Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Resources for Teens in Juvenile Detention: Art and Writing

on January 11, 2012

When I am working with the kids in detention, I often incorporate art projects to inspire or inform our writing.  These are some of the resources where I find ideas:

Creative Expression Activities for Teens  by Bonnie Thomas.  This is a great book with fun and easy ideas including: Artist Trading Cards (ATC) and Life Maps.

Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists: 52 Creative Drawing Exercises to Make Drawing Fun by Carla Sonheim.   I’m not an artist, and drawing has always been a challenge for me. But, this book makes drawing fun—even for those of us who are drawing illiterate! Most of the exercises can be done with your basic art supplies (paper, pen, tape, colored pencil). They are short and easy to use with kids.

Chill and Spill published by Art with Heart Press. This little journal has a lot of great topic ideas.  One of my favorites is asking the kids to create collages. I ask them to divide a piece of white paper in half. On one side, they create a collage about being powerless, and on the other side, a collage about being powerful. We then discuss the collages and write poems entitled “Powerful” and “Powerless.”  You can read some of the “Powerless and Powerful” poems on the Denney Blog.

Creative Journal for Teens by Lucia Capacchione, Ph, D.—This book has a lot of great prompts to get started writing from life experiences. For example, write a dialogue with a current challenge you are going through.  Draw that challenge. Or, write your autobiography in five minutes, or write about the most important event in your life in the third person.  Almost all of the ideas ask kids to draw as well as write.

Playful Way to Serious Writing by Roberta Allen.  A great book for writing ideas based on photos! For example, there is a picture of mannequin hands. The prompt says, “Who found these mannequin hands? Where? Why did he or she want them? Set your timer for five minutes and go.” One variation to using this book is to bring in photos and ask kids to make up their own prompts.

Playful Way to Knowing Yourself by Roberta Allen.  This book is set up in the same format as the one mentioned above, but the prompts ask about your own life. For example, there is a picture of a trashcan and the prompt says: If you could, what parts of yourself would you throw out?

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2 responses to “Resources for Teens in Juvenile Detention: Art and Writing

  1. Mindy, this is a great list of books, art and creativity are such great tools to use when working with young people. I briefly did some workshops with young people and it was so rewarding to see them engage and participate in the sessions. Would you be interested in doing a guest interview on my blog?

  2. Mindy Hardwick says:

    I would love to do a guest interview blog post! Thanks for asking!

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