* Denotes Top Ten List
** Denotes In the Margins Fiction and Nonfiction Award
*** Denotes Social Justice /Advocacy Award
** BUTLER, Tewhan. America's Massacre: The Audacity of Despair and a Message of Hope. - Top Non-Fiction Award!
Raise UP Media. October 2014. PB $19.99.
Without making excuses for his past, Tehwan Butler articulately describes the growth of gang lifestyle in inner cities. Butler's gift at persuasive storytelling is what helped him fill the ranks of the first Bloods on the East Coast. Now he uses that same gift to persuade others not to follow the same path.
*** ROSS, Richard. Girls In Justice. - Advocacy/Social Justice Award!
The Image of Justice. 2015. 192p. HC $29.95.
Ross's photo-journalistic documentation of girls in America's detention facilities features full color pages of a stark living experience seldom seen by the public. Each shockingly hard-hitting segment includes national statistics about girls in custody and short biographical stories of the girls in their own words. Short 3-4 page essays by contributors such as Leslie Acosta, founder and executive director of Girl's Health and Justice Institute and Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, round out the bleak picture.
BERRY, Amanda, and Gina DeJesus. Hope: a Memoir of Survival in Cleveland.
Viking. 2015. 316p. HC $28.95.
The horrors of being kidnapped and kept hostage and enslaved by Ariel Castro are recounted by Amanda and Gina. Through diaries and memoirs, along with FBI investigations and those of their families, this is a story of never giving up hope.
CANNON, Nick. Neon Aliens Ate My Homework: And Other Poems.
Scholastic. February 2015. 144p. HC $14.99.
Nick Cannon, rapper, actor and comedian, writes and draws hip-hop style poetry with a touch of Shel Silverstein. Lots of fun and will motivate young writers and artists.
* CARTER, Alton. The Boy Who Carried Bricks:A True Story of Survival.
Roadrunner Press. March 2014. 196p. HC $18.95.
Growing up in a violent, neglectful environment Alton Carter left his family and faced even more horrifying experiences in foster care. Motivated to be a good father, Carter successfully graduated from high school and college. Carter's straightforward description will resound with many youth who have faced a troubled homelife.
CHARLEYBOY, Lisa. Urban Tribes: Native Americans in the City.
Annick Press. September 2015. 136p. PB $14.95.
ISBN 9781554517503. What is it really like for First Nations youth to live in the city? Aboriginal youth from around North America share their stories through a variety of ways. Colourful and moving, this book includes the many challenges that these young people face as well as the many success stories they share.
* DEUTCH, Kevin. The Triangle: A Year on the Ground with New York's Bloods and Crips.
Lyons Press. December 2014. 214p. PB. $16.95.
Deutsch traces the violence and futility of the war between the Bloods and the Crips in the New York neighborhood known as The Triangle. A once peaceful community locked its doors and minds to the gunfire and bloodshed of the gangbangers who terrorized them in the gangs' quest to control the drug trade and fight for the "twisted" rewards of respect, honor, and revenge.
FRIEDMAN, Amy ed. Ghetto By the Sea.
Popstheclub.com. May 2015. 194p.
Young people share the ways they have been touched by prison. Told through memoirs, poetry, photography, and drawings, these pieces express the many ways incarceration impacts lives and families.
KING, Billie. Billie: A Memoir.
PRK Publishing. May 2015. 210p. PB$14.99.
How does someone survive the poverty, abuse and addictions facing her family? Billie boldly writes about her life with her drug and alcohol addicted mother, an abusive father whom she both idolizes and fears, and a sister who has dark secrets.
LAURA, Crystal T. Being Bad: My Baby Brother and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
Teachers College Press. September 2014. 144p. PB $29.95.
Laura tells the all-too-common story of her brother, Chris, who was labelled a "bad boy" and "gangster" by society. Like many young black men, Chris faced many hurdles--a discouraging education system, economic inequality, and a world that glamorizes tough masculinity. Well-researched and extremely readable, this relatively short book clearly defines why so many of our young men end up incarcerated.
LEVOY, Jill. Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.
Spiegel & Grau. January 2015. 384p. $16.00.
Leovy chronicles the investigation of a 2007 murder in South Los Angeles and, in the process, asks questions about the prevalence of murders with black victims and black perpetrators. Why do the majority of these crimes go unsolved and what does that say about our society?
* LEWIS, Tony Jr. Slugg: A Boy's Life in the Age of Mass Incarceration.
Hanover Place Press. July 2015. PB $9.99.
When Tony Lewis Jr. was two years old, his father was a 19 year old drug kingpin, and a millionaire. They lived with all the trappings of wealth. But at age nine, Tony's life descended into chaos when his father was arrested and sentenced to life. Lewis also survived the downward spiral after the arrest and the mental breakdown of his mother. In this book, Lewis includes page after page of insight and reflection about prison, choices, fatherhood, and connection.
ROBERTSON, David Alexander. Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story.
Highwater Press. April 2015. $16.00.
Helen Betty Osborne is one of 1200 missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada. This graphic novel tells Betty's story of how she moved to a small town where she dreamed of becoming a teacher, but her life was brutally cut short when she was murdered by four young men. This is also the story of so many other women who are marginalized by society.
ROSS, Rick. Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography.
Freeway Studios. June 2014. PB $17.99.
Drug lord, millionaire, ex-con, and political scandal are all words that describe Freeway Rick Ross. From a life of poverty, Ross grew to be the cocaine kingpin in numerous major US cities. After serving many years in prison, Freeway Rick has written this book to speak out to others who may view this choice of lifestyle desirable.
SALABERRIOS, Dimas. Street God: The Explosive True Story of a Former Drug Boss on the Run from the Hood--and the Courageous Mission That Drove Him Back.
Tyndale Momentum. August 2015. 304p. PB $15.99.
Dimas Salaberrios started selling drugs in high school and quickly became a street god. After he starts using the drugs he is selling, though, Dimas starts losing control. How will he turn things around?
TOOTOO, Jordin. All the Way: My Life on Ice.
October 2014. 240p. HC $21.95.
Jordin, an NHL player from the very unlikely place of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, was the first Inuit professional hockey player. While Tootoo's family suffered from alcoholism, abuse, and suicide, he and his brother persevered to become star players, with Tootoo eventually playing for the Nashville Predators. It was here that Tootoo found the luxuries he had never known. Partying and drugs took their toll, and when his brother committed suicide, Tootoo had to face similar demons. Sent to rehab and cut from the team, he is finally able to show his true character.
* VOLOJ, Julian. Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker.
Publishing. May 2015. 128p. PB $12.99
This graphically formatted biography depicts the life of Benji Melendez, who in 1971 brokered one of the most successful gang truces in the South Bronx and Harlem area. As president of the Ghetto Brothers, he brought a stop to the violence that was tearing his world apart. Instead of gangs meeting in weekly war councils, he promoted planning sessions for weekly rap concerts which fostered the emergence of '80s hip hop and a new style of dance called break dancing.
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