“There are only three places that have a ‘the’ in the front of their name: the Vatican, The Hague, and the Bronx.”
—Mary Higgins Clark
A touching and provocative collection of memories that evoke the history of one of America’s most influential boroughs—the Bronx—through some of its many success stories
The vivid oral histories in Arlene Alda’s Just Kids from the Bronx reveal what it was like to grow up in the place that bred the influencers in just about every field of endeavor today. The parks, the pick-up games, the tough and tender mothers, the politics, the gangs, the food—for people who grew up in the Bronx, childhood recollections are fresh.
Just Kids from the Bronx includes experiences spanning six decades of Bronx living from leading artists, athletes, scientists and entrepreneurs including Al Pacino, Mary Higgins Clark, Carl Reiner, Colin Powell, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bobby Bonilla. Alda then arranged these pieces of the past, into one great collective story, a film-like portrait of the Bronx from the early twentieth century until today.
“No matter where you grew up, you’ll find this a down-to-earth, inspiring book about the American promise fulfilled.”
—President Bill Clinton
“Just Kids from the Bronx is both a cacophony and a chorus: a diverse collection of childhood memories that together form the singular, and very American, story of a remarkable place.”
National Book Award for Fiction winner
“The childhood recollections in Arlene Alda’s fascinating Just Kids from the Bronx run the gamut from surprisingly funny to painfully shocking. Made me wish I had been born in the Bronx.”
“In these funny, intelligent, generous-spirited reminiscences, an extremely diverse group of Bronxites pay tribute to the borough where they were raised. Here, they give voice to the place that made them and in doing so, they make you fall in love with the Bronx, and with the resilience and moxy it seems to have bred in its sons and daughters. This is an enchanting collection.”
National Book Award-winning author of The Noonday Demon
“I was mesmerized reading about the childhoods of celebrities and leaders in fields from art to science, revealing the roots that launched their journeys from humble beginnings in the Bronx to extraordinary success. I will long remember this wonderful book.”
author of The Marshmallow Test
“Among the wonders of Arlene Alda’s wondrous book is the stunning quality of the storytelling. Nearly every one of these offerings, including the author’s own, is a little work of art, each contributor foraging for the meaning and the music of a life. The result is America in a borough—at once hopeful, dangerous, regenerative, tough, joyous, and in the end, beautiful.”
New York Times bestselling author of Making Toast
“A fabulous collection of 65 brief oral histories.... There are few readers who won’t be touched by this affectionate look backward, which is as much about the universal state of childhood as the specific borough of the Bronx.”
“Entertaining and informative cherished memories from a diverse group from the Bronx.”
Arlene Alda graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hunter College, received a Fulbright Scholarship, and realized her dream of becoming a professional clarinetist, playing in the Houston Symphony under the baton of Leopold Stokowski. She switched careers when her children were young and became an award-winning photographer and author who has written nineteen books, including Just Kids from the Bronx. She is the mother of three daughters and the grandmother of eight. She and her husband, actor Alan Alda, live in New York City and Long Island.