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My Story Starts Here: Voices of Young Offenders

Category: Book
By (author): Ellis, Deborah
Subject:  YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Family / Orphans & Foster Homes
  YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Social Topics / General (see also headings under Family)
Audience: young adult
Publisher: Groundwood Books Ltd
Published: October 2019
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 224
Size: 10.50in x 7.25in x 0.00in
Our Price:
$ 18.95
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*Jamar found refuge in a gang after leaving an abusive home where his mother stole from him. Fred was arrested for assault with a weapon, public intoxication and attacking his mother while on drugs. Jeremy first went to court at age fourteen ("Court gives you the feeling that you can never make up for what you did, that you're just bad forever") but now wears a Native Rights hat to remind him of his strong Métis heritage. Kate, charged with petty theft and assault, finally found a counselor who treated her like a person for the first time. Many readers will recognize themselves, or someone they know, somewhere in these stories. Being lucky or unlucky after an incident of shoplifting, or the drug search at school, or hanging out with the wrong kids at the wrong time. The encounter with a mean cop, or a good one, that can change the trajectory of a kid's life. Couch-surfing, or being shunted from one foster home to another. The effect of youth crime on families (the book includes the points of view of family members as well as "voices of experience" - adults looking back at their own experiences as young offenders). The kids in this book represent a range of socioeconomic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations and ethnicities. Every story is different, but there are common threads - loss of parenting, dislocation, poverty, truancy, addiction, discrimination. Most of all, this book leaves readers asking the most pressing questions of all. Does it make sense to put kids in jail? Can't we do better? Have we forgotten that we were once teens ourselves, feeling powerless to change our lives, confused about who we were and what we wanted, and quick to make a dumb move without a thought for the consequences?
From The Publisher*Deborah Ellis, activist and award-winning author of The Breadwinner interviews young people involved in the criminal justice system and lets them tell their own stories.
Review Quote*"… the interviews [are] often simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful in the span of just a few pages … [Ellis's] voice does not distract from the subjects, and both Ellis's setup and the children's knowledge make connections between current injustice and the violent legacies of colonialism and racism that prevent this from falling into the trap of sensationalism. Unflinching and informative, this volume will appeal to a broad range of readers, and it offers plenty of opportunities for incorporation of diverse viewpoints into curricula …" - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books review of Looks Like Daylight * "It's heartening that so many of these young people are positive about their lives, no matter how troubled, and about their futures … Ellis' book is an excellent opportunity for classroom discussion and individual, empathy-inducing reading." - Booklist, starred review of Looks Like Daylight "These speakers are not characters, functioning in a plot, but teens' actual contemporaries, whose voices linger long after the reading." - Booklist review Kids of Kabul
Biographical NoteDeborah Ellis has won the Governor General's Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California's Middle East Book Award, Sweden's Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. She is a member of the Order of Canada and has been named to the Order of Ontario.She is best known for her Breadwinner Trilogy, set in Afghanistan and Pakistan - a series that has been published in twenty-five languages, with $2 million in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International.