Diversity, Loved-it, Memoirs, NetGalley, Non-fiction, Other-cultures, Society

All Day – Locked Up, Building Their Future… Unforgettable A Teacher's Account On Teens In Prison

Yet another perfect book – yet another review overdue. I have been sitting with this one for maybe a half a year, no kidding. It’s just hard to write a review for a book that moved me SO much… But I’m going to try.

5 Reasons To Read All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island

First of all, this is real. This is not fiction. And this is a topic that needs to be talked about. A young artist tries to find a temporary job teaching, to make ends meet. And ends up working one of the most meaningful jobs in her life. Which is teaching incarcerated kids – some of them with no future, trapped by a past that wasn’t really their doing. The book explores the problems with our society such as racism, the inherent lack of love towards those less fortunate and our complete inability to bring up members of society in a rational way – planning for numbers of jail cells to be taken, rather than school desks and exam papers.

This Is A Topic Nobody Wants To Talk About Out Loud

And indeed it should be talked about all the more. Now, I don’t even live in the US! In fact, there are barely any black people in my country historically. Yet, racism is very relevant to me. How relevant should it be to you then, if you live in the US? This book broke my heart – from the media or movies, one could never guess how deeply ingrained racism is in some parts of America. If you still don’t know – read this. Read this and find out how people are divided into two groups, and I don’t just mean black and white – I mostly mean “poor” and “worth attention”. Because if you come from humble backgrounds, you will be treated so very differently than everyone else. The American Dream isn’t for everyone. It’s only for the right kind of Americans. I don’t want to talk about this in detail, as I’ve read this a while ago, but Liza Jessie Peterson has enough facts and they’re all reasonable. It’s painful to think a black kid can land in jail by merely shouting at someone. Teenagers shout, okay? They do that. All of them do that. It’s scary to think that would land someone in jail!

You Will Cry

Crying at fiction is alright. But crying at reality facts is more than alright – it’s right. Because it’s better to know than to remain ignorant. I felt very deeply for the fates of some of the people talked about in this book, some of those children. Granted, some of them were at fault. But some were not. Some will never be given a second chance.

It’s Measured And Honest And Doesn’t Hate On Anyone

If you think that this book blindly defends people of color against whites, then you’re wrong. Liza Jessie Peterson writes very soberly, and she never sugarcoats anything. She will give you the truth, at least how she saw it. A lot of the kids she talks about did misbehave, and she will give you her honest opinion about them being little ****ers, and that it’s their own fault. This is the magic of this book. It does not label. It just gives you the story, the way it was.

This Woman’s Got Soul!

I’ve never met an archetypal strong black woman in my life (that’s basically cause I haven’t met a single black woman! xD), but I know now that that’s the way I’ll imagine one, for the rest of my life, probably. Since this is a memoir, we get to see and learn a lot about Liza’s character – and you just can’t help falling in love with her personality! She is soulful and strong, she’s got this immense love for her culture and roots, she won’t let anyone step on her, and yet she is loving towards these teens in the way they will need the most – hard love. Strong love that doesn’t let them get what they want. It gives them what they need. This book has inspired the biggest kind of respect for the author in my heart. I believe you will feel the same.

Despite The Hardship, The Book Is Very Inspiring

I run out of words to explain. Can you just take my word on this? This book was so good, and it’s worth much more than just 5 stars. It’s definitely worth your time and attention. I’ll even go this far. It could serve as a nonfiction companion to these greatly appreciated fiction books:

The Hate U Give   Dear Martin   An Unkindness of Ghosts

I thank Center Street and Liza Jessie Peterson for giving me a copy of the book in exchange to my honest opinion. You can buy the book here at Book Depository and buying using this link supports the blog.

Have you read The Hate U Give or Dear Martin, and does this topic interest you as much as it does me?
Would you want to read the reality take on these situations? And have you heard of All Day?

I'm Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there's also a lot of scifi, fantasy and... GIFs. I'm also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

27 thoughts on “All Day – Locked Up, Building Their Future… Unforgettable A Teacher's Account On Teens In Prison

    1. Yeah, I don’t even know if amends CAN be made. Or how long would it even take. I agree about the mythical nature of the American Dream 🙂 as it’s only possible by stepping on someone else… That’s how ‘dreams’ generally work. Someone needs to do the dirty work anyway. What society really needs to learn is that it’s not about your own happiness, but rather how you help others build a society that works.

  1. My mother-in-law works with a company that partners with schools to provide education and after-school type programs to incarcerated teens and her stories are absolutely heartbreaking as well. This book sounds excellent, especially since the author tells her story without doing too much to make a certain statement with it. Great review!
    Alyssa recently posted…Wishlist Wednesday #27: City of Bones by Cassandra ClareMy Profile

    1. Oh wow, then I bet you’ve heard a lot about this! It is truly, truly admirable work. And people who work in those situations have to have such strong will and character! I absolutely respect people like that.

      Thank you 🙂 this book means a lot of me, I’m so happy to see people are enjoying the review.

  2. This book definitely sound like something worth reading. It’s amazing how nonfiction books are so accurately highlighting the obvious facts of this world that everyone almost always tries to avoid or run away from. I agree on all the points you mentioned and these are good enough reasons for me to read this book. Loved this post! <3 <3

    1. Oh yeah, this is an amazing book. Yes, precisely because it’s about topics people don’t want to hear about! That partly makes me sad because this being an uncomfortable topic + being nonfiction makes this book so little known :/ I am so glad I happened to find it on NetGalley by accident.

      I hope you get to read it some day and also maybe spread the word 🙂 I would love to see your review.

