The Road Out by Deborah Hicks
A Teacher's Odyssey in Poor America (Simpson Book in the Humanities)

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Can one teacher truly make a difference in her students’ lives when everything is working against them? Can a love for literature and learning save the most vulnerable of youth from a life of poverty? The Road Out is a gripping account of one teacher’s journey of hope and discovery with her students—girls growing up poor in a neighborhood that was once home to white Appalachian workers, and is now a ghetto. Deborah Hicks, set out to give one group of girls something she never had: a first-rate education, and a chance to live their dreams. A contemporary tragedy is brought to life as she leads us deep into the worlds of Adriana, Blair, Mariah, Elizabeth, Shannon, Jessica, and Alicia?seven girls coming of age in poverty.

This is a moving story about girls who have lost their childhoods, but who face the street’s torments with courage and resiliency. "I want out," says 10-year-old Blair, a tiny but tough girl who is extremely poor and yet deeply imaginative and precocious. Hicks tries to convey to her students a sense of the power of fiction and of sisterhood to get them through the toughest years of adolescence. But by the time they’re sixteen, eight years after the start of the class, the girls are experiencing the collision of their youthful dreams with the pitfalls of growing up in chaotic single-parent families amid the deteriorating cityscape. Yet even as they face disappointments and sometimes despair, these girls cling to their desire for a better future. The author’s own life story—from a poorly educated girl in a small mountain town to a Harvard-educated writer, teacher, and social advocate—infuses this chronicle with a message of hope.

About Deborah Hicks

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Deborah Hicks has written about the lives of children for two decades. She works in the Program in Education at Duke University and directs an educational program for girls in Appalachia.
Published February 12, 2013 by University of California Press. 296 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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“Though I grew up in small-town Appalachia and my students were coming of age in an urban ghetto,” writes Hicks (Program in Education/Duke Univ.), “we were connected.” Her students were descendants of Appalachian migrants who moved North for jobs that have since vanished.

Jan 15 2013 | Read Full Review of The Road Out: A Teacher's Ody...

ForeWord Reviews

If all teachers today had the freedom and ingenuity to create an engaging and challenging educational program for their students similar to the one in this book, then more of our country’s poor children would receive the exciting and dignified learning experience they desperately deserve.

Feb 26 2013 | Read Full Review of The Road Out: A Teacher's Ody...

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