Author/Journalist Elly Fishman and the Sullivan High School and Rogers Park communities are celebrating Elly’s recently published book Refugee High: Coming of Age in America.


Publisher's Weekly Reviews the Book, Refugee High: Coming of Age in America

In 2017 respected journalist — and teacher — Elly Fishman’s wonderful work,Welcome to Refugee High,” appeared in Chicago Magazine

It was an eye-opening and endearing glimpse into the complex lives of young immigrants and refugees from the world’s many conflicts who found themselves landing in a small, crumbling neighborhood high school with a storied past, a more dismal recent history, and a newly re-dedicated, re-energized re-purposed staff tasked with teaching and showing students from 38 nations (speaking 35 languages) and Chicago natives how to be “American.” Together. The article was a rare work clear-eyed and inspiring.

And now there is a book by the 2021 Studs and Ida Terkel-Prize winning Fishman, Refugee High: Coming of Age in America. Here’s how the Publisher’s Weekly review sums it up: Fishman unearths the inner lives of her subjects with care and precision, and skillfully balances lighter moments (soccer games, TikTok dances) with harrowing turns of events. The result is a powerful portrait of resilience in the face of long odds. (Emphasis is our own…)

You can read the entire review at

You can order it through Fishman’s website:

The original Chicago Magazine article is available at:

Washington Post Reviews the Book, Refugee High: Coming of Age in America

Check out the review published by the Washington Post, released Friday, August 27 2021.

Washington Post Review

The book features several refugee students attending Roger C. Sullivan High School in Rogers Park. Learn how a school under the leadership of a dynamic young Principal carved out a niche - providing educational opportunities to Chicago’s and America’s newest citizens! Follow the experiences of Sullivan’s dedicated faculty, as they navigate through the challenges of helping young people, many of whom suffered in their prior homeland, adapt to their strange new world. The book follows Elly’s immensely popular Chicago Magazine piece from 2017 entitled “Welcome to Refugee High". 

Please consider attending A Conversation at Sullivan High School with author Elly Fishman

Wednesday September 8th 6PM

Sullivan High School 6631 N. Bosworth; 6PM

RSVP (via ICIRR's sign-up platform):
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Friends of Sullivan is pleased to hold a reception following the book event to honor Elly’s accomplishment:

South of the Border Restaurant, 1416 W Morse

(We urge Sullivan alumni and staff, and Rogers Park and Sullivan community members who want to join us at the reception RSVP to Michael Glasser, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)





Background about Elly’s book