William Ayers brings a reporter's eye and an activist's heart to this well-written and profoundly disturbing book, A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court
. Ayers, who teaches offenders in Chicago's juvenile court system, is a brilliant storyteller, the damning fly on the wall. His book portrays the lives of his students--both within the juvenile temporary detention center and on the "outside." Ayers puts their stories into historical context; argues passionately about the roles of media, poverty, and neglect; refutes the idea of teenager as "superpredator"; and challenges parents--all of us--to ask the question, "Is this good enough for my child?" when determining the standard to use when we think of justice for kids.
From Library Journal
Headlines regularly depict juvenile criminals as extreme and violent "superpredators"?a distorted and incomplete picture that shapes the way Americans think and feel about poor (and mostly minority) city kids. For five years, Ayers, a former member of the radical 1960s Weathermen organization, acted as a teacher and an observer in Chicago's Juvenile Court prison, the nation's first?and largest?institution of juvenile justice. Founded by the legendary Jane Addams to act as a "kind and just parent" for children in need, the court today epitomizes the confused and confusing way American justice deals with children. In Ayers's book, an account of one year in his classroom there, students describe their lives, analyze their situations, and think about their futures. Like Jonathan Kozol in Amazing Grace (LJ 10/1/95), Ayers shows that we must overcome our preconceived notions of these children and learn to deal with the realities of their lives. Ayers is a born educator and communicator, with a voice of hope. Recommended for general collections.?Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.