Fellow librarian (and super-blogger) Marie just posted a great interview with the amazing librarians that work at the various sites of Passages Academy, an education program run in NYC's juvenile detention centers. Please, check out the interview HERE. The librarians at Passages Academy also have a wonderful book review blog called What's Good in the Library?, definitely worth checking out.
The New York Public Library is no stranger to incarcerated youth, many librarians do outreach in detention centers and Rikers' Island and books about incarcerated teens and their loved ones are becoming more and more popular in the branches. Here are some of my favorites.
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Hands down, one of my favorite books of all time. LeBlanc, a celebrated non-fiction writer, spent ten years following the lives of a family living in the Tremont area of the Bronx. It reads like an epic family saga and I found myself staying up late on Google trying to find out what happened to the family after the book closes.
Rikers High by Paul Volponi
Volponi, a former teacher on Rikers Island gives us a very realistic portrayal of what life is like for a teenager who is locked up.
Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon
Antonio is 17 years old and in prison. His girlfriend, Natasha, is left alone and facing a future without him. For ten years they send desperate love letters to each other knowing that a future together is near impossible.
Ten Mile River by Paul Griffin
Best friends Ray and Jose have only relied on each other ever since they got out of juvie. Nothing can come between them, until they fall for the same girl.
Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
The author's real life account of becoming a drug smuggler, getting arrested, doing time in prison and eventually becoming a writer.
Rash by Pete Hautman
In a world where you could be locked up for getting into a fist fight, 16-year-old Bo ends up in a dangerous prison because of his anger control issues.