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Incarceration and redemption

Slater, Dashka  The 57 Bus
High school     306 pp.     Farrar

2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book. In 2013, on the 57 bus in Oakland, California, African American teen Richard, egged on by friends, set white, genderqueer teen Sasha’s gauzy skirt on fire. Sasha survived but sustained third-degree burns; Richard was arrested for a hate crime. Using interviews, court documents, and news accounts, Slater has crafted a compelling true-crime story that goes beyond the headlines to tell the very human stories behind these individuals and their families.
Subjects: Social Issues; Thomas, Richard; Fleischman, Sasha; Oakland (CA); Emotions—Hate; Crime; Prejudices; Gender identity; African Americans; Violence; Vehicles—Buses

Birtha, Becky  Far Apart, Close in Heart: Being a Family When a Loved One Is Incarcerated
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Whitman

Illustrated by Maja Kastelic. “Lots of children have a parent behind bars.” Birtha introduces a multicultural cast of children, each with at least one incarcerated parent (the crimes aren’t specified) and a unique challenge (e.g., social ostracism, foster care); the book also addresses their coping strategies. Kastelic complements the text’s gentle frankness with subdued but emotion-filled art. Adult-directed supplemental information concludes the book. Reading list.
Subjects: Families, Children, and Sexuality; Crime; Law; Prisons and prisoners; Family—Parent and child

Carmichael, L. E.  Forensic Science: In Pursuit of Justice
Middle school, high school     112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library

History of Science series. In this historical account of the scientific techniques used to solve crimes, Carmichael shows how innovations in genetics, medicine, chemistry, ballistics, and even computer science help investigators link evidence to perpetrators. Historical illustrations and photographs explain the concepts, and a final chapter on the future of the field introduces important considerations. Reading list, timeline. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Social Issues; Forensic science; Crime

Jones, Patrick  Teen Incarceration: From Cell Bars to Ankle Bracelets
Middle school, high school     120 pp.     Twenty-First Century

“Almost all youth do stupid, impulsive things. Yet only some of them turn into criminal acts.” Jones deftly covers multiple aspects of juvenile justice in America, including its history, the root causes of delinquency, and current reform campaigns. The text is detailed enough for research but engaging enough for general interest reading; glossy pages include sidebars, pull-quotes, and color photos. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Social Issues; Juvenile delinquency; Prisons and prisoners; Crime; Adolescence; Justice

Kanefield, Teri  Guilty?: Crime, Punishment, and the Changing Face of Justice
Gr. 4–6, middle school     130 pp.     Houghton

A series of case studies, the book’s first section, about deciding what behavior to criminalize, is most successful; the second and third — on punishment and due process — are also provocative. Kanefield allows readers to understand how notions of right and wrong change over time and across cultures, helping them begin to understand the complexities of crime and punishment. Reading list. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Social Issues; Crime; Justice; Law

From the September 2018 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book: 2018 BGHB Nonfiction Awards Edition. See more on the 2018 BGHB Award winners and honor books here.

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