First Book has contributed four hundred books for youth in Prison Writes workshops as well as to help seed libraries in youth’s residences and program locations. All of the contributed books are carefully selected for their appropriateness for youth involved in the criminal justice system. Books in the selection feature female and male protagonists and range from graphic novels, to fiction, fantasy, myths, short story and memoir.
Titles include Phillip Pullman’s award winning The Golden Compass, a masterwork of storytelling and suspense. This young adult fantasy novel published by scholastic UK in 1995, is critically acclaimed and hailed as a modern fantasy classic.
Jason Reynolds When I Was The Greatest is a recipient of the 2015 Coretta Scott King award and tells the story in a first person voice of a young man coming of age in the vibrant urban tapestry that is Bed Stuy New York.
Graphic novels include Nimona, a National Book Award Finalist by Noelle Stevenson. The title character, Nimona, is an adolescent and ‘an impulsive shapeshifter with a knack for villany’. My Friend Dahmer’, by Derf Backderf is a critically acclaimed best seller. Based on a true story, this graphic novel is a thought provoking reflection of a disturbed high school classmate.
Powerful women are depicted through Athena’s story as told in the illustrated Athena, Grey-Eyed Goddess by George O’Connor and the novel Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.
First Book provides access to new books for children in need.
First Book has distributed more than 135 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis.
Prison Writes is delighted to be able to bring these beautiful books to youth in our workshops. Offering quality books to our young participants is an important indicator of our value of their education and mind.
To date Prison Writes has brought books to the Brooklyn Public Library Book Cart at Riker’s Island ward for young men ages 17-21, and youth in Administration for Children’s Services Close to Home residences.
Each one of these books has the potential to change a life.
We look forward to sharing a part of the journey with many more young people as we continue to distribute these books through Prison Writes workshops.