New Book: Dr. Don Vu on the Power of Reading to Support Immigrant and Refugee Students

Royivia Ferguson  //  Apr 19, 2021

New Book: Dr. Don Vu on the Power of Reading to Support Immigrant and Refugee Students

Life, Literacy, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Supporting Our Immigrant and Refugee Children Through the Power of Reading, a debut Scholastic Professional title from Dr. Don Vu, is available now!

Life, Literacy, and the Pursuit of Happiness is the first professional title dedicated to addressing a school’s reading culture with a focus on helping immigrant and refugee students and their families thrive. Dr. Vu, an award-winning principal and literacy advocate, with decades of experience working in schools supporting immigrant and refugee students, defines six research-based conditions he believes can help schools create a welcoming culture of literacy for all students: Commitment, Collection, Clock, Conversation, Connection, and Celebration.

“Schools need to commit fully to supporting newcomers and their families in navigating the academic, social, and cultural challenges they face. Literacy can play a huge role in that effort.” – Dr. Don Vu

Dr. Vu’s work, inspired by his experience as an educator, is a testament to the transformative power of reading—a key to opening the door for all to realize the American Dream. He weaves together personal essays detailing his own story as a Vietnamese refugee student, as well as his experience working in schools serving immigrant and refugee populations, to show educators how they can use the power of literacy to make the greatest impact on all students.

Additionally, Dr. Vu provides educators with practical strategies that most effectively support students who are new to this country, including how to spark conversations around literacy, help students build background knowledge, and advocate for funding classroom libraries.

“Life, Literacy, and the Pursuit of Happiness is rich in practical strategies, thought-provoking conversation topics, student and teacher voices, and inspiration. Don Vu [has] given us a gift—a glimpse into the messy but gratifying process of reimagining what reading looks like in our schools."
– DONALYN MILLERaward-winning teacher, staff development leader, and author of The Book Whisperer, Reading in the Wild, and Game Changer!: Book Access for All Kids

Dr. Don Vu has been an elementary school teacher and principal for 24 years. He and his former school staff chartered a literacy campaign in 2013 to foster the love of reading in all students. He has received the Celebrate Literacy Award from the California Reading Association for his outstanding leadership in literacy. In 2018, his school was also one of five schools nationally to receive the Exemplary Reading Program Award from the International Literacy Association (ILA). In 2020, the school received the California Distinguished School Award for its work in closing the opportunity gap for all kids.

To learn more about Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and to keep up with news from Dr. Don Vu, follow @drdonvu and #LifeLiteracyandthePursuitofHappiness on Twitter.