Hawkins Street School Publishes a Book that Captures Their Immigrant Experience in America

“The Hispanic American Dreamers of Hawkins Street School”

[Newark, NJ – June 27, 2018] Students of Hawkins Street School started a simple writing assignment a couple of months ago. Before long, what started off as personal presentations of fifth graders stories for Hispanic Heritage Month have become a published book!

The Hispanic American Dreamers of Hawkins Street School is a compilation of more than 50 stories of student and teacher experiences of living life as part of an immigrant family in Newark and New Jersey. The collection of stories and photographs were compiled by bilingual teacher Ana Couto.

The book was revealed at a recent event held at Hawkins Street School. Principal Alejandro Lopez said, “The book reveal was truly an inspirational day. To see Bilingual children who are typically overlooked and voiceless so empowered through the publication of a book they contributed to is simply amazing. Considering the climate of America concerning these very immigrant children, we, at Hawkins Street School see this as a victory against the immoral actions happening on a national level. Teachers like Ms. Couto can change the world through their work and their voice.”

Ms. Couto said in referencing her students and this exercise, “We use the word grit every day here and now that I know you (the students) better-I see you have a lot of grit in you. You are warriors and I lack the words to tell you how proud I am of you all.” Ms. Couto said she shed a lot of tears during the process of reading the stories, editing them, and receiving the first set of books in the mail. On the day of the book reveal she said, “The tears I cry today are of happiness.”

Hispanic American Dreamer 5th grade student Carlos Idrovo said, “I came to the U.S.A. because my dad was not paid correctly in Spain. He could not pay for the school, for my food and my education. When we came here, everything changed and we can get an education. So that is why we are in the U.S.A.’

Ms. Couto added, “When I thought about being a bilingual teacher, the creation of a book is something I had in mind right away. I never thought it would be completed my first year though. It makes me excited for the future because if a published book is our starting point- just imagine the possibilities.”

Ms. Couto added that she plan to compile the stories of African American students as well, that will be titled, “The African American Dreamers of Hawkins Street School.” Third grade student Amiyah Pettiford said, “As an African American girl, it means that I am powerful. I am strong. I am loving.”