Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Screening The 13th: Questions to ask yourself #SJYALit

sjyalitI recently heard about how “video visits” were growing in popularity with prisons. As the details unfolded, my initial impression of interest (“Oh that’s nice – families could maybe see their incarcerated loved ones more often or from greater distances.”) turned to revulsion. The strategy is being used largely by local jails as a way to reduce the need for security staff to supervise visits.  Families still have to travel the same distance but now can’t even be in the same room as their loved one. It seems so dehumanizing to people on both sides of the bars.

 

After watching Ava DuVernay’s new documentary, The 13th, now streaming on Netflix, I can only believe that “dehumanizing” was by design. I am encouraging the TLT readership to make viewing The 13th a priority by the end of 2016. It’s essential viewing for our times. Another reason to shuffle this to the top of your queue: The other day I spotted this tweet in response to a request for permission to screen the movie:

You guys get what a big deal this is, right? Offering free public screenings of new films by award winning directors like DuVernay is not something that happens every day. Do you have a film discussion group at your library or another way to, as the director encourages, “show + share”?

Should you incorporate this into your teen programming? Let’s talk about this.

What’s it about?

From IMDB: An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

This is a comprehensive, statistic and history packed documentary about the evolution of the prison system since the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery and how federal and local policies and institutionalized racism work to feed Black Americans into the system at a much higher demographic rate than is represented in society at large. It is not light viewing. It’s not pleasant, it’s not easy, it’s not fun. It’s not supposed to be. This is a challenging film on many fronts.

A TV-MA rating*?

Yep. Sure is. As we all know, teens are living lives every day that people say they shouldn’t be allowed to read about or watch. This is a powerful movie with difficult content. But it’s not the language–as in the prevalence of the n-word–or nudity–in the form of brief prison security camera footage from Kalif Browder’s three years at Riker’s Island–that is the most difficult. It’s the 911 calls and cell phone videos that captured the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner that are played as the film, step by crushingly methodical step, takes the viewer decade by decade through the politics and consequences that lead directly to those heartbreaking, devastating moments.

Yes, this is a film for mature audiences in the most literal sense of the word. It is sobering and requires maturity. It’s also a good time to think about who gets to have the privilege being considered too immature to remain unaware of the realities of the film.

Questions to ask yourself

This is not a simple film for screening or discussion. Expect big feelings. Expect challenging reactions. Expect a lot of questions. Most importantly, expect to hold a conversation after the film. I feel that screening this–especially with a teen audience–and not hosting a discussion afterwards would be a disservice to the viewers and to the message of the film. Before you embark on a screening, consider the following:

  • Have you watched the film yourself at least twice? Watch it once, immersing yourself in the narrative. Then watch it again with an eye to detail and quotes. Take notes. Mark timestamps of specific elements that you want to emphasize in conversation so you can be sure you got them right.
  • Have you read/listened up on the surrounding issues? If this is your first introduction to the topic, don’t let it be your last. See the suggested titles at the end of this post for some book suggestions. Other jumping off points:
  • Who will come to the event? Think about the teens in your community: do you know who’s going to show up? Do you have a hunch? Who will be in the room and what experiences and emotions will they bring to the conversation? Who will you invite? What kind of balance will you seek between demographics like age, race, or gender? What ages will be welcome and how will your library or school address the rating, keeping in mind that TV ratings are voluntarily assigned by networks and producers are and not legally binding? What situations has your community or your teen patron base at large been involved in that relate to the subjects of the movie that they will bring with them to the viewing?
  • How heavily moderated will the conversation be? Will you steer the discussion to specific points? Will you allow or encourage discussion of specific politicians? Specific policies? Specific incidents? Or will you strive to keep the conversation more general? What is your plan for maintaining courteous discourse between the participants? What will your ground-rules be?
  • Are you equipped to handle the political and emotional complexity of conversation? It’s ok if you’re not the right person to lead the conversation. Who else in the community could you call on? Are there teachers, community leaders, local clergy, or organizers who the library could partner to facilitate a productive discussion?
  • How will you answer the inevitable question, “So how do we fix it?” This film doesn’t end with a tidy answer or any direct suggestions for ways to remedy the enmeshment of social, economic, and political issues that result in the imprisonment problem. I feel that it’s important to offer options and solutions to teens. My suggestion: share with your teens DuVernay’s own words from an interview last month with The Atlantic and invite them to respond with their own ideas:

