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In the Margins Book Awards- 2014

In the Margins Book Award and Selection Committee, (ITM) a committee under the umbrella of Library Services for Youth in Custody (LYSC), selected their first list of 25 titles and a top 10.  ITM identifies quality, age appropriate resources for teens in lockdown, homeless shelters and other non-traditional venues for teens living in the margins.

The 2014 Top Ten are:

Asante, M.K. Buck: a Memoir. Spiegel & Grau. August 2013. 272p. HC $25.00. ISBN 9780812993417.

Jones, Marilyn Denise. From Crack to College and Vice Versa. Marilyn D Jones. May 2013. 105p. PB $14.95. ISBN 9780989427401. 

Langan, Paul.  Survivor. Townsend Press. January 2013. 138p. PB $5.95. ISBN 9781591943044. 

McKay, Sharon E. War Brothers: The Graphic Novel. Illustrated by Lafance, Daniel.  Annick Press. February 2013. PB $18.95. ISBN 9781554514885. 

McVoy, Terra Elan. Criminal.  Simon Pulse. May, 2013. 288p. HC $16.99. ISBN 9781442421622.

Medina, Meg. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Candlewick. March 2013. 260p. HC $16.99. ISBN 9780763658595.

Nussbaum, Susan. Good Kings, Bad Kings. Algonquin Books. November 2013. 304p. PB $14.95.  ISBN 9781616203252.

Rivera, Jeff. No Matter What. CreateSpace. October 2013. 112p. PB $5.38. ISBN 9781493544141. 

Ryan, Darlene. Pieces of Me. Orca Book Publishers. September 2012. 240p. PB $12.95. ISBN 9781459800809.  

Young, Pamela Samuels. Anybody’s Daughter. Goldman House Publishing.  October 2013. 374p. PB $16.99. ISBN 9780989293501.


Buck: A Memoir by MK Asante
Amazon Says: A rebellious boy’s journey through the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family—this is the riveting story of a generation told through one more...
Amazon Says: A rebellious boy’s journey through the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family—this is the riveting story of a generation told through one dazzlingly poetic new voice.   MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: a mother who led the new nation’s dance company and a father who would soon become a revered pioneer in black studies. But things fell apart, and a decade later MK was in America, a teenager lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of North Philadelphia. Now he was alone—his mother in a mental hospital, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison on the other side of the country—and forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary.   Buck is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself through the most unconventional teachers—outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and, eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper. It’s a one-of-a-kind story about finding your purpose in life, and an inspiring tribute to the power of education, art, and love to heal and redeem us. Praise for Buck   “A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.”—Maya Angelou    “In America, we have a tradition of black writers whose autobiographies and memoirs come to define an era. . . . Buck may be this generation’s story.”—NPR “The voice of a new generation. . . . You will love nearly everything about Buck.”—Essence “A virtuoso performance . . . [an] extraordinary page-turner of a memoir . . . written in a breathless, driving hip-hop prose style that gives it a tough, contemporary edge.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer “Frequently brilliant and always engaging . . . It takes great skill to render the wide variety of characters, male and female, young and old, that populate a memoir like Buck. Asante [is] at his best when he sets out into the city of Philadelphia itself. In fact, that city is the true star of this book. Philly’s skateboarders, its street-corner philosophers and its tattoo artists are all brought vividly to life here. . . . Asante’s memoir will find an eager readership, especially among young people searching in books for the kind of understanding and meaning that eludes them in their real-life relationships. . . . A powerful and captivating book.”—Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times “Remarkable . . . Asante’s prose is a fluid blend of vernacular swagger and tender poeticism. . . . [He] soaks up James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston and Walt Whitman like thirsty ground in a heavy rain. Buck grew from that, and it’s a bumper crop.”—Salon   “Buck is so honest it floats—even while it’s so down-to-earth that the reader feels like an ant peering up from the concrete. It’s a powerful book. . . . Asante is a hip-hop raconteur, a storyteller in the Homeric tradition, an American, a rhymer, a big-thinker singing a song of himself. You’ll want to listen.”—The Buffalo News less...
Amazon


