Dear Friends: POPS the Club Anthology

Out of the Woods. Apr. 2022. 232p. ed. by Friedman, Amy & Dennis Danziger, eds. pap. $17.95. ISBN 9781952197123.
Gr 5-8–In the latest anthology by POPS the Club, an arts-based youth program designed to support children impacted by incarceration, the writings and art are as emotionally resonant as ever. This volume is grouped into themes around the letter H, progressing through hoods, humility, homies, homes, honesty, happiness, hearts, hunger, health, healing, and finally hopes. From a series of moving six-word memoirs to photographs and letters, the works cover myriad genres, but all demonstrate powerful, authentic voices exploring thoughts on social justice, racial inequity, cultural heritage, mental health, education, poverty, love, and dreams. The isolation and unique challenges that came with the pandemic—specifically the fact that incarcerated individuals could not see their families for long periods—add to the sense of poignancy. These works will speak to young adults who have been affected by the prison system, but will also inspire empathy and compassion in those who have not.
VERDICT A triumphant exploration of community and connection.

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