Book recommendations
September 14, 2020 4:11 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for book recommendations for adolescent readers, fiction or non-fiction, about people who overcome criminal records or drug/alcohol issues and achieve happiness/peace/success.

I work with at risk youth, ages 12-20. They are mostly people of color that are involved with the criminal justice system in some way. I find myself buying many of them a book or two. They love books by/about people who come back from crime/the streets/traumatic childhoods and make good. I am running out of titles that fit this bill. Recommendations?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Grace After Midnight, by Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, who spent some time in prison before getting her first acting role in The Wire.

She definitely credits her faith with a lot of her transformation, so there's that element to the book, but it's definitely more of a "higher power" faith than doctrinal or dogmatic; she's also a queer woman, which does not really come up as a struggle for her, just a matter of fact.
posted by gideonfrog at 5:01 AM on September 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll
posted by mani at 5:01 AM on September 14, 2020

Jack Gantos, author of the 'Rotten Ralph' children's books, smuggled drugs and was sentenced to six years in prison. 'Hole in My Life' is about those years, and how he became a writer.
posted by box at 5:02 AM on September 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

It's been a while since I've read them so I can't speak to how uplifting they are but "Down These Mean Streets" by Piri Thomas and "Manchild in the Promised Land" by Claude Brown should fit the bill.
posted by whisper_robin at 6:21 AM on September 14, 2020

"From the Ashes" by Jesse Thistle is a fantastic book and should fit the bill!
posted by DTMFA at 7:06 AM on September 14, 2020

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
posted by Rash at 8:01 AM on September 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Reginald Dwayne Betts was incarcerated as a teenager and is now an award-winning writer and graduate of the Yale Law School. He's written a memoir and three books of poetry.
posted by wicked_sassy at 8:17 AM on September 14, 2020

Dharma Punx
posted by sacrifix at 8:27 AM on September 14, 2020

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