    I believe in fortification and I believe that at this time, we should be fortifying ourselves through knowledge, through self-care, through community. All of these speak through art. It’s really about rallying around this moment and taking in a totality of what it is, and making it internal in whatever way that means to you. If you know all this stuff, great. Pass it on. If you don’t know it, know it. You need to know it. Because at this point, after you see 13th, silence in this case is consent. You know all of this. You’re a forward-thinking person, you care about it. You can’t just walk out into the night after you see the movie or put down your iPad after you see it on Netflix and do nothing about it.

    I’m not saying you have to join a march. I’m not saying you have to push for legislation. I’m saying what this film talks about is the very way that we deal with each other in the everyday. It’s about our relationship to each other as it deals with race. So there’s a lot there to be done. I’m stepping out of the conversation as it relates to this film. I’m doing two weekends talking to people and kind of giving birth to it and putting it out into the world. And then I’m going away because it’s not mine anymore. This is out in the world. I don’t want my voice clouding the conversation. I want people to be having their own conversation about it. That’s my great hope.

    Show + share, indeed.

Book tie-ins

YA Fiction

book cover: All American Boys by Reynolds and KielyAll American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Rashad Butler is a quiet, artistic teen who hates ROTC but dutifully attends because father insists “there’s no better opportunity for a black boy in this country than to join the army.” He heads to Jerry’s corner store on a Friday night to buy chips, and ends up the victim of unwarranted arrest and police brutality: an event his white schoolmate Quinn Collins witnesses in terrified disbelief. Quinn is even more shocked because the cop is Paul Galluzzo, older brother of his best friend and Quinn’s mentor since his father died in Afghanistan. As events unfold, both boys are forced to confront the knowledge that racism in America has not disappeared and that change will not come unless they step forward. Reynolds and Kiely’s collaborative effort deftly explores the aftermath of police brutality, addressing the fear, confusion, and anger that affects entire communities. Diverse perspectives are presented in a manner that feels organic to the narrative, further emphasizing the tension created when privilege and racism cannot be ignored. Timely and powerful, this novel promises to have an impact long after the pages stop turning. (SLJ Review by Ashley Turner)

Cy in Chains book cover by David L. DudleyCy in Chains by David L. Dudley

Cy Williams, thirteen, has always known that he and the other black folks on Strong’s plantation have to obey white men, no question. Sure, he’s free, as black people have been since his grandfather’s day, but in rural Georgia, that means they’re free to be whipped, abused, even killed. Almost four years later, Cy yearns for that freedom, such as it was. Now he’s a chain gang laborer, forced to do backbreaking work, penned in and shackled like an animal, brutalized, beaten, and humiliated by the boss of the camp and his hired overseers. For Cy and the boys he’s chained to, there’s no way out, no way back.
And then hope begins to grow in him, along with strength and courage he didn’t know he had. Cy is sure that a chance at freedom is worth any risk, any sacrifice. This powerful, moving story opens a window on a painful chapter in the history of race relations. (Publisher description)

