, a free private school for low-income refugee children in Atlanta. Now Luma is telling her story in her own words. As the publisher pitches it:

Luma Mufleh—a Muslim woman, a gay refugee from hyper-conservative Jordan—joins a pick-up game of soccer in Clarkston, Georgia. The players, 11- and 12-year-olds from Liberia and Afghanistan and Sudan, have attended local schools for years. Drawn in as coach of a ragtag but fiercely competitive team, Mufleh discovers that few of her players can read a word. She asks, “Where was the America that took me in? That protected me? How can I get these kids to that America?”

For readers of Malala, Paul Tough, and Bryan Stevenson, Learning America is the moving and insight-packed story of how Luma Mufleh grew a soccer team into a nationally acclaimed network of schools—by homing in laserlike on what traumatized students need in order to learn. Fugees accepts only those most in need: students recruit other students, and all share a background of war, poverty, and trauma. No student passes a grade without earning it; the failure of any student is the responsibility of all. Most foundational, everyone takes art and music and everyone plays soccer, areas where students make the leaps that can and must happen—as this gifted refugee activist convinces—even for America’s most left-behind.


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