Many Americans were first introduced to St. Ann’s rector, the Rev. Martha Overall—“Mother Martha” to all who know her—in Jonathan Kozol’s books about the South Bronx and its people, Amazing Grace, Ordinary Resurrections and Fire in the Ashes.

Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
by Jonathon Kozol

Amazing grace

The New York’s Times bestseller Amazing Grace is Jonathan Kozol’s classic book on life and death in the South Bronx—the poorest urban neighborhood of the United States. He brings us into overcrowded schools, dysfunctional hospitals, and homes where families have been ravaged by depression and anxiety, drug-related violence, and the spread of AIDS. But he also introduces us to devoted and unselfish teachers, dedicated ministers, and—at the heart and center of the book—courageous and delightful children. The children we come to meet through the friendships they have formed with Jonathan defy the stereotypes of urban youth too frequently presented by the media. Tender, generous, and often religiously devout, they speak with eloquence and honesty about the poverty and racial isolation that have wounded but not hardened them. Amidst all of the despair, it is the very young whose luminous capacity for love and transcendent sense of faith in human decency give reason for hope.


Ordinary Resurrections:  Children in the Years of Hope
by Jonathon Kozol

815ba9UuQ2LLike Amazing Grace this work also takes place in New York’s South Bronx; but it is a markedly different book in mood and vantage point, because we see life this time through the eyes of children, not, as the author puts it, from the perspective of grown-up man encumbered with a Harvard education. Here, too, we see devoted teachers in a good but underfunded public elementary school that manages, against all odds, to be a warm, inviting, and protective place. We see the children also in the intimate religious setting of a church in which they are watched over by the vigilant grandmothers of the neighborhood and by a priest whose ministry is, first and foremost, to the very young.


Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years among the Poorest Children in America
by Jonathan Kozol


In this powerful and culminating work about a group of inner-city children he has known for many years, Jonathan Kozol returns to the scene of his previous prize-winning books, and to the children he has vividly portrayed, to share with us their fascinating journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood. The Rev. Overall, rector of St. Ann’s, and many St. Ann’s people are featured in the three books.