A visionary leader’s powerful personal story and a blueprint for change that will inspire schools and communities across America
Luma Mufleh—a Muslim woman, a gay refugee from hyper-conservative Jordan—joins a pick-up game of soccer in Clarkston, Georgia. The players, 11- and 12-year-olds from Liberia and Afghanistan and Sudan, have attended local schools for years. Drawn in as coach of a ragtag but fiercely competitive team, Mufleh discovers that few of her players can read a word. She asks, “Where was the America that took me in? That protected me? How can I get these kids to that America?”
For readers of Malala, Paul Tough, and Bryan Stevenson, Learning America
is the moving and insight-packed story of how Luma Mufleh grew a soccer team into a nationally acclaimed network of schools—by homing in laserlike on what traumatized students need in order to learn. Fugees accepts only those most in need: students recruit other students, and all share a background of war, poverty, and trauma. No student passes a grade without earning it; the failure of any student is the responsibility of all. Most foundational, everyone takes art and music and everyone plays soccer, areas where students make the leaps that can and must happen—as this gifted refugee activist convinces—even for America’s most left-behind.