Rikers High book cover by Paul VolponiRikers High by Paul Volponi

Martin was sitting on the front stoop of his apartment building minding his own business when he was arrested for something he didn’t even mean to do. Five months later, he’s still locked up on Rikers Island, in a New York City jail. Just when it seems things couldn’t get much worse, Martin is caught between two warring prisoners, and his face is slashed. Now he’ll be forever marked with a prison scar. One good thing comes from the attack: Martin is transferred to a different part of Rikers where inmates are required to attend high school. If Martin opens up to a teacher who really seems to care, perhaps he’ll learn a lesson more valuable than any taught in class. An award-winning author, Paul Volponi is uniquely qualified to tell Martin’s story because he taught on Rikers Island for six years. He originally wrote Rikers for an adult audience. The book has been revised for young adults and is being republished as Rikers High. (Publisher’s Description)

book cover: X by Ilyash ShabazzX by Ilyasha Shabazz with Kekla Magoon

Cowritten by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world. X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.
Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever. (Publisher’s description)

Nonfiction

book cover: Between the World and MeBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives. Thoughtfully exploring personal and historical events, from his time at Howard University to the Civil War, the author poignantly asks and attempts to answer difficult questions that plague modern society. In this short memoir, the “Atlantic” writer explains that the tragic examples of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and those killed in South Carolina are the results of a systematically constructed and maintained assault to black people–a structure that includes slavery, mass incarceration, and police brutality as part of its foundation. (Publisher’s description)

 

book cover: True Notebooks by Mark SalzmanTrue Notebooks by Mark Salzman

Wanting to add life to a cardboard juvenile delinquent character in the novel he was trying to finish, Salzman (Iron & Silk; Lying Awake) visited a juvie lockup for high-risk offenders where his friend taught a writing class. Despite entering the facility wishing “we could tilt L.A. County and shake it until everybody with a shaved head and tattoos falls into the ocean,” Salzman ended up teaching a class himself. The remarkable results are detailed in this wonderful book. Salzman found students who took writing more seriously than the college kids he’d taught. Both selections from the boys’ writing and Salzman’s taut storytelling give us multidimensional images of teenagers thrown into a justice system concerned only with punishment. Early in the book, a friend of Salzman’s complains that there are no good books about juvenile delinquents. Well, there’s one now–one that examines a broken system with grace, wit, and gripping storytelling. (Booklist review, John Green) 

book cover: The New Jim Crow by Michelle AlexanderThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crowchallenges the civil rights community — and all of us – -to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America. (Publisher’s description)

 

book cover: Slavery by Another Name by BlackmonSlavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black American from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon

A Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the “Age of Neoslavery,” the American period following the Emancipation Proclamation in which convicts, mostly black men, were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments.

Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today. (Publisher’s description)

*Again, I’d like to remind everyone that TV ratings are voluntarily assigned and overseen by a panel made up no small part by corporate representatives. TV ratings are not laws. (For more on the problems in the movie rating industry, see the 2006 This Film Is Not Yet Rated.)

Teens and Prison in the U.S. Series, teens with incarcerated parents

“The incarceration rate has nearly quadrupled since the U.S. declared a war on drugs, researchers say. Along with that, racial disparities abound. Incarceration rates for black Americans are more than six times higher than those for white Americans, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.” – Science Daily, June 25, 2014

At the same time that Robin and I really began talking about incarceration and today’s youth (see links below for other posts in this series), Sesame Street started talking about it as well. Yes, you heard me right, Sesame Street. You see, so many young people in the U.S. have parents in prison that Sesame Street felt the need to add a new muppet with an incarcerated parent to help those children relate. So when we talk about teens and prison, we aren’t just talking about incarcerated teens, we’re also talking about teens who are affected in different ways by incarceration, and the needs of these two different groups can be quite different.

 

2.3% of U.S. youth under the age of 18 have a parent in prison. That translates to over 2 in every 100 youth, or 1,706,600 youth overall. (source: http://blog.tpronline.org/?p=227)

Soon Sesame Street added their new muppet, John Oliver took a searing look at the prison culture in the U.S.

