The brothers, now 36 and 33, have dealt with their share of adversity. They have both served time in prison and continue to struggle with poverty.
Pharoah Walton, depicted as the inquisitive younger brother, was paroled last year on a drug-related conviction, Department of Corrections records show. Over the years, though, he's joined Kotlowitz for speaking engagements and in 1993 was in the author's wedding.
Lafeyette Walton lives on the South Side and works inside a laundry. He was paroled this year after being convicted on separate drug, drunken-driving and handgun charges.
Depicted as the reserved older brother, Lafayette Walton said that he was conflicted about the success of the book during the 1990s.
While he got to travel the country and earned a bit of a celebrity status, the family was still poor. His mother had a nervous breakdown, forcing him to take on the role of caretaker for his younger siblings.
But Lafeyette Walton credits the experiences with Kotlowitz with giving him a broader view of the world, better able to cope with the stresses of the streets.
"The type of life, where I came from, it's almost like being in Vietnam," he said while sitting in a busy South Shore neighborhood diner Saturday. "You need to surround yourself with people who are more positive so you don't drive yourself crazy. The stuff I've seen could drive the average person crazy."
Lafeyette Walton said that his experiences with Kotlowitz helped him enjoy being a kid, even if for a short time.
"He gave me a different feeling in life," he said. "I was always the child who had seen too much."
-- from [url=http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-14/news/ct-met-interrupters-0814-20110814_1_public-housing-chicago-housing-authority-town-houses]Oak Park author reflects on the two decades since publication of There Are No Children Here - Chicago Tribune[/url]