      And thanks!

  3. What a great review Evelina!! Your writing literally gave me goosebumps at some places. I would definitely want to read this some day.
    The Hate You Give is a book which I want to read for a long time now and definitely I am going to read it soon. I love reading about this topic. ❤️

    1. Awwww thank you so much Sim 🙂 when I write reviews for books as good as this, I always feel like I’m just not doing it justice, whatever I write. It took me a half a year to sit down and write it… I know a lot of what I wanted to say got lost along the way too, but I mean – a review can only be this long, right?

      I hope you get to read this book, and I would love to see your review 🙂

      1. When I actually love a book that much I don’t care about the review length I just go with the flow. But I guess you are right! And I hope to read it soon. Checking the options to get it because I know right it’s costly on Amazon Let’s see!

    1. I’m so glad you’re adding this! This book needs to be read and seen, and yes, it’s very very strong 🙂 hope you enjoy it. And I will be looking forward to your review 🙂

  4. Great review Evelina. I’m adding it to my wish list (I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet The Hate U Gave and Dear Martin).

    Stories like these must be shared and not kept in the dark. They serve to make us aware of the world we live in and to speak up.

    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

    1. Thank you! If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t read those two either 😀 I just know it’s the same topic matter 🙂
      I really hope you get to read this and if you can and you have a review up, drop me a link, I’d love to see your opinion 🙂

  5. First of all, I am completely with you about sitting on reviews for amazing books. I recently realized I only wrote reviews for 3 of the 14 5-star rated books I read this year. Only THREE. I am so embarrassed. But it’s hard! Sometimes I am so moved I cannot begin to identify my feelings. I cannot begin to quantify my thoughts. I have no idea how I’ll do the book justice.

    That said, you nailed it with this review. You should be so proud! I have definitely added All Day to my TBR after reading your review. You’re right– The American Dream is definitely only for the right kind of American. It makes me sad, but that’s how our whole history has been. We like to gloss over what happened to the Irish, the Jews, the Africans, etc. in our history. But we can’t hide from it.

    I am so glad to see this is a proper memoir. We don’t have enough non-fiction which talks about this topic. There’s nothing wrong with fiction– but I find that it’s easier for people to pretend things aren’t real if they are only addressed in fiction. There is quite a bit of academic non-fiction as well. But memoir? Memoir is powerful. It talks about real experiences and real life and we are FORCED to see these moments.

    The Hate U Give and Dear Martin are both on my TBR. The BLM-esque book I read this year (and loved!) is All-American Boys. Co-written by black and white male authors, I felt like their novel explores avenues rarely explored together. It’s so great to see the races working together to solve this– no matter on what level.
    Jackie B. recently posted…#AnneReadAlong2017 : Rainbow ValleyMy Profile

    1. And yet! I always feel guilty about sitting on those reviews xD most of the time I end up writing good ones, but for a few books, I just took the easy way out (that creepy books list? One of those occasions.) I feel like I could have written an amazing review, had I just tried more. But it’s exhausting x.x

      Only three xD okay, that’s impressive. I’m almost not behind on reviews now. Thank the year turning. I guess I just didn’t want to leave them behind 😀

      But yes, I can totally agree on giving the book justice. EVERY TIME. EVERY. DAMN. TIME. So hard!

      As for the American Dream.. glossing over certain communities is just the start of it. Lately I’ve been reading of Native Americans. That part of the story is just completely weeping-fit-inducing 🙁

      So I think you will be reading this book? I really want you to read it! And talk to me WHILE you’re reading it. I’d love to relive it through your eyes. Such a powerful book!

      Oog, All-American boys sounds great! Did you post a review? Link me?

      1. Writing reviews for books you love is ALWAYS exhausting! There is so much emotion to pile into them. I am typically super proud of them once I’ve written the review, but I don’t always have the energy to get there. I hope to be better about that this year. We shall see. O_o

        I’m super impressed that you’re almost caught up with your reviews! I really need to set aside time to catch up. That would be a fun weekend away– just go somewhere for two days and write. I could do that. That’s something future Jackie might be interested in. You know. After the wedding. 😉

        There are so many horrible things the early American colonists did to the Native Americans. And honestly, a lot of terrible stuff is still going on, but it’s done through land management and politics so it’s harder to see. One of my friends is a state representative for her tribe (Ho-Chunk) with the Wisconsin government. She works tirelessly to try and get anything close to equal rights. It’s a HUGE mess. What books featuring Native Americans have you been reading? I’m totally curious.

        I’ve requested All Day from the library. It should show up in mid-February. And I will TOTALLY be chatting you up throughout the entire reading process.

        I did review All-American Boys! You can find my review here: http://deathbytsundoku.com/wordpress/all-american-boys/
        Jackie B. recently posted…Building Better Book Clubs: An Insider GlanceMy Profile

        1. Oh, that’s great!! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. About Native Americans… I am currently listening to Black Elk Speaks, and I have also recently won a giveaway where I got… oh man. I forgot the name, but it’s basically tales from women of the Blackfoot Indians. Very interesting!

  6. I’ve been all for reading more books where it talks about racial themes and discusses them, but this is one I haven’t come across yet. Thanks for introducing it to me. It sounds like a very good one because it also presents the reality of the situation but isn’t spitefully calling out anyone, but is only telling it as it is. I’m going to look into this one more for sure.
    Olivia Roach recently posted…18 Goals for 2018!My Profile

    1. This one is nonfiction, and nonfiction doesn’t go as far and wide as fiction does 🙂 so I’m glad I put it on your radar! It was such a strong, wonderful book. I truly hope you get to read it!

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