From Crack to College and Vice Versa by Ms. Marilyn Denise Jones
Amazon Says: From Crack to College and Vice Versa is a raw, heart wrenching, yet humorous autobiography about a Black woman’s struggles with crack addiction and becoming highly educated more...
Amazon Says: From Crack to College and Vice Versa is a raw, heart wrenching, yet humorous autobiography about a Black woman’s struggles with crack addiction and becoming highly educated despite the odds against her. This book covers her traumatic childhood, life in the projects, when crack cocaine landed in San Francisco, CA, her ins and outs of jails and prisons, and her experiences pursuing a higher education. There are powerful messages throughout the book. IT IS A MUST READ! less...
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Survivor by Paul Langan
Amazon Says: Tarah Carson has hidden the secret for years. No one--not her mother, her friends at Bluford High, or even her boyfriend, Cooper Hodden--knows what her uncle did to her years more...
Amazon Says: Tarah Carson has hidden the secret for years. No one--not her mother, her friends at Bluford High, or even her boyfriend, Cooper Hodden--knows what her uncle did to her years ago. Tarah hoped to keep it that way. But an upcoming reunion is forcing Tarah's past into the present. And Uncle Rudy, the man who scarred her for life, is returning. Haunted by memories, Tarah plans to avoid him at all costs. But when her decision threatens to cause even more suffering in her family, she must face her past and biggest fear--alone. less...
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Amazon Says: Praise for War Brothers, the novel by Sharon E. McKay: War Brothers is a novel that very accurately portrays the criminality of adults who abduct kids to carry more...
Amazon Says: Praise for War Brothers, the novel by Sharon E. McKay: War Brothers is a novel that very accurately portrays the criminality of adults who abduct kids to carry out crimes against humanity... This engrossing book is a vivid look at the hideous crimes committed by such groups and should be read by anyone wanting to know about Kony's LRA. -- Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire (Retired), international child soldier advocate The life of a child soldier is full of unthinkable violence ... But the human capacity to connect with others and for survival is remarkable. Jacob is a 14-year-old Ugandan who is sent away to a boys' school. Once there, he assures his friend Tony that they need not be afraid -- they will be safe. But not long after, in the shadow of the night, the boys are abducted. Marched into the jungle, they are brought to an encampment of the feared rebel soldiers. They are told they must kill or be killed, and their world turns into a terrifying struggle to endure and survive. In time, the boys escape. Hunted by the rebels, stalked by a lion, and even pursued by river crocs, they miraculously succeed in reaching safety. However, it is no longer enough. Jacob wrestles with the question of whether we are all really beasts inside. He decides the way through the pain is to record his story. Daniel Lafrance's powerful, striking, and poignant artwork and the crisp, evocative text vividly capture the haunting experiences of a young boy caught in a brutal war. This graphic novel is based on an award-winning YA novel by Sharon McKay. Sharon has spent time with child soldiers and based this story on real-life accounts. less...
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Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Amazon Says: A searing and gripping read that explores the depths of desperation true love can inspire, from the author of Being Friends with Boys. Nikki’s life is far from perfe more...
Amazon Says: A searing and gripping read that explores the depths of desperation true love can inspire, from the author of Being Friends with Boys. Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing. So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime—a crime that ends in murder—Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him. But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about? Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional…but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers. less...
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Amazon Says: Winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award In Meg Medina’s compelling new novel, a Latina teen is targeted by a bully at her new school — and must discover re more...
Amazon Says: Winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award In Meg Medina’s compelling new novel, a Latina teen is targeted by a bully at her new school — and must discover resources she never knew she had. One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is. less...
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Amazon Says: Bellwether Award winner Susan Nussbaum’s powerful novel invites us into the lives of a group of typical teenagers—alienated, funny, yearning for autonomy—except that the more...
Amazon Says: Bellwether Award winner Susan Nussbaum’s powerful novel invites us into the lives of a group of typical teenagers—alienated, funny, yearning for autonomy—except that they live in an institution for juveniles with disabilities. This unfamiliar, isolated landscape is much the same as the world outside: friendships are forged, trust is built, love affairs are kindled, and rules are broken. But those who call it home have little or no control over their fate. Good Kings Bad Kings challenges our definitions of what it means to be disabled in a story told with remarkable authenticity and in voices that resound with humor and spirit. less...
