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This title in other editions

True Notebooks: A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall


True Notebooks: A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall Cover

ISBN13: 9780375727610
ISBN10: 0375727612
Condition: Standard
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Aijung, June 20, 2009 (view all comments by Aijung)
This book was both intellectually and emotionally thought-provoking. It made me feel and question so many things that I had taken for granted - my freedom, ability to make choices, and access to creative expression. I think this book should be read by anyone who sees people in black and white terms - "Good" and "Bad," "Delinquent" or "Obedient." It certainly made me think about what leads juvenile offenders into the choices they make, and how important it is to allow them a way to vent their fear, frustration, and anger in a creative way in order to discover who they are. Mark Salzman steps back and lets the youths' writing speak for itself. Highly recommended.
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Carol Imani, December 31, 2006 (view all comments by Carol Imani)
Mark Salzman's resolutely unsentimental account of his experience teaching writing to juveniles being tried as adults for serious crimes is an an eloquent testimony to the redemptive power of writing and also raises important questions about whether justice depends on ethnicity and financial resources. The boys in True Notebooks shatter stereotypes with the honesty, pathos, and humor in their writing, even as the hopelessness of their situations makes us wish for very different social realities.
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Product Details

Salzman, Mark
Teaching Methods & Materials - Language Arts
Creative writing
Teacher-student relationships
Composition & Creative Writing - General
Creative writing -- Study and teaching.
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
September 2004
Grade Level:
8.06x5.24x.75 in. .58 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General
Reference » Writing » General

True Notebooks: A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375727610 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

"In this important and powerful book, Salzman invites us inside LA's Central Juvenile Hall where he teaches a writing class for violent juvenile offenders. Through classroom conversations and through the boys' own writing we get an overwhelming and insightful look into the minds and lives of the students. Session after session they expose their very personal thoughts and feelings about such subjects as their relationships with their parents and gangs, their guilt about the hurt they've caused, their attempts at hopefulness about their future, and their fears of imprisonment. Thought provoking and masterfully written, True Notebooks gives us a compassionate look at a group of adolescents who have been abandoned by both family and society."

"Review" by , "Salzman has captured some valuable truths. His students were lucky to have such a gifted and caring teacher. Salzman was lucky to have such receptive and giving students. Lucky, too, is the first-time reader of this unforgettable book."
"Review" by , "Succeeds in adding something fresh, galvanizing and articulate to the overcrowded realm of classroom stories. Avoiding the inspirational pitfalls of the genre, [Salzman] provides a candid, involving teacher's diary enhanced by the writing of his students."
"Review" by , "One cannot read...and not be stirred....As moving as it is sparse, as revealing as it is concealing, as straightforward as it is complex."
"Review" by , "Engaging....Salzman creates a cast of lively, convincing, and hugely sympathetic characters and True Notebooks is filled with powerfully moving scenes."
"Review" by , "[Salzman's] account's power comes from keeping its focus squarely on these boys, their writing and their coming-to-terms with the mess their lives had become."
"Review" by , "A captivating story of hopeless young men whose committed teacher listens — and thereby learns as much as he teaches."
"Review" by , "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....[E]xamines a broken system with grace, wit, and gripping storytelling."
"Review" by , "Salzman is one of my favorite authors....Truly a remarkable book, filled with the unexpected."
"Review" by , "In the hands of a lesser writer the characters in this book could easily be stock players....But Salzman is too skilled to allow that to happen. He scores his book with sharps and flats, and manages to bring each person into full relief."
"Review" by , "The cast of characters is constantly shifting as Salzman's students disappear into the maw of the prison system, but thanks to his empathetic portraits, combined with their own writing, they are onstage long enough for us to know and care deeply about them."
"Review" by , "Salzman already has proved himself a solid writer....And one would think he may be attempting to prove himself a do-gooder, but the book ceases to be all about Salzman and becomes a study of gangsta subculture once it hits the legal system."
"Review" by , "Although Salzman is an accomplished writer of both nonfiction and novels, he wisely steps back and allows the boys' voices to dominate. Unsophisticated and untutored, they are nevertheless remarkably creative, witty and poignant."
"Review" by , "A highly readable and fascinating work....True Notebooks is no preachy tome. It's simply a story about a jail, some boys and the power of writing. The reader is left to ponder what it all means."
"Review" by , "Despite what would seem to be a dreary prognosis for success, the book is compelling from Page 1 to the end because Mark Salzman figured out a way to build a gripping, morally ambiguous story from what would seem to be unpromising raw material."
"Review" by , "This is a wonderful, generous and eye-opening account of youth who are rarely heard from, unless their crime makes the front page of the newspaper....The students highlighted in the book...are a lively, funny, earnest lot."
"Review" by , "There is a clarity to Mark Salzman's writing, a lack of artifice that suggests a writer more interested in telling his story than in dazzling the reader with his words. And there's an unflinching honesty in this account..."
"Synopsis" by , From the author of the bestselling Iron & Silk and Lying Awake comes the exhilarating story of his experiences teaching writing in a juvenile correctional facility.
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