Advocate for Public Education in the US and Best Selling Author
After being fired from his teaching job for reading a Langston Hughes poem to his students, Jonathan Kozol wrote Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools in 1967, which put urban schools on America’s political agenda. He has since tackled illiteracy, homelessness and educational inequality, earning the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Conscience in Media Award for his efforts.
In August, 2012, Jonathan published Fire in the Ashes, the major book of his career, a powerful and stirring culmination of the stories he has told over a quarter-century about the children of the poorest urban neighborhood in the United States. Fire in the Ashes is a sweeping narrative — early critics say it reads like a compelling novel — but the stories are interwoven with the crisis in our public schools and the decency of teachers who fight against the odds to defend the dignity of kids who are largely written off by our society.
“Jonathan’s struggle is noble. What he says must be heard. His outcry must shake our nation out of its guilty indifference.” —Elie Wiesel
He is also the author of the acclaimed Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America and Letters to a Young Teacher.
Spokesman and Activist
Kozol is an eloquent spokesperson for the disenfranchised and homeless, and he explores the reflections of children who have survived and thrived in America’s most violent communities. His solid, qualitative research and expertise on education in America has made him a definitive voice on the subject.
“Today’s most eloquent spokesman for America’s disenfranchised.” — Chicago Sun-Times
Jonathan is a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard and a Rhodes Scholar.
“Among the many virtues of Jonathan Kozol’s strong and often beautiful books is that we cannot forget for even an instant that the poor are of our kind and live but a moment away. . . . There must be something special about Kozol—a warmth, a gentleness, a kind of mournful decency—that brings out the extraordinary in others.” —Kai Erikson, The Nation
Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children
Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America
Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope
The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America
Letters to a Young Teacher