Where to Turn Next

IMG_6631If you seek understanding, comfort, or inspiration, slip into someone else’s shoes as Scout did in To Kill a Mockingbird. Here’s a list of 10 recent books that take me deep into the human heart where we bank our love and hope like embers.

When I Was The Greatest by Jason Reynolds

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Out of my… Continue reading

Incarcerated Girls Write, Too

Teacher Joanne Hayes at Journey House

Teacher Joanne Hayes at Journey House

The Writing Workshop at Journey House is an eye-opener, week after week.  The writers, all incarcerated girls aged 13-17, join the optional workshop only if they genuinely want to come.  That is key.  We decide for ourselves how we want to run the workshop, who speaks, who reads aloud, and what we write about.  There are no grades, no assignments, no evaluations, and no deadlines.

The writing is formidable.

These writers have lived, and they have stories to tell. … Continue reading

99 Favorite Reads, Picked by Teens

The teens who named their favorite books for this list include athletes, honors students, non-readers, incarcerated girls, a prom queen, loners, computer game players, gay and straight teens, teens from the coasts and in between, teens of many races, artists, and writers.  Their choices made the list (alphabetically) regardless if the books were award-winners, banned, popular, controversial, new, or classic.  The sole criteria: these books are favorites. 1. Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak 2. M.T. Anderson, Feed 3. Anonymous, Go Ask Alice 4. Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, The… Continue reading

Young Adult Readers: Inspiration

My audience is supposed to be young adult readers, but it’s useless to think of writing to them as if young adults were all one dark-haired girl curled up with a book in her bed at two in the morning.  Talk to a young adult for ten minutes and you’ll find an individual as unique as your grandma.  Talk to a young adult for decades, and you’ll find friends of all ages with a common young heart.


What’s more important than trying to write to teenagers is… Continue reading