What’s On Your Bookshelf?

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Looking for some good reading to expand your knowledge and youth-development practice? Youth Today speaks with leading experts in the field to share what’s on top of their reading lists. Consider this the synopsis for a master class or recommended reading by a trusted colleague. For this issue, we spoke with Tara Perry, CEO of the National CASA Association. - Hope Wabuke

“Between the World and Me,” by Ta Nehisi Coates, published by Spiegel & Grau, 2015, 176 pages. In the epistolary tradition of James Baldwin, Coates crafts a letter to his son exploring the experience of black men in America.

“Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson, published by Spiegel & Grau, 2015, 368 pages. “Children in foster care are disproportionally represented by minorities,” Perry said, “and much of my focus in reading at this time involves this topic. This memoir focuses on the injustices and disproportionality of those incarcerated.”

“Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment,” by Meda Chesney-Lind and Marc Mauer, published by The New Press, 2003, 368 pages. A compelling collection of essays that explores how the criminal justice system has impacted minority communities during the last two decades.

“Survival Lessons,” by Alice Hoffman, published by Algonquin Books, 2013, 96 pages. A meditation on the importance of empathy for those going through a crisis, Hoffman’s book also discusses how to focus inward to create your own resilience.

“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” by Michelle Alexander, published by The New Press, 2012, 336 pages. An analysis of current laws that resemble 20th-century American Jim Crow laws — along with their impact on minority individuals, families and communities.

“African American Children and Families in Child Welfare: Culture Adaptation of Services,” by Ramona W. Denby and Carla M. Curtis, published by Columbia University Press, 2013, 320 pages. A detailed examination of actions and policies that can improve the outcomes of minority children and their families in the child welfare field.


tara perryAbout Tara Perry

Tara Perry serves as CEO of the National CASA Association, an organization advocating for the welfare of abused and neglected children. She previously served as the deputy CEO and chief operations officer of the National CASA Association. Before joining National CASA, Perry was vice president of strategy and operations for the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta. She also serves on the board of examiners for the Malcolm Baldridge Performance Excellence Program.