Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Memoirs for Teens in Juvie

on January 22, 2011

I’ve been working on a grant for the poetry workshop that I facilitate with the youth at Denney Juvenile Justice Center. We’d like to incorporate more YA literature and memoirs into the workshop.  Reading how others overcame, when the odds were stacked against them, provides hope, inspiration, and a model for the teens of how to “alter their life’s course.”  The following are four of the memoirs included on our list:

Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras by Jeff Henderson. This is the story of how one of San Diego’s most successful cocaine dealers became a top chef. The story includes Jeff’s years in a Federal Penitentiary, and is a powerful story of how finding one’s talents and passions can change the course of a life. Jeff often speaks to young people about his life and overcoming obstacles, and you can find out more at his website.

Love Sick by Sue Silverman: This is a powerful story about sex addiction. The story is written about Sue”s 28-days in a rehab, and you can find out more about Sue and the story in this interview.

Always Running by Luis J. Rodriguez. This memoir tells the story of Rodriguez’s youth days involved with an East LA Gang. Rodriguez works with youth and keeps a website here. One of my favorite books by Rodriguez is: Hearts and Hands: Creating Community In Violent Times.

Lay the Favorite by Beth Raymer: This memoir details the experience Raymer had working for a Las Vegas Gambling Operator. It’s a good look into the world of gaming and gambling.


2 responses to “Memoirs for Teens in Juvie

  1. Rick Hart says:

    A book that I read and that sounds as though it would be perfect for what you’re doing is “I Don’t Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup” by David Chura, published by Beacon Press. Chura taught locked up kids for ten years; the book is a collection of portraits of kids and the lives they’ve let. The focus is on real kids with lots of compassion and insight into their experiences. You can’t help but be struck by the kids resilience in the face of such negativity. It reads fast and would be perfect of YA. I’m a librarian and Booklist gave it a great review and recommended it for YA collections. Sounds like yours is a great project. Good Luck

  2. Thanks for the suggestion! I will add it to the list!

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