Gangs: Deal With It Before Wrong Seems Right

Gangs: Deal With It Before Wrong Seems Right

by Jabari Lindsay, illustrated by Bjoern Arthurs James
Lorimer & Company, 2010
ISBN 978-1-55277-920-0 (hc)
$24.95, 32 pp, ages 9+

The Lorimer “deal with it” series targets youth who may face conflict in their everyday life. Written by Jabari Lindsay, who has worked in a variety of gang prevention situations, and illustrated by Bjoern Arthurs, who has also been employed assisting marginalized youth, Gangs: Deal With It Before Wrong Seems Right has the look of a contemporary graphic novel. This short book offers sections on common traps used to ensnare junior members (you suddenly get asked to start running errands for a group of older kids) and familiar myths about gangs (including that the only way to leave is by dying). The text is interspersed with quiz sections so readers can reflect upon engaging in criminal activities, analyze where they stand at the moment in terms of membership, and consider alternatives to participating. Practical options are offered (e.g., gradually begin avoiding old acquaintances while getting involved in sports or in other clubs that offer viable excuses).

Classroom Connections: This basic primer on gang culture—which has also been issued in an electronic format—offers teachers, guidance personnel, or front-line workers a useful resource for counseling sessions or careers classes. Ultimately it is designed for children and youth in at risk situations, with an attractive glossy look that should capture the attention of the target audience. Its frank portrayal of the sexist, violent and stressful reality that is street crime, and the practical steps it offers readers on how to escape gangster culture, mean it might actually be a lifesaver.

Review by George Sheppard.

This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Jan/Feb 2013.

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