 

Approximately 1 in 100 adults are in prison, and many of those adults are parents. Which means that many of our teens are dealing with having a parent or guardian in jail. That’s a lot of our youth struggling with this issue. Some of the effects can include shame and anger, an unstable home life, financial struggles, homelessness, and so much more: “Teens face unique challenges, according to “Children on the Outside: Voicing the Pain and Costs of Parental Incarceration,” a Justice Strategies report published in 2011. Like other children of incarcerated parents, they often face separation from siblings, having to move from place to place and increased poverty. Teens have an increased risk of delinquent behavior and an increased likelihood of school failure along with a sense of stigma and shame that impacts on their sense of who they are in the world.” (Reclaiming Futures: Helping Teens with Incarcerated Parents Lead Successful Lives). Teens may have to navigate the emotional mindstorm of visiting a parent in prison, explaining parental absence to new friends, and prejudice against themselves because of the actions of the parent in their life.

The epidemic is so wide spread that in 2013 Public Libraries Online (PLA) presented a paper on helping teens with incarcerated parents. It’s recommendations were twofold: One, continue regular programming to help meet the needs that these teens have in common with their peers, because those don’t change. And two, offer additional programming specific to the needs of this group. This programming can include doing appropriate bibliotherapy or recognizing in your programming that the teens involved may not have the mother or father in the home that you are asking them to celebrate during things like Donuts with Dad or Mother/Daughter Teas. This doesn’t mean you have to scrub these programs all together, but it asks us to consider in our marketing making it clear that some male or female adult role model is invited, it doesn’t specifically have to be a father or a mother. You can also consider having special programming for teens, including creating environments where they can come together and support one another by sharing their unique struggles through things like book discussions groups. The Brooklyn Public Library, for example, offers a variety of services under their Jail Libraries programs to help connect families.

It’s important when working with teens of incarcerated parents that we understand the need to maintain patron privacy and find ways to serve this patron group while protecting the secrecy of their status. Teens will have a variety of vary valid reactions to their family situation and deserve the opportunity to reveal or not reveal their status on their own timetable. This makes marketing and outreach to these teens a more complicated and delicate matter. You’ll want to reach out to local social service organizations to help identify the needs in your area, brainstorm ways to provide library services, and discuss sensitive ways that you can reach out while protecting these teens. Chances are, you are already serving some of these teens in your library, they just haven’t shared this information with you and some of them never will.

Although statistics indicate that the number of teens with an incarcerated parent are high, these numbers are not reflected in the YA literature. However, there are a few titles that reflect the real world that our teens are living in.

Tyrell by Coe Booth

“Tyrell is a young, African American teen who can’t get a break. He’s living (for now) with his spaced-out mother and little brother in a homeless shelter. His father’s in jail. His girlfriend supports him, but he doesn’t feel good enough for her – and seems to be always on the verge of doing the wrong thing around her. There’s another girl at the homeless shelter who is also after him, although the desires there are complicated. Tyrell feels he needs to score some money to make things better. Will he end up following in his father’s footsteps?” (Publisher’s Description)

Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

“When eleven-year-old Annie first started lying to her social worker, she had been taught by an expert: Gran. “If you’re going to do something, make sure you do it with excellence,” Gran would say. That was when Gran was feeling talkative, and not brooding for days in her room — like she did after telling Annie and her little brother, Rew, the one thing they know about their father: that he was killed in a fight with an angry man who was sent away. Annie tells stories, too, as she and Rew laze under the birches and oaks of Zebra Forest — stories about their father the pirate, or pilot, or secret agent. But then something shocking happens to unravel all their stories: a rattling at the back door, an escapee from the prison holding them hostage in their own home, four lives that will never be the same. Driven by suspense and psychological intrigue, Zebra Forest deftly portrays an unfolding standoff of truth against family secrets — and offers an affecting look at two resourceful, imaginative kids as they react and adapt to the hand they’ve been dealt.” (Publisher’s Description, an MG title)

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan (I’ll Be There #2)

“The happily-ever-after of Holly Goldberg Sloan’s acclaimed debut, I’ll Be There, is turned on its head in this riveting, emotional sequel about friends, enemies, and how those roles can shift in a matter of moments.

