Monday, September 12, 2005

The House I Live In: Ghetto Life 101

Ms. Kane is using a terrific book as a read aloud, Scooter by Vera Williams. It's about growing up in a housing project. She's doing realistic fiction, with a further emphasis on character studies (I hope I got that right) Vera Williams is a New Yorker who grow up in the Bronx. A book about housing projects, a nice one in Scooter's case, reminded me of the David Isay radio documentary that was done in 1993 with two remarkable boys (talk about strong character!) in Chicago housing projects: "In March, 1993, LeAlan Jones, thirteen, and Lloyd Newman, fourteen, collaborated with public radio producer David Isay to create the radio documentary Ghetto Life 101, their audio diaries of life on Chicago's South Side. The boys taped for ten days, walking listeners through their daily lives: to school, to an overpass to throw rocks at cars, to a bus ride that takes them out of the ghetto, and to friends and family members in the community. The candor in Jones and Newman's diaries brought listeners face to face with a portrait of poverty and danger and their effects on childhood in one of Chicago's worst housing projects. Like Vietnam War veterans in the bodies of young boys, Jones and Newman described the bitter truth about the sounds of machine guns at night and the effects of a thriving drug world on a community. Ghetto Life 101 became one of the most acclaimed programs in public radio history, winning almost all of the major awards in American broadcasting, including: the Sigma Delta Chi Award, the Ohio State Award, the Livingston Award, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Awards for Excellence in Documentary Radio and Special Achievement in Radio Programming, and others. Ghetto Life 101 was also awarded the Prix Italia, Europe's oldest and most prestigious broadcasting award. It has been translated into a dozen languages and has been broadcast worldwide." Here's the transcript of the show. Here's the audio of the show

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