Spare Parts

Spare Parts

Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream

Book - 2014
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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.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374183370
Branch Call Number: 629.892 Davis 11/2014
Characteristics: xii, 224 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Call Number: 629.892 Davis 11/2014


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I liked it! Easy-to-read style. It feels like journalism -- very satisfying journalism!

Nov 29, 2015

great story! Hard to put down, and hard to forget… even if this talented team was often forgotten by the rest of their home land.

Mar 13, 2015

A heart-warming book once again highlighting the importance of outstanding teachers [and psychotic immigration policies]! A colossal read, and another one espousing the investment of resources in the youth of America, regardless of socioeconomic background! A complementary book would be by Judy Dutton, Science Fair Season. Both of these are tremendous reads. The capitalist educational system routinely fails, it is overdue time for a meritocratic educational system for one and all!

ChristchurchLib Feb 10, 2015

This is the inspiring true story of how four Mexican-American teens, all undocumented immigrants, built a robot from scavenged parts and won the National Underwater Robotics Competition at the University of California at Santa Barbara. In addition to detailing the team's trailblazing victory, this book also examines social issues such as immigration and access to higher education. February 2015 Nature and Science newsletter.


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