Emily Bell has it all. She’s in love with a boy named Sam Border, and his little brother has become part of her family. This summer is destined to be the best time of their lives–until a charismatic new girl in town sets her sights on Sam. Now Emily finds herself questioning the loyalty of the person she thought she could trust most.

But the biggest threat to her happiness is someone she never saw coming. Sam’s criminally insane father, whom everyone thought they’d finally left behind, is planning a jailbreak. And he knows exactly where to find Emily and his sons when he escapes…and takes his revenge.” (Publisher’s Description)

Flush by Carl Hiaasen

“You know it’s going to be a rough summer when you spend Father’s Day visiting your dad in the local lockup.

Noah’s dad is sure that the owner of the Coral Queen casino boat is flushing raw sewage into the harbor–which has made taking a dip at the local beach like swimming in a toilet. He can’t prove it though, and so he decides that sinking the boat will make an effective statement. Right. The boat is pumped out and back in business within days and Noah’s dad is stuck in the clink.

Now Noah is determined to succeed where his dad failed. He will prove that the Coral Queen is dumping illegally . . . somehow. His allies may not add up to much–his sister Abbey, an unreformed childhood biter; Lice Peeking, a greedy sot with poor hygiene; Shelly, a bartender and a woman scorned; and a mysterious pirate–but Noah’s got a plan to flush this crook out into the open. A plan that should sink the crooked little casino, once and for all.” (Publisher’s Description)

Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

While it is true that a lot of individuals end up in jail for small crimes and drug use, some parents are in jail for the emotional, physical and sexual abuse of their children. Yesterday as I was having my weekly Tuesday evening conversation with Robin, she told me about girls as young as 10-years-old giving birth to babies, and often the dads, stepdads, and mother’s boyfriends end up being the father’s of these babies. In Such a Pretty Girl, Meredith was promised 9 years of safety as her father sat in prison for the sexual abuse he committed against her. But as so often happens, he gets out early – 6 years early. Now that safety that prison promised her has been taken away. This is one of those instances where a father really, really needed to stay in jail for the safety of his children. It is also a stark reminder of why our sentencing of sexual offendors is often so wildly out of proportion to the crime, as opposed to the way we sentence marijuana users, and how we fail the victims who need us to protect them.

“They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three.

Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison.

Today her time has run out.” (Publisher’s Description)

Pool Boy by Michael Simmons

“Fifteen-year-old Brett Gerson is a real-life S.R.K. (spoiled rich kid)–the guy you love to hate. Yep, Brett’s pretty much got life in the bag–until his dad is jailed for insider trading, and the family money swirls down the drain.

Brett wishes things could go back to the way they were–until some dirty swimming pools change everything.” (Publisher’s Description)

Project What Resource Guide: for teens with a parent in prison or jail

Maria Testa Gives Voice to Children of Imprisoned Parents

Prison Novels and the New Jim Crow

Resource Guide for Teens with a Parent in Prison or Jail

CCA Resource List for Young Children, Teens and People Who Work with Children (has a booklist for adults who work with children with incarcerated parents)

California State Library: Children with Incarcerated Parents

Serving Children and Families of Adult Offenders: a directory of programs

More in the Teens and Prison in the U.S. section of TLT

Book Review: Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Any fan of Joss Whedon knows that one of the core concepts of his storytelling is the notion of the chosen family. There are the families that we are born into, and there are the families that we choose, that find us. In Buffy, it was the Scooby gang. In Firelfy it was the crew of Serentiy. And when the Avengers assembled, well, they were making for themselves not just a rag tag team of superheroes, but a group that has the potential to become a chosen family.

In Counting by 7s, author Holly Goldberg Sloan used the concept of the chosen family with brilliant results. And the concept comes up in her newest title, Just Call My Name.

