Books Behind Bars

Books Behind Bars is an educational program, exploring questions of meaning, value, and social justice, in a maximum-security juvenile correctional center.

Books Behind Bars: Life, Literature, and Leadership is an educational program in which university students meet weekly with committed youth at a maximum-security juvenile correctional center to explore questions of meaning, value, and social justice through life-changing conversations about Russian literature classics.

Participants discuss personally relevant topics ranging from family to death, and success to moral responsibility. These interactions become the catalyst for both groups to learn from one another and share their most intimate human stories, while at the same time forming powerful connections and challenging whatever stereotypes about the other group they may have entered the class with. Correctional center students and university students come away transformed by this unique educational experience—moved by their discovery of the relevance of classical literature, inspired by the humanity in one another, and empowered to pursue lives of greater purpose and meaning.

Image by Andy Kaufman

Having completed its tenth year, Books Behind Bars has been featured on the Today Show, in the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Moscow Times, on Katie Couric, NPR, and Russian national television. Seats at the Table, a feature-length documentary about the program, has been shown at film festivals throughout the United States, in France, and the UK, and in 2020-2021 it will air nationally on PBS.

Read this piece by Andy Kaufman about how he teaches resilience through Russian Literature.

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UPLIFT offers the opportunity to support inspiring projects and share stories that activate and spread joy, love and peace globally.

As a 100% user-supported and ad-free platform, we rely on your generosity to serve you and those we support. So please consider making a contribution or joining us in spreading love throughout the world. Thank you.

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kamir bouchareb st
kamir bouchareb st
28 days ago

good article

kamir bouchareb st
kamir bouchareb st
1 month ago

gooooooooooooooooooood

Nina Frank
Nina Frank
4 months ago

Can one participate in these projects online?

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