Sentilles, Sarah 1973(?)–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Sentilles, Sarah 1973(?)–

PERSONAL: Born c. 1973. Education: Graduate of Yale University, 1995; Harvard University Divinity School, M.Div., 2001.

ADDRESSES: Home—Cambridge, MA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108.

CAREER: Educator and writer. Teach for America program, Compton, CA, elementary school teacher for two years; Episcopal minister.

WRITINGS:

Taught by America: A Story of Struggle and Hope in Compton, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: After graduating from Yale University and before going on to graduate school, Sarah Sentilles spent two years teaching both first and second graders in Compton, California, as part of the Teach for America program. Her experience teaching in one of the poorest sections of this city in Los Angeles County had a profound effect on her. Not only did it lead her to study for the ministry, but it also inspired her to write Taught by America: A Story of Struggle and Hope in Compton, in which she provides an inside look at some of the deepest segments of poverty in America. In her book, the author describes how she taught nearly forty children per classroom in both Madison and Garvey elementary schools, which were located in school districts that lacked many of the resources that more upscale community schools possessed. In addition to run-down buildings and teachers with little experience, the author points out that her students did not even have books. Much of Taught by America focuses on the children's strong will to overcome adversity and their joy at achieving even the smallest accomplishments, minimal gains that would be taken for granted among a more affluent population. Writing in Booklist, Vanessa Bush commented that Sentilles "shares with readers the poignant lessons she learned there." Mark Bay wrote in Library Journal that the author "gives a stirring description of working in one of our poorest school systems." In a review in Los Angeles magazine, a contributor commented that Taught by America "is a damning portrait of the ways in which California has failed its kids."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2005, Vanessa Bush, review of Taught by America: A Story of Struggle and Hope in Compton, p. 31.

Library Journal, July 1, 2005, Mark Bay, review of Taught by America, p. 96.

Los Angeles (magazine), August, 2005, review of Taught by America, p. 150.

ONLINE

Greenhill School Web site, http://www.greenhill.org/ (March 26, 2006), "Greenhill Alumnus and Author Speaks to Students."