Just call my name and I’ll be there . . . The Jackson Five

Sam and Riddle Border are foster kids living with the Bell family. Their father is behind bars, an abusive and deadly psychopath who doesn’t like the fact that his two boys are moving on without him. Sam and Emily are dating, Sam is starting to take some college classes, and things look like they are moving in positive directions for all.

Then, just as a hot wind turns on a dime, so does good fortune.


First, Destiny shows up. Like Sam, she is the motherless child of a man who sits in jail. So she has learned how to survive on her own. When she meets Sam, she sees a kindred spirit, their stories are so similar after all. But she also sees something else, these kids seem to have something that a life moving from barely surviving situation to barely surviving situation doesn’t seem to offer. What she sees in them is not only opportunity, but perhaps a sense of belonging she never could have imagined. Of course she is going to play a lot of games to try and make the situation turn in her favor; Destiny knows how to manipulate a situation.

Clarence Border also gets a voice in this story, as many of the alternating chapters are his story to tell. Step into the mind of a brilliant though definitely scary madman. You’ll see him orchestrate his escape from prison. You’ll hear his most innermost thoughts as he makes the slow, steady journey to punish his boys for their ultimate betrayal. You’ll hear every inner most thought as he tells you what he is doing and why, and marvel at how brilliantly a con man can analyze a situation and bend it in his favor. Clarence’s mind is a disturbing mind to walk through, but it is truly fascinating.

Then, in one chilling moment, where emotions run high, feelings are hurt, and communication has broken down, all the story elements come together in a life threatening situation for many of our teens. Sloan does this amazing little dance of tension, bringing all the story points together until they explode. Then the race is on, and a thrilling race it is, a race in which our characters must navigate intense emotions, hard truths, and rise to the occasion because failure will tear this made up family apart.

Sloan manages to deftly write those moments – the little ones – where little shifts are made. One small decision can be like pivoting on the balls of your feet while walking down the sidewalk; one moment you think you are headed in one direction but you notice a stolen glance or you let a moment of jealousy enter into your heart and you don’t realize you are making the tiniest little pivot in your direction. If you make enough of these little pivots, one day you’ll look up and realize you are heading in the wrong direction entirely. The first half of this book was all about these relationship dynamics, about friendship and family. Destiny plots to steal Sam, Emily struggles with jealousy, friend Robb explodes with what he is sure must be passion, and Sam fears losing this little oasis of peace and family he has managed to build for himself as he fears that he might not be that different from his father after all.

The second half of the book becomes this intricate cat and mouse thriller where all those relationship dynamics in the first half come into play. It was so good.

On an interesting note, after writing most of this review I went and looked at what the journal reviews had to say. It turns out, Just Call My Name is a sequel to I’ll Be There, which I own but have not yet read. I mention this because Just Call My Name was completely readable in every way without having read the first novel, it stood strongly on its own legs. I had never met the characters before and cared for each one. This is a very strong story about friends and family wrapped nicely with a tense psychological thriller bow. Definitely recommended.

One final note: Robin is working on a post about teens and prison as we speak. Recent statistics indicate that the United States has the highest number of incarcerated people in the developed world. Alarmingly, 1 in 3 black men will go to prison in their lifetime. Not only will some of our teens spend time in jail, but many more of them are affected by these stats as they have family members that have or will spend time in jail. These statistics are so alarming that Sesame Street recently ran a segment that introduced a muppet whose father was in prison. And John Oliver did a very informative rant on the topic on his HBO show Last Week Tonight. And recently an inquiry found that teens being held at Rikers Island were being subjected to abuse by corrections officers. Most people incarcerated are not a psychopathic killer like Clarence Border, but having characters who wrestle with a parent being in prison and the effects that it can have on their lives is an all too necessary addition to young adult literature.

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan was released by Little, Brown on August 5th. ISBN: 9780316122818