SMP Photo Coach and ShootBack founder Lana Wong led authors on a photo shoot to create striking original images to complement their stories.
Trinitoga: Stories of Life in a Roughed-Up Tough-Love No-Good Hood
"Take a step outside and look..."
You’ll see trash, you’ll see smoking, you’ll see drug dealing, fighting and killing. A lot of people live there, like a whole bunch of vienna sausages in a square can. Some people are bad, but some are good. Half and half. The bad people get in trouble all the time, smoking and drinking and messing around. The good people stay in the house and tell on people who are doing bad... This is where everyone grew up, and everyone’s a big family. It’s a roughed up hood, but we all got tough love for each other.
So begins Trinitoga: Stories of Life in a Roughed-Up Tough-Love No-Good Hood, a novel-in-stories by fifth and sixth grade authors of Beacon House. These young writers created a fictionalized neghborhood--Trinitoga--and populated it with an endearing and heartbreaking cast of characters, not unlike people they have encountered in their own lives. We begin with "Shoota," the gun-wielding "King of the Hood" whose transformation we witness from a sweet and trusting 8-year-old boy to a hardened angry man deserving of his nickname. We meet the mother of his children, Baquisha, who cares about her kids and tells them to do the right thing, but can't set a good example herself. We meet their kids--Rude Boy, Rude Girl, and Tianna--all of whom struggle between love and disappointment and anger in their relationships with their parents and with each other. We meet grandmothers who do right by their grandkids, and friends who stick up for each other, and characters of all ages determined to do better: for their loved ones and for themselves. The result is an emotionally charged and psychologically astute exploration of what it means to grow up in a place like Trinitoga, told from the perspective of highly astute 11- and 12-year-old observers.
This book is powerful. The characters are complex. The conflicts are recognizable and searingly raw. Although these characters face daily stress and trauma that takes its toll, they all want desperately for something better. That yearning is what breaks your heart, gives you hope, and keeps you turning the page.