Virtual Event: Stephen Haff
A Group of Students, Their Teacher, and the One-Room School Where Everything Is Possible
in conversation with JAMES WOOD
May 20, 2020
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes STEPHEN HAFF—writer and founder of the afterschool literacy program Still Waters in a Storm—for a discussion of his book, Kid Quixotes: A Group of Students, Their Teacher, and the One-Room School Where Everything Is Possible. He will be joined in conversation by celebrated critic and author JAMES WOOD.
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Kid Quixotes from our affiliate Bookshop page, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About Kid Quixotes
Still Waters in a Storm is an after-school program held in a small room in Bushwick, Brooklyn; it is a place for kids to practice reading and writing in English, Spanish, and Latin. For the students, many living in constant fear of deportation, Still Waters is a refuge. For Stephen Haff, a former public-school teacher, it is the sanctuary he built following a breakdown caused by bipolar depression. At Still Waters, all agreed that there would only be one rule: “Everyone listens to everyone.” And this has unlocked spectacular potential.
Since 2016, the students have been collectively translating Don Quixote into English, taking the Spanish tale—a story about a dreamer who never gives up—and adapting it into a bilingual musical. Six-year old Sarah tells of her mother’s journey across the desert from Mexico riding on the back of a tiger. Alex, a very private teenager, sings her coming out song to standing ovations. As the kids perform their work across NYC, they learn that they belong in this country—their voices amplifying to deliver a message of diversity, love, hope, and resilience essential to us all.
Praise for Kid Quixotes
“In my years of experience as a writer and as a college professor, I have never seen anything like this: the love for language, the passion for discussion, clarity of mind, and humility of heart. Stephen Haff invents impossible projects and makes them possible.” —Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive
“Cervantes would be proud that his 400-year-old novel is helping these extraordinary schoolkids and their impressive teacher make sense of their lives; face their fears; and tell their stories with courage, imagination, and song.” —Salman Rushdie, New York Times bestselling author of Quichotte
“Haff paints a picture of what education in America could and perhaps should be. His story is passionately honest, profoundly open-minded, and suffused with optimism, and his writing is crisp and clear and persuasive.” —Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
Though our doors are temporarily closed to the public, Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online!
See our listings for our upcoming virtual events.
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