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Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle…

por Joshua Davis

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1899106,604 (4.24)Ninguno
In 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where they attended an underfunded public high school. No one had ever suggested to Oscar, Cristian, Luis, or Lorenzo that they might amount to much-but two inspiring science teachers had convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot.And build a robot they did. Their robot wasn't pretty, especially compared to those of the competition. They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT backed by a $10,000 grant from ExxonMobil. The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts. This was never a level competition-and yet, against all odds . . . they won!But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story-which became a key inspiration to the DREAMers movement-will go on to include first-generation college graduations, deportation, bean-picking in Mexico, and service in Afghanistan.Joshua Davis's Spare Parts is a story about overcoming insurmountable odds and four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country-even as the country tried to kick them out.… (más)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
What an amazing story that was in turns something to cheer and something to weep. I could write an entire commentary on how we treat immigrants in this country, but I am here to talk about the book. The author does a wonderful job of sucking you into each student's life, from Mexican roots to struggles with post-high school life. The structure and writing keep you engaged throughout, and not once does the pacing or commentary leave you bored. My heart was with these guys as they worked their way to the final competition, and I wept with joy when they started getting awards. I really hope they all end up with their dreams coming true -- I especially hope that Cristian manages to finish school. I was heartbroken that he had to drop out because of Arizona's laws. ( )
  ladypembroke | May 17, 2019 |
You read this to find out if this foursome can actually beat colleges like MIT that they're competing against. You're introduced to the teenagers, how they wound up in United States, and how the high school robotics program helped kept them in school, giving their school a boost as well. To remain in the robotics program they had to maintain a certain grade point average and it became a family away from home where they could express their ideas. They were always in danger when crossing state lines that they could be picked up by ICE and came close when their teachers took them to California to see the facilities where they'd compete. Fortunately, they were traveling in school vans and their teachers managed to get them by the checkpoint and back home. One started the Robodevils at Arizona State University before deporting himself so he could enter the United States legally. I only put this book down when I was forced to. ( )
  lisa.schureman | Mar 22, 2018 |
Feel-good story that will likely work better as a movie. Four teenagers born in Mexico and growing up in poverty went up against the best student engineers in the country (that had both great access to education and funds). It's the story of hard beginnings, finding mentors/teachers who are willing and the occasional helping hand along the way. Sometimes these stories don't end well: deaths, deportation, membership in gangs, jail, etc. Luckily that's not the case here.
 
It was an interesting premise to look at the potential of some of the people who come across the border from Mexico. In light of certain remarks made by certain US Presidential candidates, this was an actually really interesting read to see how these young men had the interest and willpower, but perhaps needed some guidance, opportunity and some help here and there to go up against some of the "best and the brightest" who came from some of the best schools and had the backing of major corporations, etc.
 
Unfortunately a lot of it is lost. Author Davis is a journalist and as always that style rarely ever works for me. Initially I was drawn into the stories and childhoods of these young men from crossings back and forth across the border, to growing up with little, to struggles with the language barrier, the fear of deportation, distinct possibilities of getting into gangs or drugs, etc. But Davis keeps switching the narrative too many times to too many perspectives when it might have been good to keep just one chapter to introduce the students, one to introduce the teachers/mentors and go from there. The book really is quite interesting in parts but tends to wax and wane quite a bit. It's really a pity because it is a great story that could easily be hammered into a 2, 2.5 hour movie that could even be Oscar-bait if done right and marketed well.
 
Still, it was an interesting read. I certainly don't regret it and think it's pretty relevant in light of the current discussion of immigration. Not to mention education, poverty and many of the other secondary and tertiary issues that go along with these larger ones.
 
That said, I'd borrow it from the library unless you have a special interest in the above or robotics. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
I liked this book more than I thought I would. It's the story of the robotics team from Carl Hayden High School in West Phoenix, four Mexican American teenagers from poor families, three of them undocumented, who managed to win the national underwater robotics championship in Santa Barbara in 2004 with a robot built out of scavenged and donated parts. The story moves quickly, unfolding in short chapters, and Davis does a good job of showing the difficult odds these kids faced.

The book also tries to be a kind of primer for immigration politics, but its treatment of the issue is fairly superficial, I think as a function of the genre. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Undocumented high school students in Arizona compete in an underwater robotics contest, going against MIT and other colleges. This true story is inspirational, both for what the boys accomplished and for what the teachers did to guide them. You will have more faith in the young people today after reading this, although it may challenge what you think about illegal immigrants. It's not as cut and dried as it would seem. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Sep 17, 2016 |
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In 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where they attended an underfunded public high school. No one had ever suggested to Oscar, Cristian, Luis, or Lorenzo that they might amount to much-but two inspiring science teachers had convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot.And build a robot they did. Their robot wasn't pretty, especially compared to those of the competition. They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT backed by a $10,000 grant from ExxonMobil. The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts. This was never a level competition-and yet, against all odds . . . they won!But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story-which became a key inspiration to the DREAMers movement-will go on to include first-generation college graduations, deportation, bean-picking in Mexico, and service in Afghanistan.Joshua Davis's Spare Parts is a story about overcoming insurmountable odds and four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country-even as the country tried to kick them out.

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