"[My poems] aren't just my work, that's our work. Do you know I could hardly read when I met you? Them poems are the product of Free Minds. I owe a lot to you."

- Antwan, Age 21

Book List

Books Read in Book Club

Every week, 16 and 17 year olds charged and incarcerated as adults at the DC Jail gather together to discuss a work of contemporary literature. Books are chosen by the members themselves via a “book ballot,” a democratic process that motivates them to take an active role as readers and demonstrates that the Book Club belongs to them. Below is a list of titles chosen, read and discussed by Book Club since 2002. We welcome your suggestions for new titles! Please email us at mail@freemindsbookclub.org with any recommendations.

Drama City, by George Pelecanos
Season of Life,
by Jeffrey Marx
Way Past Cool,
by Jess Mowry
Monster: Autobiography of An L.A. Gang Member,
by Sanyika Shakur
Boy Kills Man,
by Matt Whyman
Rock This!
by Chris Rock
Always Running,
by Luis J. Rodriguez
by Kalisha Buckhanon
Taste of the Night,
by R.L. Stine
Black and White,
by Paul Volponi
, by Kenji Jasper
Slam, by Walter Dean Myers
The Contender, by Robert Lipsyte
Holes, by Louis Sachar
Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, by JK Rowling
Dakota Grand, by Kenji Jasper
Big City Cool: Short Stories About Urban Youth, edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss
Makes Me Wanna Holler, by Nathan McCall
Down These Mean Streets, by Piri Thomas
Pay It Forward, by Catherine Hyde
Parrot in the Oven, Mi Vida by Victor Martine
The Green Mile, by Stephen King
The Color of Water, by James McBride
Paint Me Like I Am, by WritersCorps
The First Part Last, by Angela Johnson
A Hip Hop Story, by Heru Ptah
The Coldest Winter Ever, by Sister Souljah
Bronx Masquerade, by Nikki Grimes
City of One, by Writerscorps
Monster, by Walter Dean Myers
Speak, by Laurie Halse
Push, by Sapphire
Tears of the Tiger, by Sharon Draper
Seeking Salamanca Mitchell, by Kenji Jasper
The Brave, by Robert Lipsyte
Finding Fish, by Antwone Fisher
Rose that Grew From the Concrete, by Tupac Shakur
Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley
My Bloody Life, by Reymundo Sanchez
Forged by Fire, by Sharon Draper
Once a King, Always a King, by Reymundo Sanchez
The Pact, by Dr. Sampson Davis, et. al.
Hoop Dreams, by Ben Joravsky
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
Manchild in the Promised Land, by Claude Brown
Battle of Jericho, by Sharon Draper
Street Life, by Jihad
More Than an Athlete, by Etan Thomas
Little Scarlet, by Walter Mosley
The Afterlife, by Gary Soto
Wolf Rider, by Avi
Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
Fearless Jones, by Walter Mosley
Maybe You Never Cry Again, by Bernie Mac
Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul, by Jack Canfield
Who Am I Without Him? by Sharon Flake
Begging for Change, by Sharon Flake
Six Easy Pieces, by Walter Mosley
They Broke the Law: You Be the Judge, by Thomas A. Jacobs, JD
The Rag and Bone Shop, by Robert Cormier
Concrete Candy, by Apollo
Money Hungry, by Sharon Flake
Glory Road, by Don Haskins
DC Noir, Edited by George Pelecanos
Snitch, by Alison Van Diepen
Ball Don't Lie, by Matt de la Pena
Standing at the Scratch Line, by Guy Johnson
Raiders Night, by Robert Lipsyte
American Gangster, by Max Allan Collins
Tyrell, by Coe Booth
Ballad of a Ghetto Poet, by A.J. White
Durango Street, by Frank Bonham
Rooftop, by Paul Volponi
Bang! by Sharon Flake
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
Snow, by Kenji Jasper
Life in Prison, by Tookie Williams
Never Go Home Again, by Shannon Holmes
Convicted in the Womb, by Carl Upchurch
Kiss the Girls, by James Patterson
Boot Camp, by Todd Strasser
The Wave, by Todd Strasser
Freedom Writers Diary, by Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers
Reputations Fade Away, by DaWayne Williams
Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry
The Turnaround by George Pelecano
Brothers in Arms by Paul Langan and Ben Alirez
No Way Out, by Peggy Kern
The Fallen, by Paul Langan
Inside the Crips, by Colton Simpson
Midnight, by Sister Souljah
The Way Home, by George Pelecanos
The Brothers Torres, by Coert Voorhees
Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm, by Percy Carey
Back in the Day: My Life and Times with Tupac Shakur, by Darrin Keith Bastfield
Grace After Midnight by Felicia “Snoop” Pearson
War Child by Emmanuel Jal
A Question of Freedom by R. Dwayne Betts
Shahid Reads His Own Palm by R. Dwayne Betts
A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
A Life for A Life by Ernest Hill
The World Is Mine by Lyah B. LeFlore and D.L. Warfield
Until We Meet Again by Anne Schraff (Bluford Series)
Stranger in the Streets by Mitch Credle
The Rock & The River by Kekla Magoon
Yummy by G. Neri
Denim Diaries by Darrien Lee
So, So Hood by L. Divine
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
Retaliation by Yasmin Shiraz
Muchacho by LouAnne Johnson
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Rikers High by Paul Volponi
Played by Dana Davidson
The Naked Truth by Marvelyn Brown
Tupac Shakur: The Life and Times of an American Icon by Tayannah Lee McQuillar and Fred L. Johnson
Long Way Home by Ishmael Beah
If I Was Your Girl by Ni-Ni Simone
Unlikely Brothers by John Prendergast and Michael Mattocks
Shortie Like Mine by Ni-Ni Simone
At the Crossroads by Travis Hunter
Teenage Love Affair by Ni-Ni Simone
Two the Hard Way by Travis Hunter
On the Come Up by Travis Hunter
Upgrade U by Ni-Ni Simone
A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca
Letters to a Young Brother by Hill Harper
Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler by Azie Faison
Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge by Etan Thomas, et al
16 on the Block by Babygirl Daniels
16 ½ on the Block by Babygirl Daniels
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles
Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers
Shadows of Guilt by Anne Schraff
The Barrio Kings by William Kowalski
Pull by B.A. Binns
Detoured: My Journey from Darkness to Light by Jesse De La Cruz and Joe Loya
Boy21 by Matthew Quick
Bronxwood by Coe Booth
The Conversation by Hill Harper
Tell the World by Writerscorps


Books Read in Continuing Support

When Free Minds members are transferred to federal prison, we continue to send them a book a month. Many titles are chosen from the list above, but as members mature in their reading, Free Minds introduces them to a greater variety of genres. Some additional titles sent to members in Continuing Support include:

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Blue Rage, Black Redemption by Tavis Smiley and Stanley Tookie Williams
How to Get Out of Your Own Way by Tyrese Gibson
Cooked by Jeff Henderson
Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers
*Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Navarro
Finding Freedom: Writings from Death Row by Jarvis Jay Masters
That Bird Has My Wings by Jarvis Jay Masters
Do You by Russell Simmons
Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi
Incognegro by Mat Johnson
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
Native Son by Richard Wright
*Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
*Ruined by Lynn Nottage
That Bird Has My Wings by Jarvis Jay Masters
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Bond by Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins
*The Conversation by Hill Harper
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner and Quincy Troupe
What is the What by Dave Eggers
*The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
*The Wealth Cure by Hill Harper
*Detoured: My Journey from Darkness to Light by Jesse De La Cruz and Joe Loya

*Books Across the Miles (BAM!) virtual book club selections for members in federal prisons across the country