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"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
The unlikely, inspiring true story of a one-room school where children of undocumented immigrants and their teacher discover their voices and speak truth to power.
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.