logo

41 pages 1 hour read

Tracy Kidder

Among School Children

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1989

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Themes

Race and Nationality

Race and nationality play fundamental roles in the book. This theme shapes the interactions among students, teachers, and townspeople. It permeates the characters’ lives at every moment. Mrs. Zajac is concerned for Puerto Rican students because of the racism she sees and the statistics that show they are more likely to have children early or drop out. She tries to minimize her own bias, taking advantage of opportunities to go to Puerto Rico and to go to bilingual services at her church. She tries to notice when she is having a biased thought and to see the situation from a different perspective. However, Mrs. Zajac is rare. Most of the teachers around her complain about their Puerto Rican students, and many townspeople around her complain that Puerto Ricans have caused all the town’s problems.

Mrs. Zajac tries to provide her children with experiences that show that both white and Puerto Rican people are capable. She pairs Alice, an upper-class white student, with Judith, a poor Puerto Rican student, to give them both the chance to learn from each other and develop positive perceptions of “the other group.” However, both Judith and Alice develop more typical friend groups, and while they like each other and become friends, they do things like eat lunch with their same-race friends.

blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
Unlock IconUnlock all 41 pages of this Study Guide
Plus, gain access to 8,000+ more expert-written Study Guides.
Including features:
+ Mobile App
+ Printable PDF
+ Literary AI Tools