Saturday, December 01, 2018

Joshua Davis' Spare Parts

Joshua Davis' Spare Parts is a book about four undocumented teenagers at a low-income high school in Arizona who were led by an incredible science teacher who inspired them to participate (and then win) a national underwater robotics competition that included college teams (even MIT). It is a feel-good book but the ending lays bare how horrible our immigration system is.

They do not have much money so they have to borrow and find innovative ways to make parts work. They even note how this in no small part comes from watching family members fix cars, lay piping, and other things that they did not have much money for. But they were committed, even when constantly faced with their immigration status and poverty.

Davis shows how their country didn't care. One teen, Oscar, was in the ROTC and wanted to give back to his country by joining the military. He didn't realize he wasn't allowed to. The kids wanted to go to college, but Arizona changed its laws to make sure they had to pay out of state tuition they couldn't afford. Some were simply unable and had to struggle to make a living after graduating. We always say those are the people we want, those are the skills we want, but we place barrier after barrier in front of them.


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