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?

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Evelina AvalinahsBooksJackie B.Olivia RoachFannaTânia @MyLovelySecret Recent comment authors

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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!

Paul Liadis

We have never truly made amends in this country for slavery, and it still ripples to today.

The American Dream is also a myth and probably always was. But maybe someday we’ll get close to it again.


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


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. ❤️

Sophie Eloy

Wow a real story that makes you cry? Well yes with the topic I guess I would too. Excellent reasons above and I love when books speak about topics no one want to acknowledge.

Shruti | This is Lit

This sounds like a really inspiring and moving book! The American dream really is just for the right kind of Americans. ☹️ Adding this to my TBR.

Tânia @MyLovelySecret

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

Jackie B.

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–… Read more »

Olivia Roach

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.