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An informative and accessible exploration of a major prison crisis with direct relevance to youth.

A detailed examination of the origins and impacts of a juvenile justice scandal that rocked Pennsylvania from 1996 to 2009.

Under the judicial tenure of Judge Mark Ciavarella, thousands of children in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County were shuttled into a for-profit youth prison that he had a hand in designing. Along with fellow judge Joe Conahan, personal injury lawyer Robert Powell, and commercial real estate developer Robert Mericle, Ciavarella orchestrated the imprisonment of misbehaving young people while profiting from their punishment. He followed a zero-tolerance policy, meting out the harshest sentences, no matter the crime. Under this judicial paradigm, Ciavarella funneled young people who entered his courtroom into Pennsylvania Child Care, the for-profit youth prison that was lining the conspirators’ pockets. This clear and detailed account, which includes interviews with some of the victims, examines not only how this facility came into being and how its benefactors profited from the imprisonment of children but also how earlier events, such as the 1959 Knox Mine Disaster, paved the way for a culture of government corruption in Luzerne County and allowed the “cash for kids” scheme to happen. Well researched and concisely reported, this heart-wrenching story is presented in an easy-to-follow and appealing manner. Supporting images of various figures, places, and pieces of evidence provide thought-provoking breaks in the text that emphasize just how real this miscarriage of justice was.

An informative and accessible exploration of a major prison crisis with direct relevance to youth. (author’s note, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781662620133

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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Unhappy teens in need of a lecture on thinking positively and being more in touch with one’s emotions need look no further.

Mangan presents in as many chapters a 20-point strategy that ranges from “Have a Positive Attitude” and “Cut Your Problems Into Pieces” to “Practice Being Patient” and “Appreciate the Value of Your Hard Work.” She blends private exercises like visualizing forgiveness with comments on selective attention, “problematic procrastination” and other bad habits, reframing situations to put them in different lights, “changing shoes” to understand others better and subjecting feelings to rational analysis. Though the author has a graduate degree and years of practice in clinical psychology, she offers generalities and generic situations rather than specific cases from her experience, and the book is devoid of references to further resources or even an index. Superficial advice (“If you are unsafe or are around kids that you know are bullies, just walk away”) combines with techniques that are unlikely to interest readers (“Make a song verse out of your list of helpful thoughts”). The author also makes questionable claims about the mind-body connection (“When you smile, your body sends a signal to your brain that you are happy”) and fails to make a case for regarding side forays into food habits and environmental concerns as relevant to her topic. Obvious issues and common-sense advice, unpersuasively presented. (Self-help. 12-15)


Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4338-1040-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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