As we are often clouded by our optimistic views of society and equality, we tend to assume that every child has an equal chance at growing up and achieving their own "American Dream." We would all like to believe that children are growing up in equal environments that allow them to develop and succeed in life. However, these optimistic views are not at all realistic. Though we want to see equal opportunities for every child, the stark truth about poverty stricken housing projects is a matter that certainly exists. The idea of fairness we have made up in our minds is not often the case, and through Alex Kotlowitz's There Are No Children Here, our eyes are opened to many of the harsh situations such as poverty, gangs, racism, and violence that children are forced to grow up in.
Alex Kotlowitz attempts to expose the truths of poverty, race, and children throughout his literary works. He is widely known for his concerns for urban affairs and social issues in his writings in The Wall Street Journal. Kotlowitz grew up in New York City and worked as a community organizer in Atlanta in the mid-70's. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where he received two degrees. Before the start of his career with The Wall Street Journal he worked as a freelance journalist, contributing to "The MacNeil-Lebrer Newshour," National Public Radio, and numerous magazines. In 1985 he was approached to write an essay for a Chicago magazine on the subject of children living in poverty. His first book, There Are No Children Here, came about from a series of articles he wrote for The Wall Street Journal. This book has received a number of awards including the Helen B. Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Carl Sandburg Award and a Christopher Award. His ability to accurately portray the children of the Chicago projects while still informing the reader's heart has been recognized by many and earned the honor of becoming a National Bestseller.