The folks over at Guys Lit Wire blog have launched a great project: a two-week Book Fair for Boys, to get good books of all sorts (and all reading levels) into the hands of the male juveniles incarcerated in the L.A. County. The best news? You can help.
Guys Lit Wire blog was founded to spotlight good "young adult" books for male teens because they've found that young adult novels for teen girls are much more plentiful. Now they're working with a local organization, InsideOUT Writers, which offers weekly writing classes to teens in the L.A. County juvenile justice system. InsideOUT is effective, too: a study by the RAND Corporation has shown that teens who participate are less violent than those who don't, and Guys Lit Wire says the participants aren't cherry-picked to fill the classes with minor offenders.
So, where do you come in?
According to Guys Lit Wire, the boys in L.A.'s juvenile hall want books, they're allowed to read books ... but they don't have any. There's no library for them.
Guys Lit Wire launched its two-week Book Fair for Boys to help. They've carefully created a list of 125 books that you can order through a wishlist on Powells.com. Just follow the instructions on the site -- but hurry! This project was all over Twitter last week, and kind people from all over have been ordering up a storm. (I bought a book myself: Howard Zinn's Young People's History of the United States.)
This won't be your last chance, though. Guys Lit Wire plans to hold these fairs again in the future, and -- bonus points here -- to publish reviews of the books by the boys themselves.
Now. Anybody want to do something similar for the girls in L.A. County? Or for that matter, juveniles in other county justice systems that have badly-stocked or non-existent libraries?
UPDATE July 10, 2009: The book fair for boys in L.A. juvenile detention was a huge success - thanks to all who contriubted!
*Picture courtesy of ravik694 on Flickr.
Updated: February 08 2018