If you work with at-risk adolescents, then you'll want to read Adolescents on the Edge
by Jimmy Santiago Baca and ReLeah Cossett Lent (Heinemann, 2010). Both authors believe passionately in the power of community, of belonging. Lent discusses ways to foster trust and community that all students benefit from, whether they're at-risk or doing well. The book includes Baca's original stories with activities and an interview with Baca that's truly inspiring. Baca ran away from his dysfunctional home early in life and lived on the streets. By nineteen he found himself convicted of possession of heroin and sentenced to five years in prison. Here Baca had to choose between violence and anger and becoming literate. He chose to learn to read and write, and that decision gave him the freedom to gain control over his life and reach out to help others. An inspiring story to share with all students who can come to realize the power that resides in reading deeply and widely.