We all grow with a language that defines our environment and who we are. Words both testify to and create our surroundings, families, relationships and attitudes. Language comprises more than chance nouns. In some areas of the US the geography of poverty is so broad that there is little opportunity for interaction between the cultures of haves and have-nots. One 14-year-old in Milwaukee detention grew up eight blocks from Lake Michigan and had never seen the water. For many of the kids telling their stories a few blocks encircle the sum total of their environment.
Juvie Talk is the third book of the award winning in Justice series. This book and accompanying website are meant to be a curricular tool for a discussion of human rights, mass incarceration and the potential for children to succeed. While it is important to be able to empathize with these kids, it is also critical to realize there are multitudes of ways the words can be spoken, and even be rewritten.
To more directly share this experience, we have partnered with Peter Sellars to offer ideas about the nature of theater and roles. These are not specific stage directions. The final production is left to the director/teacher and student/actor. Much of the stage direction will be suggested online and include images, audio and video that can be included in any production from classroom to auditorium.