"Helen Thorpe has taken policy and turned it into literature." –Malcolm Gladwell

THE NEWCOMERS will be published by Scribner on November 14, 2017, but you can pre-order the book now. Just click on BUY THE BOOKS!



Author photograph by Marea Evans.

Helen Thorpe was born in London to Irish parents. She is an award-winning journalist who lives in Denver, Colorado. Her magazine journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Texas Monthly, and 5280.

Her first book, Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America, was published in 2009. It won the Colorado Book Award and was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts later adapted the nonfiction book for the stage as a play.

Her second book, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, was published in 2014. TIME Magazine named it the number one nonfiction book of the year,  The Boston Globe called it “utterly absorbing, gorgeously written, and unforgettable,” while The New York Times said: “Through minute, almost claustrophobic, detail — using military and medical records, as well as therapists’ notes and personal correspondence —Thorpe achieves a staggering intimacy with her subjects.”

Her forthcoming book, The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom, follows the lives of twenty-two teenagers from around the world over the course of one school year as they land at South High School in Denver, Colorado, in a beginner-level English Language Acquisition class. Speaking no English and unfamiliar with American culture, they face the enormous challenge of adapting to life in the developed world even as they struggle to understand what their teacher is saying. The newcomer students come from nations convulsed by drought or famine or war. Many arrive directly from refugee camps, some after having lost one or both parents. Together, their class represents a microcosm of the global refugee crisis as a whole. The Newcomers tells the story of what happens in their class during the students’ first year in America, and it follows the journeys of three families in particular—from Iraq, Burma, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—illuminating what life is like in refugee-producing parts of the world.

With the US at a moral crossroads around questions of immigration, inclusion, and America’s role on the global stage, Helen Thorpe presents a fresh and nuanced perspective on the ongoing conversation about refugee resettlement. The Newcomers is a transformative take on these timely issues. “Few books could be more vital, in this particular moment,” writes Jeff Hobbs (The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace). The book is due out from Scribner on November 14, 2017.

Written by Helen Thorpe

June 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm

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