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Hear These Voices: Youth at the Edge of the…

Hear These Voices: Youth at the Edge of the Millennium

by Anthony Allison

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0525453539, Hardcover)

"I tell the people that I kick it with, don't trust me. Not because I'm untrustworthy, but if you think you can trust me, then you'll start thinking you can trust somebody else. You just don't trust nobody."

For a teenager living on the streets, such is the wisdom you must embrace to stay alive. Hear These Voices offers a glimpse into the steely lives of 15 at-risk youths, ages 10 to 19, who are trying to better themselves and rise above astonishing circumstances. The stories range from that of Muay in Thailand, whose stepfather sold her into prostitution at age 10, to Carrie in Denver, Colorado, who was bounced from foster homes to shelters and gang raped before she decided to move and pursue her dream of getting her GED. In this forum, kids are finally allowed to speak for themselves, accents and vernacular making their voices ring all the more clearly: "Sometimes I do feel like I'm important, but sometimes, when my father beat me until I couldn't see, I thought to kill myself." The stories are mesmerizing, especially as complemented by Anthony Allison's telling black-and-white photography.

Each of these youths already has experienced more pain than most people will witness in a lifetime, and their histories are accordingly heartbreaking. Allison makes sure, however, that readers come away not dejected but with a strong sense of hope. All of the teens have been helped by various social-service groups or schools--small, struggling organizations filled with remarkable adults who refuse to let troubled kids slip through society's cracks. Hear These Voices will alternately shock and lift any teenager's spirits, but may also inspire adults to give more to the community of young people. As Allison simply requests of adults, "We hope you hear how these young people are challenging us to turn our ideals for a better society into reality." (Ages 12 and older) --Brangien Davis

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)

Presents case studies of teenagers living with homelessness, prostitution, alcoholism, and neighborhood violence and interviews with staff members from organizations committed to helping teenagers in crisis.

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