Saturday, 29 April 2017

Book Review: All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Riker Island by Liza Jessie Peterson

Liza Jessie Peterson quit her modeling career to search for her identity-her passion. After taking a theater class she began her transition into a performance poet and playwright. While struggling to make a living as an artist (don't we all) Peterson started teaching creative writing and journaling workshops to incarcerated youth. This led to her becoming a GED teacher for boys incarcerated at Riker's Island.

Peterson's recounting of that year is skillfully written, she obviously understands and has a way with words. All Day is written as if you are hanging out inside Peterson's head. A little deeper than just reading someon'es journal. You feel her energy, her nervousness and passion for the children.She presents a very real picture of the lives lived by incarcerated youth, before, during and after the system, as well as the life of a teacher of imprisoned teens. She doesn't hide any part of the system or of the realities behind bars, sharing with her readers the vocabulary and mindsets of her students. The book is peppered with comedic relief-Peterson shares non-serious classroom antics as well as a letting you know she needs to fart.

Overall the book is quite eye opening and inspirational. It sheds light on the way our children are being imprisoned and trained for a life of crime or a life inside the system instead of being rehabilitated and taught independence and vocational skills.

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