Susan Madden Lankford (author), Juvenile artists (illustrator); BORN, NOT RAISED; Humane Exposures Publishing, LLC (Nonfiction: Social Science) 18.95 ISBN: 9780979236631
Byline: Jane Haugh
"I am a 14 to 17 year old scared that I will end up in prison."
For over two million children arrested in the US every year, this is an intelligent fear because most of them will. In Born, Not Raised, a book of affecting photos, handwritten stories, interviews, and transcribed conversations with and about juveniles in detention, Susan Madden Lankford unflinchingly looks at why and how these children came to be where they are. Although the stories and subject matter are often depressing, the overall book draws the reader in immediately and fascinates from beginning to end.
Oversized, with a mostly black cover crossed with bright yellow bands reminiscent of the tape the police put around a crime scene, much of this book is handwritten by the youth themselves. In response to questions and photos presented by the author and her daughter, Polly Lankford Smith, a student of psychology, it also contains graffiti and stick-figure diagrams, as well as beautiful drawings by the kids. The author has scanned their responses to questionnaires and, while it can be frustrating to puzzle out some of the barely comprehensive handwriting, that is part of the effectiveness of this book. One boy, aged fifteen, advises: "start hitting your kids at a young age" in handwriting a preschooler would be...