Newsletter #187: Bang, Bang, In a Boy Voice

Hi there, and greetings from Santa Fe, New Mexico, where somehow it’s cold and nobody told me it would be. Loyal readers — and especially new subscribers — you’re going to like this week’s issue. Everyone should read the lead article, a boy’s coming-of-age in 1980s New York, which will push your sense of empathy. The other three articles are excellent, too — ranging from the extinction of dinosaurs, to the prosecution of truancy, to the legacy of adoptions in Guatemala. Please enjoy!

Bang, Bang, In A Boy Voice

When Akhim Yuseff Cabey was little, growing up in the Bronx, all he wanted to do was ride the subway on his own. The subways were like space rockets, and riding to Queens to see his grandmother meant vanquishing aliens and saving the galaxy. But everything changed when Akhim turned 9 and vigilante Bernhard Goetz shot four Black boys on a subway car. His childhood over, Akhim’s innocence turned to fear, and then to rage. The writing in this coming-of-age memoir is exquisite — and there’s no way you’ll predict the ending. (14 min)

The Day the Dinosaurs Died

Poor dinosaurs: They had no chance 66 million years ago when Chicxulub, a 6-mile-wide asteroid, struck the Yucatán peninsula and killed off most life. The first paragraph of this outstanding article will grab you and not let you go. You’ll learn about how young and quirky paleontologist Robert DePalma has found an excavation site in North Dakota that may be direct evidence of the day of impact. Note to future large asteroids: Please miss Earth. (46 min)

Kamala Harris and The Human Costs of The War on Truancy in Schools

Don’t read this article to decide whether to vote for Kamala Harris. Instead, consider whether punishing parents for their kids’ poor attendance is good practice. We know that truancy correlates with criminal behavior, and we know that when Ms. Harris threatened parents with prosecution in San Francisco, truancy declined 32%. So what’s the problem? (You’ll see.) (24 min)

Destined for Export: The Troubled Legacy of Adoptions from Guatemala

Five years ago, Jean-Sebastien Hertsens Zune went searching for his birth parents in Guatemala. Instead, he found the man who trafficked him. Mr. Zune’s story is not abnormal. Until Guatemala banned international adoptions in 2008, thousands of children were stolen, or their mothers tricked into giving them up, as part of a quiet genocide of poor, rural, indigenous people — which the United States supported. (30 min)

Did you read all the articles? Hope so. Thank you for reading this week’s issue, and please hit reply or use the thumbs below to tell me what you thought. Also, let’s welcome this week’s five new subscribers, including Joe, Audrey, Jennifer, and Brittney. Thank you for trying out the newsletter. Hope it’s a good match!

If you like The Highlighter, please tell your friends. Word of mouth is the best way to grow our reading community. Here’s how:

On the other hand, if you don’t look forward to receiving the newsletter, please unsubscribe. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am!