Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Summer Reading for Juvenile Detention Workshops

on July 18, 2009

One of the things I do in the hot days of summer–or if you’re in the Pacific Northwest–the very pleasant days of summer–is read.

I am often reading for new books to include with the juvenile detention poetry workshop which I facilitate, once-a-week during the school year at Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

I keep an on-going list of books for the kids, and when we obtain grant money, I purchase the books for the library, and use them in workshops.

In June, we got a BECU School Grant, which allowed me to run a special week long workshop using Ellen Hopkin’s YA novels-in-verse, Crank and Glass, along with novels in verse by Sonya Sones. The influence of reading the novels in verse added depth to the youth’s poetry writing. By the end of the week, I was already looking for more ways to fund future workshops that incorporate more young adult books or memoirs.

Some of the books I am reading and going to recommend are:

Always Running: A Memoir about Gang Days in LA by Luis J. Rodriguez.

Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times by Luis J. Rodriguez–A great book about the importance of using the arts (all arts) with kids in prison, and at-risk.

Burro Genius by Victor Villasenor (Memoir)-The first in his memoir series which details his early school years.

Crazy Loco Love by Victor Villasenor (Memoir)–The second in his memoir series which details his life as a teen and into his early twenties.

Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor

Walking Stars: Stories of Magic and Power by Victor Villasenor


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