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Why? America Why?
Why? America Why?

Why? America Why?

Colorado Youth Prisoners and Other Incarcerated Voices

Edited by Save the Kids STK, Foreword by Bill Ayers


Poetry Behind The Walls


330 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $12.99 (CA $17.99) (US $12.99)

Publication Date: February 2018

ISBN 9781936900251

Rights: US & CA

Arissa Media Group, LLC (Feb 2018)

Price: $12.99


This collection is dedicated to youth incarcerated in Colorado and other states in America. This book provides space and place for the voices of youth who are incarcerated to critically express their experiences related to the criminal justice system, school system, and their community. Grounded in hip-hop culture, the writing style throughout the series often reflects non-colonial English. The collection promotes social justice and critical thinking about education, poverty, sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression. As a creative outlet and space for expression, this book provides a means for the poets to empower themselves and resist victimization.


"I am grateful for the contributing writers in Why? America Why? for their inspiring reminder for all of us to continue to work for justice through the abolishment of the prison industrial complex."  —Dr. John Lupinacci, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education, Washington State University

"Poetry Behind the Walls is marvelous collection: once read, never forgotten! Within a few pages - within a few lines on a page - the poems tear down walls of separation and segregation, and pull you into rich landscapes animated by youthful sadness, regret, optimism, hopes and dreams. When this book is set down, so is a challenge. How can we help ensure these ugly walls of incarceration can never be rebuilt, not least by seeing, thinking, understanding and relating to our youth in ways that we've never been encouraged or thought possible before?"  —Dr. Richard. J. White, Reader in Human Geography, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

"This book is one of the most outstanding contributions to dismantling the school to prison pipeline."  — Dr. Amber E. George, Editor, Journal for Critical Animal Studies

"Why? America Why? tells the truth of how the juvenile system affects youth. Read share and learn."  —Dr. Erik m. Juergensmeyer, Editor of Green Theory and Praxis Journal

"Why? America Why? is one of the best books that has come out in years within the field of criminology and criminal justice. This should be a required reading for every juvenile justice course in America. We must hear from youth in the system rather than academics that have not experience it."  —Transformative Justice Journal

"Why? America Why? is an outstanding, powerful, and liberatory ready for all. This is a book that should be shelved in every middle and high school in the world. These voices are our future and we must know how we are treating them when the make mistakes in a world we created that does not favor them."  —Academy for Peace Education

Author Biography

Save the Kids is a fully volunteer grassroots organization rooted in hip-hop and transformative justice. It advocates for alternatives to, and the end of, the incarceration of all youth. It is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Bill Ayers is the founder the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society and he has taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament. He is the author of Demand the Impossible, Fugitive Days, and Public Enemy. He lives in Chicago.