Praise for Burning Down the House
"Passionate, thoughtful, and well-researched, this is a resounding call to action."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Passionate and convincing."
"Burning Down the House by Nell Bernstein reveals a shocking truth: what adults do to children behind the walls of America's juvenile prisons is criminal. If we want to change the United States' senseless addiction to incarceration, the best possible place to start is transforming how our justice system treats our children. This book shows just how that can be done."
Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black
"Engrossing, disturbing, at times heartbreaking, Burning Down the House offers a seed of hope: a future where all children are valued and free.Told in the voices of children kept in cages, this book should fuel the growing movement to curb America's uniquely excessive reliance on juvenile incarceration."
Van Jones, author of Rebuild the Dream
"In the haunting voices of children shut away in nightmarish facilities, their lives defined by abuse and brutality, Nell Bernstein brings to light the betrayal of the juvenile court's promise of 'rehabilitation.' With her empathetic ear, sharp, impassioned prose, and deft use of compelling evidence, Nell Bernstein is the ideal messenger for the many thousands of children who will go to sleep tonight on a concrete bunk in an empty cell, convinced that there is no place for them in the world.
Ayelet Waldman, editor of Inside This Place, Not of It
"Drawing on well-documented history, compelling research, and her strong sense of justice, Nell Bernstein asks a provocative question: why do we have juvenile prisons?Seizing the momentum of the sharp decline in imprisoned youth, this smart and humane book makes a persuasive case that the time for tinkering has passed.Bernstein leads the reader to ask a heretical question: are we witnessing the beginning of the end?"
Jeremy Travis, president, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
"A riveting must-read for anyone on the 'outside' with influence to send kids to the 'inside' of juvenile prisons. This expose of the anguish, pain, and suffering of kids we place inside the razor wires, all for a false sense of public safety, should provoke in all of us to carry the torch to 'Burn Down the House.'
Judge Steven C. Teske, chief judge, Clayton County Juvenile Court, and author of Reform Juvenile Justice Now
Praise for Nell Bernstein
"The White House honors [Nell Bernstein] for [her] dedication to the well-being of children of incarcerated parents."
The White House Champions of Change
Praise for All Alone in the World, Bernstein's previous book
"An urgent invitation to care for all children as our own."
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of Random Family
"Powerful. . . . Highly recommended."
"[A] moving condemnation of the U.S. penal system and its effect on families."
Meticulously reported and sensitively written."
"Brimming with compelling case studies . . . and recommendations for change."
"Serious, moving, and well organized . . . this book could help galvanize a national will to tackle such problems."
Library Journal (starred review)
"Bernstein's book pumps up awareness of the problems [and] provides a checklist for what needs to be done."
"In terms of elegance, breadth and persuasiveness, All Alone in the World deserves to be placed alongside other classics of the genre such as Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities, Alex Kotlowitz's There Are No Children Here and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family. But to praise the book s considerable literary or sociological merit seems beside the point. This book belongs not only on shelves but also in the hands of judges and lawmakers."
San Francisco Chronicle