Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Disturbed In Their Nests by Alephonsion Deng and Judy A. Bernstein
Nineteen-year-old refugee Alephonsion Deng, from war-ravaged Sudan, had great expectations when he arrived in America three weeks before two planes crashed into the World Trade Towers. Money, he’d been told, was given to you in pillows. Machines did all the work. Education was free.
Suburban mom Judy Bernstein had her own assumptions. The teenaged “Lost Boys of Sudan”—who’d traveled barefoot and starving for a thousand miles—needed a little mothering and a change of scenery: a trip to the zoo, perhaps, or maybe the beach.
Partnered through a mentoring program in San Diego, these two individuals from opposite sides of the world began an eye-opening journey that radically altered each other’s vision and life.
Disturbed in Their Nests recounts the first year of this heartwarming partnership; the initial misunderstandings, the growing trust, and, ultimately, their lasting friendship. Their contrasting points of view provide of-the-moment insight into what refugees face when torn from their own cultures and thrust into entirely foreign ones.
Alepho struggles to understand the fast-paced, supersized way of life in America. He lands a job, but later is viciously beaten. Will he ever escape violence and hatred?
Judy faces her own struggles: Alepho and his fellow refugees need jobs, education, housing, and health care. Why does she feel so compelled and how much support should she provide?
The migrant crises in the Middle East, Central America, Europe, and Africa have put refugees in the headlines. Countless human tragedies are reduced to mere numbers. Personal stories such as Alepho’s add a face to the news and lead to greater understanding of the strangers among us. Readers experience Alepho’s discomfort, fears, and triumphs in a way that a newscast can’t convey. This timely and inspiring personal account will make readers laugh, cry, and examine their own place in the world.
“The inspirational story of coauthors Alephonsion Deng and Judy A. Bernstein, who…resolve their initial misunderstandings and develop a lasting friendship while changing each other’s vision and life.” —San Diego Union-Tribune
“Narrators Dion Graham and Suzie Althens perfectly capture their characters. Fans of Deng and Bernstein’s previous work, the story of the Lost Boys, and of refugees and their incredible courage and willingness to embrace a new culture will find much to ponder.” —Library Journal (starred audio review)
“[As] Deng, his brother, Benson, and his cousins, Lino and Benjamin, tried to adjust to life in San Diego…the city’s strange, sometimes threatening inhabitants presented their own challenges…The book brims with stories of the boys’ bumpy adjustment…A memoir that will bring comfort to those enduring similar challenges, the book’s stories will be instructive to those committed to improving the quality of immigrants’ lives.” —Foreword Reviews (starred review)
“In a follow-up to their previous collaboration, They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky (2005), Deng and Bernstein alternate telling the story of their mentoring relationship, narrating the same events from different perspectives, in an eye-opening and richly layered account.” —Booklist
“A ‘lost boy’ of Sudan and a California housewife forge a bond in this compelling dual memoir…An important reminder of all we share as human beings…This book represents the beginning—or a necessary reset—of an essential dialogue.” —Kirkus Reviews
Alephonsion Deng was relocated from the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya to the United States as part of the UNHCR refugee resettlement program in 2001. He now lives in San Diego and shares his extraordinary story of survival and his belief that you cannot change what happened to you but you can create your own future.
Judy A. Bernstein lives in San Diego and devotes her time to speaking at schools, colleges, and organizations regarding tolerance and refugee issues. She continues to mentor refugees and is working on her next book.
Dion Graham is an award-winning narrator named a “Golden Voice” by AudioFile magazine. He has been a recipient of the prestigious Audie Award numerous times, as well as Earphones Awards, the Publishers Weekly Listen Up Awards, IBPA Ben Franklin Awards, and the ALA Odyssey Award. He was nominated in 2015 for a Voice Arts Award for Outstanding Narration. He is also a critically acclaimed actor who he has performed on Broadway, off Broadway, internationally, in films, and in several hit television series. He is a graduate of Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, with an MFA degree in acting.
Suzie Althens records from her professional studio in Alaska, near the beautiful Matanuska Glacier. She narrates regularly for major publishers and specializes in audiobooks and e-learning. Suzie is enthusiastic about narrating nonfiction as it provides opportunities to share amazing memoirs, medical discoveries, and inspiration, but she also enjoys mysteries and women’s fiction.