Free Minds uses books, creative writing, and peer support to awaken DC youth incarcerated as adults to their own potential. Through creative expression, job readiness training, and violence prevention outreach, these young poets achieve their education and career goals, and become powerful voices for change in the community.
Check out current Free Minds titles:
Honorable Mention for the 2016 'In the Margins' Nonfiction award.
“The pieces showcased here are moving and real.”
— George Pelecanos, novelist and writer/producer of The Wire
The Untold Story of the Real Me is a collection of poems written by young people who were charged and incarcerated as adults at the age of 16 or 17. All poets are members of the Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop; many are currently incarcerated in the DC Jail or federal prison. Their work explores themes of parenthood, love, pain, identity, race, and freedom in voices both raw and powerful. This collection also features individual profiles of Free Minds members who are home from prison and serving as Poet Ambassadors in the violence prevention initiative, “On the Same Page.” Already being used in classrooms across the country to start conversations around youth violence and the justice system, The Untold Story of the Real Me provides a new take on the power of one voice to speak truth to pain, to seek redemption and healing.
Get the complete collection of Shout Mouse Press teen books by the authors of LAYC, Ballou High School , Beacon House, and Free Minds.
This set contains three powerful memoir collections, a poetry collection, and two novels, all by at-risk and immigrant teens in Washington, DC. These books are ideal for:
educators, social workers, and concerned citizens who want to understand the lives of teens growing up in marginalized or under-served communities
teen readers, including reluctant readers and those with literacy challenges
everyone who wants to be inspired by stories of determination and everyday courage
Get the complete collection of all Shout Mouse Press books for children and teens!
Make a greater impact and get more Mouse for your money by buying a discounted set of all Shout Mouse Press books:
- To donate to a local school, library, or community center
- To give as gifts to friends and family
- For your own collection
Get the complete collection of 2016 Shout Mouse Press titles by the authors of Ballou High School , Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, and Reach Incorporated.
2016 was an exciting year: Shout Mouse became the publisher for a powerful poetry collection by the incarcerated youth of Free Minds Books Club & Writing Workshop, we launched our 3rd volume of the Ballou Story Project, and our 4th series of Reach Incorporated children's books by teens. Keep your collection up to date by ordering the 2016 set!
This book is a critical piece of work that helps those who work with encouraging text engagement, for it was produced by youth who through poor literacy and life management in their worlds, suffer from huge gaps in their language skills.
They have been provided one of the first chances in their young lives, while incarcerated, to have a chance at navigating through the jungle of written expression to get their messages out to the world of the lessons they have learned from the mistakes they have made in life.
The poems are beautiful. This organization seems to really make a difference, helping young people articulate their frustrations and hopes, and channeling them into positive paths for their futures.
I found compelling a number of the poems and essays.
El Camino (The Road) by Luis is a bilingual poem about the difficult and unforgiving road that they are on.
My Face by Derrick is a poem about the external person and the secrets on the inner one.
In the essay, The Color of My Skin, by Sergio, provides the reader an empathic insight of his view into the world.
The literary collection you hold in your hands is a testament to the vitality and spirit of the young poets whose work is presented in these pages, proof in print that books and reading can change and save lives. The key is perseverance; the Free Minds people remain present from lockup through reentry, creating ambassadors to the community who effectively curb the cycle of violence and incarceration. The message is important, and so is the work. The pieces showcased here are moving and real.