2020 Social Justice and Advocacy



2020 Social Justice Title

Woodfox, Albert.  Solitary.  March 2019.  Grove Press. Hardback $26.00  320 pages.  978080212080. Adults. 

This memoir covers the wrongful treatment the criminal justice system subjected Albert Woodfox to as a man who spent over four decades in Louisiana’s Angola prison, one of this nation’s most notoriouslyknown state prisons. Woodfox spent most of these years in solidarity confinement as part of the Angola 3 who were wrongfully convicted for the murder of a CO (corrections officer) while in jail for lesser crimes. To keep from going insane, Woodfox credits the unwavering friendship with his two wrongly convicted Panther comrades Robert King and Herman Wallace and his ability to channel his anger into educating himself, which aided his transformation into a leader amongst the prisoners. The committee strongly believes ”this memoir serves as a strong tool of advocacy against an unjust criminal justice sentence that turns a blind eye to the disproportionality of solitary confinement in states such as Louisiana where 20 percent of more than 2700 inmates have been in solitary confinement for more than a year.”


Abdur-Rahman, Dr. Kevin H.  Solving the Riddle.  February 2019.  Page Publishing, Inc. Paperback.   $16.95.  192 pages.  9781644621165.  Older Teens and Adults.  This journey takes you through Dr. Abdur-Rahman’s life as a person condemned for life as one of the biggest drug dealers in Philly, from changing to being redeemed back into society after a long prison term and rehabilitation as a major society behavior changer in Philadelphia during the late 1980’s to mid 1990’s . In Solving the Riddle he discusses in detail how to avoid the pitfalls of an ill society, its negative influences, and dysfunctional situations by giving healthy information to our at-risk population. Dr. Abdur-Rahman’s book also privides preventive ideas for professionals working in the field of delinquency prevention.

Reading behind Bars


Grunenwald, Jill.  Reading Behind Bars.  July 2019. Skyhorse.  Paperback  $25.99.  360 pages.  9781510737068.  New Adults and Older.  In this personal narrative of her first year job experience as a certified librarian in a an Ohio men’s prison, Graunenwald makes you sometimes laugh and other times think deeply about the humanity of those patrons who live behind bars. As she adapted to the security measures for the new lockup environment she worked in, she grew into a better understanding of how libraries offered a brief escape for those in lockup which was neutral, open for access, and free of the rigors of life on the cell block.


Kotlowitz, Alex. American Summer:  Love and Death in Chicago.  Nan A. Talese.  Hardback  $27.95.  304 pages.  9780385538800.  Adults.   In 2018 there were 2948 shooting victims in Chicago. The book looks into the ongoing epidemic of senseless shootings in urban Chicago. Kotlowitz does a great job of gaining the trust of some of the people who are the victims or perpetrators who live in these violent communities which are essentially war zones. After gaining the trust of these residents he got an up close look at the psychological toll this dreadful violence has taken on the victims and their families.


Marie, Jozanne.  Beautiful:  Unashamed & Unafraid.  April 2019.  Savio Republic. Paperback  $18.00.  9781642931204.  New Adults and Older.   This book tells the courageous story about a young lady of Jamaican decent who was experienced sexual assault from the age of 6-16 years of age by her own biological father. It goes in detail why sexual molestation is seldom talked about and how in our society this subject is often treated as taboo. Her nightmare started with her teen mother wanting to kill her when she was a baby; it progressed into her being violated sexually, mentally, and physically by her father; and peeked with her being coerced into having an abortion at age 16. This is a must read book to help others understand how to better sustain the fortitude needed for overcoming the trauma of rape abuse,  how to talk about it openly, and how to forgive in order to heal.


Minor, Cornelius.  We Got This.  November 2018.  Heinemann.  Paperback $25.63.  160 pages.  9780325098142.  Adults.  Educating our students in these drastic times has become more and more difficult. In his book “We Got This,” Minor shines a beacon of hope on the quest to strengthen teacher to student connections. He discusses how to carefully listen to students as the best way to prepare for teaching so as to not  make students feel disenfranchised. This book contains points on equity issues and offers strategies for offsetting inequity.  

Other 2020 Nominations and Awards