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Amazon Says: The school edition of "Forever My Lady" by Jeff Rivera more...
Amazon Says: The school edition of "Forever My Lady" by Jeff Rivera less...
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Pieces of Me by Darlene Ryan
Amazon Says: Maddie is living on the streets, trying to protect herself and make enough money to get a place to stay and find a way to go back to school. When she meets Q, she is wary but more...
Amazon Says: Maddie is living on the streets, trying to protect herself and make enough money to get a place to stay and find a way to go back to school. When she meets Q, she is wary but welcomes his friendship. And then she meets Dylan, a six-year-old boy, living on the streets with his family. When Dylan's father asks Maddie to watch the boy for a while, she is happy to help. But Dylan's parents don't come back; and Maddie and Q are left looking after him. Trying to make a life together and care for her makeshift family, Maddie finds that maybe she has to ask for help. less...
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Anybody's Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young
Amazon Says: "A fast-paced, well-written thriller that’s grounded in important social issues." more...
Amazon Says: "A fast-paced, well-written thriller that’s grounded in important social issues." --Kirkus Reviews “One of the best thrillers I have read in a long time.” --Digna Dreibelbis, Autumn Blues Reviews “I was in tears for most of the book and in shock for the rest! … This is a 5-star read and every parent needs to pick it up!” --Ella Curry, BAN Radio Show Is Anybody's Daughter Ever Safe? Based on the real-life horrors faced by thousands of girls, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young takes readers deep inside the disturbing world of child sex trafficking in a fast-paced thriller that educates as much as it entertains. Thirteen-year-old Brianna Walker is ecstatic. She's about to sneak off to meet her first real boyfriend—a boyfriend she met on Facebook. But Brianna is in for a horrifying surprise because her boyfriend doesn't exist. Instead, Brianna unwittingly becomes the captive of a ring of drug dealers- turned-human traffickers who prey on lonely girls from dysfunctional homes. But they’ve made a big mistake in targeting Brianna because she doesn’t meet either of those criteria. Brianna’s Uncle Dre, a man with his own criminal past, is determined to find the niece who is more like a daughter to him. Rather than sit back and rely on police to bring Brianna home, Dre scours the dark corners of Los Angeles looking for her. He is stunned to learn that the trafficking of children isn’t just happening in other countries. It’s occurring at epidemic levels right in his own backyard. Dre is not alone in his desperate search. Loretha Johnson knows this world well. A social worker who previously lived “the life,” Loretha now dedicates her time to saving as many young girls as she can find. She turns out to be an invaluable resource for Dre, who ultimately gets a lead on The Shepherd, a mastermind in the trafficking world whose every move is fueled by ego and greed. Dre vows to bring his reign of terror to an end, even if he has to break the law to do it. While Brianna makes a futile effort to thwart her captors, Dre is getting closer and closer to finding her. The woman he loves, attorney Angela Evans, knows the dangers faced by sexually exploited children because she represents them in juvenile court. Angela lends her moral support and, eventually, an important clue to Brianna’s whereabouts. As he races against the clock, Dre ultimately comes up with a daring plan—one that puts many lives in danger, including his own. But will he find Brianna before it's too late? less...
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Anybody's Daughter by author Pamela Samuels Young
Lisa Says: Award winning author Pamela Samuels Young discusses her newest book Anybody's Daughter.
YouTube Says: Award winning author Pamela Samuels Young, talks about newest book "Anybody's Daughter". Along with director Nancy Cheryll Davis and the wonderful cast from the Towne Street T...
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  • Meg Medina
    The author writes she is a "Latina author of libros for kids of all ages. I'm about strong girls, tough circumstances, and the connecting power of culture."
  • Sharon E. McKay
    Canadian author and war artist Sharon E. McKay's Website.
  • An Interview With Disability Activist and "Good Kings Bad Kings" Author Susan Nussbaum
    Susan Nussbaum is a celebrated disability activist, playwright and novelist. Her poignant and humorous debut, Good Kings Bad Kings tells the intertwining stories of disabled youth living in a Chicago institution and is also the 2012 winner of Barbara Kingsolver's PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
  • Buck (book trailer)
    "A rebellious boy’s journey through the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family–this is the riveting story of a generation told through one dazzlingly poetic new voice."
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