Iroquois High students share difficult pasts in published book

JCPS high school students have book of their personal stories published

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A group of students from Iroquois High School can now add “author” to their list of accomplishments.

Their book, No Single Sparrow Makes a Summer, will be released Thursday, Oct. 11. It’s about immigrants and their experience living in Louisville.

The book, No Single Sparrow Makes a Summer, will be released Thursday, October 11.
The book, No Single Sparrow Makes a Summer, will be released Thursday, October 11. (Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)

The book is a compilation of stories from nine female student authors. They document immigrant communities in Louisville and share their own histories.

“I feel like outside this room everybody they can relate to our story. It’s not different, but we get to speak up for ourselves,” said author Maria Zaminkhan.

Maria Zaminkhan
Maria Zaminkhan (Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)

They've been working on the book for over a year with the Louisville Story Program.

“To have spent so much time on this work with these authors and to have watched them grow and watched their writing grow, it’s fantastic,” said Joe Manning of the Louisville Story Program.

The students took workshops to develop their interview and writing skills.

"I feel like this book is a good way to show the community that we matter, that immigrants matter and to show different parts of Louisville and different parts of the world in this one book,” said Yennifer Coca, one of the authors.

Yennifer Coca
Yennifer Coca (Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)

They spent countless hours listening to the stories of their family members and people in the community. While they are getting academic credit for their work, it’s a lot more than a school assignment. It’s a chance to connect.

“Each nine of us have really important things to say in our chapter,” said Autumn Wilson, another author. “Which I feel like pretty much anyone can relate to at least one of the things we have to say and if everybody can better from our book I feel like it can make our city, our state, our country better as a whole.”

Autumn Wilson
Autumn Wilson (Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)

The topics aren't easy to explore. Experiencing the ravages of war, life as a refugee, the foster care system, and juvenile detention.

“I feel like this book really matters,” said Coca. “It’s not just nine teenage girls writing about their stories. This is about the stories of our lives, the stories about immigration, the stories about overcoming difficulties, the stories of our community. Stories that I feel like are really going to change our community and shape the country that we live in especially in the political and social situation we are in right now.”

As an Iroquois student, author Katherin Socias said she and her peers are often underestimated.

Katherin Socias
Katherin Socias (Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)

"I wanted to portray that we could do so much more," said Socias. "There are so many people in this school that are talented, they're intellectual and they're good students but they don’t see that. So I just want everybody to notice that."

The book release celebration is at 7 p.m. at the Columbia Auditorium at Spalding University, 824 S. Fourth St. It’s free and open to the public.

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